Letter to the Editor: St. George Airport, Disneyland & Common Core; grounding effects of education reform

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION – Disneyland is revered around the world as a place where families can be entertained alongside each other in an magical and captivating world.  I am a huge fan of Walt’s creativity and genius.  Did you know that the park took less then two years from funding to opening it’s doors, a feat that is nearly impossible under today’s regulatory burdens?  The project was nearly scrapped from the start in 1953 due to difficulty in obtaining financing. 

Contrast the happiest place on earth which opened in 1955 and now serves millions of visitors each year with the building of the current Saint George Airport that took a quarter of a century from planing to opening in 2011.  Six of those twenty five years can be attributed to a lawsuit demanding a full environmental impact study “over the potential impact of noise from jets flying over Zion National Park.”

There are some similarities that I want to draw with the inception of Disneyland to our newly built Saint George Airport.

1.  Both were built where there was little population  –  Disneyland was built over an orange grove in Anaheim several hours south of LA.  The airport was built Southeast of town where few paved roads or infrastructure existed.

2.  Both had financial and other challenges – Everyone in Walt Disney’s life told him he couldn’t build an amusement park, including his brother and business partner Roy. They were a movie company that was trying to stay afloat; but he was undaunted.  With his prospectus in hand, Walt boarded a plane in 1953 for New York to seek funding to build the park. He made his pitch unsuccessfully to several bankers before finally acquiring the funding.  While Disneyland was built with private funds, the St. George airport was built from a combination of federal, state and local funds during an economic recession.

While the merits of whether or not it was a good decision to replace the airport on the black hill with the existing one are certainly debatable, the merits of replacing local education control and curriculum with unconstitutional and unpiloted (national) state standards in English and math are not. 

Enter Common Core.

Too many of us parents have been distracted with the daily demands of life, as a result, the unelected education reformers have completely removed parents out of the education process. The curriculum decisions are made at the state and federal level instead of the local level.  Our founders installed the bedrock for learning when they established an education system based on a classical model. They taught and proved rather convincingly that the purpose of education was to gain knowledge and wisdom, and to learn how to think, not what to think. The classical philosophy that produced great minds like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin has now been replaced as progressivism rapidly increases it’s influence in schools. History and civics are being diminished to the point where what little history that is still being taught is watered down with half truths.  In addition, there is the testing or conform mechanism that has been implemented with little parental oversight.  The questions from the SAGE tests administered yearly are not permitted to be viewed by parents after the test is taken. 

Let’s compare and contrast, children should be really good at this method by now. In classical education, persuasive writing is about the cogent expression of truth. In progressive education, the end goal is more important than how you get there, so just about anything goes–bending the truth, exaggeration, and most importantly, emotion.

In classical education, “critical thinking” means learning to think and write logically, and being able to easily identify and refute logical fallacies.

In progressive education, “critical thinking” has very little to do with logic. It is more about treating all values/beliefs as equal, and getting kids to believe that truth is relative, not absolute. The first step is to make kids doubt the stuff they’ve learned from their parents and church, or to convince them that the beliefs and values they have been taught are no better or more true than anyone else’s.

When one reviews school curriculum, you will notice an uptick in “two opinions” reading booklets, in bundles of Common Core-aligned “informational texts” (irony).
Showing two sides of an issue is important, but presenting both sides as equivalent, to kids as young as first grade, drives me nuts. We need a generation of logical thinkers who can pursue truth with confidence, not a generation of cynics who doubt everything.

The Creator of the universe taught his disciples to become “as a child.” Progressive educators demand that little children think like doubting grown-ups.

I submit to you that if parents were to describe the manner or methodology in which they desire their child to think,reason and learn, it would resemble more of a “Disneyland” approach to learning then it would a “Saint George Municipal Airport” approach. 

The airport only has one runway for takeoff and landing, 

Disneyland was designed into multiple “themed” areas where children can experience an entirely different adventure simply by moving from one area to the next. 

The advantage of having a myriad of options is that it creates an amusement environment that can be uniquely tailored to the individuals preferences, needs, or wants.

Walt envisioned a park that was unlike any other at that time by reenforcing American exceptionalism and individualism. He desired that each person who walked through the gates would gain a love and respect for the unique founding of America. That they would recognize for themselves the universal,timeless, self-evident truths that exist on earth, and discover the determination inside to chart their own course. 

He elaborated in his prospectus, “Disneyland will be based upon and dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and hard facts that have created America.  And it will be uniquely equipped to dramatize these dreams and facts and send them forth as a source of courage and inspiration to all the world.”

This idea originated from a scribble on a restaurant napkin. Why did he build a Tomorrowland if not to inspire children to dream and reach for the stars? Why else would he have featured the great frontiersman Davy Crockett in Frontierland, or Abraham Lincoln on Main Street, USA? Fantasyland was a place where children could escape reality and enter a world of their own choosing.

Unlike Utah’s current governor, along with misguided politicians who feel they know better than us, Disney wasn’t attempting to “align” elementary aged children on STEM career paths, Rather, he believed each and every child should determine for himself or herself what path they would take. Free will over coercion. Self discovery that is self paced coupled with trial and error over mandated workforce training based off of data collection

What the governor refers to as alignment, may also be called central planning.

With all of the obstacles placed in front of an individual’s journey to pursue their own happiness, one must wonder how long would it take Disneyland to be built on a fruit field in Orange County today? How many years of impact studies?  How many OSHA reviews?  15 years?  25 years? 50 years?  Never? 

When barriers are placed in front of construction projects, timelines are disrupted as projects are delayed.  Barriers that hinder or damage a child’s learning process have a much more devastating effect.

Answers do exist to these challenges as more parents take an active role in their children’s quest for truth. Return To Parental Rights is a newly formed group of parents in Southern Utah who are passionate about education and meet together on a regular basis to discuss solutions.  Here is the website and Facebook page.

Please support us by liking our page or sharing an article.  Also, consider opting out of the SAGE testing.  It would send a strong message to school officials that parents are not happy with the direction being taken.

He who gave sight to the blind never asked for blind obedience. He said “come and see,” i.e., seek out the truth for one’s self.

Submitted by Ryan Schudde

Submitted author profile and contact information: Ryan Schudde is a resident of St. George, he is an advocate for parental rights in education and a member of the group Return to Parental Rights. Email Schudde at [email protected].

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Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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  • redrocktom June 20, 2014 at 8:44 am

    And the Creator made the entire universe in only six days, placing the earth at the center, with the sun and stars rotating around it. And the dinosaurs and humans thrived in each other’s company until the devil made Eve eat an apple.

    • Roy J June 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Also on the 3rd day , God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, for the express purpose of fighting said dinosaurs

  • EL JEFE June 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

    As a former Anaheim native combined with being a former Disney employee, I take umbrage with the author’s claim that “Disneyland was built over an orange grove in Anaheim several hours away south of LA”. Ok, yes it was built over an orange grove. However, Disneyland IS NOT “several hours south of LA”.
    Disneyland is adjacent to the 5 freeway that leads north to LA, that is about 30 minutes (max) away. Maybe if someone was to leave Anaheim in a covered wagon during the late 1800s….then they would probably reach LA in several hours.
    But when Disneyland opened in 1955, LA was still only about 30 minutes north of Anaheim.

  • Elorest June 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Are you aware that there were projects that took 25 years to finish in the 50’s as well? Or that some projects were never finished. There have also been large projects that took 2 years recently. You’re comparison is anecdotal and fails to make a link between the common core and how long projects take. There have been many projects that took very little time to finish and ended up destroying entire ecosystems, so much so that whole towns had to relocated because the water and air were poisonous. So while impact studies inevitably go to far sometimes they’re often better than the alternative.

  • IQ92 June 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Sorry, but this letter is as convoluted–in both substance and style–as any I’ve ever read. In the future, anyone who claims affection for this author should insist on one gift: a skilled editor. Good try, though.

  • Mark June 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Dear Editor,please be tested for ADD. The letter you chose was riddled with ADD.

  • Good Grief Charlie Brown June 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    This letter makes about as much sense as the old poem, Roses are red, Violets are blue, I like peanut butter, Can you swim!
    Oh and El Jefe, you have to admit that if you jump on the 5 during morning or evening rush hours, it resembles a parking lot, much more often than it does a “freeway”.

  • Bender June 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Hey Joyce, next time don’t wait for Ryan to submit his op-ed piece. Go straight to the source and grab it yourself:

    • Roy J June 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Hahaha! This is the worst appeal to reason and logic I have ever attempted to read! But that follows from thinking that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are the uber-detectives of logical fallacy. That classical progression goes Aristotle, Avicenna, Averroes, Aquinas.

  • Chris June 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Poorly written and poorly reasoned. The author might have benefitted from the Common Core.

    • highlatte June 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

      No one is going to benefit from Common Core.

  • highlatte June 23, 2014 at 10:34 am

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Ryan. The liberal commentators are upset with your reality and pragmatism.

  • Roy J June 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    …and if you quick search Google you can find that Ryan’s Good Read’s includes the 5000 Year Leap…should’ve known…

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