Illiteracy, Deep Ecology Flourish in Fourth Grade
In the Arena: by Rich Jefferson - 'Illiteracy, Deep Ecology Flourish in Fourth Grade'
By Rich Jefferson
Date Posted: 6/1/2001
If children can learn to read and think for themselves, they can avoid the bear traps now set by radical environmentalists in our public school curriculum.
The problem is that too many of our country’s children read very poorly. At the beginning of April, the federal government released the fourth grade results from the National
Assessment for Educational Progress. It was — predictably — appalling.
Reports said that less than one-third of the nation’s fourth graders read proficiently. As Bush’s Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige said, "After spending $125 billion over 25 years, we have virtually nothing to show for it. Fewer than a third of fourth-graders can read at grade level."
Less than one-third read satisfactorily. What are we coming to? The nation’s freedom and prosperity depends on a literate population. You would think fourth grade teachers would focus like a laser beam on laying the vital foundation stones of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Well, not exactly. In Port Huron, Michigan at least, children are having to deal with a new "curriculum" masquerading as science.
Fourth graders in Port Huron are getting a serious dose of environmental extremism in the form of Earthkeepers, a program designed by Steve Van Matre, head of the Earth Education Institute. Van Matre says "environmental education tends to be infused with management messages. As if the earth is our horn of plenty, our cornucopia, and all of this is just here for our benefit; if we just do a little better job of managing it, everything will be all right. And we don’t believe that in earth education."
Allow me to clarify. Environmental education (science) is about measurable facts and testable theories. Van Matre wants none of that here. He prefers something more mystical for the fourth grade in Port Huron. He continues: "Earth education aims to infuse what it’s all about with the messages of deep ecology."
Deep Ecology? Al Gore even says Deep Ecology is a "deep mistake." Gore says Deep Ecology "assign(s) our species the role of a global cancer, spreading uncontrollably, metastasizing in our cities ... a kind of planetary HIV virus, giving the earth a ‘Gaian’ form of AIDS ..." If ever a religious practice violated the separation of church and state, this bogus religiosity is it.
According to a report in the Port Huron Times Herald newspaper, "Dr. Kimberly Clark-Paul, a Port Huron surgeon, attended an Earthkeepers program with her daughter last fall. She said she believes the program’s undertones are rooted in Wicca, which is defined by Webster’s dictionary, as `the practice and doctrine of witchcraft in the 20th century.’"
To see what Dr. Clark-Paul is doing to fight back, see the Web site at www.removeearthkeepers.org. We could use a few more feisty parents like her.
Earthkeepers resonates of "gamekeepers," doesn’t it? As the old English gamekeepers kept the yokels from hunting on the noble’s property and having meat for supper, Earthkeepers would like to teach our children that their parents are earth poachers.
It doesn’t really matter what they think about the rest of us. What matters is that their material, anti-Christian and highly religious, is foisted on the poor kids in Port Huron.
The Times Herald puts the conflict in Port Huron like this: "Depending on who one talks to, Earthkeepers is either a program for fourth-graders about preserving the Earth or a lesson on the basic tenets of a modern-day pagan religion."
Once the U.S. Supreme Court decided there was no place in the public schools for (Western) religion, it was only a matter of time before some other (Eastern) religion filled the vacuum. In this case, we have the cult of American Hinduism proselytizing when grade schoolers should learn science and the three Rs.
For our fourth graders, and for those of us who want science to thrive in the future, this is a really bad trade.
One parent told the Times-Herald that Earthkeepers taught students to respect the earth, not to worship it. I disagree.
No one but an earth-worshipper could sing the praises of the outdoor privy the way Van Matre does: "I’m reading a book right now called ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by a Japanese author, and in the book he is talking about the importance of what the outdoor privy, the toilet, was all about. And how it was a place of solitude in Japanese tradition, and how it was a place of contact, a place of real peacefulness open to the sounds of nature, and he goes on and on. And you just can feel the way he describes it what that must have been like. Of course, today much of that is gone."
What a pity.
If only Van Matre could find a deep place of solitude where he could listen to the sounds of nature to his heart’s delight — out of sight and out of earshot of the fourth graders of Port Huron.
Do you want reprints or a copyright license for this article? Click here
Research and connect with suppliers mentioned in this article using our FREE ZIP Online service.