The Full Story: My Experience with Alpine School District

Utah County…

The most conservative county in the most conservative state in the country…

It can’t happen here…

All is well…

If it can happen here, it’s probably happening in your school district too.

(Please spread this message)


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

After sending someone the first draft of my story (right-click to save the pdf), she wrote back that it kept her up till 1 am reading it and then she couldn’t go to sleep till 4 because she was so mad. I can only hope it has the same effect on you when you see these events and concerns chained together. I hope it will help you realize that a change in educational leadership is needed in Alpine School District (ASD).

The full story is attached which details the experience of many parents in dealing with ASD over the last several years including the Investigations math fiasco, down to some of the latest disturbing events which you may have read in the press concerning the district’s infatuation with someone Charlotte Iserbyt calls “the nation’s premier change agent.” I hope you will read at least portions of the attached letter, but I will post 2 things below for your convenience. First my endorsements for school board race candidates in ASD, and second the historical list of concerns with the district.

Primary voting is June 22nd. Early voting is happening through the 18th. Check for locations at http://elections.utah.gov.

*Candidates I endorse, mainly due to their positions on math and civics education (This list has been edited after the primary to only show the candidates that made it through the primary. All are in the November election against a candidate that will maintain the status quo.)

A1-Lehi/Saratoga Springs/Eagle Mountain
*Paula Hill (http://paulahill4u.wordpress.com/)

A2-Highland/Alpine/Cedar Hills/Small segment of Northeast Lehi
*Wendy Hart (http://wendyhart2010.com)

A3-American Fork
Incumbent-*Tim Osborn (http://www.electtimosborn.com/)

A5-Southwest Orem
*Scott Bell (http://www.BELLforSchoolBoard.com)

The Abigail Adams Project invited all the candidates to answer a number of questions for voter guides. You may view all of Utah here for those candidates that responded:
http://www.abigailadamsprojectut.com/voterinformation.htm

Historical List of Concerns with the District

Investigations Math

  • Alpine School District (ASD) intentionally removed the times tables, long division, and division by fractions from schools when they implemented Investigations math.
  • ASD’s school board failed to fix the problem when presented with clear and mounting evidence of increased failure rates.
  • ASD’s school board failed to remove Connected math when presented with facts about its failure, its removal from the state approved program list, and lack of any studies to support it.
  • ASD actually confiscated textbooks at 4 known schools to ensure teachers had to switch to Investigations math. John Burton, candidate for school board in American Fork, was over those schools at the time. His direct role in that (if any) is unknown.
  • ASD intimidated and threatened some teachers’ contracts at two elementary schools if those teachers didn’t implement Investigations math.
  • Multiple parents were individually told “you’re the only one that’s ever complained about the math” by a district math official in an attempt to isolate them. A similar thing happened when parents complained about another program a few years earlier.
  • ASD school board read a statement in 2003 to the Utah legislature on why they wouldn’t approve any more charter schools in ASD because the board wouldn’t be able to vouch for quality of education in those schools.
  • Orem investigated breaking away from ASD so ASD promised a choice for schools between “standards-based” (Investigations style) math or traditional math.
  • ASD only offers 2 “standards-based” programs (slightly better than Investigations). Then ASD provided teachers with Investigations math books the week before school, encouraged their use, and touts they now use “balanced” math. Public is lulled back to sleep while some ASD teachers use Investigations 100%.

The United States Constitution

  • ASD is the ONLY school district in the state to refuse to help distribute “In God We Trust” posters to teachers…because the word “Republic” was on the posters.
  • ASD is indoctrinating teachers (which filters to students) that we are not a Republic. Teachers in turn tell students we are not a Republic.
  • ASD promotes social and political democracy (Definition of social democracy: transformation from capitalism to socialism).
  • ASD linked their website to a radical anarchist who calls our Founding Fathers “predatory elitists” and is grateful we are moving away from being a republic toward pure democracy.
  • ASD blames *parents* for “misrepresenting” their position.
  • ASD refuses to tell how, and then lied about how the link got put up (told a parent the link just appeared out of nowhere).
  • ASD’s school board refuses to respond to parent’s questions—instead, defends the district. (Who do they work for?)
  • ASD administrators are given national awards for their commitment to promoting John Goodlad’s agenda.
  • ASD continues to pull web pages from their site due to controversial content
  • ASD just adopted a new termination policy limiting freedom of speech of district employees. You may be terminated if you bring “reproach” on the district.
  • ASD has paid for BYU employees at CITES with our tax dollars.

In spite of these negatives I am eternally grateful to ASD because if it wasn’t for their ability to be the poster child for reform in Utah:

  • We wouldn’t have a State Charter School Board
  • We wouldn’t have got the state math standards raised
  • We wouldn’t have got the help of legislators and the state school board to review the social studies standards and get the word Republic put back in the standards (in process)
  • Parents wouldn’t be waking up to the dangers of socialism right in our own back yard

Sincerely,

Oak Norton

The Full Story (right-click to save the pdf)

31 Responses to “The Full Story: My Experience with Alpine School District”

  • Guest:

    ASD also makes false claims in their “explanation” of the Mission Statement, found currently on their website. They misrepresent completely what the Values statements are. ASD says
    “Our mission statement is supported by our Values, four principles grounded in the Moral Dimensions of Teaching. They are: 1) All children should have access to a quality education, 2) Public education has a responsibility to teach children the social and political skills they need to successfully contribute in America’s culture of freedom, law, and civic responsibility, 3) Every child needs a quality teacher to ignite their love of learning, and 4) We have a stewardship to the children for these things.”
    Yet – when you look to the left of the statement there is a link to “Moral Dimensions: Our Values” which list 4 completely different statements!
    They then go on to say:
    “The phrase, Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy, is the formal language for principle #2 (above).”
    But again – when you click on the Values link, “Enculturating the Young….” is the FIRST value, with completely different wording given to the explanation of the meaning of this value.
    SO – my question: Why the disconnect? If ASD is proud of their MS and Values statements, why not state them as they are on the website? Why re-word and misrepresent something they are proud of?
    I just don't get it…..

  • Guest:

    Clicked send before I finished. Thanks Oak for all your hard work. Whether or not people agree with your concerns of socialism, etc. it is obvious that the current ASD school board, excepting Mr. Osborn who seems to “get it”, have lost touch with those they have been elected to serve. Thank you for making people aware of the issues!!

  • Guest:

    ASD also makes false claims in their “explanation” of the Mission Statement, found currently on their website. They misrepresent completely what the Values statements are. ASD says
    “Our mission statement is supported by our Values, four principles grounded in the Moral Dimensions of Teaching. They are: 1) All children should have access to a quality education, 2) Public education has a responsibility to teach children the social and political skills they need to successfully contribute in America’s culture of freedom, law, and civic responsibility, 3) Every child needs a quality teacher to ignite their love of learning, and 4) We have a stewardship to the children for these things.”
    Yet – when you look to the left of the statement there is a link to “Moral Dimensions: Our Values” which list 4 completely different statements!
    They then go on to say:
    “The phrase, Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy, is the formal language for principle #2 (above).”
    But again – when you click on the Values link, “Enculturating the Young….” is the FIRST value, with completely different wording given to the explanation of the meaning of this value.
    SO – my question: Why the disconnect? If ASD is proud of their MS and Values statements, why not state them as they are on the website? Why re-word and misrepresent something they are proud of?
    I just don't get it…..

  • Guest:

    Clicked send before I finished. Thanks Oak for all your hard work. Whether or not people agree with your concerns of socialism, etc. it is obvious that the current ASD school board, excepting Mr. Osborn who seems to “get it”, have lost touch with those they have been elected to serve. Thank you for making people aware of the issues!!

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    How can you support Paula Hill when according to her own campaign literature she served as part of the BYU Partnership Cohort and BYU CITES Committees, that according to your own past comments, are part of being the Goodlad problem. In other words if Paula Hill proudly served on those committees that perpetuate Goodlad's ideas, then does she support Goodlad and therefore the ASD district motto?

  • Why don't you ask Paula the question Lewis? I have. Same for the other candidates. I endorse them based on my conversations with them. I think they'd be fantastic.

  • Dougc:

    Oak, thank you for your tireless research and information. Your ability to rely on research and facts rather than hearsay and rumors is why I have continued to listen to what you have to say and support your efforts whenever I can.

    Lewis, or anyone else, I am happy to engage in a civil discussion about these points here. For example, Lewis, you say this, “I'm not sure how well the patrons of a traditional public school system will be served when their board representative is impartial to charter schools.” When a person supports the children and their education, then that person will support all facets of education as I do. I support private schools and believe they are good for the children of Utah. I support public charter schools and believe that they are good for the children of Utah. I support traditional public schooling and believe that it is good for the children of Utah. If I were elected to the school board for a traditional public school district then I believe that my experience with charter schools would be invaluable to that board and the patrons of that district. If I truly cared about the children (as I believe Scott Bell does) then I would be an excellent resource even if I also supported charter schools for all of the good reasons charter schools exist.

    I invite your reply and comments as well as anyone else.
    Douglas R. Cannon

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Doug, I have lived long enough to know that what people say and what people do are two separate things. If there is a large ideological shake-up in the ASD school board, time will tell how things play out. I've learned not to put too much stock in what I believe to be true about people, but in what I see about them, and these questions need to be raised, not ignored or minimized. Oak, should know this best since he has experienced first hand some of our current school board members speak out both sides of their mouths. Putting new blood in the school board doesn't necessarily mean things will play out how you think they will or how parents think they will play out or put a stop to political posturing. I also don't believe that this is just about investigations math or Republic vs. Democracy. There are greater machinations at work and like I said before, time will reveal these new philosophies over time. I fervently believe there is a new push to teach our kids to espouse conservative politics in lieu of the perceptions that they are being indoctrinated with liberal politics. In my opinion, kids should be exposed to all view points, whether liberal or conservative. If you haven't figured it out, I'm neither a Conservative or a Liberal. Both ideologies have good and bad points, and historically compromise governments have a tendency to work best. This is what our kids need to learn, otherwise we are doomed as a country.

  • Susie Schnell:

    The ASD Board has repeatedly made the statement that parents have “misrepresented” them and the link was a “mistake”. After not getting away with the standby excuse that the link “accidentally” popped up out of thin air and landed on their site, I finally cornered the spokesperson on those two statements. She said I was the one who represented them because I told everyone about the Christ is Vampire link that their website was linked to. (Yea, that was my fault!). And the “mistake” was that the staffer was supposed to take the original article 'America: Republic or Democracy', and copy and paste it onto a PDF file so it stood alone on a page. The “mistake” was that she included the entire webpage from the Socialist atheist's website who wrote the anti-America page in the first place. I suppose we were all supposed to know that they proudly agreed with the idea that the Founding Fathers were predatory elites and the Constitution was a big mistake written by wealthy corrupt men only after power and gain, but we weren't supposed to know that the writer of that article, whom they deemed their expert on the American form of government, believes in anarchy, limiting to two children per family and that Christ was from a long line of vampires. I publicly apologize to all of you and to the district for “misrepresenting” them about their “mistake”. Will you forgive me for bringing all this (and their socialist “prophet” John Goodlad) to the surface for everyone to see while the board and superintendent hide behind their Moral Dimensions of values, critical thinking and nurturing? I suppose I need to learn from them what critical thinking and values are all about while giving the board lots of nurturing hugs for being so upright and honest with the parents about this whole controversy, but I missed all that reformed “education” when I went to private schools for most of my life. See what I missed?

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Susie, I'm troubled by the BYU angle in all of this. We hear about ASD, but it seems like BYU is a Goodlad supporter as well and it is though BYU that ASD got hooked up with Goodlad in the first place through the BYU–Public Schools Partnership. Is BYU wrong and therefore is the LDS church wrong because BYU is owned and operated and run by the LDS church and a sitting General Authority? I'm not sure what religion Oak Norton is or what religion you are, but as a Mormon I take offense at attacks on BYU and the LDS church.

  • Lewis, nobody is “attacking” BYU or the LDS church and to suggest such feels like trying to bait someone into an argument. Goodlad is a national figure as you know if you've been reading the posts. If you agree with his philosophies and approach, then just say so. If you don't, then join us and point out where his philosophies run counter to what you believe. No one is criticizing the church the the school in general. Once people are hired in a position (especially if they get tenure) then they will say and do almost whatever they want with no fear of retribution. This site has reported quite a few concerns. They are either true or false. I suggest you do your own homework Lewis and come to your own determinations.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Oak, I still can't separate ASD and BYU since they are tied at the hip with Goodlad as the rope. Of course Goodlad is a national figure, but one that BYU has adopted and therefore ASD. Since ASD is made up of mostly LDS patrons and administrators, aren't they doing what they believe the church wants them to do because BYU is run by the Church? I'm not trying to bait anyone into an argument, but I'm asking what I think are some very important questions. Perhaps if you want ASD to drop Goodlad, wouldn't it stand to reason to get BYU/LDS Church to change its mind on adopting the philosophies of Goodlad and then promoting them through the BYU–Public Schools Partnership. Its kind of like illegal immigration. If you really want illegal immigration to stop and the illegal immigrants to return home, then go after the pull factor–the people who employ illegal immigrants or provide benefits to them. I view those who hire illegal immigrants as the problem, not the illegal immigrants. If you offering them jobs from across the border, why wouldn't they accept it? The same thing with Goodlad. Isn't it likely that BYU is the problem, not ASD, yet if BYU is the source of the problem, and the LDS church endorses the BYU–Public Schools Partnership, then isn't the LDS Church endorsing Goodlad. You can't have your cake and eat it too on this issue, Oak. You can't ignore the role that BYU/LDS Church has to play. Call it “baiting” if you want, but I call it avoiding my questions and concerns of which you didn't address any. You say that you are not criticizing the LDS Church, but that is what you are doing when criticize someone who the LDS Church seems to have no problem with and in fact endorses through its school–BYU. I can't seem to separate the two as easily as you have done.

    Secondly, your “do your homework” comment is ridiculous. Once again, you are trying to twist my concerns into an indictment of Goodlad. Let us forget about Goodlad's philosophies for a moment and get back to the hear of my concerns.

    1. You cannot deny that Goodlad is a part of BYU's education philosophy.
    2. You cannot deny that BYU and ASD are linked through the BYU–Public School's Partnership with Goodlad's Philosophies being a central part of the BYU–Public School's Partnership.
    3. You cannot deny that BYU is owned and operated by the LDS Church.
    4. You cannot deny that BYU's President is a sitting General Authority (Cecil O. Samuelson) in the LDS Church.
    5. You cannot deny that BYU/LDS Church have done nothing to criticize and condemned the conduct of the McKay School of Education and its professors since your exposure of Goodlad as a commie-loving slime ball.

    I agree with your historical representation of Goodlad, but like BYU/LDS Chuch and ASD, I disagree with your interpretation of Goodlad. Perhaps he really meant for our country to become a Marxist bastion. That is a possibility, but that is not what is important. What is important is ASD and BYU's interpretation of Goodlad. Why do you not believe their explanations? If Goodlad was on the school board, I could see getting upset, but he is not on the school board. From what I've seen in ASD and BYU (I was a student), they are not teaching kids to throw our Republic down the toilet and become Athenian Democrats. They simply want students to be active participants in our Representative Democracy (Republic). They want them to become engaged in our government and want them to have equal access to education, rather than a system of haves and have nots where those who can afford it get an education while those who can't don't get an education. That is the interpretation I have heard from ASD and BYU/LDS Church. Why aren't you willing to accept that for now and keep a watchful eye on things rather than entertain a conspiracy that ASD and BYU want to get rid of our Republic. This is one of the most conservative and patriotic places in our nation, including ASD and BYU. It is almost laughable to think that Marxism is boiling up through all that false conservatism. Believe me, as soon as I see evidence that direct democracy and socialism is being preached in our schools, I will be one of the first to rise up in anger, but for now, a district motto with a different interpretation from yours, is not enough evidence this is happening. I need real evidence. I need to see evidence that the ASD and BYU are training teachers to teach their students to ditch our Representative Democracy in favor of Athenian Democracy and therefore a conspiracy to turn us into a socialist/Marxist nation. Show me that and I will willingly join you, Oak.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Oak, I read your testimonial. I find it a very interesting work of historical fiction in some cases. I will be brief, but could you provide proof that ASD is brainwashing their teachers to believe that America is not a Republic. I've talked with several social studies teachers in ASD and they say that is completely untrue. There has been no brainwashing sessions and they still teach that America is a Republic (Representative Democracy). They even teach the Constitution and not just the Bill of Rights as Casey Voeks contends. Also, you mention that ASD wouldn't distribute the “In God We Trust” poster to teachers because it contained the world Republic. Could you please tell me the full text of the poster. I'm not sure how “Republic” fit with “In God We Trust.” Also, do you have proof that they would have distributed the posters if it didn't contain the word “Republic.” Maybe they just didn't want to distribute your posters because of the size of it or they don't like you personally or they didn't make sense. There could be a large variety of reasons. In my local school the fire department ordered the teachers to remove all paper from their walls because it was against fire code (which I though was ridiculous). When my child can home telling me this, I didn't believe it until I confirmed it. Maybe that was a district concern with your posters.

    I find the district policy on terminating employees because they speak out to be unsettling. I will look into that further. I'm not sure what constitutes a “classified” employee. Are they actually teachers or secretaries and custodians? I think classified employees are those who work as support staff in a school or district office. I can't see them changing this policy in regards to teachers because I can't see the teacher's association going for such a thing and policies such as this couldn't be hidden from teachers so easily. Thank goodness for teacher's associations if teachers aren't impacted by this policy.

  • A Republic is not the same thing as a Representative Democracy.

    You can see the poster at http://www.ingodwetrustposters.com.

    Classified employees are district office employees.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    People democratically elect their representatives. So doesn't that make us a Representative Democracy. We still have Democratic institutions in this country that were given to us by our framers. If memory serves, the Constitution reads: We the People, not We the Government or We the Legislature, or We the Delegates. The beauty of our system is that ultimately, people hold the power. That is the nature of a democracy. In our type of Democratic system, we elect people to represent us and our interests and to protect the minorities though law. That is called a Constitutional Republic form of government also known as a Representative Democracy. Of course it is hard to exactly define any system of government as this British website http://www.reference.com/browse/representative+… shows:

    Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of the people's representatives.

    The representatives form more than one independent ruling body (for an election period) charged with the responsibility of acting in the people's interest, but not as their proxy representatives; that is, not necessarily always according to their wishes, but with enough authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances. It is often contrasted with direct democracy, where representatives are absent or are limited in power as proxy representatives.

    In many representative democracies (Canada,Australia, UK, etc), representatives are most commonly chosen in elections by a plurality of those who are both eligible to cast votes and actually do so. A plurality means that a winning candidate has to win more votes than any other candidate in the race, but does not necessarily require a majority of the votes cast. While existing representative democracies hold such elections to choose representatives, in theory other methods, such as sortition (more closely aligned with direct democracy), could be used instead. Also, representatives sometimes hold the power to select other representatives, presidents, or other officers of government (indirect representation).

    A representative democracy that emphasizes individual liberties is called a liberal democracy. One that does not is an illiberal democracy. There is no necessity that individual liberties are respected in a representative democracy.

    Today, in liberal democracies, representatives are usually elected in free, secret-ballot, multi-party elections. The power of representatives in a liberal democracy is usually curtailed by a constitution (as in a constitutional republic or a constitutional monarchy) or other measures to balance representative power:

    * An independent judiciary, which may have the power to declare legislative acts unconstitutional (e.g. Supreme Court)
    * It may also provide for some deliberative democracy (e.g., Royal Commissions) or direct democracy measures (e.g., initiative, referendum, recall elections). However, these are not always binding and usually require some legislative action – legal power usually remains firmly with representatives.
    * In some cases, a bicameral legislature may have an “upper house” that is not directly elected, such as the Canadian Senate, which was in turn modeled on the British House of Lords.

    The term republic may have many different meanings. Today, it often simply means a state with an elected or otherwise non- monarchical head of state, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran or Republic of Korea. It may also have a meaning similar to liberal democracy. For example, “the United States relies on representative democracy, but [its] system of government is much more complex than that. [It is] not a simple representative democracy, but a constitutional republic in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law.(Scheb, John M. An Introduction to the American Legal System. Thomson Delmar Learning 2001. p. 6)

    So you can see that we are both right in our own ways. There just isn't a black and white, simple way to pigeon-hole a definition of government. I have been trying to argue this from the start. This is very abstract and difficult for people to understand, especially young people.

  • Lewis, before I respond I would like to know if you (since you're LDS) believe that the constitution was an inspired document and in the words of Ezra Taft Benson, “a sacred document” and “akin to the revelations of God?”

    Doctrine & Covenants 98:5-6
    5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
    6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

    D&C 101:77-80
    77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
    78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
    79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
    80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

    D&C 109:54
    54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    I believe that our framers were inspired to write it but that the document itself is not the literal word of God. For instance, the constitution kept slavery as a legal institution and I believe God would never endorse the bondage of a people as you quoted in D&C 101:79.

  • Susie Schnell:

    Lewis, this whole controversy is one that we wish we didn't have to tackle, believe me. I wasn't looking for this at all and I'd rather get back to my family and prior life. But when I did the research after I ran into the enculturating sign, my heart sank. I knew that I needed to let others know how deep this situation was right here in the heart of a strong, faithful LDS community. It isn't just one or two teachers, it is deeply rooted at the district level through their trainings, conferences, and people who they deem are the experts to set policy and curriculum. People here realize that Progressivism has taken hold in other parts of the nation but think we're immune to it so they trust everyone, making it easy for things like this to happen right under our noses. When you hear the frustration in my voice, I am sorry and have to watch my tone. It is because I thought that these good people just didn't know and as soon as they were aware that they were following the teachings of a known atheist/humanist/socialist, that they would immediately be concerned and re-evaluate. Instead, they have tried to trivialize us for bringing it up properly at the school board meeting. Instead of looking into it and studying it out, many of the board members refuse to read what we've given them but instead ridicule that we are right-wingers who watch too much Fox TV. I resent that because I'm an intelligent, caring parent like you who only wants to bring this out into the light where it belongs so that we can all discuss it. I came here to Utah to escape this kind of thing. No one is sadder than I am to know that I ran into this. It has been a shock to many. I am in no way EVER attacking the church. I am a strong member of the LDS Faith and therefore listen to the prophet and his apostles. My faith comes through them, Jesus Christ, the scriptures and the Holy Ghost, not BYU professors. There are many different political leanings at ASD and also BYU. That is fine. Heavenly Father has given us all agency to choose and the church doesn't take political sides. Just because a professor let this in many years ago or teaches Goodlad today does not mean the church endorses it. Until I hear that from the pulpit, I don't believe it. My plea to the school board is that we need to get rid of politically charged statements and direction from either side in order to put academics first for our children, despite our differences. That is not Goodlad's agenda, so they won't do it. I also agree with you that we need to offer a wide range of curriculum, but I don't agree that this Progressive agenda should be the entire direction of the program for there are many dangers that come with it, as many have stated in past years such as Ezra Taft Benson, David O. McKay and J. Reuban Clark. When an apostle of the Lord tells me to beware of social justice and moral relativism like he did this last conference, I believe him. My church leaders say to watch out for modern day Korihors. They tell me to beware of social justice and moral relativism. They tell me that we should worship God, not humans or the environment. They tell me that salvation comes individually, not collectively. They tell me that in the last days, even the elect will be deceived and that the 3 things that will threaten this church from within are the flattery of prominant men, false educational ideas, and sexual immorality. I have full faith that the Lord knows what is going on through His prophets and I trust that they know much more than I do. But I do not agree that a person employed by a University or a school district who teaches the philosophies of men mixed with scripture is going to lead me on the right path. Why not follow the words and philosophies of Brigham Young, David O. McKay, Ezra Taft Benson or another man of God who has directly taught against John Dewey, Goodlad's mentor? Some say because ASD can't follow a religious leader, so why is a public school partnered with a religious school then? Fact is, a long time ago, someone employed by the school system brought in a worldly philosopher because he was nationally known and from then on, we've been following his worldly philosophies mixed with scripture because they sound good. The church does not belong in this public conversation because we ARE being respectful and faithful. I'm sure they are handling what they need to do at a level that I am not aware of and I don't question that. They are not aware of everything that goes on everywhere and if they are, they give men the agency to choose right and wrong. We are told that when these things come upon us that we are to warn others. We are trying as much as we can to respectfully do that. Thank you for being faithful and questioning. I never hoped to offend anyone and I am sorry. One day we'll know what comes from all of it. Until then, I continue in faith and I hope you do also.

  • Susie Schnell:

    Correction: I did not mean to say that this worldly man quotes scripture at all. I meant that he mixes worldly philosophies with some 'truth' to make it palatable. (Sound familiar?) He is an atheist and therefore would never use scriptures. The mistake we've made is thinking that when Goodlad says “values” or “morals” that he means the same thing we do as a religious community. In fact, he does not believe in moral absolutes and his educational philosophies directly conflict with church teachings if you spend the time to read his literature and compare it to church literature as I and many others have. The bigger mistake is that the school board thinks we can take a person who means one thing and redefine it to mean what we want it to mean. They have admitted that they know he's a socialist and atheist but don't have to agree with everything he says to completely follow him to the ends of the earth with his socialistic education theories. Really? Is that what the scriptures tell us to do? That makes no sense. Just get rid of his philosophies and let's start over.

  • Allan:

    Lewis,

    Your perspective may change if you look into the history of progressivism and this whole battle of ideas a little more. A premeditated and carefully planned array of social engineering has been taking place for more than a hundred years, and the insidious attack on the priciples of liberty and justice now come with greater power and sophistication than ever. It is led by bright, atheistic socialists.

    And if you think everything coming from or happening at BYU is fully approved by the Church you are sadly mistaken. It has been only a few years ago that a group of BYU Professors got up a petition to have President McKay resign and let younger men take his place, for example.

    While we can take words and attach meanings to them to suit our own views, we cannot completely detach from their genesis. And the lines used by ASD are right out of the social engineers' handbook. It is good to be alarmed. It is good to be vigilant. It is also good to take the good in ideas, from whatever source, and use them. But light shining on this issue is very important to the education of this generation.

  • Hods6mom:

    Oak, I can honestly say that people like you and Ms. Schnell are two reasons why I literally begged my daughter not to go into education in this state.

    Not to mention being two of the reasons why I absolutely refuse to ever teach in the state again myself. Which is unfortunate, because I am an excellent teacher.

    I see within my daughter the same love of this profession, the same heartfelt desire to make a difference in the life of a child, the same feeling of teaching being a calling, that I once felt.

    It's not enough that you dedicate your life to teaching. The good you do. The difference you make in the lives of children. It's not enough that you spend hundreds of dollars each year out of your own pocket. Or even that you put in hundreds and hundreds of unpaid hours into your classroom to make it a better place for your students to learn.

    Now a teacher gets to read that they (being too dumb to know better) are being indoctrinated into socialism!

    ” ASD is indoctrinating teachers (which filters to students) that we are not a Republic. Teachers in turn tell students we are not a Republic.”

    Really? Indoctrinating? And each of these newly indoctrinated zombie teachers have one goal and one goal only: to turn your children into socialists.

    The teachers I know and have spoken to are striving to provide an education to each child that crosses their threshold. Unlike most private and some charter schools, these teachers welcome ALL children.

    But, wait! Because like John Goodlad, I believe that ALL children, not just the elite, should be educated, I must also be a socialist.

    Just because Goodlad and I agree on this doesn't mean that I also think Christ came from a long line of vampires, btw.

    It's as though you believe that you know more than all of us, ergo, we must follow you to be safe. And if we don't see it the that you do we must (gasp!) disagree with Prophets such as Benson. Surely we can't possibly believe that the constitution is inspired if we don't agree with you.

    BTW, Oak. I've taught with your Math program of choice. In real life it comes up against the exact same issues other choices come up against in the classroom.

    All kids are different. They all learn differently. A child learns best when taught to their own unique learning style. And I don't care what graph or study you dig up and post. Real life experience puts all of that to bed.

    Can't wait to read what kind of evil you discern from that.

    I actually feel badly for anyone you have endorsed for ASD school board. You have done them more harm than good by endorsing them. Paula Hill very wisely blew off your endorsement.

    I have no doubt that in November's election your endorsement will be the next best thing to a political kiss of death.

    You are right, Oak. People are waking up. In more ways than you realize.

  • bwe:

    Wow, I teach 1st grade in ASD. I do have a “In God We Trust” poster hanging up with the word REPUBLIC. It's been there for several years. I have the Constitution hanging in my room. We learn the National Anthem. We write our soldiers serving in the military. I personally read the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers several times every year. I am very conservative. With that said, I 100% agree with the Moral Dimensions that BYU and ASD use. You may want to go into the classrooms and witness what is happening before you decide that teachers at ASD and Brigham Young University are trying to make your kids progressive socialists. You would have a hard time finding a group of men and women who love this country and the Constitution on which it's founded more than the people you are throwing under the bus.

  • bwe, I am glad you feel this way. Not all teachers or parents in the district agree with you on Goodlad's Moral Dimensions or his agenda. I am happy you are doing those things in your classroom.

  • Hods6mom, here's a brief reply to each of your points:

    Indoctrination: What do you call it when teachers are required to recite Goodlad's 4 Moral Dimensions before every faculty meeting? This may not be happening at your school, but it is at some schools in the district.

    When I get stories from 3 independent families at different schools that their children have been told in front of the class that we are not a Republic but are a Democracy, that is mass distribution of a falsehood. Either the teacher is a knowing participant in it, or is doing it because that's what they've been taught by the district. I attribute it to be the latter in this instance. I do not believe most teachers that espouse such falsehoods have any ill will or ill intent in doing so. I think most all the teachers in this district are doing a great job.

    Math: I'm not sure you understand Singapore math if this is what you believe. It's got mental math for the audible learners, and it's got very visual diagrams such that children start learning algebraic concepts in 3rd grade and by 5th grade they are doing 2 variable equations we wouldn't hit till 7-8th grade. About it's only shortcoming it has is it doesn't cater to “nasal learners.” :)

    Do you believe Bill Ayers is a good guy? After blowing stuff up a few decades ago as a terrorist, and currently admitting he's proud of it, he curiously went into the field of education. I'm sure you're quite jaded against me because of the strong stands I've taken, but I would ask that you forget about me, and just ask yourself if you would want Bill Ayers teaching your children. Then take a look at the comparison between Ayers and Goodlad on this site (https://www.utahsrepublic.org/education/whats-th…). If you don't think Goodlad and Ayers are really all that similar, ask yourself why Bill Ayers is the keynote speaker at this October's John Goodlad NNER conference. Then you might consider why the NNER is trying to push the homosexual movement into BYU.

    You see, I'm not against the teachers. I'm against an administration that threatens teachers not to teach the times tables or their contracts may be canceled. I'm against an administration that has *some* progressives in it who link to a radical website and then say, “oh it was a mistake. We were just printing out the page and mysteriously the web link appeared on our website.” That happened by the way.

    Here's a few recent comments from teachers who actually DO appreciate what I'm doing and realize I'm not attacking teachers, I'm trying to promote correct principles:

    “I just stumbled onto this site. Thank you for this. I am a teacher in ASD and feel so alone, as many teachers do, because of the corruption of the administration in the district. There needs to be a complete overhaul. I have personally seen them push some of the best teachers out. I want to do more, but when I do speak up about the way things are done, I always seem to get in trouble. My school had the opportunity to invest in a great history program, with pictures and displays and a curriculum. Our principal pushed to use our Trustlands money to pay for more “aids” to help out with students. All they really do is office work and what he wants. I believe in this country and want a great history curriculum to be enforced. The only thing the students are getting now are worksheets and little books to find answers. There is no “teaching” taking place or understanding of our great nation being professed. I want to do more. Hopefully I can, without getting into trouble or losing my job.”
    -Alpine School District Teacher

    “I was an employee of Alpine school district and attended many meetings were I encountered that heinous sign. It is also in the teacher learning center adjacent to the district office. It used to infuriate me, though I did not realize the ramifications at that time. I now teach history at a private school and am teaching my students about “true” American history. We are in fact learning this week about the difference between a democratic republic and a democracy. I admit I was not informed until I did my research. This was very timely.”
    -Former Alpine School District Teacher

    “I am shocked that our educational system says that we are a Democracy. Especially since I am a retired History teacher.”
    -District unknown

  • Aaron:

    I have breezed through some of the post here. The Alpine School district and BYU are accredited schools. In order for them to be such they must teach socialism. If the general authorities authorized not to teach socialism none of the members of the church would go to unaccredited BYU. Do you think it better for the members of the church to get religion from there university to battle the concepts of man or no religion at all? I think the general authorities and
    God think that it is better for the student to get that religion from his or her university.
    The alpine school district gets there money form 3 sources. They get there money from federal Grants, State Grants and property tax. It is like a buissness. It has share holders. The share holders dictate what is taught in the sohools. Oak do you know how much shares the federal, State and property owner has? I would like to know so I can tell who gets to control the education system of the Alpine school district and how the parents can buy those shares. If the parents can buy the shares then the parents can control the education system of Alpine school.

  • Interesting question Aaron. On the UtahEducationFacts.com site there is a graph on this page (http://www.utaheducationfacts.com/index.php?opt…) that shows 9% from the federal government, 29% from property taxes, 55% from state income taxes, 1% from liquor taxes, and 6% from other local sources. Personally, I would be in favor of starting by rejecting the federal money (about $310 million) and rejecting the federal mandates.

  • OK Lewis, sorry for the slow reply. Also sorry for the long reply. I wanted to give you a thoughtful response but I’m a bit long winded sometimes. Don’t start asking around or you’ll be questioning my choice of the word “sometimes.” ;)

    You’ve loaded your two emails with a lot of stuff to reply to. I’m going to say two things to start.

    One, I freely admit I’m not a constitutional scholar. I try to look to principles as I best understand them and then make the best judgments I can from information I’m given.

    Two, I really recommend attending Stephen Pratt’s class on the difference between a Republic and Democracy sometime. I think he’s doing one in July out in Saratoga Springs. He IS a scholar and can explain the history of the terms and how they changed and I think he does a great job.

    Thomas Jefferson said, “The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the function he is competent to. Let the National Government be entrusted with the defence of the nation and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward [neighborhood] direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.”

    I like this a lot because it expresses the notion that we should put the management of a function where it is best overseen by someone. National defense is best handled at the national level. Farming is best handled by the farmer. Today’s federal government wants control over every aspect of our local lives (including education).

    Now your British website quote full of a variety of names for government forms express a lot of nuances. You end by saying this is very abstract and difficult for young people to understand. I don’t share that particular view. I think it’s very easy to express what our constitutional republic is. My definition of a republic is one based on laws that respect natural law (God gives man rights), representation, limited power, and checks and balances. In contrast, a government not based on law is based on man. If it is based on man, then man gives and takes everything including rights. In a republic based on law, rights are written into the law to protect all the people, minorities included. In a democracy, the majority can change the rights of the minority (whether they want to do it based on race or class or anything else).

    Others may define a constitutional republic differently such as one set of BYU professors that defined it as consisting of two principles, 1) sovereignty of God and 2) limited franchise.

    The reason I asked your view on the constitution being inspired is two-fold. I first wanted to make sure we had some common ground. We do.  Second, I wanted to discuss some of what is recorded in the scriptural record and see if we can find additional common ground.

    There are examples of constitutional republics in the scriptures. The Israelites were heavily looked to by the Founders as an example of a people who had God’s law, and then set up representatives (of 10’s, 50’s, 100’s, 1000’s) and judges to rule on the law. The rights of the people were defined by God and so the judges just had to ensure the laws were enforced to meet the laws. Some years after the judges, the people said they wanted a king so they could be like other nations so Samuel went and anointed Saul to be the king and told the people they were in for it because in selecting a king, they had rejected *The King*.

    In the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 29 talks about the Nephites setting up a constitutional republic. Shortly after the “Reign of the Judges” started, men arose who desired a king and it caused a lot of problems. Kingmen kept arising and kept being put down.

    In D&C 134:3 we read “We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.”

    In that verse I see in a very simple view that there are 2 core forms of government. One is a republic base on law, and the other is that of an oligarchy of some type. A monarchy isn’t really viable because a king always has close advisors he treats well and they enjoy much power just like the king. A democracy always has leaders that rise to the top for the people or the government goes up in flames (as Adams said) and out of its ashes comes some type of dictatorship.

    That’s my thoughts on a republic in a nutshell. God calls it a republic, our founders called it a republic in the Constitution, and we ought to call it a republic and understand the core principles, especially that natural rights come from God. That is a notion that John Goodlad and Bill Ayers reject and thus they preach democracy and that morals and knowledge must be democratically decided by the majority, based on things they can scientifically determine with their senses. This is why I reject them. Morals are based on God’s laws, not man’s determinations.

    Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a great talk about rejecting moral relativism at the last conference (April 2010) and rejecting the doctrine of Korihor. If we are to follow that counsel, why would we let a modern day Korihor into our teaching ranks just because *some* of what he preaches is good. Some of what he preaches is really bad and will lead to a decline of morals. ASD folks will say, “oh we would never do that” and I tend to agree in general. But by partnering with him, what kind of people are we to others? Are we setting ourselves apart by rejecting a modern day Korihor? I think not.

    Well, enough rambling on on that subject. I’d like to comment briefly on two things you brought up in your second email, slavery and Columbus.

    You noticed in D&C 101:79 that it reads “Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another” and said this is anti-slavery. However, I think you need to read the next verse in a different light. Verse 80 reads “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

    Aren’t those first few words curious? 79 says we shouldn’t have slavery, but verse 80 says that’s why God inspired the Constitution…yet AT THAT TIME, the provision for slavery was in the Constitution. How can it be that the Constitution was inspired for (at least one purpose) putting down slavery when it was written into the document?

    Glenn Beck explained this one night on his show. Many of the Founding Fathers were against slavery but the Southern states wouldn’t join the union unless slavery was protected. What happened next almost seems racist until you understand what was really happening. When the Constitution said there would be a House and Senate and the House based on population, the South wanted greater representation so they wanted to count the slaves in their numbers in order to inflate their representation which would in turn protect slave-owners. Northerners retorted to Southerners that they called slaves property and it wouldn’t be right to count property or the North would want to count horses, wagons, and so on to include in their property. When the South tried to say they were people, the North reminded them that “all men are born equal” so the South was in a fix. The compromise in the end was that they would count slaves as 3/5th a person in order to reduce Southern representation and make moves toward eliminating slavery over time. That is where the 3/5th came from. It wasn’t an effort to minimize the worth of a person called a slave, it was to reduce pro-slave representation in congress. A fascinating piece of history we don’t hear any more.

    Now on Columbus, I must disagree with you on a couple of counts. In his journals he often wrote of the guiding hand of the Lord such as this example: “With a hand that could be felt, the Lord opened my mind to the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. . . . This was the fire that burned within me. . . . Who can doubt that this fire was not merely mine, but also of the Holy Spirit” (West and Kling pg. 105). I do not believe Columbus was like so many of the other explorers who were greedy. I believe he was a good person who was motivated by more noble things. Before you reply to this, I would like to ask that you send me your personal email address through the contact form because I’d like to send you something off-board to consider.

    I do agree with you that the Lord can use a flawed person for a greater purpose. The Lord told the Israelites that if they didn’t wipe out the inhabitants of Canaan that he would use those people as a thorn in their side. Isaiah also speaks about the right hand of the Lord (prophet) and the left hand (wicked King of Babylon) which will wipe out the wicked.

  • Jennette:

    Just so you know, the BYU schools are NOT the LDS standard. They don't pray on most if not all of the decisions made for the academic of their schools. Yes they are owned by the church, but they AREN'T the church. A board meets and decides things without the first presidencies approval. Of course, some things need to be taken up with them, but not everything.

    I'm up at BYU-Idaho and while our school is messing itself up in different way, I know its not the church's fault, its the schools.

  • hods6mom:

    Oak, I'd LOVE to know which schools are requiring their teachers to recite the 4 Moral Dimensions before each faculty meeting. I'd love to speak to those Principals.

    I can ASSURE you that your neighborhood school does not. Your neighborhood school also hosts the Pledge each morning, AND carries your posters on it's walls.

    THREE whole families and you consider that an intentional *mass distribution* of a flasehood? Three teachers out of how many that are in the district?

    I am pretty sure I know one of the teachers of which you speak. I know, without a doubt, that in this situation ownership belongs totally to the teacher. The teacher misspoke. NO district indoctrination. NO willing participation in some socialistic plot.

    And if I'm not mistaken this teacher went back to the student and retracted his first statement.

    Could you look at this teacher and think that perhaps he's not all that bright? Yeah. But to jump to the assumption that he was deliberately trying to create a class of 6th grade socialists, or he was a newly indoctrinated District Zombie makes me wonder more about the accuser than the teacher.

    I not only understand Singapore Math, I've used it. I taught a math class one year at Highland using a hands on 'Balanced Math' (before it was called Balanced Math) approach going from abstract (hands on), to pictures, to just the equation, to mental math.

    I used techniques that could have been considered pre-Investigations, PLUS the current text book, AND a focus on facts, etc. I pulled whatever I needed to into my classroom in order to address each child's learning style. I even had certain kids working ahead that were ready to.

    And you know what? The two classes that used this approach scored beautifully…..they totally blew away a local private school as well. (This private school used Saxon, btw.)

    I know how to teach Math. I know Singapore Math.

    BTW, Investigations had grade K kids solving simple algebraic equations. They learned how to make both sides of an equation equal out.

    I don't care if a person has a degree in Math. Having a degree in Math and having a degree and a talent for teaching are two totally different things. Two totally different skill sets.

    No, I'm not a fan of Bill Ayers. Because I don't believe that ASD is trying to build a socialistic agenda by using the 4 Moral Dimensions DOES NOT put me into camp Ayers and Goodlad and all things socialistic.

    And quite frankly I take issue with you by trying to imply it does.

    Oak, didn't Alpine School District say that they would take a look at the motto? Didn't they say that they had a process in which they needed to engage and a desire to bring in the ideas of other patrons as well, before any changes might be made?

    You know as to make sure EVERYONE was fine with anything new going up.

    I'm not the only parent who is getting exceptionally tired of people like you and Suzie Schnell setting your heads on fire and then crying “Socialist!” if the rest of us don't set our heads a light from your same blaze.

    Your middle name wouldn't happen to be McCarthy would it?

    And I stand by my original prediction, anyone associated with you come November will wind up regretting it.

  • Tammy,
    1) I was very grateful for Reed’s support in putting up the In God We Trust posters.
    2) Mass distribution means broadcasting to a group. When a teacher broadcasts to a class something that is clearly false, that is mass distribution. When the district promotes John Goodlad's socialist moral dimensions, that is mass distribution. When I say I personally know of 3 instances, that means that in my very tiny world of contacts, I have a sample of 3 real experiences. Extrapolate it and it becomes bigger. Not to mention that several teachers have contacted me and expressed that it is happening elsewhere. Teachers teach what they are taught. It's not that they are outright teaching socialism, but the fact that so many teachers are teaching we are a democracy and not a republic is an indication they do not know the difference themselves and now they are passing that on to their students. That isn't teaching socialism, but it is teaching falsehoods that will propagate.
    3) You are mistaken on the teacher. The teacher never went back to the class and corrected the statement. He argued with this 6th grader in class telling her we were not a republic but were a democracy. Only privately did he admit to the girl that we are a republic but he never felt the need to correct that for the class. A day or more later she brought in a copy of the 5,000 Year Leap and had it on her desk which she was reading and in front of the class the teacher said the book was “pure science fiction.” Clearly out of line, not only for saying such a thing to this girl, but also showing how shallow his understanding of the book is. It’s full of statements from our Founding Fathers.
    4) So what’s your beef with my #1 math pick? You didn’t really say anything negative about Singapore math.
    5) I guess I’d better start associating with JoDee, Chrissy & Donna then… :)

  • Tammy,
    1) I was very grateful for Reed’s support in putting up the In God We Trust posters.
    2) Mass distribution means broadcasting to a group. When a teacher broadcasts to a class something that is clearly false, that is mass distribution. When the district promotes John Goodlad's socialist moral dimensions, that is mass distribution. When I say I personally know of 3 instances, that means that in my very tiny world of contacts, I have a sample of 3 real experiences. Extrapolate it and it becomes bigger. Not to mention that several teachers have contacted me and expressed that it is happening elsewhere. Teachers teach what they are taught. It's not that they are outright teaching socialism, but the fact that so many teachers are teaching we are a democracy and not a republic is an indication they do not know the difference themselves and now they are passing that on to their students. That isn't teaching socialism, but it is teaching falsehoods that will propagate.
    3) You are mistaken on the teacher. The teacher never went back to the class and corrected the statement. He argued with this 6th grader in class telling her we were not a republic but were a democracy. Only privately did he admit to the girl that we are a republic but he never felt the need to correct that for the class. A day or more later she brought in a copy of the 5,000 Year Leap and had it on her desk which she was reading and in front of the class the teacher said the book was “pure science fiction.” Clearly out of line, not only for saying such a thing to this girl, but also showing how shallow his understanding of the book is. It’s full of statements from our Founding Fathers.
    4) So what’s your beef with my #1 math pick? You didn’t really say anything negative about Singapore math.
    5) I guess I’d better start associating with JoDee, Chrissy & Donna then… :)