Archive for February 7th, 2012

Hitler and Mussolini Would Love Our Public Schools

February 7, 2012

That is the opinion of the Catholic Bishop of Harrisburg Pennsylvania. I read this in CNS news.

 The Catholic bishop of Harrisburg, Pa., has apologized for offending anyone with his recent comments that Hitler and Mussolini “would love” the public school system in Pennsylvania, because it is similar to what they sought to create in their totalitarian states.

But in a statement issued by the diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Joseph McFadden did not retract comments he made during an interview on Jan. 24 with WHTM-TV, the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg.

The bishop made a comparison between the interests of the public school system and totalitarianism, while discussing what he sees as a lack of school choice in Pennsylvania.

“In the totalitarian government, they would love our system,” McFadden said. “This is what Hitler and Mussolini and all them tried to establish — a monolith; so all the children would be educated in one set of beliefs and one way of doing things.”

McFadden’s comments drew immediate criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union – which complained that the bishop had raised the specter of the Holocaust.

“We respect the Bishop and his position in the Church.  We appreciate his commitment the education of children and the viability of Catholic schools.  However, he should not be making his point at the expense of the memory of six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust,” Barry Morrison, Eastern Pennsylvania/Southern New Jersey regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

I think his comparison is uncalled for and unfair. I am positive that the schools in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy were able to teach almost all of their students to read.

Actually, I see the bishop’s point, as he explained in his apology.

In a statement on the Diocese of Harrisburg Web site, the bishop issued an apology to anyone who was offended by his remarks, but went on to explain and justify his references to Hitler and Mussolini:

“To those who may have been offended by my remarks, I apologize to them assuring them that I purposely did not mention the holocaust,” the bishop said.

“The reference to dictators and totalitarian governments of the 20th century which I made in an interview on the topic of school choice was to make a dramatic illustration of how these unchecked monolithic governments of the past used schools to curtail the primary responsibility of the parent in the education of their children,” he said.

“Today many parents in our state experience the same lack of freedom in choosing an education that bests suits their child as those parents oppressed by dictators of the past. I intentionally did not make reference to the holocaust in my remarks,”

He’s right. I think that in the long run there is going to have to be some sort of school choice allowed in our public school system. The educational establishment is fighting any reform tooth and nail, but the failures of the system have become so obvious that I do not imagine they will be able to hold off reform for long.

 

 

 

Spanking Kids Causes Harm

February 7, 2012

So says a study reported by Yahoo News.

TORONTO (Reuters) – Spanking children can cause long-term developmental damage and may even lower a child’s IQ, according to a new Canadian analysis that seeks to shift the ethical debate over corporal punishment into the medical sphere.

The study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reached its conclusion after examining 20 years of published research on the issue. The authors say the medical finding have been largely overlooked and overshadowed by concerns that parents should have the right to determine how their children are disciplined.

While spanking is certainly not as widespread as it was 20 years ago, many still cling to the practice and see prohibiting spanking as limiting the rights of parents.

That point of view highlights the difficulty in changing hearts and minds on the issue, despite a mountain of accumulated evidence showing the damage physical punishment can have on a child, says Joan Durant, a professor at University of Manitoba and one of the authors of the study.

“We’re really past the point of calling this a controversy. That’s a word that’s used and I don’t know why, because in the research there really is no controversy,” she said in an interview.

Well, there you have it. The Science is Settled. There is no controversy. Our masters have spoken. Obviously parents should have no right to discipline children as they see fit. What do they know?

I like this part.

“What people have realized is that physical punishment doesn’t only predict aggression consistently, it also predicts internalizing kinds of difficulties, like depression and substance use,” said Durant.

“There are no studies that show any long term positive outcomes from physical punishment.”

I think better behaved children might be a positive outcome. Since spanking has fallen into disrepute, more and more children have become ungovernable brats. I could make some sort of connection but I am obviously not qualified to dispute Settled Science.

With the study, Durant hopes parents will start to look at the issue from a medical perspective.

“What we’re hoping is that physicians will take that message and do more to counsel parents around this and to help them understand that physical punishment isn’t getting them where they want to go,” she said.

She also hopes that countries that allow the practice – including Canada – will take another look at their child protection laws.

Because we can’t allow parents to decide how to raise children. It takes a village, or at least governments to do it right.

And, to conclude with some comedy,

Canada is one of more than 190 countries to have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a 1989 treaty that sets out protections for children.

The treaty – which has been ratified by all UN member states except for the United States, Somalia and South Sudan – includes a passage stating that countries must protect children from “all forms of physical or mental violence”.

Somehow the fact that states such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have signed this treaty has not prevented the practice of honor killings in these countries. But then, that treaty is not about the welfare of children. It is about eroding the concept of national sovereignty. This study, I suspect, is not about spanking. It is about giving the state an increased opportunity to intervene in private life.

Remember, “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”

Gallup Predicts Obama Loss

February 7, 2012

I saw this piece in the Washington Examiner last week and have been meaning to mention it. Essentially the argument is that if Obama wins only the states where he has a positive approval rating, he will be looking for a new home on January 20, 2013. Here is the map they provide.

Of course it is really to early to make any predictions, especially when it is not entirely certain who he will be running against. Yes, it looks like it will be Romney, but he hasn’t gotten the nomination yet. It looks like they got that map from 270towin. I’ve been playing around with the map and based on the past voting history of the states, I think it will be a whole lot harder for any republican to defeat Obama than this map indicates. In any case I hope no one in the RNC sees this. They do not need to be getting overconfident.


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