James W. MacMeekin III

James W. MacMeekin III, of Winter Haven, Fla., is an author with five books to his credit, including “Lincoln Laughing.” (lincolnlaughing.com).
His latest book is “Destination Germany: The Combat Missions of Lt. Col. Charles A. Felts (USAF) (Ret.), His Crew, the 787th Bomb Squadron and Fellow Airmen.” Another book, on education, is in production. A Korean War-era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, MacMeekin is a former investment manager and educator. And, for the purpose of this column, he is the chairman of the Boone Middle School (Haines City, Fla.) Advisory Council. He can be reached by e-mail at jameswmacmeekin @yahoo.com.



Education departments, politicians
set up public schools for failure

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012


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Polk County’s demographics and economic characteristics significantly impact our embattled educational staff. Boone Middle’s student population is 24 percent white, 20 percent black and 52 percent Hispanic. Asians, American Indians and multiracial children account for the balance. Fifteen percent are students with disabilities, 20 percent are students with limited English proficiency, 50 percent are children of migrant families and more than 90 percent receive free or reduced-price meals.

Next, Florida voters approved a state constitutional mandate reducing class sizes, but no additional funding was provided to hire thousands of teachers required to teach the added classes!

Then, the federal Department of Education required that all students with disabilities and other debilitating conditions be included in all regular classes. The effect was to significantly and negatively impact test scores.

But, there’s more! The DOE then mandated that all students — as in 100 percent — be proficient in reading, writing, math and science by 2014. And there’s one more item of some consequence: Florida recently chopped $3 billion from its education budget before restoring only $1 billion for the school year that just started.

There is no case supporting faulty administrators and faculty. There is substantial evidence supporting the elimination of Washington, D.C.’s Department of Education, as is evident by its aforementioned actions. These federal actions were implemented by Florida’s DOE, which itself could and should be a candidate for dismissal. Perhaps the state department could be saved if each school district voted in favor of retention.

Former President Jimmy Carter promoted the creation of the federal DOE, and the idea was passed by a Democrat majority in both the U.S. House and Senate. The department was created over the objections of conservatives who claimed that the DOE was an unconstitutional intrusion of states’ rights. The conservatives were correct.

Need proof? Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution identifies the several powers of Congress. Education and schools are not mentioned. There are 29 amendments to the federal Constitution. Education and schools are not mentioned. Can it be construed that education — the most important of all professions — was not worthy of mention?

Of course not! Education was so important that two ordinances were passed immediately before the federal Constitution was adopted.

The Land Ordinance of 1785 provided the survey procedures to be used by each state and township. It stipulated that each township, made up of 36 sections, must set aside one square-mile section ““... for the maintenance of public schools.””

This was quickly followed by The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which declared, ““Religion, Morality and Knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall ever be encouraged.”

It appears that when liberals and Democrats removed religion and morality from schools, that, in itself, also was an unconstitutional act. Agreed?


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