Grassroot Perspective – March 25, 2003-Progressive Discipline; A Little Testing Lesson; The Return of Civil Defense?

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Progressive Discipline

The Palm Beach Classroom Teachers Association is appealing the dismissal of Florida middle school teacher Anthony Asci, who was fired for sending a “racially offensive e-mail” to a dozen co-workers about a fellow teacher. The union says Asci was not given “progressive discipline,” which is a lovely double-entendre under the circumstances. A first offense would normally bring a verbal reprimand. Four offenses are required before firing. In his defense, Asci claimed he had never received training on proper e-mail procedures (Memo from the superintendent: The annual bake sale is next week, and don’t forget that e-mailing racial slurs is a no-no!).

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Asci had previously sent an email that used “negative racial stereotypes.” Nevertheless, fellow teachers supported Asci at a recent school board meeting. “To fire him over a mistake like this doesn’t take into account what’s best for students,” said teacher Tao Valentine.

– A Little Testing Lesson

Eight Massachusetts high school seniors filed for an injunction against enforcement of the state’s use of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test as a graduation requirement. The eight students failed the test and are in danger of being denied their diplomas. The graduation test covers English and math.

A look at actual MCAS test questions is illuminating. The math portion includes “Donna runs 6 miles in 1 hour. At this rate, how long will it take Donna to run 4 miles?” and “Victoria’s automobile used approximately 5.8 gallons of gas to travel a total of 173 miles. Which of the following is closest to the number of miles per gallon Victoria’s automobile averaged on this trip?” The more difficult questions, which include algebra and geometry, are rendered much easier to solve because memorization of formulae is not required. The test helpfully provides those necessary to solve all test questions.

The English section provides the usual reading comprehension questions. One selection focused on the Navajo code talkers in World War II. The writing portion asks students to “Explain why the Navajo language was a good choice for a military code. Use relevant and specific information from the article to support your answer.”

Another writing prompt asks students to “describe a conflict that ends unexpectedly and explain why this resolution is unexpected.” As a public service, EIA provides this ready-made response for these eight students:

“When I failed the MCAS, I thought filing an injunction would be the easiest way to get around the graduation requirement. Lots of helpful education officials and lawyers told me this was a good idea, and they even put up the cash themselves! Pretty soon, they had written a 106-page document explaining why the graduation requirement was unfair. Imagine my surprise when they asked me to read it! I worked my way through it all right, but I had a little trouble understanding it.

“My lawyer suggested we file the injunction right away. She explained
that there were only four months until graduation, and the superior court backlog was hefty! She said the court had 564 cases to decide before ours, and assuming 88 working days until graduation, and a rate of four cases a day, it was clear that graduation day would arrive before our case was heard, and I’d be toast! I don’t know how she figured that out, but I was glad she was around (and even gladder I wasn’t billed for the 170 hours she worked this week!).

“But all these meetings, conference calls and candlelight vigils were
starting to eat into my social life, and my grandpa said, ‘Why don’t you just study, you ignoramus!’ I don’t know why he calls me that. He knows I don’t understand Latin. Anyway, I thought I’d give this studying thing a try. And guess what? I passed the test! Even my lawyer said, ‘Wow! That was unexpected!’ Now my buddies have all fired their lawyers and started hanging out with my grandpa. We’re all going to celebrate by going to Florida on spring break. as soon as we can find it on the map.”

Above articles are quoted from The Education Intelligence Agency
Communique — February 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

READY.GOV: The Return of Civil Defense?

By Rod D. Martin,

Tom Ridge’s high-profile launch this week of, the Homeland
Security Department’s online counterpart to its much-publicized ad
campaign, represents a significant shift in government thinking on how to prepare for terrorism.

The question, though, remains: Will that shift ultimately encompass
real civil defense?

Unlike most government action to date, which has focused heavily on
top-down actions to thwart terrorists, is all about you: how will you plan for a disaster, how will you “duck-and-cover” in the event of a nuclear attack, and so forth. It has links to Red Cross training, FEMA disaster preparedness manuals, and sections devoted to making an emergency kit, developing a family emergency plan, and surviving a dirty bomb.

All of this is excellent, both practically and philosophically:
government cannot protect every American from every contingency, and
ought to empower them to defend themselves at need (this is, after all, the purpose of the Second Amendment). It is the sort of thing “homeland security” ought to mean.

Yet even so, it barely scratches the surface of the need. What should Americans do after they duck and cover, one wonders? There remains absolutely no means to protect our population — or any sizable portion thereof — in the event of a major attack, whether from North Korea or al-Qaeda or the nut of the month (and in a week of accidental disasters, the consequences of a Bhopal-like chemical plant disaster ought not be ignored either).

America needs more than a public service announcement: it needs a civil defense.

The president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, Dr. Jane Orient,
explains this need very simply: “If that soot raining down in Brooklyn [from the World Trade Center] had been radioactive, there would be many thousands, maybe millions of people dying slow, agonizing deaths from radiation sickness that could have been prevented had people had access to shelter.”

But there are no shelters.

After an early rush to protect Americans in the 1950s — from the
construction of fallout shelters to air raid drills in schools — civil defense was effectively gutted by JFK. Shelters and emergency
stockpiles didn’t fit with the spirit of MAD (“Mutual Assured
Destruction”); nor did they have big-ticket defense contractors to lobby for them. After a brief revival under Reagan, the Cold War ended, and with it the program: Bill Clinton officially abolished the Office of Civil Defense, selling off the few emergency supplies which remained.

During the Cold War, calls for even the most basic civil defense
measures were met by leftists with derision: “Why waste time on civil defense?” they asked. “When you came out of the shelter, there’d be nothing left.” The very idea of protecting American families was ridiculed by peaceniks with slogans like “after a nuclear attack the living will envy the dead.”

These “analyses” were moronic even then; today, they are manifestly
irrelevant. After an atomic September 11 there would have been an
entire country left, waiting desperately for news of its loved ones:
men, women and children whose lives could have been saved with just two weeks shelter from the radioactive rain.

Yet the legacy of this hippie foolishness remains.

Other countries were never so inane. The Soviet Union built and stocked sufficient shelters to house over 90 percent of its population, and required regular civil defense training for all. China’s system is so vast and so thorough that an entire city such as Beijing can be evacuated in 10 minutes. Switzerland’s civil defense network is designed to handle its entire population, as well as tens of thousands of refuges; it’s equipped to handle biological and chemical attacks as well.

Why should Americans have less? Why, in fact, do Americans have nothing at all?

Civil defense is low-tech and low-budget: starting from nothing, we
could protect every American for a one-time investment of about $140
billion — $500 per person, or a little more than 5% of one year’s
federal budget. After that, it’s all maintenance and training. It is
the most obvious, most useful possible mission for the Department of
Homeland Security.

A proper civil defense would give America — and Americans — the means to survive: survive terrorist attacks, survive the inevitable wars of the 21st Century, survive even natural disasters like the tornadoes that pummel our heartland every year.

But above all else, civil defense is just the right thing to do, morally as well as constitutionally. What kind of leaders don’t protect their own people? And what sort of nation spends billions on weapons but leaves its cities — its children — undefended? Earlier generations understood this well; and the true test of “homeland security” will be whether it returns to these roots.

Copyright: Rod D. Martin, 24 February 2003. Rod D. Martin, Founder and Chairman of Vanguard PAC (, is an attorney and writer from Little Rock, Arkansas. A former policy director to Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, he is the Center for Cultural Leadership’s Senior Fellow in Public Policy and Political Affairs, and Special Counsel to Founder Peter Thiel.

Above article is quoted from Vanguard PAC 2/24/03

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy’s side of the front is always propaganda and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace. Is it necessary for us at the height of our power to stoop to such self-deceiving nonsense?” — Walter Lippman

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’