Difference between revisions of "Andrew Schlafly"
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[[Image:Andy3.jpg|thumb|Andrew L. Schlafly]]
[[Image:Andy3.jpg|thumb|Andrew L. Schlafly]]
Revision as of 02:50, 16 September 2010
Andrew Layton Schlafly is the son of John Fred Schlafly Jr. and well-known American conservative author and activist Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum. A conservative Christian, Andrew Schlafly runs a homeschooling program in his home state of New Jersey, where he has taught at least 170 homeschooled teenagers since 2002.
He is also the founder of a website called Conservapedia, which promotes staunchly conservative Republican and American-exceptionalist values, and a strictly Young Earth Creationist view of the history of our universe, planet, and life. Intended as an educational resource and promoted as "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia", Conservapedia has caused great controversy in print, on the radio, and online, primarily over the accuracy of the information that the website provides.
- 1 Background
- 2 Andrew Schlafly, homeschool teacher
- 2.1 Qualifications
- 2.2 Educational Standards
- 2.3 Educational Practice
- 2.3.1 Class size
- 2.3.2 Girls are academically inferior to boys
- 2.3.3 Questionable practices in teaching American history
- 2.3.4 Inflated sense of expertise
- 2.3.5 Lack of emphasis on grammar and spelling
- 2.3.6 Public grading of homework
- 2.3.7 Grade inflation
- 2.3.8 Poor communication with students
- 2.3.9 Disdain for other students
- 2.3.10 Treatment of distance learning students
- 2.4 Beliefs
- 2.5 Math course
- 3 Conservapedia
- 4 Publications
- 5 See also
- 6 Footnotes
Born on April 27, 1961, in Alton, Illinois, Andrew Schlafly is the son of John Fred Schlafly Jr. (1909-1993), a conservative lawyer, and Phyllis Schlafly (née Stewart in 1924), best known for her activism in the American fundamentalist conservative movement, including founding the Eagle Forum and opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. Andrew is the fifth of John and Phyllis's six children.
The Schlafly children were homeschooled until the age of seven. There is some evidence to suggest that Schlafly later attended Saint Louis Priory School, a private Catholic boys' school, graduating in 1978.
Schlafly holds a B.S.E. cum laude in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University (1981), and worked as a device physicist for Intel, an electrical engineer at the applied physics laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, and finally at Bell Labs. He went on to study law and earn a J.D. from Harvard Law School (1991), where he graduated magna cum laude. While there, he was a member of the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review (interestingly, at the same time as President Barack Obama, who became Editor-In-Chief of the journal), and he clerked for a federal appellate judge in Washington D.C.
There is currently no evidence in the public domain for his credentials or training in the fields of education or childhood/pre-college development.
He married Catherine Agneta Kosarek at a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1984. Miss Kosarek was a fourth-year medical student at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and also a Princeton graduate. They have two children.
Schlafly became a member of the New York state bar in 1993  and served as an adjunct professor of administrative law at Seton Hall Law School in 1995. He began his career as an attorney as an associate with the New York City law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz. U.S. Party Index records available through the Judicial Conference of the United States Public Access to Court Electronic Records ("PACER") service, a fee-based electronic database of documents filed in federal trial court level cases, identify eight civil and two criminal matters in which Schlafly filed appearances in various United States District Courts while an attorney while at Wachtell, Lipton.
He is currently General Counsel for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, As its General Counsel, Schlafly filed appearances in 3 civil matters, as intervenor or Plaintiff, in Connecticut and Texas District Courts. Schlafly has appeared on television as a voice for the anti-vaccination movement. Currently his status appears to be that of a self-employed attorney. Aside from his sporadic work for AAPS, PACER records reflect that Schlafly filed a single appearance in federal court since his departure from Wachtell, Lipton, representing a defendant in a Sherman Antitrust Act price-fixing case. State court records are scattered on a state by state, or even county by county basis, and are often not available electronically, making a survey of Schlafly's work in state court difficult.
He has taught classes in World History, U.S. History, and Economics to homeschooled high school age children for several years for a per-student fee. As a volunteer, apparently, he teaches eight online courses at the Eagle Forum University, largely from the same course material that he provides for his homeschooling program. These courses do not appear to actually exist.
In June 2009, Schlafly wrote an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Eagle Forum for a U.S. Supreme Court case, supporting California's law banning sales of violent video games to minors.  In the brief, he attributed, without evidence, such games as the cause of high dropout rates and lack of academic readiness of college freshmen.
Schlafly recruited marchers for the annual March for Life event that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 22, 2010, 37 years to the day when the Roe v. Wade decision was made preventing states from restricting access to abortion. He "chartered two large buses for his trip to the March for Life, and hopes to have 94 participants, the largest single contingent from New Jersey." He became the lead counsel for the committee to recall US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The committee is led by "tea party activists and conservatives angry over bank bailouts and health-care costs."
He is on the Board of Directors of Students for Life, a pro-life movement which aims to end abortion by educating students about the issues of abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide; identifying pro-life student leaders; equipping student pro-lifers with the training, skills and resources to be effective and successful; promoting student activity to other local, college and national organizations
Political career and current affiliation
In 1992 Schlafly made a bid for the Republican Party nomination for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, but was defeated in the primary, garnering 11% of the vote and finishing in fifth and last place  after spending $84,725 of his own money.
In the 2008 Presidential Primary, Schlafly contributed $1500 to the campaign of Republican candidate Mike Huckabee.
Schlafly has also on occasion commented on international politics. In the run up to the UK General Election, 2010 he posted items on the Conservapedia main page worded in apparent favour of the British Conservative Party and a disdain for the Liberal Party, which he supposedly confused with the ruling Labour Party, as the British Liberal Party had not been in power since the end of the First World War. In the same post he mistakenly noted the Conservative Party was "on track to oust the Liberal Party (sic) from power in England," whereas the election referred to affected all of the United Kingdom constituent countries - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all of which are part of the sovereign state which is the United Kingdom, and all with a common government and Prime Minister - England apparently being a mistaken synonym for the United Kingdom.
In March 2009, Schlafly declared himself impressed with the educational platform, though unimpressed with the apparent lack of social positions, of the British National Party, a far right British political party, with roots in white-power skinhead organisations, and, until February 2010, the largest party in the UK to have an exclusively whites-only membership policy. The comment caused some controversy on Conservapedia, particularly after one user noted how the Conservapedia article on the British National Party describes them as a "neo-Nazi political party". While Schlafly had not commented on the racial policies of the BNP, and declared himself opposed to racism, he continued to defend his earlier comments on it. He eventually conceded that others may have known more than him about the BNP, but that even a "stopped clock could be right twice a day."
Andrew Schlafly, homeschool teacher
When considering whether to employ Schlafly as an educator of your children, we feel there are a few issues which should be brought to the attention of potential students, parents and their families. We list some of these, with links to his own statements on the issues, mostly from Conservapedia.
Outline legal status of homeschooling
Although the State of New Jersey requires no qualification of homeschool teachers, nor the use of standardized texts, "Instruction academically “equivalent” to that in the public schools is required. In addition to language arts, math and science, public schools are required to teach 1) in the last 4 years of high school 2 years of U.S. history, including New Jersey history (civics counts as history per N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:35-2.1); 2) a one-year elementary school course in community civics, citizenship, and New Jersey civics, geography and history; 3) 2.5 hours per week in health, safety and physito 35-5.4." If legal action is initiated, parents must carry the burden of providing the local superintendent with evidence that the child is in fact receiving equivalent instruction. However, ultimately it is the state that must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the parents failed to provide their child with equivalent education. 231 A.2d at 257. 
The law as it relates to homeschooling varies from state to state. For example, in California, Article §48224 of the Education code requires homeschool teachers to hold a teaching credential. In a 2008 case, a state appeals court found "...parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children." However, this ruling was reversed a few months later, by the same court.
Qualifications as an educator
Andrew Schlafly has no formal training or certification in education or pedagogy, according to his March 2009 application to the State of New Jersey to establish an education program .
AP certification and his courses
Although Mr. Schlafly does not bill his class as an AP course, he does say "Students seeking to earn college credit can take the CLEP or AP exams upon successful completion of this course." However, his class is not an AP certified course - a student taking his course would gain no college credit for the course itself. Schlafly has indicated he will not seek certification for his course as he feels the board would censor him. An apparently experienced homeschooling parent has publicly discussed at length with Schlafly that his course is not at AP level, and may also poorly prepare students for the relevant exam.
A student taking the AP test upon completion of Mr. Schlafly's class should not expect to be adequately prepared. Without additional and extensive specific preparation it would be difficult for a student to receive a high enough AP score to qualify for college credit. Regardless of score achieved on a subsequent AP test, parents should be mindful to not refer to this course as an "AP course" on any college application, as such a false statement could imperil a student's chances of acceptance if the claim were examined by the college.
Comparisons between Andrew Schlafly's class and the AP
The U.S. History AP exam contains both a multiple choice section, and a section requiring answers in essay form. Schlafly's exams are entirely multiple choice. You can see Schlafly's midterm exams here and here (Schlafly gives separate tests to boys and girls, which is discussed elsewhere). AP questions can be seen here.
The AP test contains three extensive essay questions, one document based, and two general essays, accounting for half the overall grade. Answers are expected to be in-depth and very thorough; the students are expected to write for between 35 and 45 minutes on each. Schlafly's exams contain no essay questions at all. To review what he expects from his students' writing, we need to examine his homework assignments. These 'essays' contain no such stringent requirements; Schlafly suggests "These questions require at most one or a few phrases to answer; you do not need to write complete sentences".
Examples of AP questions:
- Analyze the impact of the market revolution (1815-1860) on the economies of TWO of the following regions:
- The Northeast
- The Midwest
- The South
- Presidential elections between 1928 and 1948 revealed major shifts in political party loyalties. Analyze both the reasons for these changes and their consequences during this period.
Examples of Schlafly's questions:
- What do you find most inspiring about Christopher Columbus?
- Sample answer: "That he had an idea: That you could go west by sailing east. Nobody believed him, but he pursued this idea, and he went down as one of the most famous travelers of all time. He didn't let anyone dilute his dream." Although this answer is factually incorrect, as it was already well known the world was round, full credit was awarded: 10/10 (You may also notice that the student had the directions backwards; Columbus aimed to go to the East by sailing west. As the overall concept is the same regardless of direction traveled, we let this slide.)
- Another sample answer: "His determination." Grade: Full credit.
- What was the Boston Tea Party?
- Sample answer: "Samuel Adams led a group of colonists, all dressed up as Indians, into the Boston harbor, where they dumped all the tea into the water." No mention of motives, taxes, effects, whose tea it was or where it came from, or anything else is made, but full credit is awarded.
- Describe what you like most about the Monroe Administration.
- Sample answer: "I like the prosperity that occurred in under the Monroe Administration." Grade: full credit (Seeing as how Mr. Schlafly specifically tells his students that complete sentences are not required, this student presumably would have received the same score for merely answering "Prosperity")
- Abraham Lincoln was homeschooled. Do you see any characteristics in him that might have reflected his homeschooling, such as his independent thinking?
- Sample answer: "That he was open to ideas such as growing a beard." Grade: Full credit. Lincoln, like most people of his time, was home schooled because he came from a poor family and there was no other way for him to be educated. He did have a voracious appetite for learning, outside of what his parents taught him, and probably, if he had the opportunities and the resources, would have attended some level of formal education. As an adult he taught himself the law (which was also plausible in frontier Illinois) and was probably a better lawyer than Andy ever was.
- What advantage did Buddhism have over Hinduism in converting people outside India?
- Sample Answer (emphasis added): "Buddhism is not as moral, and does not believe in castes. Castes are very politically incorrect and are not something most people would want to be associated with. Buddhism also does not believe in God or a Supreme Being that you have answer to when you die. They believe that Buddha is the creator. Hindus believe that Brahman is the Supreme Creator, or, God. Buddhism’s lack of God would appeal to many people in this day and age." Schlafly deemed that an "excellent answer", and gave the student full credit. However, Buddhists in no way hold Buddha to be the creator, or as a deity of any kind (in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word 'deity'), instead viewing him as a great teacher.
While Schlafly on occasion does ask questions that could potentially approach the level of the AP, they are generally vague, and the answers he expects from his students would be completely unacceptable on an AP exam, which expects thorough analysis, not "at most one or two phrases".
Schlafly does not prepare his students for the most difficult part of the essay section: the document based question. The AP exam requires the ability to synthesize the contents of multiple primary sources into a coherent historical argument, a skill that Schlafly rarely attempts to develop in his students. Although sometimes he will ask his students to explain a political cartoon, Schlafly has not asked his students for any real analysis, nor to interpret multiple documents simultaneously, a skill vital to success on the AP exam.
Uncertain of his own ability to graduate students who are qualified for college
In a 2008 posting on Conservapedia, Schlafly made clear that he is not convinced of his own ability to qualify the children he teaches for college, as he does not follow the expected curricula, and he sought "suggestions" from his community of students and editors as to how he might do so.
Parents choosing to educate their children under the tutelage of Schlafly should be mindful of the fact that Schlafly himself is unsure that his educational program will properly prepare the student for post-secondary education.
Schlafly believes larger classes are superior to smaller ones. He claimed that his American History 101 course would be the largest such class in the world, with more than 50 studentsTemplate:QN, but failed to back up this claim with any comparative data — despite the fact that African classrooms can be far more crowded. Conventional educational wisdom dictates that smaller class sizes are preferable because of the individual attention a teacher can give each student, but Schlafly disagrees. This notion is particularly strange given his overwhelming support for homeschooling, which would typically have a very small class size. He defended his ideas in an essay (see also the talk page). Our own defense of smaller classes, and a rebuttal to the individual points made by Mr. Schlafly, can be seen here.
The notion that smaller class sizes are preferable for a child's education is so universally acknowledged that class size is an important factor in official college rankings (smaller average class size yielding a higher rank on the listings). If you intend to enroll your child in one of Mr. Schlafly's classes under the impression that your child will be in a smaller, more intimate environment, and will receive more personal attention than in a public school classroom, you are likely mistaken.
Girls are academically inferior to boys
Schlafly believes that because of biological predetermination, girls are less intelligent than boys and that they cannot achieve academically at the same level. In response to criticism of these views, Schlafly has said "Think girls can excel in math as well as boys can? Liberals teach they can, which is teaching a falsehood." Another posting of his decried a federally funded report which showed no difference in educational ability across genders - Schlafly derided the findings as "politically correct." Schlafly's belief that girls are intellectually inferior to boys is not confined to math, and is also evident in his social sciences courses - for example, in examinations for his American History course, girls are given 15% fewer questions than boys but the same amount of time. Schlafly's stated reasoning for this is to "minimize competition between boys and girls." Mr. Schlafly's aversion to inter-gender competition has been noted before and is apparently strong enough to allow him to engineer this gender bias into his course. The policy seems ill-advised for female students, as the AP exam, SAT-II, and college exams for which this course is ostensibly preparing students make no such distinction.
These opinions contrast with the findings of most educational studies. An American Psychological Association study found zero difference in achievement across the gender gap in 7.2 million students nationally, and in the study Schlafly disagreed with, the National Science Foundation found that "girls perform as well as boys on standardized math tests." And while there are indeed fewer women working today in science and mathematical fields than men, many studies, such as one from Stanford University, show that the reason for the imbalance is because women are in the minority and societal norms are being perpetuated by opinions like Schlafly's - in essence, a self-perpetuating and circular situation. The outstanding achievements of women scientists, mathematicians and astronauts are well documented. As a result, most teachers work hard to encourage their female students, but Schlafly does not share this view and actively discourages girls from attempting to succeed at the same academic level as boys. His desire to set an imbalanced educational standard for girls has even resulted in public protests from his female students , but despite such complaints he continues to pursue his agenda.
Clearly, if you plan to place your daughter under Schlafly's tuition, his opinions in this matter are likely to be of some concern.
Questionable practices in teaching American history
Schlafly's lack of training as an educator — and as a historian — is evident in his attempts to design an American history course. A recent unit test on early American history, meant for a college-prep course on the subject, asked questions that were of dubious value in preparing a student for college level, or even high-school level history. One question asked: "What do you find most inspiring about Christopher Columbus?" A student answered "That he learning how to be a captain at age 10", which Schlafly graded as a "good" answer. Other questions sought to obscure facts commonly accepted by academic historians such as the existence of a pre-Columbian Viking settlement in Newfoundland and the "Triangular Trade" model of explaining the Atlantic system of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Inflated sense of expertise
Schlafly frequently claims superior expertise in whatever subject he is debating, and has repeatedly attacked and overturned opinion, evidence, and references supplied by fully qualified editors based solely on his claimed expertise. Often, rather than simply disagreeing with others, he makes totally unsubstantiated claims that are simply opinion, assertion, or even uneducated guesses, and of which he brooks no criticism. To date, he has declared himself more knowledgeable than others in these fields:
- Biblical scholarship and translation
- Entertainment Industry
- Pure mathematics
- For a list with much greater detail of his claims, see here.
It is surprising, given his claims of expertise in so many fields, that Schlafly is openly contemptuous of acknowledged and credentialed experts, and particularly so when they conflict with his uncited assertions. His often stated slogan "Don't read a book to learn, write a book to learn" further underlines this anti-intellectual stance. Mr. Schlafly proposes that editing Conservapedia is a better way to learn than "reading a book, attending a seminar, ... discussing with people [sic]". He claims that "In merely a few spare minutes or hours, the participants in [the conservative bible project] have learned more than they could have after spending 10x or 100x many hours in any other medium." The extent of his views regarding his own site lead him to consider it one of the greatest achievements throughout history.
Despite his claims of expertise in numerous fields, Schlafly often makes distinctive errors both in his online lectures and when posting on Conservapedia. Some of his more blatant factual errors are listed below.
- Confusing England with the United Kingdom in the run up to the UK General Election, 2010 - England is a constituent country of the United Kingdom, a sovereign state.
- Mistaking the British Labour Party for the Liberal Party, the latter of which hasn't been in power since the early 1920s.
- Arguing, against all evidence to the contrary, that Fidel Castro died sometime before December 2009. 
- Arguing, with no supporting evidence, that Great Britain is "atheistic." 
Lack of emphasis on grammar and spelling
High school students, especially those wanting to further their education, need to learn how to construct well argued, correctly written, properly punctuated and grammatically correct essays. However, Schlafly spends little time if any in his classes providing students with necessary writing guidance.
Throughout the pages of Conservapedia, one can find Schlafly claiming expertise in spelling, grammar and punctuation, and attacking people on these terms to deflect debate. These responses typically have no bearing on the suggestions put to him: see  and , where Schlafly deflects attention from his unsubstantiated encyclopedia entries concerning Obama as a Muslim by criticising the contributor's spelling instead, and with an unrelenting emphasis on what he regards to be liberal: see this footnote, where the British English spelling of the word "honor/honour" is, on its own terms, taken as being not only non-American, but "liberal" in its bias.
Despite this persistence, Schlafly's own posts, articles, and essays are frequently rife with poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling, which remain uncorrected and unacknowledged. Examples include:
- "See if you can learn out to spell 'superior'"
- "You're 'sources' for that ungrammatical claim are interesting..."
- "I do teaching writing"
- "Jesus is describing as writing in the ground"
- "You'll be fine if you're hear to teach and learn"
- "Folks, learn how the simply concept of futures markets work"
- "Childbirth prevents against breast cancer"
- "Conservapedia has long observed that girls are injured in sports at much higher rates than boys, and how liberals denial or downplay it."
- "This is tremendous potential".
- "I have to run an errand but want to you everyone know, as I've said before, that it's only productive to discuss something with somebody who has an open mind."
- "There's time and several students missed the first lecture do to other commitments."
- "But the 'them' is grammatically incorrect but avoids using a gender-specific pronoun."
- "Feel free to participate join many other students who are already participating."
- "In its entire nation, including all the rural areas, one-sixth of schoolchildren do no speak English as their first language."
In early 2010, Schlafly announced a new course he would be teaching, entitled the "Writing and SAT Verbal Skills Course". The announcement itself, posted to the front page of Conservapedia, contained grammatical errors - "The Writing and SAT Verbal Skills course begins. Feel free to participate join many other students who are already participating. Ask any questions here."
Public grading of homework
Mr. Schlafly grades his students' homework publicly, online. The students' answers are posted, and Mr. Schlafly provides notes, commentary, corrections and gradings for all to see- not just other students, but anyone who happens to be reading Conservapedia, including people who are not supportive of the students. Some educators would argue this is neither fair nor appropriate, and that a private teacher-student relationship when grading allows greater mutual understanding and a less judgmental educational environment. Recent examples of public grading can be seen on Conservapedia.   
Conservapedia derides grade inflation in liberal schools. However, when grading his students' homework, Mr. Schlafly has yet to give less than 8 out of 10 correct marks on any question (except under exceptional circumstances; see below), even if the answer is clearly wrong. 98% is a typical score for a homework assignment containing various errors and the most cursory of answers.   The reasons for this inflation remains unclear. Speculated reasons include;
- an unwillingness to tell a student that his or her work is substandard (or even poor) especially in a public forum (see "Public grading" above);
- inflating his own ego as a teacher by ensuring all of his students excel, thus reflecting well on him;
- seeing his class as more of a diploma mill, in which all a student needs to do is show up to receive an A, thus profiting from parents' desires for their children to have excellent transcripts;
- a belief that the cursory, simplistic, and erroneous answers he receives are actually superb (this is unlikely, as he has been known to state that an answer is incorrect, though he will still grade it 8/10 at the leastTemplate:QN).
Whatever the reasoning, it should be obvious that a student who is used to receiving 98% on tests which they have performed poorly will not be sufficiently prepared for real life grading if they subsequently attend College or University.
To be fair, though, he has once given out a mark of 4/10. It transpired, however, that this 'student' was actually a certain Gentleman Publius (see User:Publius) who had deliberately written an answer which, though good, disputed many of Andy's allegations in his politicised curriculumTemplate:QN. Such insubordination cannot be allowed.
Poor communication with students
Schlafly's guidance as to how his American History course students should focus their studying time left many scratching their heads as to his intent:
"You will spend a certain amount of time preparing for the midterm exam. Call that amount of time "x". How you allocate that time to different areas of 1500-1877 will make a difference on how well you do on the exam. If you spend 90% of x on the period between 1500 and 1700, then you will do poorly on 90% of the questions, because they will be from the period 1700 to 1877. You would have done far better to spend the 90% of x on the time period that will have 90% of the questions."
This kind of poor communication with his students perhaps explains the basic nature of many of his students' examination answers.
Disdain for other students
Schlafly has a very poor opinion of public schools in the US, and repeatedly disparages them in comments and articles . Schlafly also directly disparages, mocks and insults students of such schools. While Schlafly is entirely free to be disdainful of the schools within the public system, since he offers an alternative, it is an interesting insight into this educator's mindset to see him publicly mock the actual students of these schools.
Treatment of distance learning students
Schlafly has severely chastised distance learning students who post assignments which do not conform exactly to his own beliefs, believing the students to be parodists or liberals.
Disrespect for academic qualifications
Schlafly is highly dismissive of academia and academics in general, and believes that "the process of inducing people to rely on 'the perceived view of experts' is a misleading one". Schlafly's view is that learning is best achieved by ignoring experienced, qualified researchers in any given field and instead "thinking for oneself". Throughout Conservapedia, many other examples of this philosophy exist.
Additionally, the Conservapedia article Professor values, created and written mostly by Schlafly, is clear in its disregard for academics.
In a March 2008 appearance on CBC's late-night show The Hour, Schlafly stated about Conservapedia: "I don't have to live with what's printed in the newspaper, I don't have to take what's put out by Wikipedia. We've got our own way to express knowledge and the more that we can clear out the liberal bias that erodes our faith, the better."
Politicization of curriculum
Andrew Schlafly politicizes most topics he teaches. He believes that movies, books and music have underlying political messages that are either liberal or conservative, and in particular has refused to watch any movie featuring Tom Hanks (a well known liberal) in the belief that his films push a liberal agenda . He furthermore claims that the dictionary has become affected by liberal bias as it contains an entry on CE (common era). For information on how he has politicized his math course, see the corresponding section and links below.
In October 2008, in order to justify teaching a very large homeschool class, Schlafly claimed that all teachers' unions were liberal, and seek smaller classes in order to enhance liberal mind control. He also contended that small homeschool groups are often liberal public school teachers teaching outside their class who are thoroughly indoctrinated in the small-class mind control.
Seemingly innocuous words such as "efficiency", "phonics" or "radar" also fall under Schlafly's dichotomy of liberal/conservative.
Schlafly's Bible Scepticism
Schlafly has conflicting views on the Bible. On the one hand, as a very conservative Christian with a literalist interpretation of the Bible (he prefers the NIV, although he believes it is too liberal and is "written at only the 7th Grade level"), he views it as the authoritative work of history and science and thus believes that Genesis is a true description of the beginning of time. As a result, he holds, along with other Conservapedia administrators, Young Earth Creationist views, believing that the Earth is 6,000 - 10,000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed until recent times.
On the other hand, Schlafly also believes that certain passages of the Bible are "suspect" and have been modified since the original passages were written. In the case of the "adultress parable" (John 7:53-8:11) in which Jesus invited those without sin to cast the first stone at an adulteress, but none were able to, since all were sinners, Schlafly believes that these passages were inserted later in order to support a liberal worldview in which sinners are forgiven. Schlafly views this behavior of Jesus to be the beginning of so-called "Moral Relativism", of which he disapproves; for this reason, he argues that this passage of the Bible is actually a hoax.
Throughout Conservapedia, Schlafly uses examples from the Bible to prove his points, believing as he does that it is the infallible Word of God. Yet his conflicting beliefs that certain passages of the Bible are hoaxes complicate that belief enormously. His desire to revise the texts of the Bible and remove what he describes as "vandalism" to the Bible to fit his own views disturbed many of even his closest peers at Conservapedia, as did his evident desire to disavow Christian forgiveness of the adultress in the story. Schlafly has in fact rejected one of the central tenets of Christianity, referring to the notion of extending goodwill to one's adversaries as "foolish." 
Conservative Bible Project
On Christmas Day 2008, he began the 'Bible Retranslation Project', wherein he proposed a rewriting of the Bible to, for example, replace all instances of the term "The Word of God" with his own translation, "The Truth of God", and the rewording of The Ten Commandments with the wording "Thou Shalt Not Murder" replacing "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Schlafly went on to write that "no fully conservative translation of the Bible exists as of 2009"img.
After realising that he had nowhere near the knowledge necessary to translate the Bible from Greek and causing the only person who did to leave, Andy began a less ambitious project, The Conservative Bible Project, wherein English passages were re-written, as a campaign for a widescale rewrite of the Bible to match his own values, making references to the fact that all current versions of the Bible are "dumbed down", contain passages of doubtful authenticity, are not gender-specific enough, and "improperly encourage the 'social justice' movement among Christians," among other claims. He also suggest the complete removal of Luke 23:34, where Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.".
He estimates the entire retranslation of the New Testament into a proper, conservative version could be achieved within three months by five translators starting from scratch. However he has admitted he's ignorant of Greek, Hebrew and even Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.
Schlafly's project has attracted the aggressive condemnation of one of the most well-known Christian conservative web sites, World Net Daily. In October 2009, the owner and editor of the publication, Joseph Farah, wrote an article strongly castigating the entire project, labeling it "incredibly stupid" and "profoundly dangerous".
Since August 2007, Mr. Schlafly has promised an upcoming math course called Critical Thinking in Math. You can read the course description, and it sounds very ambitious. Taught by a professional math teacher at a college level, some of the material could certainly be very educational, enlightening, and challenging. However, Mr. Schlafly is not a qualified math teacher, and various skeptics and critics who questioned and commented upon the class (who seem to have professional knowledge of the subject, though it is hard to confirm this on any wiki) made it clear that not only is the curriculum beyond almost any high school student, it is well beyond Mr. Schlafly himself, who established in many cases that he is no expert in the field. A discussion of some of these reservations can be seen on the class's talk page. Further statements by skeptic "Robert", which may have proved embarrassing to Schlafly, were deleted.
This course was announced on the main page at Conservapedia for over a year, but with little interest from students, and no apparent start date, it has recently been removed, and we may perhaps assume that the course has been abandoned. For much more detail on the fate of mathematics in general at Conservapedia, see Conservapedian mathematics.
Further evidence of Mr. Schlafly's lack of competence in the field of mathematics can be seen in Conservapedia's math articles. While generally factually correct, they range from the incredibly simplistic to the hopelessly convoluted, with little in between. Conservapedia's dual goals of being both a comprehensive mathematical encyclopedia, and a reference work for the average 14 year old, lead it to contradictory results in article depth. For instance, Fourier series tells the reader little unless they are already familiar with an advanced level of math, while the algebra article is clearly written for a very young audience. Schlafly's abilities as a math teacher are further sullied by his insistence on politicizing the subject - e.g. his dismissal of topics such as complex numbers and proof by contradiction. He is also dismissive of the scientific topic of relativity, because of a connection he makes to "Moral Relativity".
Typically part of his homeschooled courses will take place on his online encyclopedia, Conservapedia. When considering whether to have Schlafly as a teacher of your students/children it is important to consider the environment they will be exposed to on Conservapedia.
Schlafly is dedicated to his beliefs and maintains his positions vocally throughout the site. He keeps a watchful eye on the content posted, and he and his admins never allow suggestive, racy or obscene material, offensive language or terminology, or racism to remain on the site. He is clearly dedicated to the success of his site, and routinely makes 30-plus edits a day to the content.
Initially, it was an interesting attempt to build a conservative, Christian-friendly, pro-American encyclopedia, with his students helping write short articles on various topics ("American History", for example) as part of their coursework in his class. Various internet commentators picked up on his project in early 2007 and created a rush of traffic to the site. Many editors from across the political spectrum were concerned at the inadequacy and factual inaccuracy of the content, and some of Schlafly's assertions, and signed up in order to contribute to the articles and discuss these issues with him. They were almost all banned from the site by late May 2007. At the same time, several refugees from Wikipedia (and other websites) turned up, sensing an opportunity to have a voice, and gain positions of "power".
One result of this has been that instead of a group of children building an encyclopedia and having fun while learning, the site has become the battlefield of a series of power struggles between disaffected grown-ups, parodists and internet vandals, resulting in a zone of intense censorship.
If you are considering employing Andrew Schlafly to educate or homeschool your children, we recommend that you first visit Conservapedia, and learn a little about the site. First, click on "Random page" (in the "panel" on the upper left below the Conservapedia logo) several times and scan the various articles that come up. Second, click on "Recent Changes" (in the same panel) and see which "talk" (e.g. Talk:Evolution) pages are being edited a lot. In particular look for talk page edits by Andrew Schlafly (Aschlafly) himself, and his other trusted editors such as Ed Poor and TK. You will see two options next to each edit listed - "(diff)" and "(hist)". Click on one of the "diff" links. A "diff" link is wiki-jargon for a special version of a page showing one single change to the page at the top and the resulting page below it. This shows you the 'difference' between the new version of the page and its prior content. Also, at the top right, it will indicate whether there is a "next diff" - an edit following the one you are looking at. By clicking on "next diff" again and again, you can clearly follow not only the "conversation" on the talk page (this works for articles too, of course), but you will see when people's comments are deleted, altered or ignored (ignore the occasional intrusion of internet "trolls" and vandals). Also, if you see an edit that has been "reverted" you can see by clicking "diff" what info has been reversed, usually with a message as to why.
A "Wiki" is essentially a collection of online documents that may be edited by anyone visiting the site. "Editors" sign up to contribute to the resource. We recommend you do so yourself - it is free and all you need to provide is an email address (you can use a 'junk' email address if you're worried about getting any spam). Find an article you know something about and see if there's something you can contribute to it or correct. Just click the "Edit" button at the top (or to the right to edit a "section") and edit the text that appears in the box. Remember to click "Save" below the edit box when you're done. Now, the information you have added is visible on the website to any other visitors, and other editors who may be interested in the topic may accept it or reject it. And so the cycle of editing and reviewing goes on across the internet, 24/7 around the world. (Note that Conservapedia is 'locked' overnight- EST- to prevent editing).
The best way to learn a little about Schlafly and Conservapedia is just to watch the edits being made for a while. We encourage you to work through the learning curve if you are considering exposing your children to this - 15 minutes a day over a few days should be enough for you to see the nature of the online community there. Note that dialogue critical of Schlafly, the site administration and the site content is now largely stifled, and offending editors blocked (often under the guise of the 90% talk rule). The talk page/archives of, for example, the Barack Obama article or the Main Page talk archives are very instructive about the nature of the dialogue at the site. Finally, be advised that many Conservapedia editors are vandals or parodists, so not everyone's word may be trusted.
By the way, the same strategy will work here, on RationalWiki - if you are curious about this site and our purpose, please feel free to use the same advice. But please be aware that we often just prefer to have fun, and we don't consider ourselves to be building an "encyclopedia".
Typical usage patterns
Schlafly and his appointed administrators (the "sysops") rarely tolerate facts or information that disagree with their own views. Editors who disagree with the CP worldview are often told by Schlafly or others that they are "clueless" - regardless of their expertise in the field or the validity of their information. They are often told that they don't understand logic, science, or history, and that if they just "open their minds" they will see the truth. Schlafly frequently introduces non sequitur issues into discussions. All too often, in the middle of a discussion, editors are banned from the site by Schlafly or an administrator.
One of the issues that has most concerned critics is that articles are often "locked", and written only by one editor/sysop - no visitors may edit the article whatsoever. For example, the article on homosexuality has been essentially written by one editor, named "Conservative", and the page has been locked for at least a year. This is true of other articles, for example the articles on President Barack Obama, Prof. Richard Dawkins, the Theory of Evolution, and breast cancer, among many others. The concern is that these articles contain not only opinion, but also a considerable number of factual inaccuracies which cannot now be corrected, since the "owner" of the article is the only one who writes the article, and only other "sysops" can edit it at all. In most cases, appeals to include information in those articles on their "talk pages" is rebuffed - if not simply deleted, to avoid the appearance of dissent. These articles are presented as "encyclopedic", yet are clearly just personal essays with no other input allowed.
Reading the site (especially the essays and talk pages) can give you a good feel for Schlafly's teaching and management style.
Conservative discomfort with Andrew Schlafly and Conservapedia
On occasion, the "unbiased" status of the Wikipedia entry on Conservapedia has been questioned by those who have found it to be a condemnation of the site, rather than a description of it. This is the long standing claim of Conservapedia itself, which defines itself as an unbiased response to the "liberal" tendencies of media and culture in general, and Wikipedia in particularTemplate:QN. Contributors to Wikipedia have explained their NPOV status as follows: "If the sources reflect general opinion, and split 90/10, then our goal is for the article to also split 90/10. That is NPOV; treating opinions which have different levels of support as though they had equal levels of support is POV and, frankly, misinformative if not deceptive".
The consensus through Wikipedia is that the general public view of Conservapedia is a negative one, and yet it is very evident from the talk pages of Conservapedia's articles that this perspective is not limited to the "liberal" attitudes that they condemn. Many conservatives have expressed concern that the arguments and tone of Conservapedia cast them and their beliefs in a bad light, and that the encyclopedia is so extreme and absurd that it comes across more as a parody than anything they wish to acknowledge seriously.
A handful of these concerns by committed Conservatives, accompanied by Andrew Schlafly's unabashed dismissal of each, are presented below:
- Disgusted Conservative
- This Is Why Obama Is Winning
- For the love of God... HE IS NOT A MUSLIM
By early 2009, a significant number of conservative, long-standing, and well-respected administrators had departed permanently from Conservapedia, dissatisfied with the direction and tone of the site. One of the most significant was an Australian editor by the name of Philip J. Rayment. Although he initially found much in common with Schlafly, sharing a belief in Young Earth Creationism and the inerrancy of the Bible, he eventually resigned, and created a website detailing the reasons why. One of his reasons was a series of disagreements with Andrew Schlafly, and he dedicated an entire chapter of his resignation article to him.
Schlafly has published a handful of technical papers in the fields of engineering and law. The following is a complete list of his publications that appear in journals of note.
- Control logic and cell design for a 4K NVRAM. Lee, D.J.; Becker, N.J.; Schlafly, A.L.; Skupnjak, J.A.; Dham, V.K. IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. SC-18, no. 5, pp. 525-532, Oct. 1983
- A 5V-only 4K nonvolatile static RAM. Becker, N.J.; Dham, V.K.; Lee, D.J.; Schlafly, A.L.; Skupnjak, J.A. Winner, L. 1983 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference. Digest of Technical Papers (pp.170-171). New York, NY: IEEE.
- Compact test vectors for gate arrays. Schlafly, A. VLSI Design, vol. 5, no. 10, pp. 89-104, Oct. 1984
- Brief of Amicus Curiae Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund in support of petitioner. Schlafly, Andrew L. Issues in law & medicine, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 147-58, Fall 2005
- Legal Implications of a Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer. Schlafly, Andrew L. Issues in Law & Medicine, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 263, 2006
- Ten things trial lawyers hope you don't learn. Schlafly, A. Surgical Neurology, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 188-188, August, 2006
- Not the article you were looking for? RationalWiki has another, far more satirical, article about Andrew Schlafly.
- Lenski Affair (our own moderately satirical, but mostly fact-based, take on Mr. Schlafly's failed attempt to discredit Dr. Richard Lenski)
- Schlafly; our fork page for Schlafly and eponymous articles.
- Conservapedia:Barack Obama comparison for a comparison between the lives of Andrew Schlafly and American President Barack Obama.
- Eagle Forum
- Andrew Schlafly ("Aschlafly")'s user pageimg at Conservapedia, accessed August 5 2008.
- Guardian article on Conservapedia
- Second Guardian article on Conservapedia
- NPR story on Conservapedia
- Letters to NPR
- A Feminine Mystique All Her Own - New York Times
- St Louis Primary School alumni in Wikipedia; later removed on grounds of non-notability.
- http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE3DB1638F936A15752C1A962948260 The New York Times article.]
- ANDREW LAYTON SCHLAFLY - Attorney Details
- Medcine and the Law reprinted with permission from the Medical Sentinel
- User:Aschlaflyimg at Conservapedia. "Previously I taught a course in Administrative Law in law school as an adjunct professor."
- Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
- Andy Schlafly - HPV at Youtube
- Supreme Court 101, American Government 101, American History 101, Evolution and Politics, Evolution Fallacies, Principles of Microeconomics, Supreme Court & Current Events, The Constitution and Current Events
- The brief as a PDF file
- Good, Owen. Right-Wingers Cite 1982 Arcade Death in Legal Brief. Kotaku: June 27, 2009
- Burton, Cynthia. Attempt to recall senator moves to N.J. high court." The Philadelphia Inquirer: May 25, 2010.
- Students for Life - Board of Directors
- Students for Life - About
- VA District 11- R Primary
- "SCHLAFLY, ANDREW LAYTON" Money In Politics Databases.
- BNP to consider non-white members - BBC website, 15th October, 2009
- BNP votes to ditch whites-only membership rule - BBC website, 14th February, 2010
- The BNP's wesbite
- Conservapedia's BNP articleimg.
- http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/New_Jersey.pdf An overview of the laws relating to homeschooling in the State of New Jersey, Home School Legal Defense Association, 2009.
- "Homeschoolers' setback sends shock waves through state, San Francisco Chronicle, March 7, 2008.
- Homeschooling OK, appeals court says, San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2008
- AP is an acronym for the Advanced Placement Program, a program of college-level courses at high schools around the US. The AP examinations for college entry have been administered by the non-profit College Board since 1955, and are one of a number of widely recognized examination standards commonly used to determine a student's scholastic ability.
- See his reference to Kaplan under "Tips in learning history on this pageimg
- Screenshots of comments are here, here, and here - the original edits have been deleted.
- http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Bible_Retranslation_Project&oldid=594006img. See also, Conservapedia:Bible rewriting project
- occasionally editedimg CP's Daily Show
- http://www.conservapedia.com/Talk:Main_Page/archive66#Evangelist_Valuesimg this conversation
- http://www.conservapedia.com/User_talk:Aschlafly/Archive24#I_have_a_questionimg Archiving has broken the difflinks, but the phrase is mentioned in ASchlafly's response to user 'Greg'
- Notice the lack of lectures/instructions given in the Writing Course compared to other subjects
http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=User_talk:Aschlafly&diff=516277&oldid=516275Archived, see http://www.conservapedia.com/User_talk:Aschlafly/Archive45#Can_you_help_me.3Fimg
http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Talk:Main_Page&diff=next&oldid=422790Burned, see here: http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Talk:Main_Page/archive54&oldid=429444#Princeton_Universityimg
- http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Template:Mainpageright&curid=85316&diff=750111&oldid=750038 Schalfy's announcement of his writing course contains grammatical errors
- Original editimg / Attempt to fiximg
- Examples include:
- 3 "Minus 1"s for incorrect answers on a test with 5 questions yields 48/50 (96%)img
- Examples of abuse of distance learning students
- Disputed Biblical Translationsimg
- Bible Retranslation Projectimg
- Not available online.