ASD Responds to Senate Testimony

Alpine School District just responded to criticism they received during a Senate Education Committee meeting last week. Their response on the Daily Herald website started with this statement:

“Members of the Alpine School District Board of Education take an oath of office to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Utah.”

Is it not beyond obvious that people can  take an oath and render it meaningless by constructing new meanings and understandings that are not grounded in fact? Our current president is a prime example.

As one of those that testified against some of the actions of Alpine School District during that senate meeting, let me say for the record that I disagree with the points made by the school district on the following grounds.

1) ASD has never been responsive to its primary stakeholders…parents. During one short period of time a few years ago when parents were upset at the district for removing the times tables from the curriculum, I received 4 separate phone calls and emails from individuals who spoke to the same administrator at the district who told each one of them they were the only parent to ever complain about the program. This was clearly an attempt to isolate parents and minimize their concerns. Prior to my involvement which started in 2005, hundreds of parents had been complaining to ASD since Investigations was first implemented in 2001 about the lack of solid math skills being taught. ASD ignored them all, confiscated books at 4 schools I am aware of, and threatened some teacher’s contracts if they taught the times tables to children. I have personally spoken with a teacher who this happened to along with her co-workers. Numerous other teachers have contacted me and told me they used to shut their doors to teach the times tables. How ridiculous is that?

2) This is clearly in dispute. One teacher in particular that was mentioned (not by name) had been teaching students the benefits of communism without the other horrific side of the story on the hundred million or so citizens put to death in the last century by communist dictators. When one student came home and told his mother “communism isn’t really that bad,” she thought maybe it was just her child misinterpreting what the teacher said. So she gave a survey to 10 other students in the class. 9/10 responded with “yes” to the statement “There are some good things about communism.” 7/10 responded “yes” to “One of the good things about communism is equality.” 9/10 responded “yes” to “Islam is a religion of peace.” 10/10 responded “yes” to “We should respect others views, even if we disagree.  There is not one ‘right’ view when it comes to different kinds of government.” There is one right view of government, and that is in following its proper role in protecting freedom and individual rights.

3) Testimony concerning Investigations math didn’t declare it a violation of state law to use the program. My testimony concerned Patti Harrington removing Investigations math from the approved list as a primary curriculum, yet ASD continues to allow Investigations to be used as a full primary curriculum in many classrooms across the district. They say they use “balanced math” which isn’t a program, and continue to let teachers use Investigations math solely. They also use 100% Connected math in many classes and that program has also been removed from the approved list by Patti Harrington because it is also an incredibly weak and ineffective program. These programs actually led to Utah raising it’s math standards a couple years ago.

4) ASD maintains that they invite “responsible and civil participation” to address parent concerns. For nearly a decade, parents have tried to get the district to listen to their concerns in a civil manner. Civility to ASD seems to mean open your mouth and take your medicine. Parents concerns are met with deaf ears and an attitude of, “you’re not a professional educator, we know best.” Whether it is stubborn pride or their own indoctrination in Goodlad and Dewey’s philosophies, ASD is not about to start listening to responsible parents and taking their concerns seriously. They took down the “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy” sign just before the November election, yet two senior administrators told parents they may take the sign down but they weren’t going to change their philosophy.  If the district was really concerned with continuous improvement and listening to parental concerns, they would have dropped Investigations math in 2002 right after they were flooded by concerned parents who tried to inform the district about the damage being done by their pseudo-math. In spite of overwhelming evidence that contradicts their position, such as Project Follow-Through, they barrel on, causing untold damage to tens of thousands of children who might otherwise have a future in a math related field.

53 Responses to “ASD Responds to Senate Testimony”

  • MB:

    Oak thanks for being so involved in this fight. You are a great leader in this initiative.

  • SD:

    Oak, most politicians define The Constitution as “whatever constitutes the government.” Britain does not have a written constitution, yet they always claim to be upholding their constitution. So, once again we see that politicians are a slippery bunch. Whatever a lawmaker does constitutes government, therefore they are always within the bounds of the constitution. You won’t get very far in that battle.

    Also, state law says that children are wards of the state until they are 18 years old. School districts (or anyone else in government for that matter) are not obligated to listen to parents. They have a very old law to support them in doing whatever they please.

    The only solution I see is to privatize everything. Reforming the system is impossible.

  • Anonymous:

    Here we go again in another futile exercise to see who gets the last word in “responses.”

  • A Concerned Parent:

    Thank you for the valid information. When I lived in Davis County, that was the same type of behavior I received from the school board at that time. I was even threatened that ‘someone’ would be checking on me monthly to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to when I decided to school my children at home.

    It is so beneficial to read the info you’ve gathered. Thank you for your work.

  • CE, it is right and proper to respond to ASD’s statement when you disagree with it. Why did you feel the need to criticize my response? The same reason.

    As for the teacher who is promoting communism, a full article will appear here soon. I’m just waiting for the parent to finalize it. You can then see the surveys and the whole story. There are far more than a hundred people upset at the district. A few years ago Cedar Hills ran a community survey and included a question about Investigations math that showed 50% of their citizens hated the program. That’s probably statistically accurate across the whole district. The survey also included all citizens, so those in the other 50% probably had a high percentage that didn’t even know what the program was because their children aren’t in school. That means the 50% who hated it probably make up 70%+ of district attendees. I actually got over 5% of the school district on my math petition and probably 80-90% of the district has never even heard of me. Literally tens of thousands of parents have issues with the district which is precisely why there are more charter schools in ASD than anywhere else in the state.

    You don’t have to have a degree in everything to study it out and have some degree of confidence in your viewpoints. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know that the times tables are important. The utter lack of common sense and disdain for parents for nearly a decade by the administration is evidence enough that our public school system is broken.

  • Jared:

    [Part 1]


    As always, excellent post! I especially liked your line of questioning regarding how Oak-the-ambulance-chaser became an expert on so many topics.

    It concerns me SOMEWHAT that people like JoDee Sundberg and Vern Henshaw play a role in the education of our children. For the past ten years, it’s been no secret that the ASD has used a very flawed math program that is failing our kids. Oak is right ONLY about the deficiencies in math education in the district; after all, he is an accountant. But where he loses me and most parents is in his quest to demonize the district by alleging some vast socialist and communist conspiracy to overtake our schools. We’ve also discovered in recent months the true goal of Oak and his biggest supporters: to eliminate public K-12 education. I think that’s far scarier than anything JoDee and Vern are doing.

  • Jared:

    I don’t send my kids to school to become conservative activists. That seems to be what Oak, Susie, Jennifer, Doug C., and others on this website want. (Actually, they want to eliminate public K-12 education, but in the meantime they only want conservative ideals taught in school.) If you’re concerned about what you’re kids are hearing in our already fairly conservative ASD schools, do what I do with my kids. We discuss politics, religion, and sports around the dinner table every evening. More often than not we all sit down, watch, and discuss the O’Reilly Factor. We attend church and have Family Home Evening each week. Because we do these things, I don’t fear that my kids will become communist sympathizers. Kids have to enter the real world at some point and can’t be shielded forever.

  • Jared:

    [Part 3 is actually the middle post. This is Part 2]

    If aligning himself with Senator Butters isn’t proof enough that Oak is on the fringe, I hope people will start looking at the fruits of Oak’s labors. In Oak’s latest post, he criticizes a teacher for not adequately telling kids that communism is evil. What Oak failed to mention is that that teacher responded to these criticisms on one of Oak’s other websites. The teacher responded, “If I say or teach things that seem to go against what a parent has taught, or failed to teach, [that] does not imply that I am promoting an agenda.” Moreover, the teacher explained, “I promote civil discourse within my classroom and allow every opinion, fact, or statistic to be aired” (Source: https://www dot saveasd dot com/asd-spokesperson-speaks/). I’m honestly surprised that Oak would be bothered by a teacher who “allows EVERY opinion, fact, or statistic to be aired” or who “promote[s] civil discourse.” Aren’t those good things? But Oak believes teachers should only present one view: the Oak Norton view. I think this is dangerous and destructive. Who made Oak the king? Who thinks Oak has all the right answers? And why does Oak continue to demonize a teacher for promoting civil discourse and allowing EVERY side of issues to be aired?

  • Anonymous:

    I’m also concerned that this teacher will be unfairly demonized by the parent. It seems formulaic for this group to disregard or parse an opposing point of view or one that doesn’t fit neatly into their worldview. I believe they are so desperate find a smoking gun, that they are willing to make one up. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

    I also wonder if these people are afraid of God. I would be terrified to go before the judgment bar and be asked if I treated others with honest, fairness, dignity, and respect.

    One thing is for certain. This teacher could have legal recourse against this group or parent. He has revealed who he is already on Save ASD and anything said after that point in time could be construed as libel if it is misleading and inaccurate especially when he has already explained his point of view which was strangely absent from the Senate Committee hearing.

  • Anonymous:

    Disdain for all parents or disdain for parents with radical, conspiracy-theory laden political agendas? Contrary to what you would like to believe, most parents do not support you with all this socialism and democracy stuff. Like Jared, I can understand your Investigations Math concerns, but all of this other stuff has been more than difficult to swallow and it negates your effectiveness against Investigations Math by making you look radical. After reading a lot of the garbage on this site and saveasd, I can’t blame the school board for not liking your small group. A bit of advice: You may want to start attracting flies with honey rather than vinegar. Also, did Wendy Hart and Paula Hill sign off on this statement by the school board? Don’t they do your bidding? You supported their political campaigns and look what you got out of it–a school board statement that you don’t like.

  • Jennrc3:

    So is age five when they need to meet the real world? Or should we teach them well before they enter the world so they can be prepared to face it when they are a bit older? Why do you think spending most of their day at school and only a few hours at home learning a few good things is going to make them strong enough to face the world? In life, we lean on what we know the most, and what we know the most is what we spend most of our time doing. If our children spend most of their time in Athiest schools that are tolerant of immoral or inappropriate lifestyles, their chances of weakening and accepting those ideals as normal increase. If you don’t believe me, look at more liberal states like CA, where each generation has become more accepting of the liberal agenda as it is taught in schools starting in Kindergarten. Even the LDS kids in good homes have embraced some of the liberal ways. I saw it happen growing up there. It is hard to see corruption when it happens gradually, until you look back and compare how things used to be. In Massachusetts parents cannot homeschool or opt their children out of the Kindergarten homosexual lessons that are being taught in class. How do you undo that? Kids that age should not even be having a lesson on heterosexuality, yet are being taught the opposite is normal. It would not suprise me if (like they have in the past) they are also teaching that their parents are old fashioned and may not agree with them, so don’t bother discussing it at home.

  • Jennrc3:

    Thanks Oak for standing up for what is right. Sometimes truth is hard to swallow and it seems some people don’t like taking their pills. I wish what you were saying was not true, but I went to the school board meeeting where Susie stood up and bravely and politely addressed the ASD about the mission statement. I saw how the board members treated the parents and it was wrong. It is difficult to deal with school board member mentality, I know because my dad served on a school board once and it drove him crazy! He dealt with a district that was going bankrupt, and they had no idea where 3 million dollars went! I have also studied a bit about hte history of education and found that this problem is a lot larger than people even realize. Thanks to you and Susie both for trying to expose this probem in our district. Anything I can do to help?

  • Good for you Jared. As it is always pointed out though, not every parent does that, and those that don’t, their children are at great risk of being indoctrinated.

  • “I would be terrified to go before the judgment bar and be asked if I treated others with honest, fairness, dignity, and respect when I knowingly haven’t.”

    Were you referring to Jared, yourself, or people on this site? I’m confused after all the accusations you’ve both leveled at me and others.

  • Ambulance chaser? Eliminate K-12 education? Wrong on both counts. Funny how you believe what a teacher posts without question when he’s defending himself for only teaching one side of communism (the lies about the benefits), but then you accuse me of wanting to eliminate public education which I’ve never said.

    P.S. You never did reply to my question on the other post thread. If you want to engage in a discussion of the issues I’m more than happy to do so, but if you’re not really interested in engaging in a discussion of the issues, why do you keep posting? Doug and I have both asked you sincere questions and you just ignore them.

  • “Also, did Wendy Hart and Paula Hill sign off on this statement by the school board? Don’t they do your bidding? You supported their political campaigns and look what you got out of it–a school board statement that you don’t like.”

    I’d guess they signed off on it as a hope for what should be true. It is true they have taken an oath. In the past I don’t believe that meant much to many of the board or district members who just had an attitude of “we’ll do as we want.” I know one current board member told a legislator several years ago if they passed a certain bill into law, the district would just ignore it. How’s that for upholding the law?

    It’s remarkable that you actually think I have as much control over people as you seem to give me credit for. Wendy and Paula are good people who understand the problems we face today from fuzzy math and humanism. I don’t need to exert control on people when they understand the issues. Even if they did something I disagreed with, they’re still going to make great board members. I never exerted any influence on Tim when he was on the board. They are all individuals with capable minds and they’ll do just fine, but thanks for your concern.

  • Jared:


    You said, “P.S. You never did reply to my question on the other post thread. If you want to engage in a discussion of the issues I’m more than happy to do so, but if you’re not really interested in engaging in a discussion of the issues, why do you keep posting? Doug and I have both asked you sincere questions and you just ignore them.”

    Believe it or not, Oak, I actually have a life outside this discussion board. You may have noticed I didn’t post for a week or so. Considering how much you’ve ignored my questions in the past and bounced around to new topics, I think I have the right to take a little time before responding to posts that have barely been up 12 hours.

    As for whether you work for an ambulance chaser, well, I have no idea. Do you? I always thought you worked for the Craig Swapp “Did someone look at you wrong? Well then call me up and with one call, that’s all, I’ll sue their pants off” Law Firm. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m always in search of the truth.

    You also say I’m wrong in inferring you are interested in eliminating public K-12 schools. Well if that’s the case how do you explain this, which you posted earlier today: “We need true local control with parents at that school paying for their children’s education, and if someone can’t afford it, to have “scholarships” set up where people can contribute to help the poor receive an education.” Isn’t requiring parents to pay for their children’s education the same thing as eliminating government funding for children’s education? Do you want to completely eliminate ALL government funding or not? If you do, that means you want to eliminate public K-12 schools, which I know many of your most hardcore disciples want to see happen. Please explain.

  • Jared:

    I got pretty involved early on in the school board races this year because I had one goal: to eliminate investigations math and all its affiliates. I attended all the candidate meetings I could and emailed the ASD candidates I couldn’t meet, even outside the area I live. Pretty soon I noticed something strange: most (not all) of Oak’s endorsed candidates were out in left field. Most were obsessed with wanting to fight over the word democracy, which I quite frankly don’t care about at all. One of the more odd Oak candidates was Paula Hill. At the candidate event I attended with the Saratoga Springs/Lehi candidates, she spent half her time talking about how she wants to increase funding for ESL programs, which certainly is not a stance I agree with. She seemed uninterested in reforming the district’s math program when asked about her thoughts on investigations. And she was also quoted in the Daily Herald as follows: “[Paula Hill] said she did not seek Oak Norton’s endorsement and has chosen not to include his endorsement on her website. ‘I will be a voice for the conservative community,’ she said.”

    So I’m not really sure what she stands for. It doesn’t sound as if she’s on the same page as you and me, nor does it seem she’s on Oak’s side, yet he really wanted to get her elected for some reason. It was Oak’s endorsement of her, his two candidates in Orem (neither of whom seemed to know a dang thing about the district), and his obsession with carrying out a McCarthyism attack on democracy that helped me realize Oak and I share vastly different visions for education in this school district.

  • Anonymous:

    This so-called “accusation” is leveled at anyone who takes offense to it because they lacked honesty in dealing with others.

    Don’t play the victim, Oak and pretend you are above accusations. You have leveled some pretty harsh accusations against a certain teacher in ASD without even giving a simple mention of his point of view.

  • Anonymous:

    It only took one term for the people of American Fork to toss out Oak’s previously endorsed candidate, Tim Osborne. I guess we will see what happens with the others after the voters experience four years of them.

  • The candidates I endorsed are not “out in left field.” If anything, they’re in *right* field. Sheesh, at least get your directions straight. ;) Wendy and Paula are both going to do great on the board, and Scott Bell would have been a wonderful replacement for JoDee as Scott is against fuzzy math, and has a strong entrepreneur background for finding creative solutions. JoDee’s solution to problems is to say we need more money. Your characterizations of these fine candidates is off base. Paula is very much opposed to constructivist math. The reason some of the candidates even discussed democracy issues was because it was a very public topic last year as we both know.

  • I didn’t notice that you hadn’t posted for a week or so. Congratulations. I guess the Blog Commenters Anonymous meetings are helping. ;)

    I do work for Craig Swapp’s law firm. However, if you think all personal injury attorneys are just ambulance chasers you have as much to learn about that as I did 10 years ago. I grew up *hating* attorneys because my dad fought insurance fraud and I saw numerous bad attorneys who all the jokes fit. When I considered working for an injury law firm one of the first questions I asked before taking the job was, “what do you do if you can tell someone has faked an injury.” The person I spoke to said they just send a letter informing the client they cannot represent them and terminate the relationship. That was comforting to me after all the people my dad took to court for insurance companies where attorneys represented people they knew had faked injuries just to make some money. The disconnect for the public is we rarely see the people who are really hurt who are being taken advantage of by their insurance companies. Insurance companies are for-profit entities who live on paying out the absolute minimum to people, even far less than they are supposed to pay out. The work that we do at our law office helps thousands of people get the money they are due by law to get made whole. That’s the purpose of insurance. I have come to really respect good attorneys who are fighting for the rights of the people who need help. We are a contingency fee based firm because otherwise some of the people we help would never be able to hire an attorney.

    I posted concerning your last point on my other response, but in short, having parents fund their children’s education is the right thing to do. It keeps them involved in the process. It’s an ideal though that isn’t going to happen any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be thinking about how things *ought* to be and thinking about ways to move in that direction. I do want to eliminate all federal funding from schools, shut down the DOE, reduce our tax burden and keep it in state so we can fund Utah schools with Utah money.

  • Jared:

    Oak, are you in favor of the district shifting more funding into ESL programs?? If you are, that would explain why you endorsed Paula Hill. I’m not exaggerating when I say she spent half her time at the candidates night discussing the value of ESL and why it needs more funding. She didn’t have any answers for where that money would come from. I personally believe ESL kids (and the taxpayers) would benefit more if put into regular classrooms and immersed in English all day. I actually thought Paula was one of the most progressive-sounding candidates I met or emailed during the campaign, which is why I was confused then and now as to why you endorsed her. As I recall, there were a couple other candidates at that night who seemed more in line with you goals. I assume a disagreement between you and her over the value of Investigations math and (presumed) disagreement over ESL funding is why she told the Daily Herald she wasn’t interested in your endorsement.

  • Jared, I don’t endorse a candidate because I think they might be a “mini-me”. I endorsed Paula and other candidates because I think they have conservative values and understand the math issue and the dangers of socialism. Don’t assume too much into my conversations with Paula. I think she’ll do a fine job. I think after 20+ years of being indoctrinated on Dewey & Goodlad, it has been quite a shift for her to see them for who they are. I agree with you that ESL students should have immersion into English and I wasn’t there at the debate but heard several reports of it from people who were. I spoke with all the candidates on the phone and via email and everyone had their pros and cons. The important thing for me was replacing Donna and other sitting board members because they had been ineffective as the ones in place to watchdog the district.

  • Karl Nunz:

    Islam is a religion of violence. Just see th ismalic governments around the world. You think that hundred parents means nothing. I know there are more than hundred parents. Many of us have not being asked, but we are more than hundred I am 101 or 1001. Get this people of our ASD.

  • Karl Nunz:

    Oak, I support you. I appreciate your exposing this issues that many of us parents were not even aware of. Thanks again.

  • Jennifer:

    Islam is a religion of peace because when all the world is ruled by sharia law, only then will there be peace.

  • Jennifer:

    Do you ask your kids which ideas are best or right? I have asked several ASD students, and they say none is best or right, all are just opinions. That belief is the aim of humanist-socialist educationists. For me, this end result says it all. How can you refute that or say I am wrong to want to change the district’s philosophy?

  • Jennifer:

    I don’t think communism, which has kill 100 million people, should be discussed as equal to freedom.

  • Anonymous:

    Yet, why did Russian citizens under the Autocratic Romanov Dynasty turn so willingly to Communism? I think it is good to have a discussion about the appeal of Communism in a historical context in order to understand the world. Many Russians, for example, felt that Marxism would bring about freedoms from their Tsarist Monarchy which operated an antiquated Feudal System where 90% of Russians were treated as landless serfs. Lenin and Trotsky were able to tap into the deep discontent of Russians with their government. Of course, the allure of Communism might look good on paper but in reality it just doesn’t work as many Russians discovered with their so-called shared ownership, yet at the time many of them supported Marxism, they really thought that shared ownership was going to mean something else, so for “them” Communism and Freedom were synonymous for a time until reality set in.

    The problem is that you are looking at everything through a narrow prism where Communism and Freedom can’t be mentioned in the same sentence and “end of discussion.” That is fine, but it has its limitations and stifles critical thinking and logical discourse about historical events and world governments and economic systems.

    If you want real learning to take place, you have accept that other viewpoints exist and things just aren’t black and white. If you really want to stop the current, rampant, world-wide spread of Communism (I don’t really think that is necessarily happening) but if you want to stop the spread of it all the same, wouldn’t it make sense to study the reasons for its spread in the first place?

  • Anonymous:

    Would you be more specific about the ideas you asked several ASD students. For instance, you have made the determination that Islam is not peaceful and therefore all of those who practice Islam are not peaceful. Is that an absolute truth or is that an opinion? How did you formulate your opinion or where did you get your facts? Please cite your sources.

  • Anonymous:

    Corruption: First, if people don’t know what Islam is, they shouldn’t be teaching about it at all. Although there are many peaceful Muslims, the teachings of the religion are not peaceful. Read the Koran. The Koran teaches its followers kill infidels (anyone who is not Islamic), and that women and children are to be totally subservient and it’s okay to beat them and stone them, if they’re not. I don’t consider those teachings peaceful. The concept of charity (as in pure love for your fellowman) is totally absent from the Koran. If it is only a handful of Muslims that are “acting out,” then why do the majority not speak out in defense of their faith? Why do their religious and community leaders remain silent while acts of terror are carried out? The reason they are silent is that they are compromised by their own text. A text is like an acid. You can put it in a sealed container, but eventually what it really is is going to leak out.

  • Anonymous:

    To help persuade me would you please cite the verses of the Koran for the following:

    1. Where it says to kill all “infidels.” Also, please define infidel.

    2. Where it says that women and children are to be totally subservient.

    3. Where it says that it is okay to beat them and stone them.

    I’m not saying that these things are not in the Koran but I would like to have the proper context and you seem to be quite the expert. Also, you can find similar things in the Bible (including the use of “infidel”), especially the Old Testament, but again, context is important and that seems to be something lacking on this website.

    It is interesting to say that they don’t speak out. Many Muslims do speak out, but is anyone willing to listen and you also have to rely on the media to carry the story. Did you know that immediately after 9/11 there were one million Shia Muslims in Tehran, Iran holding a candlelight vigil for the victims. Does that sound violent or lacking charity? The people that are hurt the most by terrorist acts are Muslim’s themselves because of the bad reputation it gives them as you have more than happily displayed for all to see.

    I think I can sum it up best with a religious quote from a modern LDS prophet, Pres. Hinckley at the October 2001 general conference immediately after 9/11.

    ‘We value our Muslim neighbors across the world and hope that those who live by the tenets of their faith will not suffer. I ask particularly that our own people do not become a party in any way to the persecution of the innocent. Rather, let us be friendly and helpful, protective and supportive. It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down.”

    I’m not sure if you are LDS or not, but I know that many on this website are proud to say that they are, and I can’t understand how an LDS person could say some of the things that they do when they have been counseled to the contrary by the prophet himself.

  • Jared:

    The Oakies spook me more and more every time I visit this radical website. Now you guys are demanding that our public schools start teaching that a certain world religion is militant and evil. If it’s OK for our schools to bash one main world religion (Islam), why can’t schools bash other more small religions (such as the LDS faith)?

    I have a better idea: let’s keep things as they are when it comes to school and religion. I don’t want our schools endorsing or cutting down any particular religion EVER. You guys on here don’t believe public schools should even exist, which logically means you think the government shouldn’t be teaching our kids anything at all. And if the government shouldn’t teach kids anything at all that means the government shouldn’t be teaching kids that Islam is militant. But maybe I misunderstood; maybe instead you guys are all hypocrites that believe public schools should be used only to indoctrinate children to become Oak Nortonites.

  • Jared, these are your last posts. Your other comment to April was just plain rude and you rarely display the ability to post something in the way of debate, just sarcasm. It has no use on this site. If you could engage in debate that would be one thing and you’d be welcome on the site, but your posts that do that are few and far between and I’m not going to just let you keep up the name calling and misinformation. Nobody has ever said to bash Islam. Nobody has even said not to teach what communism is. We just want the full picture taught. Give children both sides, not just one perspective. Public education is broken as we know it. It is in need of reform.

  • Susie:

    Thank you Oak. It’s about time.

  • Highland Mom:

    I praise you for leading the charge against investigations math. I personally, disagree with your views on ASD’s use of the words Republic and Democracy and the secret agenda they have to brainwash our kids, but I understand in this political environment how that could be a fear for some people. Your posts now are all over the place and I am confused about what your agenda really is anymore.
    I cannot help but notice that you seem to be a man of contradictions. You say one thing and then another that contradict each other. I am confused as to what your motives truly are.

    Oak you wrote, “Funny how you believe what a teacher posts without question when he’s defending himself for only teaching one side of communism (the lies about the benefits), but then you accuse me of wanting to eliminate public education which I’ve never said.”

    So Oak, you want people to trust you but not a teacher? I thought you, and Susie, have said that you are not against teachers. This statement however hints that you do not support teachers, so does your post on here about that Charter school teacher for using the word Utopia in an assignment. It appears that you are out to get teachers and not just fix education.

    You also wrote, “Nobody has even said not to teach what communism is. We just want the full picture taught. Give children both sides, not just one perspective.”

    Now on the saveasd website the teacher you accuse of promoting communism wrote the following about how he teaches communism: “In my class, I merely have my students discuss and analyze the pros and cons of each government and economic system. I do not place any kind of value on them at all in my class. I let my students and their parents do that. . .
    I promote civil discourse within my classroom and allow every opinion, fact, or statistic to be aired. . .
    So I have my students look at why anyone would find any form of government or economic system appealing and why they would even exist. When taken in the historic context, students discover that to some people on earth there are positives and negatives to every government and economic system.”

    This does not sound to me like someone who is only showing one side of the issue, but a balanced approach to communism and Capitalism. If this is what the teacher claims, do you have evidence to the contrary that he is promoting communism?

    Is it not hypocritical of you to say that you want both sides to be taught but then you claim it is wrong for this teacher to do exactly that? It looks to me like this teacher is doing exactly what you want done in schools. Please help me out of my confusion, what is it you actually want done in our schools?

  • Anonymous:

    Oak, I find it interesting that you want the full picture taught, yet you were unable to extend the same courtesy of the “full picture” to the teacher you mischaracterized at the Senate Sub-Committee panel. If you are not bashing Islam, then why were you so concerned that children learn that Islam is a religion of peace? It is obvious that you do not agree that Islam is a peaceful religion, contrary to President Hinckley’s statement made while he was prophet, but in the survey given to those ten students, they were not asked questions such as “do you believe Islam is evil or a relgion of violence.” They were not asked if they were taught the “bad” things about Communism. In fact, the entire survey was not aimed at seeking to find any “misinterpretations” the parent’s son may have had about the class, but to corroborate preconceived notions that the parent wanted to believe was the truth. The sample list of those very questions you give in your article is evidence of that and was patently unfair to the teacher, even though that teacher put those allegations into a broader context on the saveasd website.

    Better yet, you seem to give ALL the credit to that particular teacher for the answers to the survey. I guess no other teacher from kindergarten on up, or any adult or parent, television show, movies, etc, etc, etc had any influence whatsoever on the answers to those questions. I find that completely implausible and it really suggests the appearance of vindictiveness to that teacher and/or ASD.

    I have no problem with asking questions about what is going on in classrooms. The problem is when those who ask the questions are expecting certain answers, and when they don’t get what they expect to hear (regardless of the truth), they resort to twisting facts, leaps of logic, mischaracterizations, and petty vindictiveness.

    The last question was the biggest shocker: 10/10 responded “yes” to “We should respect others views, even if we disagree.”

    Do you really have a problem with the notion of “respectfully disagreeing” with someone? I disagree with you and you disagree with me, but our tones have been generally respectful. While you may disagree, I’m pleased with the fact that 10 out of 10 students answered that question the way they did. What bothers me is your twists of reason and conclusions to the results of their unanimous answer. You said, “There is not one ‘right’ view when it comes to different kinds of government.” There is one right view of government, and that is in following its proper role in protecting freedom and individual rights.”

    The question wasn’t even asking about governments. To a kid, it might be about a disagreement over who has the best hair that day. If you want a kid to answer a more specific question, then ask a specific question. Don’t ask vague questions, and then interpret their answers in a very narrow manner.

    The question never said that you can’t disagree with someone, it asked the students if they believe they need to be respectful when arguing with someone. You just finished lecturing Jared about his “rudeness” and “sarcasm.” What do you want for him to do? Respectfully disagree with you?

  • Dear HM, there is no contradiction in my writings. I am constantly bashed here by people inferring something I have never said, and even if I have said something on the subject matter, I am intentionally taken out of context. What’s interesting to me is these same people will take at face value this teacher posting that he taught both sides of the story and just let the children make up their own minds. That’s quite hypocritical of the people attacking me. Here is a teacher whom none of my attackers have met or been in his classroom and evidence is presented that he taught the “pros” of communism without teaching the “cons”, and the teacher comes under fire and says, “oh no, I taught everything, this student just misunderstood me.” My attackers immediately give him the benefit of the doubt as if the teacher is 100% trustworthy.

    As for what I want done in the schools, my words have been very clear on this in multiple comments. If you still don’t get it, I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to reiterate it yet again.

  • CE, I’m done with Jared because half his posts are merely name calling and misrepresentation. If someone has a point to bring up, bring up the point without being obnoxious.

    You said:
    “Better yet, you seem to give ALL the credit to that particular teacher for the answers to the survey. I guess no other teacher from kindergarten on up, or any adult or parent, television show, movies, etc, etc, etc had any influence whatsoever on the answers to those questions. I find that completely implausible and it really suggests the appearance of vindictiveness to that teacher and/or ASD. ”

    That is an excellent point. It is certainly plausible that other teachers and influences have had an effect on children who answered Buffy’s short survey. However, the fact that so many thing one of the benefits of communism is equality, in light of the fact that this teacher did teach that, seems representative that they got that as a “take away” from this teacher’s class. They were not taught the massive exterminations that communism has produced over the last century.

    As for Islam and President Hinckley, I believe you are combining two separate things. Him saying we love our Muslim neighbors is true, but the Koran does teach to kill the nonbelievers (Infidels). That’s not to say all Muslims are going to suddenly start killing everyone that isn’t Muslim, but I think you’d have to agree that a large percentage of the religion wants Israel vaporized and favors a global caliphate where everyone lives under Sharia law.

  • The_Patriot:

    Pot, meet kettle.

    I have many emails from Oak Norton where he derides the ASD administration for allegedly forbidding teachers to express their thoughts in the ways they best know how. In other words, Oak doesn’t believe ASD should have the ability to silence its teachers. Now that Oak has created an open forum website, he no longer allows one of the funniest and most articulate posters I’ve seen on the internet to express himself as Oak has a problem with that poster’s style. I guess it’s acceptable to Oak to bash our public teachers even after they’ve clarified what they really believed and met (as with the teacher who taught kids about communism) and no one should be allowed to call him out for that. Isn’t that called hypocrisy?

    Jared, if you’re reading this PLEASE come back! Post under a different name and/or from a different location. We need your comments. Restore sanity to Utah’s Republic!

  • Yes Pat, I do deride ASD for forbidding teachers from teaching the times tables and long division. However, ASD has a responsibility to ensure that teachers are following state law and not subverting the Constitution which they took an oath to uphold. If a teacher is teaching the virtue of communism to students, then the administration should take some type of action. If you can’t see the difference, I’m sorry.

    As for Jared or anyone else that starts into name calling such as he did in calling someone “uneducated”, I’m not going to tolerate that here.

    As for “bashing teachers,” please refer to my views here:

    I don’t suppose if Chris Buttars clarified his comments on a topic that you’d be the first to give him a pass? How about Barack Obama telling Bill O’reilly in his recent interview that he doesn’t believe in redistribution of wealth? I guess we should just forget all the past statements as call them misconceptions of his views.

  • Anonymous:

    I am LDS, CE. The prophet told us to treat people with kindness, which I do. But we are also repeatedly told to stand up for religious freedom for everyone. If there is a strong militant faction in one religion that seeks to shut down religious and social freedom for everyone else, then we need to stand up and defend ourselves and our neighbors. The peaceful Muslims should also stand up and defend their neighbors against militant factions of their own faith. I also believe that it is unconscionable for us, as a society, to stand by and watch while our neighbors participate in female circumcision and “honor killings.” Can our silence on these points be justified by President Hinckley’s statement?

  • Anonymous:

    Lovacoralreef, I have two quick questions.

    1. Do you consider yourself a Christian?

    2. When you ask for Muslims to “stand up” against militant factions of their own faith, what do you mean by “stand up?”

  • Susie:

    CE, with all the news going on right now and accessible online information, I’m surprised you are so confused. Lovacoralreef made plenty of sense. Are you really confused or are you looking for things to catch people on because you like the fight? I think you said you were LDS. Pick up your scriptures and read them. You should get the answers there if you really want them.

  • Kristen:

    It’s really not that difficult, CE. There are plenty of peaceful Muslims. But, they are not following all of the teachings of their sacred text. I have no argument with those people. I do have an argument with Sharia Law and Jihad. I have an argument with one religion dictating who can be in the gym when and wearing what. I have an argument with one religion deciding that teaching about other religions or about the Holocaust is offensive to them and forcing changes to be made in curricula. I have an argument with people who murder movie producers because they make movies about their religion. I have an argument with people who threaten people’s lives because of a cartoon about Mohammed or because the class Teddy Bear was named Mohammed. I have an argument with people who kill their family members because they choose not to live the religion they were raised in or run away from an arranged marriage.

    I rarely listen to talk radio. I don’t get reception in my house and we mostly listen to music in the car. I do my own research.

    I have friends who are Muslim. I have friends who are Jews…Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox. I’ve been to their church services, their weddings and private celebrations in their homes. There are lots of good people in all religions.

    Considering the number of Muslims there are in the world, a couple of thousand is nothing. Why don’t you find out what dedicated followers of Islam are doing in Amsterdam, Paris, or London?

    What I think Islam is or what you think Islam is is not the issue. What Islam actually is is the issue. Why sit here arguing about it? Go get the Koran and read it.

  • Anonymous:

    Susie, you don’t find it confusing when someone says Islam is not a religion of peace and then the next minute says there are some peaceful Muslims? How does that work? Someone is called a “Muslim” because they follow Islam and if Islam is a not a religion of peace, then there can’t be any peaceful Muslims.

    Admit it. Lovacoralreef was rationalizing the words of a prophet and it is obvious to those who read this site. Lovacoralreef amazingly took Hinckley’s words and made them sound like something spoken from Glenn Beck on Fox News. In fact, I watched the episode where Glenn Beck said that 10% of all Muslims were terrorists which included those who don’t “stand up.” I’m assuming that is where the influence is coming from. I would much rather be influenced by the words of the prophet than the words of Glenn Beck. I don’t know about you, but I was taught not to rationalize or distort the words of the prophet to satisfy my own beliefs. Hinckley was very clear and concise. I don’t see a need to “re-interpret” his words or expand upon them. That is not our place.

    I do pick up my scriptures and this particular one caught my eye.

    2 Nephi 26:29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts, for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

    Just some food for thought.

    As far as picking fights….no, I didn’t start this fight. This started with a post about Islam not being a religion of peace, contrary to the prophets teaching. I’m sticking up for what is right and defending the innocent who are unfairly and wickedly maligned. Of course there are elements of Islam that are unpalatable to our culture and way of life, but that doesn’t mean we need to stereotype the entire religion and all Muslims as such. That is like saying that all Christians are no different than the Puritans who had their own version of “Shariah” law in the 1600’s.

  • So CE, when President Benson said this does that mean you’re now going to stand up for us because we’re exposing John Dewey’s deceptions at work in our educational institutions? THANK YOU so much. ;)

    “I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes and others. There are much worse things today that can happen to a child than not getting a full education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.”
    -Ezra Taft Benson (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 307.)

  • Anonymous:

    CE, I think we’re all trying to defend the innocent, but we have differing viewpoints on who is innocent. You are the only one I can see who is grouping all Muslims together. There are a lot of Muslims in the world. Many of them do their own thing and leave others alone.

    But the terrorist organizations Pres. Hinckley was talking about are also Muslims–they are militant Islam, those Muslims who follow the teachings of the Koran with diligence and exactness. This would include, but not be limited to, the Muslim Brotherhood (currently seeking power in Egypt) and Al Quaeda. A large number of the people terrorized by militant Muslims are Muslims; and then there are the “infidels,” which include anyone who gets in the way of the militant Muslim agenda, which is to become the authority on what everyone else says, does, teaches and wears, and, ultimately, cleanse the earth of the infidels.

    Kristen listed several instances of militant Islam dictatorship. If you talk to people who live in Europe, you’ll find that they tell the same story: In the major cities there are areas that belong to the Muslims. Infidels do not want to mistakenly enter those areas, on peril of their lives. The police are afraid to do anything to enforce laws in those areas.

    The problem is not quite as pronounced in the U.S., but there has already been at least one honor killing in Atlanta. Who was the victim there, do you think? And what teachings do you think were being followed in deciding that killing was the answer?

    I can also quote scriptures and modern prophets who have told us to be aware and active in defending liberty against all of its enemies. I’m not quite sure what your reason for quoting 2 Nephi 26:29 is. Are you accusing me of priestcraft?

    I don’t remember where you asked these questions, but I’ll answer them here: Yes, I am a Christian. No, I do not condone acts of violence by Christians. Nor do I condone acts of violence by anyone else. I do believe strongly in self-defense–including defending personal liberty.

    By “stand up” I mean “speak out in large numbers against those who are enforcing tenants of your faith that you believe are outdated, rather than sitting quietly on the side-lines watching while people of your faith wreak havoc on the world.”

    I thought we weren’t supposed to teach religion in schools. I’m not sure why it is okay to teach about Islam. But, if we’re going to teach it, we must teach what it really is in addition to how many peaceful Muslims see it and practice it. Any other approach is willfully ignorant or brazenly dishonest.

  • Anonymous:

    Sorry, I missed this on the first reading.

    I don’t think anyone said anything about “going after people who are not standing up.” Where are you even getting that? I’m suggesting that if the cultural and religious leaders of Islam and the millions of Muslims who believe that Jihad is internal, rather than external, were to stand up and say to militant Islam, “this is not okay,” then maybe we would have fewer terrorists. It is not persecution to tell people to read their own religious text and ask them to explain it, especially in the context of world events.