Archive | February, 2015

We Must Protect Our Children

28 Feb

Teacher Student full coverThe Need For Screening Children’s Workers

                                                            Mistrust and disobey,

                                                            And I tried the other way.

                                                            I’m not happy in Jesus,

                                                            ‘Cause my pain won’t go away.

                                                                        Hymn reworded by a man

                                                                        Sexually abused as a child.

            The first edition of my book, It Should Never Happen Here book drew serious attention, nationally, to matters of great importance that included the protection of children.  There is little of greater importance than the safety and protection and purity of our next generation.  Thus, with the slippage morally across our culture, and the reality that some churches are reluctant to call out issues surrounding sexuality, I found my heart tugged to do something about this phenomenon.  Therefore, when more Christians read “50 Shades of Gray” than they do the Bible, attend R-rated movies and overlook promiscuity and profanity, something is desperately wrong.  My small effort to protect children lead to assisting ministries in safeguarding against an emerging moral and legal sets of problems for these ministries.

            Happily there has been made some progress toward safeguarding our ministries and families.  However, it has been over a decade since the first edition sold-out.  The children we meant to protect at that time are now adults—and many have their own children.  Although we have made some progress, we have a long way to go in dealing with issues of sex and sexual abuse in our churches and ministries today.  Second generations often need reminders of those before them, so that they are not lulled into thinking what was a problem in the past is not a problem for the present.

            Today, protecting children takes some of the past and applies it to a culture-gone-wild with sex.  We must take a deeper look at safeguarding our churches and schools.  Today’s Generation-Z does not know a time when their lives were not surrounded by a digital reality.  It is this same reality that is now the very vehicle of choice for a multitude of predators and would-be perpetrators.  Wherever children are, there must be enhanced measures of protection.

            Forty years ago, America was knee-deep in the sexual revolution of the “Me Generation.”  Churches and schools were ill-equipped to handle the deluge of challenges to the moral status quo, at that time.  Some decried the tough moral standards imposed by the Christian church; others lived in open rebellion to them.  Where are we today?  Sex is everywhere and yet honest discussions are not part of ministry today.

            Most in the church would agree that the sexual revolution was a precursor to the current desensitized “reality of sexuality.”  The acceptance of casual sexual practice, as portrayed in family sitcoms, movies, news programs, cable shows, subscriber movie channels, and advertisements makes a strong case for a correlation.  The meteoric rise of pornography, both online and in movies has impacted the lives of masses.  It seems wherever humans are, sex is right there, tugging at them.

            Today, sex is much more than casual.  Sex practice and sexual identity have become civil rights, in many quarters and among several groups in America.  Politically, identification by one’s sexual preferences and orientations, so-called, wields an arsenal of political power like never before.  People identify themselves by their sexuality, rather than their humanity.  These realities strike at the reality and identity of the church and its message relevance in our twenty-first century world.

            Hardcore pornography is accepted in the mainstream.  In fact, pornography websites remain the number one trafficked set of online sites, with millions of hits a day.  Sex sells.  Not only does sex sell, but it selling everything from toothpaste to news programs.  Homosexual news anchors arrogantly talk openly about their sexuality and assume that it is now the norm.  Shows degrade men and women who seek to remain virgins until marriage, or who do not elevate “self,” promiscuously and sexually.

            The Internet brims with sex agencies and escort sites.  Online videos are a porn-addicts dream and nightmare.  Add to this the explosion of cell phone technology, video and voice communications, and the perceived anonymity of the Internet, and “reaching” others has become as simple as the press of a key.  Recall the old adage?  “It’s only wrong if I get caught.”  Well, today Americans define privacy differently and are quick to claim entrapment and victimhood if found out.

            The world has now given rise to another form of sexual abuse—the online kind.  Studies have been undertaken since the 1990s, now that sex and pornography are more privatized, supposedly.  Nothing online is every really private.  Young and old alike are stalking ex-lovers, ex-spouses, spying on friends and family.  Sexual offenses involving children directly occur within the confines of their own homes.  Sexual predators swarm the Internet.  In the old days, men were labeled the “perverts,” for the sexual chats and what some women now practice online.  Acronyms abound for women who seek younger men.  There is so much sex trafficking of children and child pornography is rampant worldwide.  No longer are the perverts in their trench coats at the city parks.  They are in our living rooms, our bedrooms, our schools, and yes, even in our churches.

            Is sex with children the last horizon of perversion for mankind?  Corey Feldman, child actor, has recently stated that pedophilia among the Hollywood elite is rampant and the best-kept secret by homosexual pedophiles. To out them would be never to work again in the industry. According to Feldman, young males are introduced to sex as children and abused, and it has been going on for decades.  In an interview with the cable program Nightline, Feldman stated, According to former child star Corey Feldman, child molestation is rampant in the entertainment industry, as he told Nightline in summer 2011 interview.  “The No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” he said Wednesday. According to Feldman, the “casting couch” exists for children, too.  Feldman asserts that directors and other adults in the industry take advantage of young aspiring actors on a regular basis. “It’s all done under the radar . . . But it’s the big secret.” []

            It is difficult to say whether his story is accurate, or not, or whether Feldman is seeking media attention for older allegations.  Whatever the case, his story is consistent with the reality that child sexual abuse is now at the center of the public psyche like never before.  All fifty states and the District of Columbia have statutes defining child sexual abuse as criminal.  Typically, crimes that are defined as sexual abuse include voyeurism, sexual dialogue (chat and sexting), fondling, touching of the genitals, vaginal, anal, or oral rape, as well as forcing children to participate in the making or viewing of adult movies, pornography and the direct or indirect participation of prostitution.

            A newer concern is online predators of children.  In fact, the demographic descriptors of online sex offenders may shock the average person.  Online offenders utilize a different strategy, one which was vastly different from the old stereotypes of perverts.

            Researchers are uncertain as to whether this new group is really new, or just resorting to newer technologies and easier access points to others.  Meta-analyses have been performed to discover the demographics of online sexual offenders, and to determine whether today’s online offenders differed from offline offenders.  One particular 2011 published study by a group of researchers from the University of Ottawa, concluded that online offenders did not typify or resemble what most would perceive as the image of predators and sex offenders of the past.  This raises a most interesting point.  Age is transcended by use of the Internet.  Age is not an issue any longer between people online.  Young children are open season for online predators who may act like children to gain their confidence.  Essential parts of the study are summed up in the following abstract:

 In terms of psychological variables, online offenders had greater victim empathy, greater sexual deviancy . . . than offline offenders.  Both online and offline offenders  reported greater rates of childhood physical and sexual abuse that the general population.  Additionally, online offenders were more likely to be . . . younger, single, and unemployed compared to the general population.

            Christians are battling daily with temptations and vices like never before.  Sex is “in our faces” like never before.  Christian schools have been seriously impacted.  Teachers, both men and women, have been arrested and imprisoned for having sex with teenage students and children in Christian schools.  The same is happening in public schools.  Sex among parishioners is skyrocketing, and so are sexually transmitted diseases.  Adding to this, active Baby Boomers are at the lead in this category in many retirement communities.  The generation that brought about the swell of population between the years 1946 and 1964 remains sexually active, thanks to little pills–yet with greater consequence.  More and more single Baby-Boomers are risking their safety by finding their own hookups in Christian circles.  What is it about churches that seem to imply lesser risk and greater trust?  Now, not only are children to be aware of predators, adults must also be aware.

            It is becoming more common in today’s sexually-charged world for a pastor to leave his wife for another in the church.  Furthermore, husbands are leaving wives for other men.  Women are leaving their husbands for other women.  For some set of underlying reasons, former heterosexuals now feel the need to express their newly-found sexual identity, and walk away from their families.  Children are being exposed to all variations from the biblical, nuclear family norm.  Churches and schools are the places where these sinful distortions and expressions seem to cause the most pain and confusion.  In the midst of all of this, children are victimized once again.  Sex trafficking numbers is evidence of this.  Where do these realities leave the church?

            Recent estimates by research groups indicate that millions of children are abused, or neglected, in the United States, each year.  The pornography industry snaps up many women seeking acceptance, only to find that addiction, sexual abuse, and disease are their bedfellows.  In the mid-1990s, one abused child died every eleven hours due to injuries suffered.         Conclusions drawn, based on these statistics, are that one in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually molested or sexually abused during their childhood years.  Estimates change, based on revisions in laws and cases reported.  But there is no one who concludes that child sexual abuse is declining.

            Sexual predators and sex offenders are listed on websites.   Homosexual pedophiles seek out little boys, with a “sex before eight, or it’s too late” kind of mentality.  Groups like the National Association of Man/Boy Love (NAMBLA) advocate that young boys can give consent to become involved in a sexual and loving relationship.  The numbers of men and women with such interests and possible even criminal records, who may slip into a church or onto a school campus, should cause great concern.  Those institutions that do not screen today are taking serious and unwarranted risks.  A simple Internet search of keyword like women and lesbian sex, gays, and any variation of sexual deviancy imaginable brings up hundreds of millions of links.  Some of these links, no doubt, contains child pornography both in the United States and overseas.  Federal agents are always “busting” child sex-trafficking and pornography rings.”  August 2011, federal agents arrested more than fifty child pornographers.

            More than 50 members of a child pornography ring who engaged in what authorities describe as “horrific” and “unspeakable” crimes have been arrested for sexually exploiting children from 12 years old to as young as infants.

            Top federal law enforcement officials say agents busted the global online pornography ring following an intense international investigation that began in 2009. The ring, based in the United States, reached across five continents and 14 countries.

            Seventy-two members of the online site called Dreamboard have been charged in the United States. Officials said 52 of them have been arrested in the U.S. and abroad. The identities of the remaining 20 are unknown at this time. []

            Typically, churches and Christian schools are places of great trust.  This must change from unconditional trust, to conditional trust.  The former is trouble waiting to happen.  The latter equates to protection for children of all ages–regardless the institution or organization, whether public or private.

Smiles and hugs may very well be the façade-like religious bookends, marginalizing what takes place in minds and hearts, and used by the despicable, whose motives may be less than honorable.  Do we have the guts to tackle this burgeoning national epidemic. or will we all sell out to sexual identificationists, the teacher’s unions, the NAMBLAS of the world, and those grooming children to be the tools of pleasure for another generation?

In this world of sexual freedom, is it any wonder that our children are at risk like never before in my lifetime?  They are the last “frontier” before a culture succumbs to complete perversion.  May God help us to stand and be counted, against the evils that would seek to harm our children.

[Dr. Ernest J. Zarra, III, Ph.D.  It Should Never Happen Here.  2015, 1997,  Baker Books); Teacher-Student Relationships:  Crossing into the Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Realms.  2013, Rowman & Littlefield].

ERNIE ZARRA: Eventually we’re going to leave a dumbed-down generation behind

6 Feb

ERNIE ZARRA: Eventually we’re going to leave a dumbed-down generation behind

There is much misinformation about Common Core. Teachers’ unions are removing support of CC. The Democratic Party in Washington State voted its opposition to CC. Chicago schools refuse to assess all students under CC this year. California is one of the few states that do not allow its teachers and principals to be accountable or evaluated, based on students’ CC scores, making California’s support of CC quite questionable.

California districts are suing to recover costs associated with CC. If successful, districts must be reimbursed nearly $1 billion dollars. The federal government requires new technology to accommodate CC assessments. Under the state constitution, the state must pay for “new responsibilities and programs, or expanded levels of services that the state legislature requires local governments and school districts to provide.” CC is not financially sustainable.

Whose operating systems and software will be running all of the computers and assessments, and who stands to make billions?

All over the nation, opt-out groups are exercising their rights to remove their children from consortia assessments. Does the KHSD inform parents of this? Leaders are told to use different terminology and avoid the term Common Core. Such is the case with California. The SBAC assessment is now the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CASPP).

What The Californian and KHSD fail to inform us is that states are opting out of the Common Core assessments in droves. The federally funded PARCC had 26 original member states, but less than a dozen states are now committed this year. Mississippi pulled out completely.

California teachers are told ramping up rigors with students, reading barely above 6th grade levels, is positive. This is insensible. Students must first be proficient in English and basics in content areas before tackling greater taxonomical levels. As a result, not all teachers and administrators are behind CC. However, there is great risk if a teacher, principal or district level administrator speaks out about CC. Being blacklisted as unsupportive is not what anyone wants penciled onto the psyches of those with whom one later interviews for higher-tiered positions.

CC at the secondary level reduces teachers to moderators. CC was to leave instruction up to teachers. The definition of a “teacher” has changed. Curriculum was billed as a local decision, yet lesson plan formats and templates are uploaded with the expectations that CC teachers will use them. Textbooks are more standardized than under NCLB, and this will eventually result in nationalized curriculum, if left unchecked.

The reason for this change is that our 15-year-olds tested behind some Asian and European nations on the PISA, an international math and science assessment. Bureaucrats and corporations want workers to compete globally.

Americans are told that CC is not a federal program. Many scholars and politicians disagree. Following Race to the Top funds and NCLB waivers helps to discover the truth. Scholars argue that CC “dumbs-down” both elementary and secondary education. Drs. James Milgram, Sandra Stotsky and Yong Zhao are warning Americans about CC. They also see similar issues with the possible reauthorization of NCLB. Milgram and Stotsky were scholars on the very committee that developed the CC standards for math and English-language arts, and did not sign off on them because they are not adequate.

Secretary Arne Duncan stated America must apologize to her people for not educating students for the 21st century. Does the KHSD agree? Accepting CC can lead to no other conclusion. At a time when over 80 percent of students graduate high school, how insulting to all of us to hear that current bureaucrats label our current public education system as inadequate.

Not all students will be ready for college and career out of high school. Those who are ready for college will find community college their best option. This is why President Obama is pressing the “free” community college program.

There is an old adage in education: “Image is everything.” The CC embodies this. We no longer leave any child behind. Eventually, we will leave a dumbed-down generation behind. That is, if we can get them to put down their smartphones.

Ernie Zarra, Ph.D., is a longtime Bakersfield educator and author of the soon-to-be-released-book: “Common Core: Direction or Dysfunction?” and recently released “Teacher-Student Relationships: Crossing into the Emotional, Physical, and SexualSexual RealmsRealms.”

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