Analyzing Alpine School District’s Mission Statement

Let me make one thing very clear. I do not believe any member of the ASD School Board or the Superintendent believes most of the nonsense that came out of William Meyers’ website. The fact that the district DID have a link to that website does give endorsement to that website and shows that *someone* at the district does subscribe to at least the nonsense on the page that was linked to. That page calls our Founding Fathers “predatory elitists” and says we do not live in a Republic any longer and it’s a good thing we’ve moved toward Democracy.

My “beef” isn’t with the people drawing the water out of the well to give our students, it’s with the other folks who are putting poison into the well when they’re not watching.

So if ASD doesn’t believe the stuff on Meyers’ website, we should be able to read their explanation of their motto and come away with a better perspective on what they really intend. Unfortunately, that mission statement doesn’t help their cause.

To prime you to see ASD’s mission statement, please watch this 3 minute video of Bill Ayers (yes the Weather Underground terrorist who is enormously interested in democratic education—ask yourself why…). You’ll hear his masterful introduction to enculturation of students into a democracy. Ask yourself why Bill ends this clip the way he does and what the purpose of his presentation is? See if you think he’s just a bit subversive getting students to begin “critically thinking” about their circumstances in life and how they ought to question the fairness of it. Excellent preparation for life in a true democracy.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
-Author Unverified

Now as you read ASD’s mission statement, keep in mind the things Bill mentioned.

From ASD’s Mission Statement Page My commentary
The mission statement of Alpine School District is, “Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy.
The Mission Statement was drafted after meeting with a committee comprised of district administrators and Board of Education members.  The mission statement is inclusive of the Moral Dimensions of Teaching (that echo the values of our district in addition to setting the performance standards and directing the implementation of our mission). This block and the next were added just last week when the district started getting hit with emails about the Republic/Democracy differences.

“The Moral Dimensions of Teaching” come from a book published by John Goodlad. Mr. Goodlad came to BYU in 1983 to set up the Public School Partnerships with 5 nearby school districts. His book is where the 4 “Dimensions” come from below that are part of ASD’s stated mission.

It was adopted by the full Board of Education in an open board meeting and has been shared with the District Community Council as well as all School Community Councils in the district.  It has been met with favorable comments with few exceptions. This site represents one of the “few exceptions.”
The mission statement can be divided into four parts that represent our district values (based on the Moral Dimensions of Education).
Educating” = to promote a caring and effective connection between teacher and student
(Moral Dimension: nurturing pedagogy)
Educating is what school is all about right? So we should see something about academics here right? Instead we see something about teachers nurturing our students. Why are we saying teachers have a role that is specifically the duty of parents?
All students” = to ensure all students can participate in the entire education program regardless of ability, socioeconomic status or where the student lives. As a public education institution, we accept EVERYONE.
(Moral Dimension: Access to Knowledge)
How exactly are we going to “ensure” all students can participate? No child left behind gets steroids…
To ensure” = to foster individual ownership of the educational program among all members of the educational family
(Moral Dimension: Stewardship of the Schools)
Here we go back to the schools are our family. The state educational system will take of you.
The future of our democracy“= to prepare our students for responsible participation in a democratic society.
(Moral Dimension: Enculturating the young in a social and political democracy)

This is really the *end* of education? Not to prepare students academically but to participate in a democracy?

Our first educational objective is to prepare our students for the responsibility of maintaining our democratic way of life. We teach students more than content, we also teach them moral development. I thought the first objective of a school system was to teach reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic? If the primary purpose is to maintain our democratic way of life, shouldn’t we also have classes on soldiering and such so that our children can enter the military to protect our way of life? I thought moral development was the purview of the home and church? How exactly does a school district teach moral development?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, democracy is defined as a government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. Our current government is best symbolized as a representative democracy. No, Webster’s online dictionary gives the first definition “as government by the people; especially : rule of the majority.” The fact that it also gives your definition shows over time, someone has muddied the water to confuse the public. They are not equal systems. Our current government is best “symbolized” by its correct name: a Republic.

Why is this even in a school district’s mission statement???

From an 1848 dictionary which :

A democracy “is government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is in the hands of the people.”

A republic, “from the Latin words les publica – means ‘a public affair;’ in which the sovereign power is exercised by representatives elected by the people.”

Our Founding Fathers understood these definitions.

The primary purpose of education is developing democratic citizens. No, the primary purpose is academic education. What does it even mean to develop a “democratic citizen”? We’re talking about our children here…
This preparation is not a matter of chance nor is it a matter of giving our pupils a few lessons in civics or teaching them about the Constitution. So you’re admitting that creating “democratic citizens” has nothing to do with teaching them the Constitution?
It requires the development of a democratic character: fostering the growth of traits such as responsible conduct, critical reflection, compassion and integrity. What is a “democratic character”? Oh, it’s critical reflection on your circumstances in life just like Bill Ayers talked about. Compassion is also vital to democracy. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” – Karl Marx
Thus, the task of readying the young for democratic life is the business of all educators. What is “democratic life”? If that’s the “business of all educators,” we should get a pretty clear picture of it below.
Along with our social studies and history teachers, others must incorporate this objective into their curriculum. OK, so S.S. and history teachers need to incorporate and ready the young for “democratic life.”
Math teachers must help students gain a respect for inductive proof and certainty in argumentation. Deductive reasoning is starting with a theory and narrowing it down to hypothesis, observation and conclusion.

Inductive reasoning is just the opposite starting with an observation and developing theories around it. Thus social justice curriculum (such as Bill Ayers’ message) requires inductive thinking to develop theories that fit the observation of injustice.

The music teachers could help students gain a sense of responsibility to the group and playing in harmony with other citizens. Citizens and not students?
Our English teachers should teach the responsibilities of expression and choice. Are we supplanting home with the schools again?
Of course, our administrators ought to help students understand that a democratic society cannot survive without respect for rules, law, and order. The administrators are going to teach rules and law? How about we just teach the constitution which is the supreme law of the land?
Every teacher should have this major board objective in mind as he/she prepares the curriculum. This is a “board objective?” Teachers should have rules, law and order in mind as they prepare curriculum lessons? For art class?
Parents, too, ought to incorporate these objectives into their family’s environment. So the schools are teaching parents now that they should incorporate ideas of democratic citizenship into their homes? Does that mean the parents are no longer the authority in the home but everyone has an equal voice?
After all, character, the bedrock of democracy, is largely a product of the home. Largely: I guess it takes a village. The home isn’t quite up to task.
Unless all of us remember that democracy is not a gift, but a learned skill, we run the risk of destroying our way of life. So unless we practice democracy as a skill, our natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are in danger of being destroyed? Note: every democracy has deprived its citizens of these 3 things.

There you have it. 13 uses of forms of the word “Democracy” in the mission statement of a school district, 0 uses of the words “academics” and/or “excellence”.

The question I would ask is, why is Bill Ayers’ philosophy so closely aligned with ASD’s mission statement?  You may want to watch that video again. Then you may want to research the phrase “enculturating the young into a social and political democracy” which is the older version of ASD’s motto before they started taking heat for it, and comes straight out of the BYU Department of Education.

C.S. Lewis remarked:

“Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose…. [T]hey should never be allowed to give this word a clear and definable meaning. They won’t. It will never occur to them that democracy is properly the name of a political system, even a system of voting, and that this has only the most remote and tenuous connection with what you are trying to sell them. Nor of course must they ever be allowed to raise Aristotle’s question: whether “democratic behaviour” means the behaviour that democracies like or the behaviour that will preserve a democracy. For if they did, it could hardly fail to occur to them that these need not be the same.”…

As an English politician remarked not long ago, “A democracy does not want great men.”

C.S. Lewis in “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”

Stay tuned for the next couple chapters in explaining where the poisoning of the well comes from…

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