What if the Press Covered the Public School System in the US the Way it Covers the Catholic Church? [Reader Post]

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Unless you’re living in a cave, by now you probably heard that we have a new Pope. Personally, I’m glad he arrived for no other reason than we no longer have the continuous coverage filling the news cycle. Yes, I understand the importance of the event, but I don’t think that it needed to dominate the news as it did. Hopefully there were no aliens (sorry, undocumented Americans) from outer space monitoring our airwaves, because if there were they are probably wondering why the Catholic Church is allowed to exist. From my informal, completely unscientific observations, had I known nothing of the church I would have thought that it’s reasons for existence are to promote sexual abuse of children, malice toward gays and repression of women. Apparently it wasn’t just me – The The Media Research Center did a study of the coverage and pretty much had the same observation.

I remembered some years back hearing about a study showing that sexual abuse is far more rampant in public schools than in the church, citing that The figures suggest “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests,” said Shakshaft, according to Education Week. We hear about teacher abuse scandals on a semi-regular basis, but the 100 times number seemed high. So I did that crazy, extremist action that is an anathema to the left when facing data that seems too convenient in supporting an assumption, I looked at the source report to validate the claims. In fact, the original report backed up my hunch.

To make a long story short, at the top of the report it mentions that the study doesn’t clearly differentiate between sexual abuse and sexual misconduct that makes its stats confusing at times. The report also doesn’t break out (at least I didn’t see it – didn’t have time to read all 156 pages) between public and private/parochial schools. Fair enough. Let’s say that the number is “only” 50 times greater, or double the rate reported by the Church, or even equal. How come we don’t see similar hand wringing whenever a new Secretary of Education is named? I’m going to guess that our public school system affects far more Americans than the Catholic Church does, so shouldn’t something of this magnitude be worthy of at least the similar coverage? I was curious myself, so I ran a few searches on Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education since 2009. Searching on his name alone just turned up some bio info, and searching on “Arne Duncan Sex Scandals” revealed more information about Duncan. Just skimming the headlines in the results I learned that he supports gay marriage, is appalled about what happened at Penn State with Jerry Sandusky, and that he supports gun control. Strangely enough there were no results dedicated to tying Duncan to the rampant sexual abuse in our school system. What if today a mainstream news outlet were to cover the head of our DOE in the same sneering, condescending tone that it uses to report on the Pope. I’m envisioning a TV broadcast from a field reporter out of Southern California…

I am good at three things… I’ve already done one of those today, so what’s the other one gonna be? Huh?

Fresh off of the embarrassment of having to remove a quote from a mass murderer from the Department of Education’s web site, the embattled Arne Duncan continues to struggle as the head of an agency that fights to adapt to modern times and is mired in sexual abuse scandals. Despite frequent claims from educators that what they do is for the children, this is difficult to reconcile in the face of teachers guilty of sexual misconduct who can not be terminated from their lucrative contracts  at a time that so many local municipalities struggle to make budgetary ends meet. For that matter, even as these scandals continue to plague our school system the only event that warranted comment from the Secretary seemed to be only because the Penn State Sandusky scandal was one of a magnitude that even his own office could no longer ignore.

The professional left that dominates education politics has effectively destroyed the state of California’s education system. By pushing the teaching of topics like Gay History rather than fundamentals like reading and math it should come as no surprise that California’s school systems rank 48th in reading and math in the United States. This is only further exacerbated by the power of the California Teachers’ unions, whose contracts are designed to protect based on seniority rather than merit, in effect protecting more senior teachers who will generally be more expensive to the system over younger, less senior and less costly members. Note that merit or ability to teach do not factor into these considerations. Even reasonable reforms to make a safer learning environment are blocked by these special interest heavyweights, as The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll  reported, 

“The CTA has fought every effort to reform how California teachers are paid and held accountable for their performance. The union resists even modest and reasonable changes as the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. In 2012, CTA blocked a bill that would have made it easier to fire teachers accused of “serious and egregious” conduct involving sex abuse, drugs or violence toward children. Currently, teachers accused of such offenses are sent to “rubber rooms” where they are paid to do nothing, and can drag out an appeals process for years before being fired.”

California is not the only state where the unions and their political muscle have put their own needs ahead of the citizens they claim to serve. In 2010 Wisconsin teachers walked out on the children they were supposed to teach to cause $7.5 million in damages to the state capitol building as they protested cuts to their compensation packages that would have still left them better off than many of the state’s citizens working in the private sector as Governor Walker worked to reform unsustainable benefits that threatened to bankrupt his state. 

More recently the town of Strongsville, Ohio found striking teachers using ugly bullying and intimidation tactics against the substitute teachers who sought to educate the children while the teachers fought to retain compensation packages that currently consume 90% of the district’s budget. Some of the strong arming has caused a backlash among residents, which leads to deeper questions facing the Secretary, and the Public Education system as a whole.

The Department of Education still refuses to denounce the unions that are desperately fighting reform, even as two out of three Americans stand behind School Choice for parents and children. Even in the Secretary’s own backyard, the forces opposed to School Choice were successful in forcing out a reformer in Michelle Rhee who had made a priority ofremoving incompetent teachers from schools in our nation’s capitol. In what some are calling the next Civil Rights movement, Duncan has not endorsed the Educational Rights movement. One wonders how an institution that is only thirty years old can hope to resist reform and to stay relevant in a shifting American culture. For KVWN, I’m Veronica Corningstone. Thanks for stopping by San Diego; back to you, Ron.

Anchorman: Thanks, Veronica. Say, how did you manage to embed hyperlinks into a TV broadcast?

Of course, why would we see a report like this when our press is pondering critical issues facing our nation, such as why the Pope’s views on gay marriage don’t match those of the New York Times’ editorial page?

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

Blogging by the credo of "Making the world a more offensive place, one blog post at a time", Brother Bob started writing posts around the beginning of the Obama presidency over at Brother Bob's Blog. A born-again Existentialist and self-professed libertarian with conservative tendencies, he has ironically chosen to live in the Washington, DC area - deep behind enemy lines. He has always loved history, and spent eight years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends, giving over 200 tours to roughly 2,500 mostly foreign guests. His tours were highlighted by stories generally not found in the history books or most other tours, such as the importance of the Battle if Antietam, the origins or Arlington Cemetery, and dispelling the myths of FDR's New Deal. Although his favorite subject to blog about is Economics, as seen in his Economics for Politicians series, his posts try to address angles that other conservative writers and the mainstream media (naturally!) miss. "There's no point in putting up a post on a subject that someone smarter than me has already written". He believes in the "Happy Warrior" approach, and tries to inject humor in his posts, sometimes successfully. Two such examples are his posts comparing the modern left to the horrible Star Wars prequels, and analyzing the laments of a DC woman in search of a feminist boyfriend. Brother Bob lives with his very patient wife known as Sister Babe, and their fantastic son. Little Bob. Little Bob is also the reason that being a tour guide came to an end, as spending Saturdays raising a son takes priority over giving lectures to foreign visitors on the folly of Keynesian economics. BB is also grateful for the opportunity to take his place among the outstanding writers at Flopping Aces, appreciates every person who takes the time to read his posts, and especially those who join him in the conversation in the comments.

15 Responses to “What if the Press Covered the Public School System in the US the Way it Covers the Catholic Church? [Reader Post]”

  1. 1


    Sexual abuse in schools? well obviously the best way to deal with that is to make sure that all of the teachers carry guns, NO not to force the kids into having sex, but to PROTECT THE CHILDREN

  2. 2


    There are millions of people pointing out that the emperor “has no clothes on”, but until the vast majority of the people hear that same information from the press, everyone will continue the charade about the emperor’s clothes are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Excellent, Brother Bob. It continues to amaze me, however, that so many of We, the People are blind to the fact that today’s media is much more interested in shaping and making the news, rather than on simply reporting it.

  3. 3

    Brother Bob


    @John: How about if we only arm the pedophile teachers? We already know that they, um, “love” their students.

    @Johngalt: Many thanks. Our problems with the press are are a far more serious issue and the subject of another post that I’ve been kicking around for a while. Whenever Baby Bob gives me more time to write I’ll get back to it =8^)

  4. 4


    Has the US public school been as complicit as the Catholic Church in covering up it’s paedophilia sex scandals? The last pope was complicit with this! No doubt it is hard for any organization to completely prevent any abuses conducted by individuals within its ranks – be it a school system, a religious order, army etc etc BUT what does make the difference is if that organization fails to do all it can to minimize abuse and breathtakingly actually activately cover up such scandals so the paedophiles aren’t criminally prosecuted. The Catholic Church loses all moral authority if it can’t keep it’s own house clean. Unfortunately it seems the Catholic Church continues to spend more time being defensive than activately solving the problem of *children* being sexually abused. I guess it’s easier to blame the media – but if the Catholic Church did all it could to prevent such abuses and stop covering up then there would be less stories.

  5. 5

    Nathan Blue

    @GaffaUK: I think you need to look at individual cases and blame the individual involved. The media implies the will to cover up these abuses is somewhat worse in the Catholic Church, though logic shows it isn’t. There’s just a vested interest in destroying the Church in favor of a secular paradigm. It’s quite a violent movement, actually, fomenting hatred and intolerance . . . all that it claims to be combating.

    Your prosecution of the Catholic Church, and the comment about “moral authority,” beckons to another issue you may have. The big push now is to re-write history by taking Christianity out of it, showing it to be a hindrance rather than the primary reason the West developed into the moral, scientific power-house it is today.

    Feel-free to take Christianity out of society, if you can, but be advised that you will lose all that the faithful have fought for over the millenia. If the US jettisons Christianity, I hope it’s prepared to go back to a barbaric, uncivilized model fit for thousands of years ago.

    Enjoy the secular paradise, but I suggest you bring a gun and some ammo . . . you’ll probably need it if you want to live.

  6. 6



    The last pope was complicit with this!

    He was? He was actually influential in changing the Canon to have priests punished, up to and including expulsion from the Church for any offense against a minor.

    Has the US public school been as complicit as the Catholic Church in covering up it’s paedophilia sex scandals?

    The Unions have:

    In the last five years in New York City, 97 tenured teachers or school employees have been charged by the Department of Education with sexual misconduct.
    If this kind of behavior were happening in any adult workplace in America, there would be zero tolerance. Yet our public school children are defenseless.

    Here’s why. Under current New York law, an accusation is first vetted by an independent investigator. (In New York City, that’s the special commissioner of investigation; elsewhere in the state, it can be an independent law firm or the local school superintendent.) Then the case goes before an employment arbitrator. The local teachers union and school district together choose the arbitrators, who in turn are paid up to $1,400 per day. And therein lies the problem.

    For many arbitrators, their livelihood depends on pleasing the unions (whether the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, or other local unions). And the unions—believing that they are helping the cause of teachers by being weak on sexual predators—prefer suspensions and fines, and not dismissal, for teachers charged with inappropriate sexual conduct. The effects of this policy are mounting.

    Full Story: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443437504577547313612049308.html

  7. 7

    Brother Bob


    @Gaffa: You’re completely missing my point. Nathan Blue & Aqua raise some good points, and go back to my original post. When child abuse happens within the church the Archbishop, the Cardinal, and the Pope are held responsible.

    When a teacher molests a student, where is the media assault on the local Board of Ed, the Mayor, the Governor, or Arne Duncan?

    And I didn’t even touch on one other disturbing element to this. If someone doesn’t trust their local church they can stop going or attend a different one. Where do parents who don’t trust their local school go?

  8. 8



    Explain the logic that determines whether the Catholic Church is less complicit in covering up paedophiles than the US public school system?

    What actual violence is being used by those in favour of secularism to destroy the Catholic Church?

    Surely if priests stopped touching up innocent kids and the church covering this appalling abuse then surely these intolerant secularists couldn’t accuse the Catcholic Church of paedophiles?

    Do you believe society should be intolerant of paedophila wherever it is found?

    Give me some examples of individuals (particularly historians) who are trying to re-write Christianity out of history?

    Do you agree that there are many examples of corruption within the Catholic Church throughout history?

    How come countries, like Sweden for example, who have seen a significant rise in non-believers over the years haven’t suddenly descended into barbarity?


    In denial are we?

    Ratzinger’s 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus clarified the confidentiality of internal church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse. This became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal. As a Cardinal, Ratzinger had been for twenty years the man in charge of enforcing the document. While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup. Later, as pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution.


    Only later when he became pope and the sex scandal was engulfing the church did he try damage limitation. But what’s the excuse for his cover-ups previously???

    @brother Bob

    Show me examples where board of educators, mayors etc have covered up child sex abuse cases to the extent of the Catcholic Church?

    Parents can take their kids to another school.

    All in all – the Catholic Church has abused children and covered up for paedophiles. Unfortunately it is easier to be defensive and say ‘what about them over there’….instead it would be better to sort out the sick mess within the church and ensure these cover-ups never happen again.


  9. 9



    In denial are we?

    Awesome, a Wikipedia reference. Here’s the whole letter, translated.
    The secrecy you claim as keeping the incident confidential in an effort to “cover it up” only covers the canonical trial. No different than you would find in the US Grand Jury system. There is nothing stopping a victim or guardian from reporting the incident to the police.
    As for the Crimen Sollicitationis, the Church pulls this straight from 1 Corinthians 6: 1-7.
    And to answer another of your questions, yes, I believe society should be intolerant of pedophilia no matter where it is found. It is second only in my book of heinous crimes to murder. Rape comes in third. Sometimes I think any molestation against a child should be number one because it’s a crime against innocence and innocents.
    The Catholic Church had a serious issue with child molestation and it needs to be fixed and never happen again. And yes, there has been corruption in the Catholic Church throughout history, just like every organization. Because the Church is run by people and people are never going to be perfect, even religious people. There have been more crimes and wars in the name of religion than anything else. Does that mean people should abandon their faith? No. Religion is an institution run by people, faith is something else entirely.

  10. 10

    Nathan Blue

    @GaffaUK: Rather than address each statement (many of which are fallacious re-appropriations of my own points, exaggerated for effect), I just say that some of us feel the focus on the wrongs of the Catholic Church, and Christianity in general, is unjust considering all the “good” being carried out by believers every day. There’s a vested interest by those non-believers with power to negate Christianity as having any merits, for obvious reasons. The result is a general ignorance of history and philosophical depth, and cultural malaise that wants the benefits of The Kingdom . . . as long as God isn’t in it.

    That is a “violent” movement, in my understanding, and not peaceful because the physical violence has yet to begin.

  11. 11



    If a church leader or a teacher within the US public school system find that a child has been abused or a priest/teacher has abused a child they have a duty to report that to the authorities don’t you agree? You can’t simply say – oh well the victim could have gone to the police. People, particularly children, are unlikely to report abuse for several reasons – shame etc. It is the responsibility of the authorities to make sure the police are informed. Instead in the Catholic Church we have pedophile priests simply moved to another area – where they continue to abuse children! That is simply shocking and unforgivable. If there are widespread cases of teachers been found abusing kids which have been found out by the teaching authorities who have failed to inform the police and have moved the abusing teacher to another school – then please let me know of such examples.

    Even as an atheist I don’t believe people should simply abandon their belief because of the corruption and paedophila abuse by the Catholic Church. It is more shocking though, when a self appointed authority on morals (particular sexual) is so riddled by such scandal. Instead of criticising the media for focusing on this scandal, we should thank them as otherwise the Catholic Church would of continued to simply fail to deal with the abuse.


    I guess my questions were too difficult especially when I question your assertions. I realise that many in the church want to sweep these abuses under the carpet but for too long has the activities of the Catholic Church have by and large gone unchallenged. If this was a non-religious children charity who gave lot of money out, did lots of good but also had many children abused under its care – it would shut down by the authorities and I would doubt people like yourself with have issue with the focus on the abuse. You don’t have to religious to appreciate all the good and bad religion has done throughout history. And the religious don’t have to be so defensive against those who are anti-religious to stop them from fixing the terrible problems of child abuse that have happened under their watch.

  12. 12

    Brother Bob


    @Gaffa: You’re still missing my point. I’m in no way trying to make excuses for the Church – how these situations were handled was wrong. Period.

    Where is the same concern over the same thing happening in the schools? Why are no higher ups in our education system getting grilled at every turn? It almost sounds like the left cares about bad behavior only when it’s done by people that they don’t like.

  13. 13



    If a church leader or a teacher within the US public school system find that a child has been abused or a priest/teacher has abused a child they have a duty to report that to the authorities don’t you agree?

    Yes, I agree. But you didn’t read 1Corinthians 6: 1-7 did you. Here it is:

    1If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people?
    2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
    3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
    4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?
    5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?
    6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

    Many Christians, myself included, walk a fine line between secular lives and Christian lives. Personally, I would like to see child molestation and rape as capital offenses. My Church says even murder should not see the death penalty. I just happen to disagree.
    But priests in the Roman Catholic Church do not see a secular side. Sure, they have diplomats to deal with world governments, but they live in and for the Church. The Crimen Sollicitationis is based on the Bible passage above and they take it seriously. Should the punishment for pedophile priests be harsher. You damn right it should be, I think I made my feelings on that clear. And I have made my feelings known to the Church as well.
    Now, you tell me; besides the coverup by the Church, how is the story I posted about the New York teacher’s union any different? Instead of firing the teachers and sending them to jail or hell, the move to have them pay fines and be reinstated as teachers. Is this any different than what the Catholic Church did?

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