Monday, June 05, 2017

Graduation Day (Can Our Public Schools Be Saved?)

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In 1955, The Four Lads released the hit song, "Moments To Remember," which correctly romanticized those unforgettable years in school.

Graduation Day 2017 is here. From kindergartners to grown up university kids, our children are walking on stage, getting a diploma or certificate and looking forward.

The memories of the past school days, as the "Four Lads" noted, "will echo through the years."

Experts in education are concerned about how those memories will affect these young citizens.

In fact, some are asking, "Can our universities even survive?"

It was a hit. I remember listening to it on KIT radio in Yakima, WA. In fact, it was so popular that dozens of musicians have recorded it since.

"Moments To Remember" speaks of "the day we tore the goal post down, the ballroom prize we almost won," and the special relationships that formed "during those years," promising that "we will have these moments to remember" because they "will echo through the years."
The Letterman also released the hit "Graduation Day" which reflected some of the same promising sentiments.

Experts are questioning how today's school experience will echo through the years, in the minds, hearts, memories and future actions of today's generation.

In fact, they are asking if our public education institutions can even survive as they are presently.

I'm not suggesting we should attempt to go back to the 50s---but I am saying it is clear we have lost our way and unless we return to our founding education principles, contemporary public education is doomed.

Dr. Michael Brown said recently, "Where is the one place in America where free speech is commonly suppressed, where there is often as much indoctrination as education, and where radical left ideologies reign almost unchallenged? It is our college and university campuses. Many of them have become so biased and extreme that even CNN's Fareed Zakaria, hardly a conservative, excoriated their intolerance."

Brown says we're not talking about occasional mistakes schools make---" No, we're talking about a systematic dumbing down and radicalizing of our campuses."

A new normal has been created for our kids, defining anything other than the far left angry progressive ideology as not merely a different point of view, but a bigoted one that must be extinguished.

Assistant Princeton Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor told the graduates at Hamilton College in Massachusetts commencement the other day that President Trump is a "racist, sexist meglomaniac," and Attorney General Jeff Sessions "embraces and promulgates policies that have already been proven to have had devastating impact on black families and communities."

This is not an isolated speech I'm using to make my point. This kind of rhetoric is now "normal" in education settings.

Students and their parents rarely even react to that kind of inflammatory speech.

A new survey from the Young American's Foundation found that of America's top colleges, 49 invited left to far left commencement speakers---while inviting 4 conservatives.

This echo hardly reflects free speech or open-mindedness. Sadly, however, it does reflect the degree of indoctrination and the state of our education system.

Among those 4 conservatives was VP Mike Pence, who spoke at Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago where about 100 graduates stood up and walked out as he spoke. I wrote about it at the time.

Pence was the only national figure among the 4 conservatives.

This is a snapshot, unfortunately, of not only public education but of many private educational institutions---including too many founded by devout Christians for the purpose of "educating" rather than "indoctrinating" each generation.

Contrast this with how education began in America.

Harvard University, our first, was founded by Pastor John Harvard in 1636 as Harvard College. Its stated purpose was "to train literate clergy" and among its "Rules and Policies" was this: "Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life."

Princeton University was founded with this motto: "Under God's Power She Flourishes."

The far left progressive argument, often stated by Barack Obama and a horde of lessor lights, is always to the point that "America has changed, and education must evolve with our changing culture and demographics."

This, of course, reflects the progressive idea of moral relativism.

In the hands of the far Left, it has "evolved" into something that is not education at all. It is now an ideological indoctrination.

Casey N. Nep writes a great deal about education. He is also concerned about the sustainability of our public education, particularly our colleges and universities. He thinks all commencement speeches should be canceled and shows precedent for doing so.

His deep concerns are rooted not in the spiritual collapse of the institution, but the basic educational collapse that is reflected not only in too many graduates, but in the comments made by far Left speakers, and received as "normal" by the audiences.

He notes in a Politico Magazine article, "At Harvard's first Commencement in 1642, every single member of the graduating class gave an address in Greek, Hebrew or Latin. The commencement address was not singular, but plural and those doing the addressing were not distinguished guests, but lowly graduates."

Contrast that with this:

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani was recently invited to give the commencement speech at his alma mater, Grinnell College in Iowa. In his concluding remarks he said this: "So here's another concrete piece of advice I can give you---have sex with an immigrant. We're going through a tough time right now and it would just be really great for morale."

Dr. Brown is cautioning parents against sending their kids off to secular universities without clear purpose and preparation.

And he is calling for:

1. Christian universities to refuse to bow down to the god of secular academics, including the pressure that comes from accrediting boards.

I would personally add, unfortunately, too many Christian schools are doing just that.

2. Christian conservatives to do their best to get teaching and administrative positions at secular universities where they can challenge the status quo.

3. More and more Christian schools to be raised up to help train and equip the next generation.

And Brown says this-- "Over 40 years ago, Larry Norman, a pioneer Christian rock musician, asked the question: 'Why should the devil have all the good music' ?"

"Today I'm asking the question: Why should the left have (almost) all the good schools?"

Most, not all, but most of the Christian/conservative schools that have stayed true to their founding beliefs are flourishing.

There are many. Some of the best known are Liberty University, the largest Christian University in America, Oral Roberts University and rock solid conservative Hillsdale College. There are many others.

Founding Father Noah Webster is considered the father of America's public education. He said: "Discipline our youth in early life in sound maxims of moral, political, and religious duties...The brief exposition of the Constitution of the United States will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of this writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible..."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Bold.