Democracy Media Fiasco

With the recent media frenzy over the events in Alpine School District, it’s become obvious some clarifications need made as to what this petition is all about and why there’s an uproar in Alpine.

Several months ago this petition started as a result of this site owner (Oak Norton) noticing that the Utah state history standards failed to mention that the United States of America is a Republic. That fact is from Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution wherein the states that came together to draft the Constitution guaranteed their partner states that they could remain under a Republican form of government.

This site’s petition was to ask the State Office of Education, under the first amendment’s right to petition government for a redress of our grievances, to modify 5 standards (as shown on the petition and signatures page of this site) to reflect the notion that we are a Republic. Nowhere on the petition is the word democracy mentioned. Over the last hundred years of American History, the meaning of the word has evolved to two contradictory meanings. The online Websters-Merriam dictionary shows these as both majority rule (original definition that equates to mob rule), and representative rule (ie. Republican), two opposing definitions.

True democracy (majority rule) was abhorred by our Founding Fathers as every democracy that has ever existed has wasted and destroyed itself. Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin and others have endorsed this form of government as the best way to achieve socialism.

The issue with Alpine School District over their use of the term democracy is more complicated. They themselves aren’t advocating for this form of government, but those that came up with the phrase have a stated agenda which is to transform our nation into something it is not.

Hanging in the Professional Development Center of the Alpine School District is a large sign (which can be seen in the 2nd video on the home page of this site) which says “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy.” This phrase comes from an individual named John Goodlad, a humanist atheist who travels the country setting up partnerships with universities and school districts. (in our local area the connection is through Brigham Young University)

Among Goodlad’s teachings you can find these quotes:

Goodlad on the Family:

  • “Most youth still hold the same values of their parents… if we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.”
  • “Parents do not own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education fully.”
  • “Parents and the general public must be [resocialized] also… Otherwise, children and youth…may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home.”

On Morals:

  • “There is a belief by some that there exists…a ‘correct’ view of the world. This view is incorrect. There is no single worldview that deserves complete acceptance.”
  • “…educators must resist the quest for certainty.  If there were certainty there would be no scientific advancement. So it is with morals and patriotism.”
  • “…a moral community [is] one that uses democratic…processes to determine right from wrong, good from bad.”

On Academics:

  • “A standardized curriculum of basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic cannot prepare people to participate in a democracy.”
  • “The curriculum of the future ‘will be what one might call the humanistic curriculum.’”

On Politics:

  • “Schools cannot be tools of Pavlovian patriotism…”
  • “…the state we should strive for is better described in Deweyan terms as a social democracy.”
  • “The knowledge of how to run a democracy is not possessed by all parents equally. It must be supplemented with public education.”
  • “The Agenda has been developed to address the political and content issues of school.”
  • “Enlightened social engineering is required to face situations that demand global action now.”

I ask the reader to consider this is a man who is actively seeking through a stated agenda to subvert the rights of parents through social engineering. In a word, evil. Does that mean everything he does is evil? No. There is always a generous helping of good philosophy mixed into evil to make it all the more palatable to those who recognize the good but are ignorant of the motives and intent of the philosophy. Sort of like mingling man’s philosophy with scripture to make it all sound like scripture.

Goodlad’s university level partnership called the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) has on its website this paragraph under its “Agenda” section.

“Why Do We Focus on Democracy? Many different forms of government have tried to meet this challenge: fascism, socialism, communism, and democracy, to name a few. Democracy, while certainly not without its flaws, seems to offer the best hope of enabling us to live together in relative peace and prosperity. This is because democracy has a great virtue that the others generally lack: real democracy strives to ensure that everyone in a society contributes to the decision-making processes that affect their lives.”

In other words, once again Goodlad exposes his Agenda to mean TRUE democracy in the form our Founding Fathers abhorred. His desire is to have morality made relative to the desires of the majority just as his quote above shows. The purpose of representational government is to elect people to dig in deep to issues that the public has no time to consider. If an ignorant public were to vote on every issue that came up, they would quickly fail to view the unintended consequences of a decision and solely base their votes on things that benefit them in the short term and may in turn hurt their neighbors. That is the nature of democracy.

Democracy tramples the rights of the minority and leads to mob rule, which eventually leads to socialism, which is where the nationally quoted line about Karl Marx comes from where he said, “Democracy is the road to socialism.” If you don’t understand why this is, click the Ben Franklin picture in the top right corner of this website and watch that short video. It explains perfectly why there are really only 2 forms of government (though there may be multiple economic systems that power them).

A couple months ago (Jan. 2010), an event happened in Alpine school district where one parent’s daughter was in a 6th grade class and the teacher told the class we live in a democracy. This young 11 year-old had the courage to raise her hand and correct her teacher and tell him we live in a republic. The teacher told her she was wrong in front of the whole class, and seeing a book of quotes from our Founding Fathers on her desk, proceeded to call that book “pure science fiction.” After class he admitted to her that we were a Republic but then conveniently never told the class that fact.

This parent, already unhappy that her children weren’t being academically challenged in subjects like math (they moved here from California where they have *real* math standards) decided that was the final straw and she would pull her child out of school and homeschool her. This led her to the district office where she saw the sign “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy”. She was a bit shocked to see the school district advocating social democracy (socialism) and political democracy (recall the dual meaning).

She went home and thought she would look at the school district’s website for some help understanding this problem. That led her to the Mission Statement page which contained forms of the word democracy 13 times and the use of academics and excellence, exactly ZERO.

Then she noticed a web link on the left that said “America: Republic or Democracy?” Thinking this must surely explain the district’s belief in our nations form of government, she clicked the link and was transported to a radical green party member website who called our Founding Fathers a “predatory elite” and said their only intention in fighting the revolutionary war, and in giving us the constitution was to enrich the wealthy class of citizens.

Finding this page of revisionist history was stunning, but then she continued to see what else this individual advocated. She found he was for anarchy in America, limiting families to 2 children, and a belief that Jesus Christ was a vampire because he ate flesh, drank blood, was killed and came back to life.

This chain of events was quite shocking and led her to believe this was all connected from teacher, to district, to radical. She then documented it all in an email and sent it out to friends and neighbors, risking relationships in order to share what she saw as a logical chain of events and endorsements.

The email went viral and the media caught it and reported on it. The district immediately removed the link and publicly cried they were being “misrepresented.”

At the next board meeting, over 200 parents showed up and calmly and rationally explained that we live in a Republic, we don’t want indoctrination (enculturation) of our children into a social democracy, and that part of the district’s stated mission to “nurture” our children was in actuality the job of parents, not the district (thank you John Goodlad but we’ll leave your philosophy at the door from now on).

The very next day after this board meeting, the school district sent an email to all the employees and teachers describing the board meeting in a short paragraph and reiterated the district was being “misrepresented.”

Parents were a little upset that the district refused to acknowledge how this happened and wanted assurances that this would not happen any longer. So this past week, parents read a statement to the school board reminding them that they were *public* servants, elected by *US* the parents, and that they worked for the public and it was not their job to be apologists for the district. Parents then asked the school board for three things to be answered at the next board meeting in 3 weeks.

1-Who exactly was misrepresented and what misrepresentations and falsehoods are you referring to in your statements to the public and to school district faculty?

2- You admitted at the last board meeting that “Enculturating the Young into a Social and a Political Democracy” is not user friendly and you will revisit the use of this term. In the meantime, will you direct the immediate removal of all instances of the “Enculturating” sign and the “Democracy” motto in all district buildings and schools until you have developed a new motto which is absent of politics? If not, why?

3 -What policies have you now implemented as a result of this recent controversy to ensure false educational ideas do not further creep into our children’s classrooms (ex. sponsoring constitution classes for teachers during teacher development time; reconsidering the sources of your material such as the PSP/NNER/CITES connections to Goodlad’s teachings, etc…)?

The media at the event reported that JoDee Sundberg, a school board member from Orem, responded with “We are not directed by any group that tells us to immediately do things.” An answer spoken in haste but perhaps reflecting the board’s frustration that the public was holding them accountable.

Naturally, this is a disappointing response from an elected official who is being asked to provide the public with information on how the board is taking action in the wake of this series of events.

The media then picked up on this story, and numerous outlets around the country have taken original stories, already much shorter than the actual account, and truncated them even further making it appear like a handful of nut jobs have nothing better to do than gripe about the term democracy. In actuality, the story is much bigger and more involved than that.

So to summarize, the purpose of this website was to petition for better statewide recognition of what our form of government is, namely, a Republic. Alpine school district happened to step into the light with a series of very poor events which this site reported on as relevant to the overall objective, which is to recognize that there are people like Goodlad seeking to overthrow our Founding Fathers vision of America as a Republican form of government. It is through these events that parents have asked the school district to modify their motto to focus solely on academic excellence, and not on a stated political agenda that seeks to enculturate our children into a social democracy.



Social Democracy

1: a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means

2: a democratic welfare state that incorporates both capitalist and socialist practices

Political Democracy (conflicting definitions)

1: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly
2: indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections [emphasis added]


1 : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.

Susie Schnell’s original email about the link fiasco

18 Responses to “Democracy Media Fiasco”

  • Melissa Rasmussen:

    I called BYU today. I spoke to the Director of the McKay School of Education. He was unaware of the the ASD issue you are working to bring to the public's attention. He confirmed that BYU does have connections with John Goodlad (the McKay School of Education web page mentions him also). The director, however, was surprised by the assertion of this site that John Goodlad is a humanist atheist. He directed me to the Dean of the College whom he felt could answer my inquiries more fully–since the Dean personally knows John Goodlad.
    I found this interesting: when I mentioned to the director of the college the motto of ASD, he said, “We are a democracy. Perhaps you need to look the definition of democracy up.” I stated the part of the pledge to the flag which states we are a republic. He said, “We are both a democracy and a republic.”
    I want BYU's side of this connection with John Goodlad. I graduated from BYU with a degree in Education. I do not remember a single reference to John Goodlad or any agendas which sought to take parental rights away. I told the director of the college that I am sure BYU would not like to be connected to a humanist atheist–one who clearly, by the quotes provided on your website, desires to change the basic foundation of our country and the parental rights of parents.
    I am very interested to find out what I found out. I left a voice message with the dean's office. Hopefully I speak with the dean soon.

  • candykinser:

    Great work Melissia

  • Thanks Melissa. Be sure to point out that the BYU Public School Partnership was set up by Goodlad in 1983-4, and then BYU became one of the founding members of the NNER organization Goodlad operates between universities. BYU also has CITES which is directly tied into this for the purpose of teacher training and indoctrination in Goodlad's philosophies. From the 2009 CITES annual report we read:

    “Skills, dispositions, and habits of intellect necessary for democratic citizenship have to be developed somewhere as people are not born with them. The school is the only institution in our nation specifically charged with enculturating the young in a social and political democracy.”

    That's really odd. I don't remember reading in the Utah Constitution that our schools were “charged” with that duty…

    Again, just to be clear, this is happening all over the country. I think one reference I saw to Goodlad put his NNER ties into 46 universities or some pretty high number. That's a lot of schools being covered by a humanist/atheist philosophy destructive to parental rights and duties.

  • Susie Schnell:

    I'm so glad this controversy is helping people to think about our country and what is important to teach our children. All I was doing was taking my child out of school. I didn't know all this would happen. But the statement on the wall led to the mission page, which led to the link that said that the Founding Fathers were predatory elitists which led me to look to see where Alpine School District administrators are getting their training and it kept getting worse from there.

    The scariest thing for me is their close connection and training with John Goodlad's principles, a socialist who wrote all of the above statements mentioned in Oak's article. Maybe this board thinks of “democracy” as a fuzzy, feel good term, but clearly Alpine's mentor is touting pure democracy which our Founders warned us of, and he is a dangerous character to pattern their philosophies after. Anyone believing in traditional family values should be very concerned when a school district aligns their core beliefs after someone who is a secular humanist trying to weaken the bonds between parent and child because he thinks the State knows better. THAT is my major concern, and changing one motto is not likely going to change their direction, especially since the board says they will stick to their core direction in teaching OUR children no matter what they do with a motto.

    ASD needs to be honest with parents about this direction and stop using what they deem are only feel-good squishy political terms and say they didn't mean for them to be political. Goodlad is very serious about changing the political direction of this country and clearly states it in his writings.

    Just like using William Meyers as their expert to describe America as a Democracy when he also writes Christ is a vampire and believes in anarchy and 2 children per family, the board clearly needs to study out who they are using as their experts. John Goodlad is no friend of anyone with religious and/or traditional values, and if you think he is, you need to do some more studying. Read through the 80% fluff to get to the 20% socialist goals. There are 5 school districts in Utah who are trained and align with Goodlad philosophies: Alpine, Nebo, Wasatch, Provo and Jordan.

    There is an important election coming up soon in which we can replace board members who either 1) don't do their homework even after hundreds of parents have brought these concerns to their attention, or 2) believe in patterning their district mission after a socialist. Either way, I'm tired of being told we're “misrepresenting” them with “falsehoods” when all these concerns are verifiable facts.

  • Melissa Rasmussen:


  • Melissa Rasmussen:

    The dean has never called me back so I will not be the one pointing out the connections BYU obviously has to Mr. Goodlad (all of these connections seem clear from the McKay School of Education's own web page). I have decided to wait on others who know more than I do regarding this issue. I anxiously await the out come of others' work. I am praying for a cleaning of the inner vessel–like when BYU's English Dept. was cleansed :).
    This is not the first time I have called BYU Dept. to find some thing out. Several months ago I called to confirm a friend's assertion that BYU's science dept. teaches evolution as a fact. After being directed to a packet of what teachers need to hand out to students so they can make up their own mind, the professor I called then revealed his support for evolution as fact. I told him I was concerned with his mingling the “philosophies of men with scripture”. His reply, with a laugh, “That is this whole university!”. Thanks Susie for Elder Packard's speech entitled “The Snow White Birds”. I think it is time the faculty of BYU hears this speech again.

  • Susie:

    Great work Melissa! I'm curious about the English Dept cleansing. I don't know about that, but when I went to a Lord Christopher Monckton lecture a few weeks back (he was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's former advisor who travels the world now de-bunking Global Warming), he was asked why BYU didn't sponsor his visit. He was told by the head of the science dept that BYU would NOT let him speak to the students there because the threat of Global Warming is REAL and they were appalled that he would go around debunking it. This was even after the Climate Gate catastrophy in which it was uncovered globally that the numbers were made up! What in the heck are they teaching over there these days? There's a lot of cleaning house that needs to be done apparently. It is clearer and clearer as to why the LDS Brethren focused their talks this Conference on parents fulfilling their responsibility to rear their children in the truths of the scriptures to offset the worldly philosophies that are creeping into every facet of society, especially the large Universities. Sadly, BYU is getting it's share too.

  • nathanbehn:

    I feel that this is an attempt to reboot the minds of our children. I have grown to understand that we not only don't live in a democracy we have given almost complete control of the government and schools to a select few. These few also have an agenda, much like your agenda to change what you dislike about the schools. Why don't you just sit and let the state make that decision. That's what you want right? You want the people in power to represent you. Those people just passed a health care bill even though there was astounding discontent from the majority of conservative community. Utah passed a bill taxing the minority to help the welfare of the majority threw a tobacco tax. Which sounds like people trying to tax ammunition for the betterment of the people. You wouldn't let that happen would you? I think you are afraid of democracy. Democracy was fine over the last 8 years. As a loyal libertarian i believe the power is with the people and through democracy limited or not the people can be heard. Severe limited democracy has led to right wing back door deals just the same as liberal agendas. The bailout was paid out under a conservative administration. The people are alive because of there belief in democracy, if you take that away i believe they will fight back. They will fight to gain the control they felt they once had. A republic is the idea that 10,000 people are better than 10 but it only takes 10 to make the choices .

    We should stop trying to protect ourselves from the evils of Socialism by enforcing what scars us most about it. We are scared of state control in our lives, but now we can't allow people to believe they are free. For they may become socialist's.

  • Several months ago this petition started as a result of this site owner (Oak Norton) noticing that the Utah state history standards failed to mention that the United States of America is a Republic. That fact is from Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution wherein the states that came together to draft the Constitution guaranteed their partner states that they could remain under a Republican form of government.

    No, that's not right. That section says that the states' governments shall be republican in form — for example, Hawaii could not be a state with the Hawaiian monarchy still at the top.

    It does not say, nor especially does it guarantee, that the federal government will be republican in form. Our government is a republic, but Article IV has little or nothing to do with that.

  • Exactly right Ed. Thanks for noticing that. I mistyped that above when I wrote this page, but if you'll notice the name of the website it is “Utah's Republic,” illustrating this point that the Constitution guaranteed each state a republican form of government under the federal republic.

    I've just posted Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural speech which I'd never read till today. I'll be posting this link on a couple replies to you for the benefit of future readers who may not see the link on this page.

  • Nathan, “we the people” don't have the time and inclination to study the issues in depth. That's what gave birth to representative government so that we could elect people that we felt would represent us to dig in and understand the issues and make the best decisions possible. There is no hope that the people of this country could ever do this except to devolve into despotism. I understand that people today believe the word “democracy” means the same thing as “republic” but those that established our country knew they were very different forms of government and what each led to.

    Do I want our representatives to make the decisions? Yes. They are studying the issues. As “the people” we hold them accountable for their actions and try to vote them out when we disagree with them or feel they've done a poor job.

    I am against the tobacco tax and bailouts. Although I am a registered Republican, I am most certainly not a defender of the party when it comes to their departure from principles of limited government.

    So as a Libertarian, do you follow Ron Paul? Here is a link to an excellent piece he wrote on the Republic/Democracy issue.

  • edarrell:

    You might do well to read a bunch of Jefferson — and Madison, and Hamilton, and erudite and educated commentaries upon them — before proceeding much further.

  • edarrell:

    I ask the reader to consider this is a man who is actively seeking through a stated agenda to subvert the rights of parents through social engineering.

    No more than you. Lay out your complete complaints, let's see who has the better ideas. Goodlad appears to recognize the truth that a good education always makes us uncomfortable. Utah was founded by people who understood that, but pursued education as a foundation stone for a good society, because ignorance is much worse.

    As Justice Holmes noted, a mind stretched to accommodate a new idea can never return to its same, small size again.

    Education changes people, yes. That's the idea. We hope it changes them for the better, instead of the crabbier way you advocate.

  • nathanbehn:

    I have just read the piece by Ron Paul. I understand his view and probably now much more of yours. I believe that i have wrongfully lumped you into a group of “right wing” fear mongering fascist. I feel that the right has included for some time “Rockefeller Republican's” hiding behind limited government to fuel greed. In an attempt to lower there own accountability and keep the people oblivious, they have used scare tactics such as communism, terrorists, and wall street. Over the last year or so i have heard a lot about mob rule mentality. I have believed this to a be a movement to prevent the the average from calling the few. Like Iraq and other scare tactics I believed this to be another attempt to scare the people into blindly trusting the government. I apologize for my uniformed opinion.

  • Thanks for seeking to understand Nathan. I really appreciate it. If you're comfortable with what we're trying to accomplish in promoting limited government and maximum personal liberty and responsibility under a republic, please sign the petition.

    Are you by chance a fan of Ayn Rand?

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Great quotes, but like all quotes, their meanings are often altered when removed from their context. You can actually take Hitler quotes and make him look like a loving and compassionate man, but when placed in their proper context, can mean quite another thing.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    I have yet to see evidence that the district mission statement actually translates into the individual classroom. History teachers have a state core curriculum that they must follow and the state core has nothing “Goodladian” about it. It is a trend to have mission, vision, and value statements in boardrooms around the country. It is a trend to justify the existence of a company bureaucracies. The public is to blame in part for insisting that schools operate like businesses. Do we really need to spend time, money, and energy on these silly, meaningless sayings. All schools have the same mission: To educate the young as best as possible with the resources provided.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    When I attended BYU, I received an informational packet on evolution in my religion class that contained various statements made on the subject by various authorities. The statements were all over the place. Elder Packard's view on evolution is just one of many. You can cherry pick the statements you want, but the church even admits that God works in ways that we don't fully understand.

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