Butt out, teachers
Students, like adults, have rights, and high among them is the right not to be badgered about their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. An organization of teachers ought to know that, but apparently members of the Arkansas Career Orientation Teachers Association did not, until they were forcefully enlightened by one of those involved parents that all schools need. In this case, it was Lisa Lee of Bull Shoals, whose son had been given a survey as part of a class at Flippin Middle School. He took it home to finish, and his mother was properly irate when she discovered that it asked, among other questions, whether her son believes in God, reads the Bible regularly, tithes, and says grace before meals — all matters that are none of a public school's business. Lee complained to the Flippin school superintendent, who agreed to discontinue the survey and revealed that it had been obtained from the website of the Arkansas Career Orientation Teachers Association. After the state Education Department said the survey was inappropriate, the ACOTA agreed to withdraw and revise it, before again offering it for use in the schools. Serious revision will be necessary. Religious profiling in the schools is unacceptable, as well as being unconstitutional. While they're making their revisions, members of the ACOTA might themselves complete a survey on freedom orientation. They seem weak in the area.
Be ready for smears
As John McCain is pledged to continue in the footsteps of George W. Bush, we can expect more abuse to be dumped on Arkansans at the Republican National Convention next week.
Both the current President Bush and his father have shown their contempt for the Natural State, the elder Bush quite openly. Remember when he called us “the lowest of the low” on national television during the 1992 Republican Convention? The younger Bush has not expressed his aversion quite so clearly in words — well, he doesn't express anything clearly in words — but his policies have been transparent. Tax trickery; secret, no-bid government contracts; environmental degradation, and all the other Bush-Cheney schemes to make rich, shady Texas oilmen even richer and shadier — these can only harm a state filled with honest, hard-working people of moderate incomes, who love the environment as God made it, and who don't shoot their friends in the face. And what will Mike Huckabee do as his fellow Republicans malign his fellow Arkansans? Though we've had our disagreements, one or two, we choose to think that Huckabee will refrain from smearing those who elected him repeatedly to their state's highest office, even if such restraint lowers his standing in his party. We could be wrong.