Monday, February 29, 2016

9 Reasons Why Common Core is Bad for Education



#1 The Main Arguments for Common Core are Vague and Dubious

The most pressing reason for Common Core, its supporters claim, is that American school children are not prepared for the so-called “twenty-first century global economy.”
Yet the Common Core standards themselves never actually define what they mean by “twenty-first century global economy.” In reality, it is little more than a sound bite intended to scare parents. Without Common Core, we are told, those Chinese or Singaporeans or Finns are going to stomp all over us. They somehow forget that America did pretty well dominating the 19th century global economy, never mind the 20th century global economy, all without the help of a nationalized education scheme like Common Core. 

“College and career readiness” is another dubious slogan used by Common Core. The problem with this slogan is that it underscores a distorted view of education. For progressives, education’s main purpose is not to teach truth, form character, or transmit the timeless principles of Western civilization. On the contrary, education’s primary purpose is to prepare citizens to be workers, to be cogs in the great “twenty-first century global economy” machine.
In his book The Story Killers,  Dr. Terrance Moore points out that Common Core confuses “education” with “job training.” While every parent naturally wants their children to succeed in life and acquire material and financial security, reducing education to a jobs program cheapens the former and cripples the latter.
Both the “twenty-first century global economy” and “college and career readiness” slogans are based on the conceited notion that government bureaucrats or progressive educators can predict both the job market and new technology decades in advance. Who foresaw with any accuracy the massive economic, social, and technological changes we have seen over the last 30 years, or even the last 10 years?
#2 Common Core is based on a Materialistic, Egalitarian Philosophy
Common Core is the fruit of a long line of progressive education reformers. This process of destruction of Western education did not begin in the last few years or even decades, but way back in the so-called Enlightenment.
Prominent eighteenth and nineteenth-century philosophers and educators such as Johann Pestalozzi, Friedrich Froebel, and Herbert Spencer developed education theories that are the direct ancestors of modern schemes such as Common Core.
They were Naturalists. Naturalism is a type of secular religion that replaced the Christian God with man and so-called “reason.” They harshly attacked the influence of tradition, family and Christianity in the formation of children.
They were also radical Materialists. School subjects that did not have a direct benefit to material prosperity or that did not prepare a student to be a worker – such as philosophy or literature or languages – were useless and should be abolished.
John Dewey, the founding father of progressive American education, continued this materialistic trend here in America. For him, education was a means to create an egalitarian, socialist society, freed from the supposed “superstitions” of religion. He wrote:
“The moral responsibility of the school and of those who conduct it is to society. ...[A]part from participation in social life, the school has no moral end or aim. ...[T]he moral trinity of the school [is] the demand for social intelligence, social power, and social interests." 1
This philosophy of education is exactly the same as that of the progressives today who wrote Common Core.
#3 Uniform “Standards” Themselves Will Not Improve Education in America
There is no evidence that imposing a uniform education system on the country will, in itself, result in a more educated citizenry. It is true that some countries with uniform “standards” such as Finland and Singapore rank higher than the United States. However, it also happens that many countries with uniform standards, such as Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Russia rank lower than the United States. The problem therefore is not a lack of uniform “standards,” but rather a host of other factors that cannot be reduced to a single numerical score on a standardized test.
And contrary to the claims of the Common Core, it is completely unlike any education system in the world. Common Core was never evaluated or peer reviewed by teachers or education specialists, nor did parents have any say in their development or implementation.
#4 Common Core Eliminates Local and Parental Control over Education
The Common Core standards were written and copyrighted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, two non-profit organizations that are beholden to no federal or state agency or parents’ rights group. If parents have a very difficult time getting elected politicians to change bad laws, influencing a corporate-funded liberal non-profit is next to impossible.
The Standards prohibit states from modifying more than 15% of the standards. The remaining 85% cannot be modified in any way by states, school districts, teachers or parents. 2
Most ominously, the Common Core Standards document refers to itself as a "living" document, and therefore one that will "evolve" in the future.3 We can guarantee that those changes will not come from parents or teachers but from the non-profits that own the Common Core copyright.
#5 Common Core Virtually Determines What Will be Taught in the Classroom
Supporters of Common Core claim that it is not a curriculum. We are told that the standards only require that certain concepts be taught, and that teachers are free to choose the books, methods, and authors with which to teach those concepts.
But the distinction between standards and curriculum is a hazy one. In reality Common Core will heavily influence, if not outright determine, what will and will not be taught in the classroom.
How do we know this?
First, because the Common Core scheme includes standardized tests. In the public school system, it is an open secret that teachers teach to the test. With teacher performance directly tied to test scores, few teachers will forego teaching what they know the Common Core puts on the tests.
Second, because the architects of Common Core have freely admitted that it determines curriculum. Bill Gates, the biggest funder of Common Core, revealed this goal in a speech in 2009:
...[I]dentifying common standards is not enough. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards... 
When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.4
David Coleman, the primary architect of Common Core, has said the same thing:
“Teachers will teach toward the test...There is no force strong enough on this Earth to prevent that. There is no amount of hand waving, there is no amount of saying ‘They teach the standards not the test, we don’t do that here,’ whatever.” 5
#6 Common Core English Harms Literature
Progressive education has always been hostile to the teaching of the classic works of Western Literature. The Common Core English standards take this hostility a step further by replacing up to 70% of traditional literature with so-called “Informational Texts.” According to Common Core, an “Informational Text” is a non-fiction, non-literary type of document that includes newspaper articles, technical manuals, government documents, genres that most students find boring or that do not contain any wholesome moral or life lesson.
The Common Core “Recommended Reading List” contains a few enlightening examples of “Informational Texts”:
  • “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag” by Henry Petroski
  • “Invasive Plant Inventory” by the California Invasive Plant Council
  • Recommended Levels of Insulation - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/U.S. Department of Energy
  • Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management - U.S. General Services Administration6
Although these documents are only “Recommended Reading” in the Common Core, the Common Core tests will virtually guarantee their use in the classroom. 
#7 Common Core Math Will Not Prepare Students for Careers in So-Called STEM Fields
The primary reason given for adopting Common Core Math is that it will supposedly prepare American high school students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – the so-called STEM fields.
Ironically, Common Core does exactly the opposite. It forces states to adopt a Math curriculum that is simply inadequate to prepares students for these demanding fields.
Prof. James Milgram of Stanford University was the only Mathematics expert involved in developing Common Core. He refused to sign off on the Common Core Math standards when he saw how inferior they were to existing Math standards. He pointed out that Common Core Math delays Algebra I until 9th grade and does not include Calculus in high school at all, which are necessary for students to be prepared for STEM courses in college. Prof. Milgram concluded that Common Core will put American students at least two years behind the high-achieving countries of Europe and Asia.
Jason Zimba, the main architect of Common Core Math, admitted that it will only prepare students for Math courses at a non-selective Community College, not a four-year university.7
#8 Common Core Imposes a Cult of Testing
Common Core includes a massive increase in standardized testing. Already starting in the lower grades, children are required to take regular high-stakes, high-pressure tests throughout the year. 
Tests have become an end in themselves. They are no longer one tool among many to measure progress. Common Core tests are akin to a high-stakes 100 meter dash with increasingly-higher hurdles. This has created a hostile learning environment, with some teachers reporting a spike in stress, depression, and resentment towards school.
This obsession with testing underscores a shift in how our society view education. Like socialist bureaucrats, progressive education reformers love forms, tests, and statistics. For them, such things make centralized planning and control much easier, anything that cannot be reduced to data is either useless or does not exist. The problem with this materialistic view is that success in the more abstract subjects such as English, History, Philosophy, or Literature cannot easily be reduced to test scores and tables of data. 
And high-stakes testing has led to high-stakes cheating, as in the case of the 11 teachers and administrators of the Atlanta Public School system who were convicted in the wake of a massive cheating scandal.8
#9 Common Core is Increasingly Unpopular
Public support for Common Core has fallen precipitously over the last two years. According to an Education Next Poll, from 2013 to 2014 teacher support for Common Core has fallen from 76% to 46%, and support among general public has fallen from 65% to 57%. 
As of April 2015, three states – Oklahoma, Indiana, and South Carolina – have pulled out of Common Core. Grassroots groups opposed to Common Core are active in every state that still has it. Common Core has even become an issue in the primaries leading up to the 2016 presidential election. A recent University of Connecticut poll showed that the parents who are most knowledgeable about Common Core are also the most likely to oppose it.
#10 Common Core Collects Massive Amounts of Data on Children
Federal law prohibits the federal government from establishing a national database for public school students. To circumvent this, Common Core includes a requirement for each adopting state to establish a mutually compatible databases, thereby allowing data to follow students wherever they live. These databases collect data in more than 400 data points, which will record students’ performance and behavior from Kindergarten through college and beyond.9
The state and federal government have no business collecting such massive amounts of data on children.
Conclusion
Common Core will not improve American K-12 education. It is a socialist/progressive experiment that will impose an inflexible, one-size-fits-all, egalitarian education scheme on America’s children. It drastically harms the way both Math and English is taught, and violates the sacred right of parents to have a say in their children’s education.
Every patriotic American should reject Common Core, and voice his concern to his elected officials urging them to repeal it.
http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/common-core/10-reasons-why-common-core-is-bad-for-education.html

Common Core Math Experts Say Teachers Need To Stop Using Shortcuts And Math ‘Tricks For Order of Operations’ Like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally? Telling Us To DO Parentheses First,, Then Exponents, Next Do Multiplication, Then Division, Move To Addition, And Do Subtraction Last., Just More Liberal Bull Shit Here


Think back to your elementary school math classes. Were you told to think of a greater-than sign as Pac-Man or to cross-multiply when dividing fractions? You weren’t alone. Tricks to help kids get the right answers to difficult problems have long been a staple of American math education.
But if Common Core supporters have their way, shortcuts like these will soon disappear from the nation’s classrooms.
In the age of Common Core, getting the right answer to a math problem is only step one. The Common Core math standards, which are in place in more than 40 states, say that it is just as important for students to understand the mathematical principles at work in a problem.
This emphasis on principles poses a problem for popular techniques like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, a mnemonic device for remembering the order of operations that teachers complain is imprecise, and the butterfly method for adding and subtracting fractions. If correctly applied, the tricks always result in the correct answer, but math experts say they allow students to skip the sort of conceptual thinking the standards are trying to encourage in students.

Linda Gojak, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is waging a war against the old advice that students should cross off zeros when dividing, for example. Using this technique students can quickly solve a problem like 4000 divided by 100 by eliminating two zeroes from each number and simplifying the problem to 40 divided by 1.
“I get teachers that get mad when I tell them they should stop,” said Gojak. “But I envision students dragging in a big bag of tricks into standardized tests and not really thinking about the questions.”
“It is your justification that makes your answer right or wrong,” Gojak added.
Critics, including parents who remember the way they learned math in school, worry the standards are throwing out proven computational techniques in favor of overly complex methods. They say new, convoluted approaches are turning kids off of math.
But Phil Daro, one of the lead writers of Common Core math, says math tricks have already tarnished the math brand for countless students.
“Take the butterfly method. It doesn’t articulate any mathematics,” said Daro at a conference of the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey last month. “Nothing in school is perceived to be useful by the kids, but in math they are going farther and saying, ‘why are we even doing this?’”
Steve Leinwand, principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research’s education program, also argues that America’s math teachers should embrace the shift away from right answers.
“Common Core has the audacity to use the word understand 218 times,” said Leinwand.
Daro does see some limited room for shortcuts in math.
“Now students have to arrive at a grade level way of thinking about the problem,” said Daro. “You can spend the first two-thirds of a lesson letting kids use the varied ways of thinking but for the last one-third we need to get them to the standards’ way of thinking.”
As for the tricks, Daro says, “I’d only settle for something like [the butterfly method], some days for some kids.”

“Common Does Not Equal Excellent”: New Report Sheds Light on Deficiencies of Common Core’s Math Standards



(Washington, D.C.) – The American Principles Project Foundation has just published a new report, “Common Does Not Equal Excellent.” Focusing on the K-8 Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M), authors Erin Tuttle and J.R. Wilson provide evidence that the CCSS-M’s dictation of an instructional approach blurs the line between standards and curriculum. The standards consequently undermine the professional judgment of teachers, whose task it is to know the varied learning needs and styles of their students. Tuttle and Wilson consequently refute the claim that the Common Core is benign, or “just a set of standards.”
The K-8 CCSS-M differ substantially from the standards of high-performing countries and are ultimately developmentally inappropriate. Leveraging topic coverage comparisons, Tuttle and Wilson demonstrate that the CCSS-M fail to embody the coherence and focus evident in the standards of high-performing countries. This failure stems in large measure from a focus on abstract-levels of cognitive demand and demonstration of understanding. In turn, such focus results in tasks that often stunt students’ learning. By contrast, higher-performing countries emphasize concrete levels of cognitive demand memorization, and procedural fluency.
Tuttle and Wilson assert that the “rigor” claimed by CCSS-M is not so much in the content as in the expectation that students display knowledge—a task for which they are frequently left without adequate tools. Though cognitively heavy, the CCSS-M remain procedures-poor. Focusing too early on the abstract drives an insistence on inefficient computation strategies. More effective, proven, and developmentally appropriate methods are delayed by up to two years. For instance, the CCSS-M does not introduce the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction until grade 4. Standard algorithms for multiplication and subtraction are thus withheld until grades 5 and 6 respectively. These delays result in inadequate preparation of students for algebra and beyond.
In addition to the CCSS-M per se, Tuttle and Wilson also explore the K-8 Publisher’s Criteria for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics as well as Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, the latter written by the CCSS-M’s lead authors. Both documents go into greater detail concerning the strategies and instructional techniques embedded within the CCSS-M, laying out expectations for textbook, assessment, and instructional alignment. These additional materials clearly inform the use of CCSS-M in the classroom, essentially determining inefficient instructional delivery methods that undermine professional teacher judgment.
Tuttle and Wilson conclude there is no empirical support for either the claim or the expectation that CCSS-M will improve student achievement.
http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/common-does-not-equal-excellent-new-report-sheds-light-on-deficiencies-of-common-cores-math-standards/

Kansas House Education Committee Votes to Repeal Common Core




Kansans Against Common Core sent out the following press release last Friday after their Common Core repeal bill passed out of the Kansas House Education Committee:
TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 19, 2016) – A step in the direction of upholding the U.S. Constitution and the Kansas Constitution was taken Wednesday. A step to uphold the state’s purview over Education and uphold parent rights and responsibilities to educate their children was taken Wednesday.
A Kansas bill to cut off education related ties with the federal government including the withdrawal of the state from the Common Core standards passed out of the House Education Committee on Wednesday. This bill would nullify nationalized education in the state.
A combination of thirty representatives introduced House Bill 2676 (HB2676), the Local Control of Kansas Education Act, on Feb. 10th.
HB2676 is nearly identical to last year’s bill, House Bill 2292 (HB2292), with only minor updates. HB2292 received a hearing and a vote in committee last year, but did not make it out of committee.
On Wednesday, a motion to reconsider HB2292 in committee was successful. This was followed up by a successful motion to substitute HB2676 into the bill, and finally a motion to pass Substitute for House Bill 2292 (Sub for HB2292). It was successfully passed out of committee, under Chair, Ron Highland. House members voting it out of committee were: Tony Barton, John Bradford, Rob Bruchman, Amanda Grosserode, Dennis Hedke, Becky Hutchins, Kevin Jones, Kasha Kelley, Charles Macheers, Peggy Mast, Marc Rhoades, and Jene Vickrey. Now it will move on to the full House for consideration.
The legislation declares “the state shall retain sole control over the development, establishment and revision of K-12 curriculum standards.”
Additionally, the bill forbids any Kansas entity or official from ceding any authority over Kansas education to any entity not explicitly named in the Kansas Constitution. It then voids any past or future action taken to implement Common Core or other national education standards.
“Any actions taken by any education entity or any state official to adopt, implement or align programs, assessments, testing, surveys or any educational materials or activities to the common core state standards, the social, emotional and character development standards, the national curriculum standards for social studies, the national health education standards, the national sexuality education standards, core content and skills, K-12 or any other academic standards not in the public domain, free of any copyright, are void beginning July 1, 2017.”
Local control of education is upheld. Parents’ rights to direct the education of their child through locally controlled schools is upheld. Local schools and teachers will be responsive to parents rather than implementers of state and federal education dictates. The bill mandates that new academic standards shall be developed through a state process but also makes clear that any standards developed will be “model” standards with local school districts having the authority to maintain their own curriculum.
A first of its kind step was taken to explicitly ensure parents’ and students’ rights to protect their intellectual property. The bill upholds parents’ control over their child’s data in regard to its creation, collection, use, and privacy. A significant step was taken to protect students from intrusive data mining and collection, programs that are inherent with initiatives like Common Core.
As the House Education committee learned on Wednesday, the all-encompassing federal intrusion in education is being rejected across the country including in states like Washington and New York.
However, you can be sure that the Education Establishment, including the KNEA, KASB, State School Board, and State Department of Education, will do everything they can to maintain the status quo, resulting in “rebranded” versions of the same program.
You can be sure that people you elected, who said they were against the federal intrusion into education and would work to remove it, will staunchly claim their commitment to protect the state, but will act to water down or prevent passing this bill.
Some claim that a bill recently passed by Congress, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), places a great deal more control in the hands of states, local communities, parents, and educators including cutting the federal strings of Common Core. That could not be further from the truth. The ESSA actually requires states to comply with College and Career Ready Standards, which are Common Core. The bill does not remove the federal government from the business of education, as it requires the federal education secretary to approve each state’s plans for education. In addition, state chief school officers continue to be held accountable for not reporting a 95% participation rate on student assessments. The ESSA also extends federal funding to states to review and improve their existing pre-K programs. We can fully expect, and have found, this extension of “assistance” to be laden with all the usual federal encroachments that accompany federal funding.
Federal involvement in education is about control, not education. The partnership between the federal departments of Labor and Education to further the development of fully functioning statewide birth-to-adulthood databases on citizens, and commonality of standards and testing across the country is reshaping the nation. It will result, as intended, in only people whose education they can control getting jobs, getting into college, and getting into the military. It’s a tool of control, not a tool of education.
It is extremely important that this bill move forward without any amendments. Changes that affect the intent or effectiveness of the bill will be attempted. “Rebranded” do-nothing bills occur when all aspects of federal intrusion are not addressed and repealed.
HB2292 (formerly HB2676) does address and repeal all aspects of federal intrusion, including Common Core.
We believe parents are those best equipped to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
We believe teachers are best able to be responsive to parents and meet the education needs of children when they are not encumbered by federal and state mandates.
We believe individual teachers are degreed professionals who are capable of creating their own lesson plans and deciding how to teach.
Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice, freedom, and protection of personal property. Passage of this legislation, without amendments, into law represents a positive step forward for the children, parental rights, and the constitution.
http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/kansas-house-education-committee-votes-to-repeal-common-core/

Michigan Legislators Launch Bipartisan Effort to Repeal Common Core




(Lansing, MI) Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, will be joined next week by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing legislation to repeal so-called “Common Core” educational standards in Michigan. So far, fifteen Republican state representatives and two southeast Michigan Democrats – House Democratic Caucus Whip Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, and Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit – are joining Glenn as cosponsors of the measure set to be introduced March 3rd to allow other lawmakers time to join the effort. Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, will introduce identical legislation in the state Senate.
“Michigan’s school students deserve the best standards, based on proven results,” Glenn said during a noon news conference attended by dozens of parents, educators, school board members, and lawmakers supporting the legislation. “Michigan students deserve better than to have their futures serve as an experiment with untested, unproven standards that have produced no evidence of actually helping students learn.”
  • Common Core standards and testing would be eliminated in their entirety, replaced by the standards that were in place in Massachusetts prior to Common Core.
  • Local school boards would be free to adjust the standards, and after five years, the state Board of Education would be authorized to do the same.
  • Parents would be free to opt their child out of any class, instruction, or testing.
  • The state and local schools would be prohibited from collecting data regarding an individual student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and personality traits, or the student’s family’s political or religious affiliations or views.
  • Test questions used by public schools would be made easily available to the public.
Glenn said a work group of education reform advocates in Michigan and nationally determined over the last year that the best educational standards in the nation – based on superior student performance in multiple categories of testing — were the standards used by Massachusetts prior to the national move to adopt Common Core.
He cited a 2014 report by Business Leaders of Michigan which found, for example, that in measurements of student performance in 4th grade reading (p. 34), 8th grade math (p.35), and career and college readiness (p. 36-7), Massachusetts students scored highest in the nation while Michigan students scored in the bottom half of the states. (See full report: http://goo.gl/ba07im)
Sandra Kahn, a retired public school teacher and past president of the Michigan Federation of Republican Women, introduced Glenn, noting that Michigan Republican Party state conventions and the Republican National Committee have adopted resolutions opposing adoption of Common Core standards.
Rachel Torres, a third grade teacher in the Farmington Public Schools, addressed specific examples of what she said were age and development-inappropriate questions posed to her students during Common Core-aligned testing. She described the frustration and disappointment expressed by even her most talented students as a result. Torres said she was speaking at the news conference with the support of her principal and fellow teachers.
Brenda Battle Jordan, dean of the Westwood Heights School Board, criticized Common Core for subjecting students to what she described as political bias and unproven methods for teaching math. “As a person on the front lines with children,” Battle Jordan said, “I know passage of this legislation cannot happen to soon. Our children are counting on us.”
Heidi Campbell, a member of the Algonac Public Schools board, also spoke during the event, with the blessing of the district’s superintendent, she said, who asked her to highlight the unfunded mandates and intensive testing schedule under Common Core that leaves little time for actual teaching.
http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/michigan-legislators-launch-bipartisan-effort-to-repeal-common-core/

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Truth About Obama’s Claim that Islam Has Always Been Part of America



Obama claimed in his visit to a mosque that Islam is “woven into the fabric” of the United States since our nation’s founding and is a religion of peace.
President Obama went on to say that “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran” and that “Benjamin Franklin wrote that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”
Franklin was referring in his Autobiography to a building that had been erected so that anyone of any view could use it. He was not proposing that Christian pulpits would be open to a Muslim Mufti. What Franklin describes is similar to what the Bible describes in Acts 17:16-34, the Areopagus in Athens where “all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new” (v. 21).
Franklin also wrote, “Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book (the Qur’an) forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.”
President Obama said that “the very word Islam comes from ‘Salam’ – peace. The standard greeting is ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’ – ‘Peace be upon you,’” he explained. (H/T:Breitbart).

I have a library of around 20,000 volumes. Included among the best books are some of the worst books – everything from witchcraft and cannibalism to Nazism and Communism. I can assure you that I do not support any of them. The books are for research purposes.
The same is true of Jefferson and his copy of the Koran. He owned a copy so he could understand Islam. And what did he understand about Islam from first-hand experience?
As early as 1786, Jefferson, who was serving as the ambassador to France, and John Adams, the Ambassador to Britain, met in London with Ambassador Abdrahaman, the Dey of Tripoli’s ambassador to Britain, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress’ vote of funding.
Peace would come at a price. If America wanted “temporary peace,” a one-year guarantee, it would cost $66,000 plus a 10% commission. “Everlasting peace” was a bargain at $160,000 plus the obligatory commission. This only applied to Tripoli. Other nations would also have to be paid. The amount came to $1.3 million. There was no guarantee that the treaties would be honored. Jefferson and Adams tried in vain to argue that the United States were not at war with Tripoli. In what way had the U.S provoked the Muslims, they asked? Ambassador Abdrahaman went on to explain “the finer points of Islamic jihad” to Jefferson and Adams. In a letter to John Jay, Jefferson wrote the following:
 “The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”1
 Abdrahaman was paraphrasing the Koran’s “rules of engagement” found in the 47 Surah:
“Whenever you encounter the ones who disbelieve [during wartime], seize them by their necks until once you have subdued them, then tie them up as prisoners, either in order to release them later on, or also to ask for ransom, until war lays down her burdens
A non-aggressing nation is at war with Islam as long as it hasn’t embraced Islam. Islam’s goal is to conquer the world, either by the submission of one’s will or by Allah’s sword.2
When President Jefferson refused to increase the tribute demanded by the Islamists, Tripoli declared war on the United States. A United States navy squadron, under Commander Edward Preble, blockaded Tripoli from 1803 to 1805. After rebel soldiers from Tripoli, led by United States Marines, captured the city of Derna, the Pasha of Tripoli signed a treaty promising to exact no more tribute.
America's 200 Year War
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The Barbary pirates habitually preyed on ships from “Christian nations,” enslaving “Christian” seamen. “Barbary was Christendom’s Gulag Archipelago.”3 Jefferson, embroiled in a war with Islamic terrorists in his day, commented, “Too long, for the honor of nations, have those Barbarians been [permitted] to trample on the sacred faith of treaties, on the rights and laws of human nature!”4
Little has changed since the eighteenth century. In Joseph Wheelan’s Jefferson’s War we learn that “Jefferson’s war pitted a modern republic with a free-trade, entrepreneurial creed against a medieval autocracy whose credo was piracy and terror. It matched an ostensibly Christian nation against an avowed Islamic one that professed to despise Christians.”5
Wheelan’s historical assessment of the time is on target. “Except for its Native American population and a small percentage of Jews, the United States was solidly Christian, while the North African regencies were just as solidly Muslim — openly hostile toward Christians.”6
Dumas Malone, Jefferson’s biographer, writes: “Treaties had been made with these petty piratical powers in the past, all of them calling for what amounted to tribute. The United States was acting like the other nations with commerce to protect, but Jefferson had opposed this sort of policy from the time he was in France, believing that the only effective language to employ against these brigands of the sea was that of force. He never believed in buying peace with them, and actually he was the first President to use force against them.”7
President Obama is engaged in myth making. He’s counting on people not actually looking into America’s early dealing with Islam. These things are rarely taught in our nation’s government schools so as not to offend.

  1. Quoted in Joseph Wheelan, Jefferson’s War: America’s First War on Terror, 1801–1805 (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003), 40–41. 
  2. Robert Spencer, The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2006) and Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) ( Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005). 
  3. Stephen Clissold, The Barbary Slaves (New York: Barnes & Noble, [1977] 1992), 4. 
  4. Thomas Jefferson, congratulatory letter to Lt. Andrew Sterett (1760–1807). Quoted in Wheelan, Jefferson’s War, 102. 
  5. Wheelan, Jefferson’s War, xxiii. 
  6. Wheelan, Jefferson’s War, 7. 
  7. Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801–1805 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970), 4:97–98. 
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Constitution.com.