Are you a flying monkey, a talking tree or a mental midget Munchkin? Take this test and see.

1. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.

2. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

3. What is the cost of 40 boards, 12 inches wide by 16 feet long at $1.20 per square meter?

4. What are the following and give examples of each: Trigraph, sub-vocals, diphthong, cognate letters and linguals?

5. Describe the movements of the earth and give its inclination.

6. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capitals of each.

Welcome to sample questions of an eighth grade exit exam from Salina, Kansas in 1895. Most kids today can’t identify the continent of Europe on a map let alone answer question six. Remember, too, that in the math portion the only “calculator” utilized was a pencil, paper and gray matter.

During the past 30 years in the Emerald City of California Education, bloviating bureaucrats masquerading as “educators,” have tangoed with your kids down the Yellow Brick Road of intellectual pursuits into the soporific poppy field of dullard-dom.

California ranks 47th in academic achievement (Kansas is 15th) while having the second largest educational budget, the second highest paid teachers yet is a parsimonious 29th in per student spending.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has a 1 in 3 dropout rate. And while a self-congratulatory Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District claims to be in the upper quintile of academic achievement in a state with a 1 in 4 dropout rate, this only makes SMMUSD a top-level bottom feeder.

The California SAT average for math and critical reading is 1017. Dubya had an SAT score of 1206. How’d your kid do?

Nachum “the Surf Rabbi” Shifren wants to reform this noxious narrative promulgated by the Lullaby League within the LAUSD. Rabbi Shifren is running for LAUSD school board against incumbent Marlene “the Wiz” Canter.

As a three-decade veteran teacher, an orthodox rabbi and ardent surfer, Rabbi Shifren is vociferously revolted by the lack of simple academic direction for students in the LAUSD.

Ms. Canter and her mangy minions manacle teachers to “class management” handbooks on “Assertive Discipline” that relies heavily on retread Pavlovian “reward/punishment” behavior modification instead of fundamental academics.

Under “Assertive Discipline,” your kid isn’t being taught intellectual self-realization so much as how to sit up and beg like Toto.

Would it be an inconvenient truth that Marlene Canter is also the co-founder and CEO of Canter and Associates, now Laureate Education, Inc., that invented “Assertive Discipline” and is ringing the cash register bell for the salivating canines holding the educational purse strings?

It must be nice to have a side business that financially dovetails into one’s day job at taxpayers’ expense. Pay no attention to that gal behind the curtain!

Marlene Canter touts her greatest achievement as banning the sale of junk foods and soft drinks on LAUSD campuses. Considering past, recent and regular occurrences of shootings/stabbings/beatings on LAUSD schoolyards, I wonder if Ms. Canter has yet surmised that bullets can kill faster than a bag of Doritos.

While teaching at Dorsey High in South Central, Rabbi Shifren was burned out of his classroom by arsonists because he had the temerity to insist that his students actually do their schoolwork! Lollipop Guild “community organizers” regularly pitched race cards at Rabbi Shifren faster than Hoyle could make them. “He’s a racist! He only sends black kids to the principal for discipline,” they priggishly squealed.

He only had black kids in his class. DOH!

Let me get this straight. Politically correct “community organizers” condescend to label a Jew as a “racist” despite the fact that the speaker who preceded Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was Rabbi Joachim Prinz?

German-born Rabbi Prinz tended to the Berlin Jewry during Hitler’s regime.

Maybe Dorsey community organizers didn’t get the memo that folks like Rabbi Prinz, Rabbi Shifren and their tribe have had a front row seat to historical pogroms since Ramses II. The story is in a book called a “Bible.”

And what would MLK say?

Folks, Rabbi Shifren’s message is simple: Simplicity.

Now click your heels three times …

1. Scrape away all the barnacles of school administration excess. A lessened miscreant administration translates into more money for the kids where it patently belongs.

2. Go back to the fundamentals. Review those eighth grade sample questions above. How’d you do? Washington left school at 16. Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were predominantly self-educated. In 1872, Douglass was the first black man to be nominated as vice president of the U.S. They all appeared to do pretty well without self-aggrandizing, cash corpulent academic apparatchiks monitoring the scene.

3. Parents: give teachers the power to teach without interference from self-appointed “community organizers.”

Your kid might then get to be president someday like Dubya.

Steve Breen is looking for a conservative pair of size 12 ruby slippers for Halloween and is still “the best looking mailman at the U.S. Post Office.” He can be reached at

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