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THE DEATH OF FREE WILL
PART 2 of 5

 

By Charlotte Iserbyt

December 21, 2010

NewsWithViews.com

Re-inventing Schools Coalition

“We want one class of persons to have a liberal education and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” – Woodrow Wilson, then-President of Princeton University, Address to the Federation of High School Teachers (Quote published in “Consumer Advocates in the Classroom” by Jean Patton, T.I.S. Publications, P.O. Box 1998, Bloomington, IN 47402).

The Re-inventing Schools Coalition (RISC) website has an “official” plan to restructure American education. In the plan, K-12 academics will change into a non-competitive, individualized, non-graded, “take as long as is necessary to graduate (at 14 or at 21!) workforce and values retraining.

At the RISC website I discovered that the “restructuring” plan was being implemented in the elementary school in my tiny Town of Dresden, Maine. Evidently Maine accepted this non-traditional “outcomes-based” program, which uses the business model of Total Quality Management, as “the way to go”. (Didn’t Americans want to throw out the Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) agenda of Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II?)

Richard DeLorenzo is the co-founder of the Reinventing Schools Coalition. He has been promoting his agenda at meetings across the State of Maine. A 4/16/02 Washington Post article by David Broder entitled “Remote school district lights path to success” discusses Richard DeLorenzo’s agenda. Broder’s article says in part:

“Last week, the Chugach (Alaska) superintendent, Richard DeLorenzo, stood before a ballroom full of high-powered executives, explaining how little Chugach (Alaska) had won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an honor that in the past has gone to companies such as Cadillac and Ritz-Carlton as a signal of their success in providing customer satisfaction …All three (schools) represent remarkably successful collaborations among local communities, educators and businesses in setting common goals and relentlessly measuring where they stand in achieving them. But it is the Chugach story that carries the strongest message to districts that take seriously President Bush’s challenge to “leave no child behind.”. . . ”This was not accomplished, DeLorenzo stressed, by ‘teaching to the test’.”

To the contrary, the Chugach curriculum goes beyond the basics to include technology (a laptop is provided every student), science and social studies. Special emphasis is placed on service learning involving students in community projects, personal health (to offset alcoholism, which is widespread in the villages), cultural awareness (to broaden horizons) and career development (to ease the transition to work).

The district provides performance pay bonuses and scholarship benefits to its teachers and offers them an unusually robust 30 days a year of in-service training. . . . But the key to success, DeLorenzo said, was the application of “Baldrige principles” to the whole process. It began with structured discussions with the ‘customers,’ the parents and other villagers, local businesses and the students themselves, to identify their needs and goals. The whole system was then redesigned to achieve those results. …Instead of measuring “seat time” in the classroom and promoting students from grade to grade, whatever their skills, an individual work plan is developed for each student, who then proceeds at his or her own pace. Teachers monitor pupils’ progress constantly and report to their families on how they are doing. Some students meet all the graduation requirements by 14; others have stayed in school until 21. Subjecting familiar bureaucratic structures and methods to rigorous scrutiny in pursuit of measurable improvements in customer satisfaction is the defining characteristic of the Baldrige approach, whether it be in check-printing companies or fast food chains (two other winners this year) or in schools. This systemic approach to education reform, championed by organizations such as the National Alliance of Business, is being tried in a growing number of districts across the country, and DeLorenzo recently lobbied Secretary of Education Rod Paige to embrace it as the best bet to achieve Bush’s goals.”

Isn’t the above agenda used in communist/socialist countries that have “planned” economies? What does this kind of education have to do with reading, writing, and math skills, understanding of history, the United States Constitution and our republican form of Government? What room is there in DeLorenzo’s agenda for art, music, foreign languages, and sports? Will the use of this international business model (Total Quality Management) in our schools allow for the encouragement in our children of ingenuity, imagination, intellectual curiosity, individuality, the pursuit of their hopes and dreams? Our children are human beings, not animals to be trained. They have been created by God, with a soul, intellect, conscience, imagination. Education must consider these factors.

The Reinventing Schools Coalition’s plan is the opposite of the system heretofore used in U.S. schools. School/business partnerships in some areas are now determining a child’s future according to the needs of the local economy (how many and what jobs are required to be filled in the local economy). This is referred to as a “quota system”. This determination is made at an early age, usually in elementary school. This is not the American Way which created upward mobility for millions of Americans and due to its success influenced millions of foreigners to come to our nation to experience the American Dream.

The final, complete restructuring of education (destruction of academic focus in the U.S.) is taking place as I write. You may read about it in your local papers. Look for key words (see sidebar “Education change agent jargon”) which are also included in the Reinventing Schools Agenda. None of this jargon is new to education. These terms have been used, albeit in different wording, in “learned” discussions for almost a century!


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When parents, teachers, and taxpayers catch onto the real meaning of a program or method, the name is changed. For example: “mastery learning” was re-packaged as “outcomes-based education” as a result of the outcry over the Chicago Mastery Learning disaster. The Chicago Mastery Learning Program was described as “a tragedy of enormous proportions with almost one-half of the 39,500 public school students in the 1980 freshman class failing to graduate, and only one-third of those graduating able to read at or above the national 12th grade level.” (Education Week, 3/6/85) This is why “mastery learning”—necessary for school-to-work training—is not mentioned in the Reinventing Schools Coalition agenda.

What kind of education?

Traditional definition of education:

“The drawing out of a person’s innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc.—the channels through which those abilities would flourish and serve.” – The New Century Dictionary of the English Language (Appleton, Century, Croits: New York, 1927)

What does the Reinventing Schools Coalition agenda have to do with the traditional definition of education? Very little.

Should we not question the kind of education/training planned and implemented gradually over a period of 80 years (The National Alliance of Business calls for Kindergarten through Age 80 education/training) and presently being presented to Americans as the solution to all our problems (economic, political and social)? Is this the kind of education which gave the United States its celebrated writers, musicians, artists, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, inventors, etc.,—individuals whose accomplishments made our nation the envy of the world?

The type of so-called education being promoted throughout the United States is not truly “education”. It is a system of Skinnerian/Pavlovian group-oriented, collectivist, brainwashing/training in lower level skills and the necessary attitudes and values for the workforce, using the computer (the operant conditioning machine) in conjunction with “programmed” learning (mastery learning/direct instruction) software.

This kind of “learning” does NOT transfer; it bypasses the brain. That is a key feature of operant conditioning: IT WORKS! Not to “educate” your children, but to “train” them. Operant conditioning does not allow for any real thinking processes to take place. It works to the same extent that animal training works. Stimulus/response; rewards/punishments.

What kind of a country will we have after 100 years of such conditioning/training where students and teachers respond to bells and whistles, are not allowed to deviate from the script, and are conditioned to think, act, and behave as the school/business partnerships want?

There will be no mention of Skinnerian/Pavlovian “mastery learning” in the efforts to get Americans on board the “reinventing education” agenda. The socialist change agent educrats (working with the business community TQM gurus, tax-exempt foundations, Bill Gates, et al.) don’t want you to connect what they are doing with the detested Outcomes-based Education of Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II.

This is the same Skinnerian Outcomes-Based Education rat lab program—The Far West Laboratory’s “Excellence in Instructional Delivery Systems: Research and Dissemination of Exemplary Outcome-Based Programs”—that was funded by my old office in the U.S. Dept. Of Education. The program was carried out by the major guru of Mastery Learning, William Spady—the educator referred to as “the one parents most love to hate.” Spady is listed as one of the Resources for the Reinventing Schools Coalition. Spady served as “Senior Research Consultant to the Washington D.C. schools during 1977-1978—the same time the D.C. schools implemented mastery learning.

A Washington Post article dated August 1, 1977, entitled “Competency Tests Set in 26 Schools, states that Thomas Sticht—a close associate of Spady’s, later named to the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS)—also served as an associate director at the National Institute of Education (NIE) at the same time mastery learning was implemented in the D.C. schools. The Post article quoted Sticht extensively, verifying that he and Spady were deeply involved in the implementation of the new mastery learning curriculum. Later in 1982, The Washington Post again paraphrased Sticht as follows:

“Many companies have moved operations to places with cheap, relatively poorly educated labor. What may be crucial, they say, is the dependability of a labor force and how well it can be managed and trained, not its general educational level, although a small cadre of highly educated creative people is essential to innovation and growth. Ending discrimination and changing values are probably more important than reading in moving low income families into the middle class.”

THE ABOVE QUOTE EXPLAINS HOW AND WHY YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE TRAINED IF YOU DON’T KEEP THE RE-INVENTING SCHOOLS COALITION OUT OF YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL!

The Reinventing Schools Coalition calls for each student to have a laptop computer. The computer, in conjunction with powerful values-changing software, will be used to accomplish the agenda. The ability of the computer to teach values (an unfortunately large part of modern American education) is discussed in an article entitled “Can Computers Teach Values” by Joseph A. Braun, and Kurt A. Slobodzian, Assistant Professors in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of the Northern Illinois University School of Education in Dekalb, Illinois, published in the April 1982 issue of Educational Leadership. Some excerpts follow:

”A student using computer-assisted-instruction (CAI) in the examination, evaluation, and acquisition of values would be able to do so with mature guidance in an environment free from potential rejection or scorn…

”Another pitfall for teachers of values education is the invasion of a child’s right to privacy. Well-intentioned teachers often expect self-disclosure beyond a student’s limit of psychological safety (Lockwood, 1977) by demanding deeply personal revelations from participants who are not prepared to discuss their more private thoughts. The computer, in contrast, has no misguided need to get to know “the real you. The computer, then, is ideally suited to the role of facilitator in values education…”

Behavioral psychologist, B.F. Skinner, said “I could make a pigeon a high achiever by reinforcing it on a proper schedule” and called the computer “his box.” Duston Heuston of Utah’s World Institute for Computer-Assisted Teaching (WICAT) said:

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“We’ve been absolutely staggered by realizing that the computer [Skinner’s “Box”–Ed.] has the capability to act as if it were ten of the top psychologists working with one student . . . You’ve seen the tip of the iceberg. Won’t it be wonderful when the child [“your child, parent!”–Ed.] in the smallest county in the most distant area or in the most confused urban setting can have the equivalent of the finest school in the world on that terminal and NO ONE CAN GET BETWEEN THAT CHILD AND THAT CURRICULUM? We have great moments coming in the history of education.” See Charlotte's 9 min. vedeo below. For part three click below.

Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Endnote:

1- Project MUSE - Sewanee Review, Vol. 118, No. 2, Spring 2010, The John Hopkins University Press.

2010 Charlotte T. Iserbyt - All Rights Reserved

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Charlotte Iserbyt is the consummate whistleblower! Iserbyt served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration, where she first blew the whistle on a major technology initiative which would control curriculum in America's classrooms. Iserbyt is a former school board director in Camden, Maine and was co-founder and research analyst of Guardians of Education for Maine (GEM) from 1978 to 2000. She has also served in the American Red Cross on Guam and Japan during the Korean War, and in the United States Foreign Service in Belgium and in the Republic of South Africa.

Iserbyt is a speaker and writer, best known for her 1985 booklet Back to Basics Reform or OBE: Skinnerian International Curriculum and her 1989 pamphlet Soviets in the Classroom: America's Latest Education Fad which  covered the details of the U.S.-Soviet and Carnegie-Soviet Education Agreements which remain in effect to this day. She is a freelance writer and has had articles published in Human Events, The Washington Times, The Bangor Daily News, and included in the record of Congressional hearings.

Website: www.deliberatedumbingdown.com  
Website: www.americandeception.com

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Something is drastically wrong with the present restructuring of education. I hope this article will persuade parents and traditional public school administrators and teachers to work together to stop the dismantling of what was once considered the finest educational system in the world.