We Hear You: Notes on Our Schools From the ‘Belly of the Beast’

Editor’s note: We’re back with a roundup of your emails, beginning with one on the state of public schools from a correspondent who recently moved from California to Virginia. Don’t forget to write us at [email protected]—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: About your “Back to School Edition” roundup of reader comments: I served on a consultative diocesan school board in Southern California from 1999 to 2019. We moved to Virginia when our youngest was enrolled in a college in Michigan. I’ve stayed reasonably active in civic affairs.

While our kids were still in public
schools, first in Long Beach and then Newport Beach, California, the singular
thing that separated the two K-6 schools in each community was the
preponderance of “whole families” in Long Beach and mostly white, single-parent
families in Newport Beach.

The small Long Beach school allowed
inner-city kids to commute to the school if they came from a home with two parents.
It was some sort of deal that had been arranged with the school district, and
the imported students made the attendance numbers work and the little
neighborhood school viable. It was a wonderful school.

In contrast was the K-6 school on
the sand in Newport. Totally out of control, poorly administered. We stuck
there for over a year and then bolted to a Catholic parish school on the advice
of some new friends. I eventually caught the attention of the LaSallian brother
who served as superintendent, and was invited on his board. 

The traditional model for Catholic
parish schools is 35 pupils in a class. That number floats the boat
economically, and in schools throughout the country has been part of what
filled the freshman classes at places such as University of Notre Dame and
Gonzaga University.

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With all the babble in California about reduced class sizes in public schools, it didn’t take long for parents in the parish school to start voicing concern that 35 was just too many kids. There was an effect, and it wasn’t positive.

The other matter was “credentialed”
teachers. I know of at least three persons at the parish school where our kids
attended who did not have a teaching credential. They were the most effective
teaching professionals I’ve ever met.

But once that news spread to the
families at the parish school, the die was cast. The teachers were released.

There is another matter of
“formation” that goes missing in many Catholic schools these days. The teachers
are mostly formed in the
public university education programs. Need I go on?

Where we live now in Virginia is the belly of the beast, so to speak. (Do you recognize the name Gavin Grimm?) Although the county is small (population 37,000), there are five K-6 schools, two middle schools, and one high school. The district enrollment is declining, but nonteaching staff is increasing.

At public meetings, unionized
teachers rise to talk on the subject of salaries and pay increases. The
complaint is that they need more money in order to live. Throughout the county
are signs boasting “we’re hiring” and other messages to entice job seekers for
positions with businesses of varying size and type.

The schools have some positions open
even while they concede falling enrollment. Recently there were 22 open
positions but only three were classroom instructors and one was a substitute.

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They have an entire K-6 campus that
used to be a segregated school, but is used now for various state and federally
funded programs for students who have “special” needs and so on. It also
serves for the superintendent staff offices and district administrative offices
and the miscellany of a bureaucratic swamp. It has an amazingly full parking
lot. 

Many comments on The Daily Signal bemoan
the struggle we’re having over the move toward socialism versus a free market
economy.

Anyone thinking about homeschooling
needs to attend a school board or board of supervisors meeting in my little
corner of the world. Listen carefully to the bilge that angry teachers spew in
favor of pay increases divorced from the product of their efforts: a learned
pupil, honest and prepared to meet the challenges of a competitive society.

Parents need to get their kids out of there. Thanks for your efforts at The Heritage Foundation.—Ken Larson, Virginia

Pondering Red Flag Laws

Dear Daily Signal: I was extremely disappointed in The Daily Signal for supporting and trying to convince the general public that an infringement of their constitutional rights without due process is a good thing.

I have a number of issues with Amy Swearer’s commentary on red flag laws (“Answers to Common Questions About ‘Red Flag’ Gun Laws”), and obviously she has no problem with secret court hearings and restricting someone’s rights without probable cause or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The
author talks about the family of the Arizona shooter and how they tried to hide
his guns. Why didn’t the family take the guns away? Why is it that
everyone for some reason thinks it is the government’s responsibility to do
everything for someone? 

Civil
commitments are a long and intensive process because the state is looking at
restricting someone’s rights when he or she hasn’t committed any crime. It
should be long and intensive. But allowing anyone to go to court to say someone
else is a danger, and have a secret hearing, is where red flag laws fly in the
face of the Constitution, not only in terms of the Second Amendment but the
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth.

Swearer
really thinks that the federal government will craft a law that is specific and
narrow in scope? Come on, be realistic. 

Saying
red flag laws are dangerous but not a big deal for law enforcement since they
face dangerous things every day is really shortsighted. 

The
author fails to mention that the man was killed by police when they arrived to
seize his guns without any due process. That officer now has to live with
the fact that he ended someone’s life.

As
a retired officer, I know the job is difficult enough without having to add
seizing guns from some unsuspecting person. There are already courts looking at
officers being responsible for using force when needed if their actions pushed
the situation. 

Coming
to take someone’s guns is going to be an escalation of the situation. So are
these laws going to give officers immunity for the force they may need to use?

Already
people complain about officers being too militarized. Well, when they are going
to have to go do a gun seizure they are going to need the SWAT team. Are the
media going to back off and let the officers do their job the safest way they
know how, or are they going to make a spectacle of officers again anytime they
are dressed to protect themselves? 

Please don’t pander by saying their jobs are dangerous anyway. That is a childish argument. How about you stand for the individual’s rights?—Traci Ciepiela 

***

Amy Swearer’s commentary on the supposedly wonderful “red flag” laws is a sellout of the Constitution, and by association your sellout of same.

­­­Red flag laws allowing “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” flagrantly violate not just the Second Amendment but the Fourth and Fifth amendments.

Swearer is advocating that people be deprived of their constitutional rights without probable cause and due process—and when you’ve opened that door, you’ve made it available to remove all of our other rights.

I’m ending my subscription as soon as I send this. You disgust me.—Steven Peter Yevchak Sr.

This and That

Dear Daily Signal: First of all, I love viewing The Daily Signal’s articles and videos, which offer a different perspective than I’m hearing from most media outlets. So thank you for all you do.

I live in Orange County, California,
which until recently was a bastion of conservative thinkers. I read The Orange
County Register for a portion of my daily news. While the Editorial Page staff
is mostly conservative in its views, I’m noticing a heavy bias in national news
stories presented in the paper. 

It appears that local new stories are
covered by staff at the paper, but most or all national news stories are obtained
from the Associated Press. Time and time again, while reading news stories
about significant national events, it appears that only one side to the story is
presented by the Associated Press. 

Just this morning, I read an article on immigration titled “Trump: Detain Children Longer.” There was not one quote or argument made in favor of the president’s position for taking this approach, even though I know there are arguments to be made.

Why am I not getting both sides of the
story from the Associated Press?  Is this
common for a local paper to use the AP for all of its national news?

While I have heard plenty of examples of bias in network TV news and newspapers like The New York Times, I have never seen a story about the AP. Can someone please write about it? —Greg S. Johnstone, Ladera Ranch, Calif.

***

Dear Daily Signal: The story of Canton, Mississippi, is certainly bad, but not the worst we face in the future (“There’s a Silver Lining to the Voter Fraud Scandal in Mississippi”). California, New York, and other states are giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. They will flood our voting booths.

Voters across our nation are being misinformed on who to vote for through fake news media, the internet, and social media. Even the candidates misinform the public with false promises, just to get votes. 

A voter should be educated and well informed to vote, but now
there are calls to lower the voting age.  We are doomed.

Congress needs to pass a law that no political ads can be made on
social media platforms. This would help eliminate fraudulent ads and bogus ads
from foreign powers.—Pat
Ellis, Clinton, Miss.

***

Dear Daily Signal: It’s about time judicially approved removal orders are executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement against illegal aliens living their good lives in the United States. 

Those
under legal deportation order via enforceable federal immigration law under
the Immigration and Naturalization Act have received their due process of
law, whether under the Fifth or 14th amendments. 

Those
sought by the government for deportation have had their claims and asylum
applications before a judge denied, but defied these court holdings and decided to
remain in the United States in violation of the law. To
these individuals, it’s time to leave.

For
the bleeding hearts who concern themselves with the welfare of those attempting
to enter the U.S. from Africa, Asia, Central America, and Mexico over the
plight of homeless and military veterans permanently injured from war,
immigration law as established by your Congress is the law, like it or
not.

Presidents ranging back to the mid-1970s failed miserably in dealing with the issue of illegal aliens. Whether you love or loathe President Trump, he is the only one to engage this issue with an element of Article 2 executive leadership on behalf of the American people.—Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.

And Then Some…

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding your article on Social Security, why is nothing mentioned about how it has been robbed blind by politicians (“Each American Is $240,000 in Debt Because of Excessive Government Spending”)?

It was set up brilliantly. Except for allowing politicians to get their hands on the money, and paying Social Security benefits to those who never paid into it. 

Refunding Social Security should be a high priority. I would vote to knock the politicians’ salary back to the $15 an hour they seem to like for others, move their retirements to Social Security, and pay them per diem, with two weeks’ vacation per year.—Kathy Scott

***

The country barely votes. We have 325 million people, but 120 million voting. The problem is not duplicate voting, but the absence of voting.

The reason you should care is because those who do not vote will
eventually want their own country. If you want to marginalize over 100 million
people from voting and having their voices heard, sure, do that.

But do realize that eventually, much like all other countries all over
the world, they are going to demand equal representation. You should be
advocating that everyone vote–I mean everyone.

What’s the matter, afraid of a little democracy? If you don’t like people voting, move to China and North Korea. Look at Australia, where everyone votes. It is the law.—Ali Khan

***

I just read the commentary “The Left Can’t Stop Lying About the Tea Party” by David Harsanyi, and I must say he has a gift with words. And “right on!”

A neighbor insists that “Trump lies!”  I’ve not been able to get her to tell me what he’s lied about, but it must be coming from leftist “news” sources.— Tim Gales

How Are We Doing?

Dear Daily Signal: Thank you very much for your insightful, thought-provoking analysis of current events. Your reports provide excellent guidance for class discussions and principled, foundational philosophy of citizenship for my students.

I appreciate the diligent efforts of your staff. You are making a difference in America.—Brett Keefer

***

Don’t get sucked into identity politics. Seeing you add six new contributors is great, but the choice to feature their minority backgrounds in it is not great “The Daily Signal Adds 6 New Contributors“).

As a whole, we cannot care what gender, ethnicity, or skin color people have. And that choice of image may easily be construed to mean that The Daily Signal does discriminate, whether for good or bad. Food for thought.—Slate Rehm

***

I find your organization to be of the same values and principles as I am.

I recently watched Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James
on CSPAN, and wanted to call right away to praise and encourage her for the
fantastic job she is doing. I highly commend Mrs. James for her spirit and am
so sorry for the past appalling horrific treatment of her ancestors. 

Please continue to do the great job your organization is doing for such a great cause. —Joanne Quina, Pensacola, Fla.

***

Praise for the knowledge brought by The Daily Signal. Agree or disagree, the articles are all well written. My comments are not so well written. In literacy in the English language, I will forever be challenged.

Brevity increases this challenge for me. Like Imprimis, even if I can’t read or absorb it entirely The Daily Signal gives me hope. To connect with intellects of integrity tells me over and over the value of debate, of an Irish pub and a pint of Guinness.—Mark McClure

***

Dear Daily Signal: I started receiving The Daily Signal’s articles through a family friend.  I enjoy most of them. Hard-core leftist points of view definitely are offending and are a danger to our country, liberty, and our Constitution. 

We let the camel into the tent years ago and now the whole body has followed.  Time for real Americans to stand up.  We are the majority, not some fringe group like Antifa, or terrorists like the Muslim Brotherhood. 

This is our country, and it’s time to stand or fall to the communists and terrorists. I am a former soldier and will not let this happen to my community. Thanks for your articles.—Gary Sackman

***

Why call illegal aliens “immigrants”? They are not immigrants. They are thieves who have stolen the privilege of being able to live in the USA. Thieves should never be allowed to keep what they have stolen for themselves or their children.—Doug Wilkerson

***

You folks are doing a wonderful thing. I know I can trust and believe what I read from you. God bless you!—Bruce Donahue

Superior news reporting.—Jim Keeler

Love to read your informative articles daily.—J.J. Weiland

Excellent. Great job.—William G. Rosch III

Like your site, and put The Daily Signal first under “conservative” on my Lookseek search engine.—Harold Hofmeister, Westwood, N.J.

***

Dear Daily Signal: Excellent commentary, as usual. Thank you for sharing the real story on so much of the half-true or even wholly false mainstream media versions.—Deborah G.

Regarding your “Must See Video,” I prefer listening or reading the written word, rather than video.—Carol Strozier

Keep them coming. Very informative.—T. Jasykora

Great!—George Maxwell

Send more, thanks.—Judith Hirschfeld

***

You all are doing a great job.  I look forward to The Daily Signal’s emails. They really help me keep up with what’s going on.—Gay Witbeck

Excellent. Keep it going!—James Garvey

Please keep up the great work.  You make my day.—David Fullerton

Thank you for The Daily Signal. It is so good to have a place to read the truth.  I wish I could really support The Heritage Foundation, which is working so hard to save America.—Mary Jane Cain

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