Communism isn’t really that bad?

By Buffy Snell

I have lived in American Fork for 15 years, and have had 4 children excel in many ways because of the exceptional teachers of Alpine School District (ASD).  Understandably then, I am respectful and grateful to the staff.  At the same time I have noticed that relativism, a prevalent educational philosophy, is making its way into local classrooms and I feel parents need to be aware of what their children may be learning. Relativism teaches there is no absolute truth—that nothing is certain because it is subjective. Even though our community would largely agree that such a view is false; proponents of relativism, such as John Goodlad, have been influencing educators in our district for many years.  Our children and our country are reaping the consequences.  In fact, in a recent address to the Chapman University School of Law, Dallin H. Oaks has strongly condemned moral relativism because it leads to a loss of religious freedom.   (http://newsroom.lds.org/article/elder-oaks-religious-freedom-Chapman-University)

John Goodlad not only views morality as relative, but patriotism as well:

“…educators must resist the quest for certainty. If there were certainty there would be no scientific advancement. So it is with morals and patriotism.” –John Goodlad, Education for Everyone: Agenda for Education in a Democracy”, Woods Learning Center, pg. 6

If this were true, teaching children allegiance to our country and that 2+2 =4 would NOT lead to “advancement.”  I am deeply troubled that undermining views such as this would be allowed to influence the minds of an American classroom, especially my child’s.  Because of alarming instruction given to my son, I’ve filed a transfer request from his Jr. High Geography class. I have chosen to share the details of that transfer in hopes that the community will increase their vigilance and hold accountable those who are vested with the responsibility to teach and promote our American form of government.  Following are the details.

1. My son came home from his Geography class relaying that his teacher had explained to him why Communism “isn’t really that bad.” (those were my son’s exact words)

His teacher’s response to me was that he explores the pros and cons of many forms of government so that students can understand why different systems of rule appeal to different people.  He did this, he said, as a way to promote critical thinking.  He also said:

I do not promote or decry any government, religion, or economic system over another one. It is not my place to put one thing above or below another– that is the job of parents and for the students to decide on their own….I have students who come from homes of MANY different political and religious backgrounds.”  He also said, “I will not infringe on people’s right to decide for themselves.”

While religious neutrality is important in a school setting, educators are required to promote our American form of government.  According to Utah Code I.53A-13-109 teachers are responsible for:

reaffirming values and qualities of character which promote an upright and desirable citizenry…. Civic and Character Education are fundamental elements of the public education system’s core mission …students shall be taught in connection with regular school work…respect for and an understanding of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of Utah… and qualities of character which will promote an upright and desirable citizenry and better prepare students to recognize and accept responsibility for preserving and defending the blessings of liberty inherited from prior generations and secured by the constitution.http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE53A/htm/53A13_010900.htm

Not only has the teacher failed to prepare students to recognize and accept responsibility for preserving liberty, he has failed to help them think critically.  Critical thinking can only be done when students have an adequate amount of information.  And significant facts about Communism were clearly missing.

I have no problem with a teacher who wants to teach children about Communism.  In fact, it’s important that he does—as long as children are given enough information from which to draw a proper conclusion.  For example, one of the “pros” discussed about Communism was equality. But to truly educate children about the economic realities of Communism, one would have to inform them that the rulers live lavishly at the people’s expense and that “equality” of impoverishment and subjection could never be considered a “pro” for anyone but those running the government.

In addition, teaching that Communism “appeals” to some people and a Republic “appeals” to others, not only communicates relativism—that there is nothing certain because it is subjective; it gives children the impression that there is actually something good about oppression. When done in conjunction with a teacher who is unwilling to promote one form of government over another, it’s not surprising that a child comes to the FALSE conclusion that Communism “isn’t really that bad.”

Communism has been described as “the greatest crime against humanity in the 20th century” and has resulted in the estimated death of 100 million people. http://www.autentico.org/oa09347.php

2. Because of something his teacher said my son came home believing that Mormons are naive and uninformed. He was very upset about a certain aspect of our religion (which he learned from the teacher) and wasn’t sure that he wanted to be Mormon anymore.  According to my son, his teacher said he knows more about the Mormon religion than most Mormons because he goes on the Church web site all the time and Mormons can’t even go to the highest kingdom of heaven unless they practice polygamy. These remarks are disparaging and a contradiction of what he expressed to me in point 1 above.  The teacher was criticizing Mormons, not only for their views, but for their alleged ignorance.  The law states, “employees may not use their positions to …disparage a particular religious… belief or viewpoint. (See 53A-13-101.1. http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE53A/htm/53A13_010101.htm)

When I reported these incidents to the principal, he defended the teacher and blamed my son for “misinterpreting” classroom dialogue without even verifying whether or not other students had similar views. He skillfully avoided my questions during our meeting, and refused TWO follow up requests for a WRITTEN response to the following:

1. Would it concern you (specifically) if teachers in your school taught as if they believed this statement by John Goodlad?

There is a belief by some that there exists “objective knowledge” and a
“correct” view of the world. This view is incorrect. All knowledge is partial
and subjective. There is no single worldview that deserves complete
acceptance.
http://woodslearningcenter.org/Docs/EducationforEveryoneSummary.pdf

2.   I would like to know what the consequences are for violating the Utah Code and how the school plans to ensure that such violations will not continue.

After failing to get a response, I sent the following question to the Superintendent and the Board member for my district.

I would like to know what the consequences are for violating I.53A-13-109 and 53A-13-101.1 of the Utah code and what actions will be taken if there is a violation?

The correspondence from the Superintendent read,

“I encourage you to continue working with [the Principal] concerning this matter.”

My board member never responded to me.

What are my options?  If the teacher refuses to comply with the law; if the Principal fails to investigate; if the Superintendent simply deflects my concerns back to the Principal; and my elected representative doesn’t respond, how do I make sure that teachers are held accountable for what they teach in the classroom?

Although the teacher declined to address many of my concerns or promote our American form of government, he did apologize to my son for the offensive remarks he made about Mormons.  But I am troubled that the Principal refused to take any corrective action before amendments were made, choosing instead to blame my son.

The Principal informed me that the school would be happy to help me find a “better fit” for my son.  When I protested that the other Geography teachers at the school were also exploring the “pros” of Communism, I was informed that my child could do packets or go to a class at the High School.  I was also told that I am the only one who has expressed any concern. While that may be true, I believe it is because many parents are unaware of what is happening in some classrooms or what Utah law requires.  You can see below from a survey given to 10 students in this teacher’s Geography class that a high percentage of other children have drawn conclusions similar to my son’s—conclusions I consider dangerous to the future of our freedoms.

In the NNER Today 2009-2010 update published by the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling at BYU, it says:

“To join the NNER is to commit to action.  It means committing to the principles of the Agenda for Education in a Democracy and becoming stewards of our democracy.  As Dr. Goodlad has observed, education must be the foundation for seeking positive social and political change.”—Ann Foster, Goodlad’s Executive Director

Alpine School District is fully committed to the NNER and regularly attends their conferences. By committing to its agenda and allowing John Goodlad to influence education in our district, political change is upon us. Time is short.  And unless we hold public educators responsible for teaching this generation to preserve liberty, there will be no liberty left to preserve.

2010/2011 Survey for Geography Class (Semester I)

Y=Yes      N=No

Mr. Gray is a fun teacher.

8  marked (Y)

2  marked (M) for maybe

There are some good things about Communism.

9 marked (Y)

1 marked (N)

One of the good things about Communism is equality.

7 marked (Y)

3 marked (N)

We should respect others views, even if we disagree.  There is not one “right” view when it comes to different kinds of government.

10 marked (Y)– 100% lack the basic understanding that the American Republic is the most successful and superior form of government there is and well worth defending.


Ed. note: Are you really sure you know what’s being taught in your child’s classroom and what ideas your child is picking up on?

Ed. note 2: This article has been edited with the permission of the author so the article just focuses on the most pertinent issues which pertain to state law.

93 Responses to “Communism isn’t really that bad?”

  • Amy Curtin:

    Thank you Buffy for relating your disturbing discovery. How often have our children been taught these ideas without us even being aware? It is upsetting to see the often subtle (and some not-so subtle!) ways that are being used to misinform our children and ourselves about what is really going on in the world.

  • DFairbanks:

    Someone should be fired..oh ya tenured ?

  • Pam:

    Oak, I’ve shared this article on Facebook. Thanks for all you do to keep us aware of what are schools are teaching our kids and grandkids.

    The survey at the end is most telling. Do you know if it was an anonymous survey or did the kids have to own their answers? Either way, to me it is a way of the administration to measure how their brainwashing is being received. Do you have similar information about what they’re teaching about our American Republic, or are they even teaching it?

  • Dad:

    Thanks for sharing this Oak and Buffy. It is important for parents to know that while (as you said) there are many good teachers in ASD, there are also major problems. This business of ASD adhering to Goodlad, the NNER, and moral relativism has got to stop.

  • ASD parent:

    If it IS going to stop, it’s only going to happen by parents waking up, speaking up, and voting OUT the board members who stubbornly insist on sticking with Goodlad’s “Agenda for Education in a Democracy.”

  • Julieblloyd:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article. Very informative!

  • ASD parent:

    Unfortunately, MSE is the poster child for teaching “the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.” Graduates leave with a muddled mix of McKay and progressive social activism. We don’t control MSE but we CAN cut our ties with CITES and the PSP.

  • Jennrc3:

    Susie, Thank you for standing for truth! Most parents would not know these things are being taught here in “conservative Utah”. I thought my kids were safe from the liberal ideas because we got out of CA. Since you came along, I have been awakened to know that I was wrong and that I needed to do something about it. I asked you once why you would not run for school board, and I was confused by your answer at the time. Now I understand. The government schools are being used for a purpose they should not be used for, with a lot of “feel good” activities so the parents and many teachers don’t even see the agenda. I homeschool my children now. Though I don’t have a ton of confidence and I don’t have a PHD, I know for sure that my children will not be taught these false principles. I know that they will be loved and taught correct principles, and I will teach them how to love learning. Thank you for taking on this important role of being a true patriot. The sacrifices you have made have been tremendous I am sure.

  • Jennrc3:

    I just realized this was by Buffy, not Susie. Thank you Buffy. And Susie, I still mean what I said.

  • ckayakr58:

    Thanks Buffy and Oak for what you wrote. While my children are grown with children of their own, I do have grand kids in this District. I also worked for over 23 years at an elementary and a high school in the District and part of those years were with our present Superintendent as our principal. I can believe what you wrote about calling & speaking to him as I, first hand, saw him handle a parent who’d called to complain about a teacher. When he blew her off and she said she’d call the district next, he told her to go ahead. And then after the call he came out into the main office to tell us secretaries about the parent (laughing all the time) that she could call the District offices, because he knew she’d get the same answer as he’d given her & nowhere with them too. He showed no concern about her calling the District at all. I saw a lot of this “avoid/ignore-answering-the-parental-questions, pass-the-buck” treatment in my years working in school offices…even with us personnel (I’ve one similar personal experience which helped me decide to retire last year and have seen over & over other similar pass-the-buck/ignore experiences with fellow co-workers). And I’m with you about the MSE. When all of the ASD problems broke this time last year with Susie & I began to receive Oak’s emails, I started looking at the ASD Mission Statement page and found that the 4 Moral Dimensions had come from the MSE at BYU. I was surprised to say the least (I graduated from BYU). I looked at BYU’s MSE website and found those same 4 Moral Dimensions on there and that they were from John Goodlad. So I emailed and asked them (very politely) why they had such information from Goodlad, a known socialist, on their website (I was still learning all the connections our District has with PSP, Goodlad, NNER, etc.). I heard nothing back. After a month or so, I wrote again and asked again. Still never heard anything back. I have been very grateful for all the work Oak and Susie have done to enlighten us on these issues. And thank to Buffy for her personal experience that I’m sure has/will help many parents to be vigilante and involved. I’m able to help keep my daughter enlightened for her two kids in District schools.

  • Dougmbrockbank:

    Thanks Buffy. This is very enlightening. If administrators at ASD and in BYU’s McKay School of Education are indifferent to our concerns, doesn’t that make them accomplices in promoting Socialistic teachings? Can we organize a petition drive and take these concerns – and our signatures – to Alpine School District and BYU?

  • Islam is a religion of peace.

  • Anonymous:

    Does anyone find it hypocritical that this teacher is accused of disparaging Mormons, but then the author of this article goes on to disparage Muslims by saying that their religion is not peaceful? There are Muslim students in ASD and how are Muslim students supposed to react when they hear a teacher get up in front of class and proclaim that “Islam is not a religion of peace?” Not all Muslims practice Sharia law nor do they want Sharia law and to disparage the entire religion because of the practices of some Muslims is outrageous.

    Another troubling thing about this article is that it is completely out of context and one-sided. It would be nice to hear from the teacher involved in order to get a more balanced perspective from what I perceive to be a hateful article and one that is lacking perspective on so many levels.

    I am also concerned that the author of the article attacks the other Geography teachers for teaching the Pros and Cons of Communism, but then says she wants kids to learn to think critically. Well, you can’t think critically about Communism if you don’t understand the allure of communism and why so many people supported Communist revolutions. Just because you learn about the pros and cons of something doesn’t mean you are promoting it. It is almost like the author is afraid of discussions about Communism unless the teacher gives a disclaimer/reminder every five minutes that America is the best in the world just in case these kids decide to become “pinkos” because they learn Marxist theory. Even then, something they say might be misconstrued, parsed, and posted on this website in order to promote certain agendas.

    One thing I have learned in life is not to believe everything you hear, read, or see, especially on this website. There are two sides to every story, and we’ve only heard one side.

  • Pam:

    I was under the impression that discussion of religions is off limits in our schools these days. I didn’t find anything hypocritical about this article. If we’re going to discuss the religion of Islam, then it should be discussed honestly — both sides, the pros and cons. Personally I don’t care to have the schools teaching anything about religion. It’s not the schools’ place, whether it’s Islam or Mormonism, Catholicism, or any other religion.

  • Anonymous:

    Utah State Core for Geography and World Civ:

    a. List and define components of culture; e.g., race, gender roles, education, religion.

    Aspects of human activity: political, economic, social, philosophical and religious, scientific and technological, and artistic.

    Investigate the purpose and influence of religions and philosophies on classical
    civilizations of Greece, Rome, China, and India.

    a. Examine the essential elements of the belief systems of Greek mythology, Judaism,
    Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

    b. Examine the diffusion of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    The Utah History Core:

    c. Investigate the contributions of Utah’s “new pioneers”, i.e., ethnic/multicultural/religious/scientific/technological groups.

    Objective 2: Investigate the contributions of Utah’s religious and ethnic groups, including
    Native American Indians.
    a. Identify Utah’s religious and ethnic groups.
    b. Explain the reasons Utah’s religious and ethnic groups settled in Utah.
    c. Explain the benefits each ethnic and religious group adds to Utah’s society.
    d. Investigate how Utah’s religious and ethnic groups adapt and interact.

    U.S. History Core:

    Identify motives for exploration; e.g.,religion, expansion, trade, wealth.

    Investigate the lifestyles and cultures of the New England, Middle, and
    Southern colonies; e.g., education, slavery, religion.

    If you are going to learn about the world and the people in it, you cannot ignore their belief systems. Teachers are required to teach religions as part of the curriculum and rightly so. Teaching about religions is not the same as teaching students to join a religion.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “both” sides in teaching religion. How about teaching their basic beliefs and leaving it at that. Think about it. What would the “both” sides be concerning Mormonism?

  • PAUL:

    Replying to John Richardson

    IF YOU BELIEVE THAT ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE, YOU ARE A MORON!!!

  • Anonymous:

    President Hinckley, April 1996:

    “We recognize the good in all people. We recognize the good in all churches.”

    President Hinckley, October 2001 General Conference:

    ‘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.”

  • Sunnyside Up:

    Frankly I am quite shocked by the ignorant and one-sided statements made my Ms Snell regarding the Islamic faith. I’m not sure how a few links to random internet websites and “Youtube” videos qualifies as responsible or even remotely valid sources of information. I would be curious to know if Ms Snell has actually studied in depth the Islamic faith to point where she can make such ignorant and sweeping claims about the supposed “violent nature” of the religion. I wonder if Ms Snell is in the habit of basing her knowledge about the second largest religion in the world on biased websites.

    I am sure that a devout Mormon and citizen of the U.S. like Mrs Snell would shudder if similar biased websites “exposing the truth” about the LDS faith, were used as a means to study and categorize Mormons. There are evil people in EVERY religion, but their evil choices DO NOT speak for the religion as whole. Clearly, Ms Snell falls pray to the very thing she fears in public education…a grossly biased and one sided perspective.

    Ms Snell’s link to the “burka exposed” Youtube video does give voice to the plight of women in 1 Islamic country. But Ms. Snell’s disturbingly one-side Youtube upload, does not cover the reality for all Muslim women. Having travelled extensively in many Islamic countries, I can assure Ms Snell that were she to actually venture beyond her propaganda websites, she would see that the wearing of the hijab is as varied as the personality and life of each individual woman. Were Ms Snell to base her statements on more than a video, she would also learn that what her son’s teacher shared was in fact true; many Muslim women have a choice, and do CHOOSE to wear the hijab. The answers I have received speaking in friendly conversation to many Muslim women in Islamic countries as to “why chose the hijab,” vary. One young woman even stated it was simply for fashion purposes. But the majority responses are similar to what one might hear were they to ask a young Mormon woman why she chooses not to wear thong bikini….modesty, and to avoid unwanted negative attention. So are Mormon women oppressed too because they are encouraged to dress modestly? Should someone make a Youtube video highlighting the struggle of oppressed Mormon women in the heat of the summer who are not “allowed” to wear bikinis and tank-tops? Surely, a little real world experience would benefit all who choose to rely on the internet for their main source of information.

    Ms Snell’s wild accusations, and grossly misinformed assumptions about the Islamic faith are truly appalling. And in a comical twist, Ms Snell’s poetic final statements about “preserving liberty” seem quite ironic given the nature of her rant. There is no liberty without the freedom to choose. And one cannot choose when one does not have a choice. And one cannot have a choice without knowing both sides. Ms Snell’s thinly veiled desire for a one-sided approach to education, particularly in regards to religion, demonstrates a lack of real understanding about “liberty.”

  • Sunnyside Up:

    So Paul, enlighten us on your authority regarding over 1 billion people in the world? I would love to know exactly what qualifies you to place so many people under one label. Its fascinating really…you must be some sort of demi-god…

  • Anonymous:

    It is comments like yours and websites like this that justify protections for teachers from crazy people.

  • CE, as has been stated many times, there are many wonderful teachers who are doing a fantastic job. Your previous characterization that the teacher was teachings the pros and cons of communism is certainly not supported by Buffy’s story, so either you have heard from the teacher privately or own what amounts to a crystal ball. :) The point was, the teacher DIDN’T teach the cons of communism and did not provide any sort of balanced perspective to the point where students thought one of the great things about communism was equality. That’s tragic.

    Back to attacks on teachers, there will always be some who call for someone to be fired. You’ll note neither Buffy nor I have done that. What the issue has always been about is lets give students the whole story and lets follow state law in promoting the U.S. Constitution. This isn’t about Islam or debating whether or not it is a religion of peace. The Middle East and Europe are on fire right now precisely because of multiculturalism by the European nations inviting others such as the Muslims in and telling them there was no need to assimilate. As a result, Sharia law is assimilating the cultures of Europe. Just this week Sarkozy of France announced what a failure multiculturalism is after some of the other countries there have done in the recent past. Our Muslim neighbors as President Hinckley stated, can be wonderful peaceful people. However, Buffy’s son is in a world geography class and learned that one of the great things about communism is equality, Islam around the world is peaceful and there was no discussion about the oppression and shocking facts about Sharia law and how it’s enforced by the sword, and Mormons are naive and uninformed. I just understood why Mormons are naive and uninformed, at least in this classroom. :)

    By the way, using your logic, politicians should have special protection since so many websites attack them and call for their jobs. Teachers aren’t under attack here, an ideology is.

  • Anonymous:

    First of all, teachers are not politicians. That are not elected. You are using a straw man argument. Teachers do not have a public platform to defend themselves as politicians do. They are private citizens and deserve only the same protections as other private citizens. I never said they need special protections. You said that. I can see why the “Mormons are naive and uninformed” comment has rubbed you the wrong way, especially when you view yourself as the foremost expert on the church and it doctrine as clearly evident on this website.

    Secondly, I do not have a crystal ball about this teacher, but I do know who he is as revealed on the saveasd website. I find it funny how you call the teacher Mr. Gray, when everyone who follows this site and saveasd knows who he is. I have also read the words of the teacher on the saveasd website and have watched the evolution of Mrs. Snell’s arguments devolve into what it is today.

    The survey is terrible and unscientific. The questions were geared to expose the teacher rather than expose what was taught in class or not taught in class. Why were there no statements such as:

    There are some bad things about Communism?
    One of the bad things about Communism is equality.

    Your question were all in the affirmative about Communism, but none were in the negative about Communism. I find that very, very interesting.

    What is with the fun teacher question? What are you trying to get at there?

    The last statement on the survey is a doozy. Why were two statements given to the kids in the expectation of one response?

    The kids were asked: We should respect others views, even if we disagree. There is not one “right” view when it comes to different kinds of government.

    So which statement were they supposed to respond to? Which statement do you think they responded to?

    Why didn’t you ask the students if they believed Mr. Gray to be a patriotic American? The article undoubtedly leaves the reader with a feeling that he is not. Was that your intention or is that just a fringe benefit?

    I have come to not trust the words of those who promote this website. I gave a clear quote by President Hinckley that has been “rationalized” to fit an ideology. That leads me to conclude that this misconstruction, reinterpretation of Hinckley is what is happening to anyone else that you complain about on this site, including this teacher. Do you know for a fact that this teacher did not teach the cons of communism? You seem certain of it, but it was never asked on the survey. Do you know this teacher? Have you personally talked with this teacher or is it hearsay?

    You also say that this isn’t about Islam or whether it is a religion of peace. Where did you come up with that notion? Of course this is about Islam being a peaceful religion. It is one of your chief complaints about this teacher and was addressed by Mrs. Snell in her rant. You even spoke about it in a Senate Education subcommittee hearing, yet you suddenly want to minimize it as a non-issue. I’m well aware of Sharia law and the desires of some to extend that system of law to the world, but that does not mean all Muslims want Sharia law. It is a vocal faction that can often gets it way to our dismay. We are seeing protests in Egypt and there is a group called the Muslim Brotherhood that wants Sharia law, but does that mean all Egyptians want Sharia law? You should be aware of vocal groups that don’t represent the greater public at large since you are one of the leaders of such a group yet you often get your way. The point is that an entire religion has been disparaged due to the actions of some in the Islamic world. The solution is to retract the statement that Islam is not a peaceful religion and attribute the problems with Muslims to those that don’t follow their tenets as President Hinckley cautioned us to do.

    By the way, you keep avoiding my question about what teachers are supposed to say about Islam when they have Islamic students in their classrooms? Do you have any advice for teachers reading this. Apparently, they can’t say anything positive about Islam without being demonized for it as proven by Mrs. Snell in her anti-Islamic diatribe.

  • CE, why do you come out to this site? Seriously. You find a way to disagree with anything that’s posted. Instead of this teacher having a shred of blame, you twist it on Buffy, me, and anyone else posting here saying we’re attacking all teachers. You’re wasting your time and probably living with more aggravation than is healthy.

    I have a very off the wall question for you. Are you related to the “Lewis Barnavelt” that used to post here?

  • Queenmary:

    That’s why there is so much peace in the countries that practice it.

  • Queenmary Summerhays:

    The teacher’s statements were factually inaccurate, both about mormonism, and islam. It is not hypocritical to point out inaccuracy. No matter who is in the class.

    It was the teacher that made an issue for all the suffering muslim students in the class, about Islam being “a religion of peace.” Islam as a religion has many good qualities, but to praise it as a religion of peace is an action that will inevitably come under scrutiny.

    I will grant you, that 10 students is a small survey, and I would like to ask all the students the same questions. but the bottom line is, that a discussion using “critical thinking” to examine “pros and cons” does not end in 10 students thinking communism is good. Obviously there was an extreme bias.

    That you don’t even recognize that it deserves more investigation demonstrates your bias.

  • queenmary:

    If the survey is accurate, 10 out of 10 kids think communism is good. That is not education. That is propaganda. And since ” one cannot have a choice without knowing both sides” obviously this teacher is failing to educate.

  • Anonymous:

    Oak, believe it or not, I’ve learned how to be disagreeable from you. I appreciate your looking out for my health and well-being, but I enjoy the game.

    That is an off the wall question. Lewis Barnavelt is not a relative, but that sounds like a cool name. Was he disagreeable too? If you would like me to quit hogging server space with my long posts, I will lay off for a while.

    By the way, I recently found a signed copy of the Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen dated 1962 in my recently deceased grandparents box of goodies. How much do you think it is worth? It is a bit water damaged though.

  • Anonymous:

    Perhaps you could ask the Christian nations. They are always at peace, especially the Europeans.

  • Fed up:

    Oak, maybe CE’s getting paid or secretly works for the district. She certainly has a motive for coming back and spending so much time on a site she hates. Otherwise, I have no idea why a person would keep coming back for more. Unless there is some insanity going on. I vote we help her get on with a new life. Maybe there’s a 12-step for this special class of website addicted antagonists. Perhaps one of the major newspapers can help her. This type of person seems to be addicted to rude comment sections. Note to CE: THERE WILL ALWAYS BE WEBSITES YOU DISAGREE WITH. MOVE ON AND FIND A FRIEND AND A REAL PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE. Oak, perhaps you should use some compassion. She’s probably just lonely down there in the basement all day and this site is the only place people will take the time to talk with her because she’s done this for so many years and has lost all her friends. As for my patience and compassion, I ran out of it a long time ago after numerous attempts by many to explain things calmly and rationally. You are definitely more patient than I.

  • Fed Up:

    I’d say the book is invaluable if you actually read it and leave Oak alone.

  • Anonymous:

    So, if 10 out of 10 think communism is bad, that is not propaganda? Propaganda can be either be truth or lies or both. Do you know what propaganda means? In the Latin, Propagand fide means “that which ought to be spread.” Is the teacher really failing to educate? How do you know? Based on a few biased questions in a survey given to a hand-picked group of kids? You must think I’m stupid. I bet if you asked the kids if Communism is a bad thing, they will answer yes, but that has never been done, has it? You make the erroneous assumption that because they learned “good things” about communism, they are never learned “bad things” about communism. The question never asked if Communism was good or bad. Circle one. Again, you are thinking in absolutes (if you believe one thing then you must certainly not believe another). That is flawed logic and it is grossly presumptuous.

  • Sunnyside Up:

    Ah, but queenmary, do you know nothing of statistics??? The survey asked if “there are some good things about communism” correct? How do you conclude from that question that therefore all the students walked away thinking Communism is good. That is NOT what the questions asked…look again my friend….that is the conclusion of a angry woman trying desperately to gather evidence to prove her point. So the viability of the survey is in reality null. Where was the question that asked if the students thought there were bad things about communism?????? Apparently it wasn’t in this little survey. HUGE FLAW! Where was the question asking if Islamic extremists have committed terrible acts of terrorism? Oh wait, it wasn’t there. The questions were absolutely loaded. How can you conclude anything reasonable when the survey itself was so ridiculously one-sided.

    This “survey” asked a few carefully selected questions that in and of themselves DID NOT demonstrate a fair spectrum of what the students were learning in this class. And we are supposed to use these “survey” responses to as some sort of valid evaluation? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING?? Maybe on this little comment board, ignorance reigns and people see what they want to see. But I would love to see this comical “survey”/attempt to validate someone’s unfounded anger against public education, hold weight in any forum of real value.

    10 out of 10 kids now understand why historically anyone ever bought into Communism. If it in theory was all evil, then no one would have accepted it. The theory of Communism was equality…but that does not mean that that is EVER how it has played out in society. But we will never know if this was included in the lesson because Ms Snell failed to ask questions regarding the other side of what they learned. The argument against what is supposedly being taught is based on a a survey that is so deeply flawed its quite comical that intelligent thinking adults would consider it in any way credible. Honestly it makes me laugh.

  • NMS:

    Great job, Buffy. Thanks for your vigilance. NMS (Grandma Nathty)

  • Sunnyside Up:

    I am new to this site, but am rather surprised by your question? Do you really not want to hear opposition to anything? Based the paranoia exhibited here that teachers are supposedly not being objective and not really showing both sides of an issue, I find it humorous that you are obviously annoyed by opposition to something on this thread. Are you for real? Do you really want the opinions on this site to be only in favor of what is being said? Seriously? I would think that someone confident in their beliefs would welcome opposition as it gives an opportunity to stand solid and firm and re-enforce ideals and values. But the fear of knowing the “other side” that oozes from comments like yours, suggests an interesting lack of confidence…that, or a shameless sense of superiority often present in corrupt governments and regimes. Most interesting.

  • CrazyHorse:

    This teacher should defiantly be fired for his negative comments on the Mormon religion. Teaching the “virtues” of communism is also wrong although I’m sure its in the curriculum so its not necessarily his fault, but that of the school officials who selected it. But this hate filled and biased attack an Islam turns my stomach. I have traveled the world and know many Islamic people both here in the US and abroad and the garbage posted in this article about Islam is as true as the garbage you will find searching youtube for the “truth about Mormons” or any other religion for that matter. If you want anyone to listen to your legitimate concerns about the school, you need to leave you hypocritical anti Islam bull horn in the closet. I don’t care if you personally want to hate the Islamic Faith, but spreading false lies and generalities about it makes you as guilty as this school teacher whom you’re attempting to expose. And Oak, I have followed your movement and site from the beginning and I have loved what you have published thus far, but if your going to publish articles that promote religious prejudices and hate then your going to find yourself minus a sincere supporter if not more.

  • CE, what’s interesting is that if you don’t know who Lewis Barnavelt was on this site, he was very similar to you in his attacks and interestingly, both he and your other “name” are characters in a book series. Read the first couple paragraphs here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Barnavelt_%28series%29

    As for the signed Naked Communist, I have no idea how much it’s worth. With water damage it may not be worth a lot. I just looked on Amazon and there is a signed 1962 hardcover selling for $39.95.

    On teachers, why should teachers be protected just because there is a site such as this that points out problems with what *some* teachers do? My sister-in-law is a principal in a school in Idaho and Idaho is trying to pass legislation to eliminate tenure and she’s all for it. She saiys the good teachers have nothing to fear and the bad ones need to go. There’s sooooo many stories out there about teachers who have tenure and have given up in the classroom. Children aren’t benefited by teachers that don’t have a fear of loss of employment. Tenure assumes all teachers are practically perfectly motivated by love and dedication. Also, how would you propose handling a teacher that *is* subversive and the students and parents don’t realize it? Buffy’s point above is critical in that she went right up the chain of command and got nowhere because the administrators know the teacher has tenure and this is just a parent complaining. Parents do not get treated well by administrators in ASD. What also do we do about violations of state law? The AG refuses to prosecute and I’d bet the DA would refuse as well. During the voucher debate, several incriminating pieces of evidence were given to the Utah AG’s office such as an anti-voucher Powerpoint presentation that showed it was created by one of the school districts up North and over 11 hours time was logged on its creation. This is a violation of state law with a school district engaging in a political issue and the AG’s attorney I spoke with said, “it’s not very popular to go after educators.” Duh! :) So until we drop tenure or actually enforce the law, what point is there to having laws?

    As for Islamic students in the classrooms, why aren’t you worried about Christians in the classrooms as well? Teachers teach about the crusades, but leave out the terrible battles started by the Muslims during the middle ages. In fact, some textbooks are being rewritten specifically to just show how bad the “Christians” were and only talking about how oppressed the Muslims were by them. This is not a good presentation of evidence for students to have both sides of the story. I’m not advocating that students be taught about mutilation or such, but if we’re going to study what’s going on around the world, lets be clear with what’s really happening.

  • Sunnyside, Buffy never represented it was a scientific survey. It was a fast sampling of 10 students to help validate that her son hadn’t just misinterpreted what the teacher had said. If 7 out of 10 students believe one of the good things about communism is equality, that’s pretty clear they have no clue what equality means in a communist country.

  • Sunnyside, as you stated you are new to this site. Look around and you’ll see plenty of comments from CE. We’re always open to opposing views…they’re everywhere here, but CE and a few others have shown some tendencies to ignore things that I’ve written or represented and then present it as factual. That is annoying and tiring when I have to write a response for something for the umpteenth time. Look around on the site and you’ll see plenty of evidence and even a post or two encouraging civil opposition.

  • Thanks CrazyHorse. I’m glad you generally enjoy the site. I honestly don’t view this article as anti-Islam (though I understand how some might) based on these points:
    1) Radical Islam is taking over peaceful Islam and peaceful Islam is not doing anything to stop it.
    2) Radical Islam is in league with radical socialists in promoting direct democracy through revolution (ex. Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt)
    3) In a world geography class I think it is appropriate to teach students what’s going on in the world. As I just posted in a different reply, political correctness has destroyed the truth from being told. It’s PC to bash the Christian crusades, but textbooks are having the Muslim aggression removed from them. Both are guilty but one gets a pass.
    4) Buffy’s disagreement that Islam is a religion of peace (or at least that there was a lack of teaching about radical Islam and Sharia law) does not mean she hates Muslims. She is merely pointing out the teacher’s notable lack of world events leaving students with the view that there is just one body of peaceful Muslims. Obviously this is not the case and there is huge oppression in the Middle East and even in America there are strong pockets of Muslims seeking to impose Sharia law.
    5) The Islam issue is not the primary concern for me in this article. As you noted, the Mormon bashing and the pro-communist indoctrination are my primary concerns. I seriously wonder if there is any way we will ever see teachers held accountable for what they teach. Once they have tenure, they can do just about anything in their classrooms without fear of crossing the line.

    My question is who is ultimately responsible and accountable for what a teacher teaches in class? Buffy spoke with every level of authority in the district and got nowhere. Which branch of government should take action here? Legally, it should be the executive branch to enforce the law, but they are afraid of holding educators accountable to state law.

  • Anonymous:

    My email to Vern Henshaw was completely ignored. I did get a call from a mutual friend of mine and Vern’s, who said that he had received a call from Vern to discuss my email at length with him. Why would he not even do the polite things and simply reply “I’ve received your email. Thank you”? Because he simply has no concern for, and dare I say TOTAL DISDAIN, for the parents of this District. Everyone says “he is such a nice man”. NICE doesn’t ignore parents. Neither does PROFESSIONAL.

  • Anonymous:

    The key here is “List and define components of”. If teachers can control themselves and stick to that, it would be fine.

  • Chrismels:

    I feel bothered about the one sided view of Islam provided in Buffy’s article also. If she does not view all of Islam as extreme and violent she should have stated so. The examples she gave are limited to only the unsavory acts which extremists practice (and one can find unsavory and extreme acts carried out in all religions by those who misinterpret their religion or use it to justify their corruption). Some of these acts are actually carry overs from practices before Islam came onto world history’s view.

    My husband has a degree in Near Eastern Studies and is currently working in Afghanistan. He has taught me much about Islam and Muslims, and I went to a Mosque when I lived in Texas several times during Ramadan. I learned much about Islam as I spoke with these peaceful Muslims. We Westerners have a rather skewed view of Islam–we malign and misunderstand the religion and Muslims greatly.

    I take the following from “Religions of the World, A Latter-day Saint View” (Palmer, Keller, Choi, and Toronto; BYU 1997): The Arabic word islam means, literally, submission or surrender, and a muslim, therefore, is a person who submits or surrenders. The etymological root of islam is associated with ideas of peace (salaam) and well-being (salaama). The implication in a religious context is that a person who submits his/her will completley to the worship of the one God, Allah, finds peace, safety, and salvation. Therefore, Muslims commonly speak of Islam as the “religion of peace”.

    The problem, as Oak pointed out, is that peaceful Muslims rarely do anything about the extremists. This stems from the belief that if God willed something it would happen (Insha’Allah–if God wills it). They do not realize they must do something to affect change. They lack the agency
    approach and the correct view of the nature of God (the fact that He expects His children to actively oppose evil). Although, my husband says, in Afghanistan commercials urge youth not to engage in suicide bombings, etc. So, an effort is rising to counteract the extremists
    (who are a very vocal minority in Islam).

    I highly recommend the article I mentioned above and a book by Daniel Peterson entitled “Abraham Divided:An LDS Perspective on the Middle East”. Both point to the fact that LDS leaders have said, before and since 9/11, that Muhammad received a portion of light to elavate his people and prepare them for the fullness of the gospel.

    Interestingly, Islam’s five pillars of faith match up very well with what we LDS members believe and practice. In fact, mainstream Christianity has compared us to Muslims in their effort to vilify us further.

    Basically, I think Buffy could have done a better job at pointing out her concern regarding the current trend to pit Islam against Christianity. The trend is actually not about the religions, but about creating more tension and distraction in order to support a power grab by those who want control over the hearts, minds, and property of the people of this world. Let’s not let them win.

    As for evils of communism and the need to keep teachers aligned with the current educational curriculum guidelines, I am in support of what Buffy had to say.

  • Anonymous:

    Corruption, Sunny, you pick and pay for the teachers you want to teach your children, and everybody else gets to pick the ones that they think will do a good job. That is called freedom. Oh, yeah. We don’t have that. You can talk down your noses at the people who complain that they are being forced to accept what they do not want, you can pull out all the statese you have in the place of any useful ideas, to try and impress people that you know better than they what they want, you can tell them that since you/some/the majority of people want/like/profit by it, lesser persons/minorities should just shut up and pay up, etc. none of it will change the fact of the real problem. The correct principles of individual liberty have been violated. If I do not approve of what any teacher/school system/national organization is teaching, I have the right to deny my financial support to them. If I have children, I certainly have the right to deny those entities authority in their education. That principle has been violated, and there will be no peace until it is re-established.

  • Edb:

    Right on! We really do need to get both sides of the story. Like in some school districts Islam is given six weeks where the children learn about the five pillars of Islam, read from the Koran and do skits depicting various tenants of Islam. In contrast Christianity gets less than a week and Jesus is never mentioned. The correct answer to the test question, “Who is the most influential person to ever live?”, Mohammed first, Newton second and Jesus third. Radical Christians are as dangerous as radical Muslims. The difference is the radical Christians don’t strap bombs to their children.

  • BuffySnell:

    CE ‘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.”

    Thank you for the quotes by President Hinckley. Of course there is good in every church. Of course there are Muslims who don’t promote Sharia law, such as M. Zuhdi Jasser. However, when we categorically state that, “Islam is a religion of Peace” we further enable the spread of Islamic terrorist organizations that cause the “persecution and suffering of the innocent.” How is a female Muslim student (who has endured any number of the unspeakable atrocities waged against her gender) supposed to react when a teacher announces that “Islam is a religion of peace?” When she protests, perhaps the teacher will argue with her as well? Perhaps he will explain, as Sunnyside has, that he is well traveled and has met lots of Muslim women who are not oppressed. Perhaps he should explain to her that just because SOME Muslims promote Sharia, the sacred law of Islam, doesn’t mean that she should make such sweeping and wild accusations as “Islam is NOT a religion of peace.” Or perhaps we should do as President Hinckley has suggested and be “protective and supportive” by creating public awareness about the truth of Islam.

    By the way, if you can get the teacher to come forward “in-context” I’d really appreciate it. I’ve given him ample opportunity to refute my complaints, along with the Principal and the Superintendent, and they have each chosen to avoid my questions. I invite them to come forward publicly; to have the courage to provide a WRITTEN response to my two questions, so that all may see “their side.”

  • Crazyhorseyfa:

    I understood the main point and I agree with it completely, but I still find the Islamic argument hypocritical. Just because there exists a radical side to Islam that doesn’t nullify the truth that Islam “is” a religion of peace as much as any other religion. The author was offended because the teacher “taught” her son that Mormons are ignorant. Personally I “generally” agree with the first part of his criticism, but it was wrong for the teacher to express a disparaging “opinion” of a legitimate religion in his authoritative role as teacher, just as it was wrong to generalize all the members of a group based on the actions of a few. Mormons find it offensive and wrong to be called “bigots” for denying blacks the priesthood, “violent” for the mountain meadows massacre, or “amoral” for continuing to practice child marriages (pedophilia) and polygamy. And so they should, because most of them are not bigots, violent, or amoral. And yes I know that mainstream Mormons don’t practice polygamy anymore, that’s actually part of the point. NO ONE likes to be negatively generalized, especially when they are lumped into a group that doesn’t represent the whole. You understand this, that’s why you don’t say things like “ASD school teachers are communists”. Its only true in a few cases and it is offensive to those teachers who are sincere to group them in. If this author wants to teach her son the “other side” of Islam with the anti-Islam literature she posted in the article, that should be up to her and not the school. In truth, I honestly wanted to take this article and share it with friends in other parts of the country to express the problems in the public school system. But can not do that with the anti Islam slant in it, just as I couldn’t do it if it had an anti Mormon or anti Catholic slant and links. I appreciate your willingness to respond though. I hope you will take what I have said into consideration for future articles or for a possible editing of this one.

  • Vash the Stampede:

    I just have to say I agree with Crazy Horse. I’d love to share this article to friends in order to illustrate some of the problems in ASD and many other public school districts, but find that I can’t. I know you don’t want to hear it, but what I’m about to say is true: this is a gospel of HATE. Hate is lack of charity. An easy way Satan can get people to hate (lack charity toward) another group of people, is to convince them that they deserve it (it’s ok to have less charity for Muslims, or condemn them in general, because they’re bad guys that want to kill infidels!). If I sent a link to this article it would be perceived as me endorsing the message, the FULL message, and I cannot and will not participate in such hate-mongering. It’s wrong. I taught several people of Muslim faith as a missionary in Detroit. I learned about Islam from faithful Muslims, not in a classroom or in a book or online. The doctrines are no more nor less strange to a non-member than the doctrines of Mormonism would be to any other Christian faith, only different. However, it is my experience (and the declaration of Pres. Hinckley and many others) that ANY hatred of people of another faith is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who profess to be Christ’s followers must distance themselves from those who persist in such an attitude; otherwise, only one word (chosen by Christ himself) adequately describes them. They are hypocrites. This type of mentality really is HATE. I know it’s hard to accept, but please just let the hateful feelings go. They’re not of God. Those who claim to have charity and good will toward others, yet preach a gospel of hate for Muslims, are Hypocrites. It outrages me when Rush Limbaugh does it, it outrages me when Glenn Beck does it, it outrages me when personal friends and acquaintances and family and ANYONE ELSE does it; I’d be quite the hypocrite to promote a message that incidentally does it too. Like this article for instance.

    In short, I’d like to say I agree with this article, but I can’t. I’d like to share the true points it makes with others, but I can’t. It’d be like wanting to share a banana cream pie (my favorite!) that was really excellent, oh, except for that rat poison that somehow got mixed in. Oak, this is your site; I know you didn’t write the article, but you chose to post it. If you don’t want to be viewed as promoting anti-Islam messages, you must remove such material that slipped through in this article. I wish you’d fix the mistake, rather than continue to excuse it. I’ve been impressed by your work in the past; I’ll be much more impressed when you correct this problem.

  • The_Patriot:

    My sentiments exactly. There are many, many people in recent months, like you and me, who are no longer comfortable with what Oak is doing. I wish he would get back to math, but I worry he’s now damaged his reputation to the point that it’s beyond repair at this point. Remember, this is a man who encourages people to pray to find out if his intellectually cumbersome arguments are true or not. If you don’t get an answer that what he says is true, then he asks if you feel guilty. Scary.

  • TP, damaged my reputation? Wow, you mean I had a reputation? I didn’t realize my arguments were intellectually cumbersome so I ask people to pray to understand them and then I ask people to feel guilty if their answer doesn’t come back in favor of my position. Who’s got the intellectually cumbersome arguments again??? Scary is right.

  • sariah:

    We talk with our kids about stuff they learn in school. I am involved in the schools so the principals and teachers know me and try to resolve issues rather than taking people down. With that background, you should know I would be fine with the teacher but take issue with the author/parent.
    I have a Master’s in International Studies–believe me when I say there are some good things about Communism, especially in theory. There would not have been such a popular movement to establish entire Communist societies in the first half of the last century if it did not have some redeeming qualities in comparison to previous regimes with their own sets of horrors. Unfortunately, the parts that should philosophically work well for their people rarely do in reality; the author’s references to problems common to Communist regimes are precisely against their own guiding principles.
    “Islam” literally translates as “peace.” Most who practice it devoutly are highly spiritual and admirable people. Every Islamic person I have known personally has exemplified this in their lives. There are some highly visible Islamic groups that pervert the teachings of the Quran, but it is no more fair to brand all Islam with their brand of fanaticism and suppression than to say all Mormons are forced into polygamous relationships based on a few passages in the D&C. Not to say the teacher was right on all counts, given that this last example was used against Mormons by someone who otherwise was giving systems the benefit of the doubt–showing that once again, it is easier to “understand” those who live far away than those next door annoying you.
    Kids are going to be exposed to ideas in our society that we don’t agree with. Talk to them about what you believe and why. It will make them more resilient and able to deal with issues the next time they come around.