Today freedom has different enemies.
It must be fought for in different ways.
It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.
- John Holt (1923-1985 home education pioneer)
March 17, 2013 by Tunya
Today freedom has different enemies.
It must be fought for in different ways.
It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.
- John Holt (1923-1985 home education pioneer)
April 10, 2014 by Tunya
HUNDREDS Of Worldviews Stripped To FIVE For Ecology Purposes
If someone tells you they have a firm worldview that consistently governs their behavior and beliefs do you believe him?
There are many tricky issues around the topic “worldview”. Just see Amazon.com and Search for “worldview”. Tons of books come up. And it’s interesting to read the reviews— many differing views.
Worldview is NOT a settled matter.
But now worldviews need to be grouped, classified, and measured. And to make things simple five is better than 100s. In the cause of global ecology there will need to be instruments to psychometrically measure and pigeon-hole people. Just as IQ tests were developed to help screen soldier recruits for war, worldview tests are to be developed to advance the ecology movements and to deal with resisters.
Here is the glossy cover of one such effort — Worldviews and the transformation to sustainable societies http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/bitstream/handle/1871/48104/cover.pdf?sequence=6
If the language seems inscrutable here is the paper on this topic http://www.ivm.vu.nl/en/Images/Exploring%20Worldviews_tcm53-355582.pdf
Still inscrutable? Well here is the first sentence of the above article:
“A change of behaviors in a more sustainable direction is generally considered to be of vital importance for realizing the urgently needed transition to an ecological economy and society.” (Annick Hedlund-de Witt)
I am fairly certain this paper was written with generous funds — public or private. I am fairly certain, also, that this resulting paper is just another plea for more (probably massive) funds to start developing these instruments of measurement, selection, coercion and treating resisters.
A lot of it reads like highly charged propaganda in the name of “how society should be organized.”
If one is following the epidemic of theories, experiments and proposals to “transform” society via global education — and said person is showing some deep foreboding and fear — then one could easily be labeled a conspiracy theorist. But more people are starting to see some pattern to this foisting of massive changes on schools and society and starting to ask questions. Why are children told in schools they can change the world? Why is sustainability being built into curriculum across subjects?
It takes decades to understand and deal with medical epidemics. How long will it take before this man-made mind-change epidemic is fully understood before too much damage is done?
April 5, 2014 by Tunya
It’s All About IDEOLOGY In BC — Part THREE
I’ve sent this essay to more people than just this blog. This is what I attached as background.
[ Disclosure: As a veteran of 40+ years in parent rights issues in education I wish to pass on to young parents some of my observations. My eyes were opened wide when in my early involvement with BC party politics (NDP) I found that the teacher union had considerable influence with the Ministry of Education. Also, suddenly, “new members” overwhelmed our Youth Wing when it was preparing a submission to government on widening choices in education and that proposal was defeated. It became clear that the teacher union opposed choice and was generally unsympathetic to parents. I soon left the socialist party for efforts where choice enjoys a positive reception and now have a libertarian point-of-view. Young parents tend to be very trusting of authorities. My intent is to — hopefully — update parents about the very political and power-hungry atmosphere in public education so that parent voice can still carry some influence in decision-making before it is too late. ]
So, to continue: But first I must say this to Tara and other young parents struggling to find common sense in education today. Please don’t give up. Easy to say, and parents don’t usually have an appetite for conflict and are too busy raising families. The system’s first priority is its own survival but parents have their children’s survival as a priority. And accountability from our overseers — the government and boards — is, unfortunately, tied up with compromises. That is why these Math Wars are important and parents cannot give up on this.
Furthermore, nothing can more outrageous and meant to bully than for a unionist to say political interference in schools is none of parents’ business. If ideology dominates teacher behavior — this is just not acceptable.
Now, to add more information about the volatile and precarious state of education affairs in BC. Today, we heard that Phase One of job action is being planned. So, what else is new? 40 years in the wilderness is not just in the Bible!
In my earlier essays I mentioned how important Professional Development is — in the right hands. But, in BC much is in the hands of the teacher union. They say it is an “autonomy” issue. Teachers are the drivers, not the driven.
I stated how PD seems to be a taboo topic — no-one seems to have correct answers. In fact, there seems to be a lot of buck-passing, which just strengthens my suspicion that something sneaky is going on. Perhaps PD HAS been passed to the BCTF on a silver platter. I’ve asked, but any information provided is obsolete because our College of Teachers has been abolished, and it NEVER did get involved in PD — perhaps because the union was shown in investigation to have generally run the agenda. “Regrettably, it must be said that the disruption and dysfunction that has dominated the attention of the College Council, particularly since 2004, has put the core public interest, and the interest of students, at risk . . . “ (6)
So, I will be looking further, to find out who is responsible for a) ensuring currency of teachers in their “professionalism” and b) VERY IMPORTANT, since a radical shift — a transformation — is being proposed in curriculum and practice — just how is “re-education” to take place. This second part can’t be stressed too strongly because for unprepared teachers to try and bluff and bluster their way through this is to invite serious psychological and cognitive damage to kids. Iatrogenic damage induced by the practitioners. Won’t there be cause for legal remedies for negligence and malpractice?
That PD is a bargaining chip in current negotiations tells me how cheaply held is this important matter. I heard the BCTF president at their recent AGM declare (from my notes) — “our commitment to Professional Development has never been greater, teacher-led Professional Development has never been more important . . . The Ministry of Education has created a new position — Superintendent of Professional Development — but that’s still not been filled.”
I can only interpret that Jim Iker was signaling strongly to his constituency that PD would be big-time. I’m sure I noted his seeming satisfaction that the Ministry had not yet filled this PD position.
In comparison to another well-functioning Teaching Council (Scotland) another report stated that BCCT “failed utterly . . . the blame for this failure rests squarely on the attitude of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, which rejected the professional aspect of the College’s mandate in favour of its own agenda, and put the interests of its members and its own ideology ahead of the public interest.” The report goes on to conclude that there is little to expect by way of positive change, because of “their [BCTF] constant and costly recourse to the judicial system, their apparent failure to learn from experience, and their stubborn refusal to adopt anything but confrontational tactics.”
(6) A College Divided: Report of the Fact Finder on the BC College of Teachers, 2010, Donald J Avison http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/pubs/2010_factfinder_report_bcct.pdf
(7) The British Columbia College of Teachers: An Obituary, Alastair Glegg, Historical Studies in Education, Fall 2013
April 4, 2014 by Tunya
“Evolving Social Contract” (?) — Deliberately Steered
YES! Norms and ethics evolve over time. Usually without force or coercion. Same goes for some kind of general social contract — usually results in a more civic society.
There is a lot of literature on this and I like to see how even rules evolve without necessarily being written down or legally regulated — see Nobel winner in Economics work, Elinor Ostrom, on governing the commons, etc.
But this Common Core business and all its siblings is anything but evolutionary and spontaneous. It's non-consensual, untested and force-fed human experimentation without safeguards.
It’s coercive in so many ways but most glaringly it’s how it’s bought with cold cash.
Last night at 3:am I just awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. Thought I’d check my emails and saw a new and thoughtful anti-CC video — Building the Machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjxBClx01jc
It’s a very complex show and very mixed up without a clear story line. However, regular visitors on this blog are already tuned-in and will undoubtedly appreciate the video (40min).
I did hear one thing I never knew before. When states and universities sign on to CC, they agree NOT to produce remedial courses in universities and colleges for remedial math and English. About 40% of K-12 grads seem to need these in post secondary. Is this true? And Why?
Secondly, I heard this loud and clear, that even though there is so much questionable about the coercive implementation of CC, it’s the question of “Just whose child is it?” that’s equally worth challenging.
This is produced by HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) and I praise them. There is much food for thought — just wish it was better organized to more clearly differentiate who’s Pro and Con.
I think the issues surrounding home education are the canary in the mine. As long as we can still educate children free of the state or central control, freedom has a chance.
[Posted on Invisible Serfs Collar April 01, 2014 on topic — Dynamic Digital Dialectical Classrooms=Deliberate Transformational Change in Students and Society http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/dynamic-digital-dialectical-classroomsdeliberate-transformational-change-in-students-and-society/ ]
April 2, 2014 by Tunya
posted in Society for Quality Education blog, Ap 02, 2014
It’s All About IDEOLOGY In BC
Ideology is not just about politics and power and who wins in periodic elections. It’s about “worldviews” and “mindsets”. What gets “embedded” into the mind. And this embedding goes on — not episodically as in elections — but continuously in and through our public schools.
The teachers’ union, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, believes in “vanguardism” — being at the forefront of methodical change. The BCTF casts itself as a “social justice union”. Each of the 60 plus locals has a social justice committee and this is where the activists, as arms of Headquarters agendas, do their reconnaissance, expansion and enforcement. Sounds like war? Well, it is equivalent. “School Wars” is the title of a book that aptly describes the tone of our history of insurrection and turmoil on the education battle field.
Collective bargaining in BC education is not just about bread-and-butter and working conditions issues. It’s also about who is in charge of the minds of the young in BC. For you see, professional development is a big issue in the demands at negotiations.
This issue of PD is “telling” — because one just cannot get straight answers here. Just how much PD is organized by the BCTF and how much by the employer? Perhaps Geoff Johnson, being an insider, could give us a report? And, the content? I’ve seen in listings where labor unions bring in prepared packets as take-aways.
The BCTF is not your ordinary militant teacher union as so many others are. It does not belong to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. They belong to Education International (EI) — an activist left organization.
There are factions within the BCTF and it’s always the most militant faction that gets to dominate the executive.
BC historically has experienced “frontier characteristics” in its development. It provided opportunity for pioneers of all sorts as well as for militant labor organizers. Hosts of communist unionists from Scotland and England started to dominate the resource industries. (1) In this climate, when the socialists (New Democratic Party) finally gained electoral power in 1972, the “radical Marxist” Jim MacFarlan, BCTF president, was there to assert influence. (2)
It is from those days — 4 decades ago — when the ideology of “worker control of the workplace” became embedded in BC politics. This division remains strong to this day, especially in public education, with the “irresistible force” coming from the BCTF and the “immovable object” being the government of the day. Governments of every stripe — socialist, liberal or conservative (Social Credit) — have struggled hard to maintain “management rights” against this barrage. (3)
I suspect that “management rights” is the reason for the Liberal government’s appeal of a recent court decision that interpreted that it was in violation of fair bargaining. Twice the same judge made that interpretation. And that’s why we have courts of appeal. It’s the interpretation that’s in question. That’s my guess. In other words, just who governs BC education anyway?
It’s not that BCTF sees itself as “above the law” in pursuing its ideological agenda for the minds and hearts of the young of this province. But it does display resourcefulness and cunning that’s astonishing. From the days of the 70s we still have some warriors still ensconced in BCTF HQ — pre-eminently Larry Kuehn, ex-president and now head of Research and Technology. This is one strategy he relayed to a labor researcher — “The key to our strategy was to restructure ourselves in a way which assumed that we had the right to bargain the whole range of things and then to try to take that into the bargaining arena … the strategic view was that if we did that for a period of time and we have restructured the reality then the law would follow.” (4)
It’s not just in BC that this militancy and incursion into policy is being challenged. Australia, which had a recent changeover of government from Labor to Conservative Coalition, is presently undergoing two Reviews: a) Curriculum Review, and b) Teacher Training Review. An issue in the election was whether there was undue political left influence on the curriculum.
While I’m hoping for a better interpretation from the courts about who rules BC education I am now even more worried and suspicious of what Geoff Johnson has disclosed — “the professional arm of the BCTF is champing at the bit to move alongside government with the careful implementation of some of the ideas in the government’s B.C. Education Plan”. THIS DOES NOT BODE WELL. There’s a lot about “critical thinking” and from what I see that’s mainly about who’s oppressing whom.
Just what is in store for our children and grandchildren in BC? If the “transformation” is anything like the Common Core in the US we do have a lot to be worried about. And, this post by Tara Houle and the mathematics cause she is involved with is just one example of parents being concerned about a “dumbing-down” of the curriculum.
On this topic of departures from standard math this debate has gone across Canada. A Math professor, Robert Craigen, U of Manitoba, did examine some of the proposals for the BC Ed Plan, and I am aghast as his pronouncement — “What possessed the Ministry to give the BCTF full control over design and content of the curriculum? I’ve seen some of their modules and sample course plans, lessons . . . If I lived there and had small children I’d be seriously thinking about leaving the province, for their sake.” (5)
And let me close by saying there has not been even ONE invitation by the BC Ministry of Education for the general public to know or be involved in this radical shift.
NO — I am not looking forward to the continuing ideological warfare in BC, whether it’s in the body politic or in the classrooms of BC. CHOICE — Oh, Blessed Choice — When Will That Come To BC?
(1) Militant Minority: British Columbia Workers and the Rise of a New Left, Benjamin Isitt, 2011
(2) From Educational Government to the Government of Education: The Decline and Fall of the British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1972-1996, Thomas Fleming, http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/edu_hse-rhe/article/viewArticle/454/611
(3) Worlds Apart: British Columbia schools, politics, and labour relations, before and after 1972, Thomas Fleminghttp://www.bendallbooks.com/catalog/publications/worlds-apart-british-columbia-schools-politics-and-labour-relations-before-and-after-1972/
(4) Structuring Reality So That the Law Will Follow: British Columbia Teachers’ Quest for Collective Bargaining Rights, Sarah Slinn, 2011 http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Structuring+reality+so+that+the+law+will+follow:+British+Columbia…-a0274699540
(5) Teaching Elementary Math: Why is Teaching the Basics Making a Resurgence? October 6, 2013 by Paul W. Bennett https://educhatter.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/teaching-elementary-math-why-is-teaching-the-basics-making-a-resurgence/
April 1, 2014 by Tunya
March 25, 2014 by Tunya
Training Of The Servile Mind
“And let it be noted that there is no more delicate matter to take in hand, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful in its success, than to set up as a leader in the introduction of changes. For he who innovates will have for his enemies all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and only the lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new. This lukewarm temper arises partly from the fear of adversaries who have the laws on their side and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who will never admit the merit of anything new, until they have seen it proved by the event.” – Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), The Prince, Chapter 4
The Machiavelli quote describes very well the perilous terrain a reformer has to navigate in this story of Newark’s mayoral contenders.
Firstly, the accomplices in the tyranny who are already well off will oppose the reformer. All these rent-seekers, these “favor traders”, those privileged insiders, will oppose and work to undermine any reforms. Andrew Coulson* in graph after graph shows how exponentially increasing taxpayer funded expenditures does not improve flat-lined education outcomes. The public education industry is an arrogant self-perpetuating malignancy that continues — unchecked — to escalate and drain public funds with little improvement to the mission intended. A predatory, parasite class has arisen on the backs of children.
Secondly, those who do stand to gain from reform will still be intimidated and fearful of backlash from those in power. Even if a reformer is voted in, there is the anxiety that disruptions, sabotage, turmoil will occur. It would not be “smooth sailing”. Would reforms occur to help the intended students in their lifetimes?
Thirdly, the mystique of government is so well inculcated into the populace — yes, by public schools — that there is need for proofs and guarantees that new models will work. The training of the servile, compliant mass in a democracy is well accomplished by the monopoly public school regime. The reformer in this Newark story will have to show proven models that work. Yes, the model of mayoral control of education is one such that is working in a number of places.
Two models of successful education, unfortunately, will not apply in this instance. I refer to home education that would be inappropriate for a mayor to promote (just as long as it’s not disallowed). And the model of low-cost private schools which are gaining so much traction in poor countries would not be in the mayoral candidate’s repertoire, at least not in this round. Research the topic — low cost private schools — and see videos. Here is one https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Tooley+video+low+cost+private+schools
And, for those accomplices who will work hard to retain their self-serving powers to destabilize opportunities for good education for all, here is a quote from a book, written in response (also in the 16th C) to the Machiavelli declarations:
“Let us therefore learn while there is yet time, let us learn to do good . . . I truly believe that I am right, since there is nothing so contrary to a generous and loving God as tyranny — I believe He has reserved, in a separate spot in Hell, some very special punishment for tyrants and their accomplices.” – Etienne de la Boetie (1530 – 1563), The Politics of Obedience.
* State Education Trends, CATO, 2014, http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/state-education-trends#/AZ as discussed in SQE post March 19, 2014, How much more money, O Lord?http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/how-much-more-money-o-lord
[posted on SQE 25 March 2014 on topic — Change is Hard]
March 23, 2014 by Tunya
SQE March 23, 2014, on topic — More education doesn’t necessarily make teachers better
Credentialing Of Teachers Needs Serious Scrutiny
1 NO, teachers should not get automatic pay raises with increased points on their credentials. This has little relationship to effectiveness, especially if added points are gained from the teacher’s own choices — which maybe just satisfy a personal interest. However, if administration recommends further training to acquire more competence, say in special education, that’s a different story.
2 Teachers can get credits just by going to conferences or some strange PD days put on by the union. This also does not necessarily have a relation to competence in the classroom and might even have a negative effect. What if after one day a teacher thinks they know all about “discovery math” for example but cannot apply skills necessary? What if a teacher takes a critical thinking one-day PD session and the texts and styles recommended are critical theory, critical literacy or critical pedagogy — pure Marxism?
3 People are wondering just what teacher training is all about. Does it actually train teachers to teach reading, when phonics is still disparaged by so many faculties? Why are there so many theory courses which intend to radicalize teachers . See this report: Radicalization of Teacher Education Programs in the United States, Lexington Institute, 2012. http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/library/resources/documents/Education/RadicalizationOfTeacherEducationPrograms.pdf
4 At least one national government is concerned about teacher training. Australia has TWO Reviews on the go: one on the National Curriculum, and one on teacher training. These two reviews were undertaken because education became a big issue in the last federal election and when a Coalition government came in it decided to follow-up concerns expressed about the “slanted” curriculum developed during Labour years.
5 What if a PhD is actually counterproductive to the mission? There is this bizarre story of a community breathing a big sigh of relief on hearing a PhD in Math was hired for the department. But scores did not go up. The school board failed to note the specialty of the teacher. The dissertation was on Equity Pedagogy — declaring traditional mathematics to be a form of social oppression. The “expert” was intent on moving the coursework “away” from the transmission of math knowledge, skills, and practices. That’s on pg 34 of this new book criticizing Common Core and 21st Century Learning projects — Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, Robin Eubanks.
March 8, 2014 by Tunya
BC news is highlighting — once again — the disruptive clashes between the teachers’ union and government.
Score 0-10 if, and how much, you believe these statements are true.
___ 1 The BCTF and the government of the day — conservative, socialist, liberal — have been vying for dominance in matters educational in BC for 40 years.
___ 2 The BCTF gained a strategic foothold in the 70s after the NDP first came to power and “radical Marxist” Jim MacFarlan, started the drive to use schools as “instruments of social change.”
___ 3 Fast forward to March 2014 a twitter post said: “Gov reps testified under oath that teachers = tough to bargain w/ because they aren't self-interested, they have a social agenda.” Does this mean a “social agenda” is more important than bread and butter issues?
___ 4 In the 2011-12 teacher job actions the government side totally approved the teacher demand to withhold report cards from parents and not engage in parent/teacher conferences.
___ 5 The BC Ed Plan is revising the public school curriculum to align with global 21st Century Skills. Hopefully, experts in subject fields are involved, but are they? After a Globe & Mail story on Math: "In BC, the worst math teacher I know, the one who confused my kid so much we had to hire a tutor, is now part of the panel developing the math curriculum. Why? Not because of any math knowledge, but because he's high-up in the union." This comment is upsetting, if true.
___ 6 Professional opinion also seems upset with the direction of BC curriculum development. Robert Craigen, Math professor (Manitoba) said on a blog: “What possessed the Ministry to give the BCTF full control over design and content of the curriculum? I’ve seen some of their modules and sample course plans, lessons, etc. and if they are any indication you’re in for province-wide in-class political indoctrination . . . If I lived there and had small children I’d be seriously thinking about leaving the province, for their sake.” This is doubly upsetting coming from someone within the teaching profession.
___ 7 Sophistication of BCTF bargaining prowess is in the literature. “The Future of Our Schools” (2012) says : “The British Columbia Teachers Federation is a fine example of how to organize for a successful strike, even when defying the courts.” Larry Kuehn, ex BCTF President and now staff at HQ provided this tip to an Osgoode Hall Law professor: “The key to our strategy was to restructure ourselves in a way which assumed that we had the right to bargain the whole range of things and then to try to take that into the bargaining arena . . . the strategic view was that if we did that for a period of time and we have restructured the reality then the law would follow.” Theatrics and cunning strategies are used by both sides to try to sway public opinion.
___ 8 The BC Ed Plan is claiming local development for provincial needs. Yet gurus who are consultants and turnaround experts in other countries and jurisdictions have been frequent flyers here. A Ministry official told a group of parents last April, 1 month before the provincial election — “regardless which party wins — the BC Ed Plan will go ahead: Because it’s international!” This is appalling, if true, that the current government is not in control but in league with international agents.
___ 9 While both sides in these disputes claim they are working in the public interest and on behalf of the children, it seems obvious that they are in general collusion because of a mutual need to retain the monopoly system which primarily serves system needs first. The system will never allow parents and public to be included. A court case would prove that this exclusion is harmful to democracy and education.
___ 10 Australia has two Reviews active at the moment — A Curriculum Review and A Review Into Teacher Training. BC also should have similar Reviews.
March 5, 2014 by Tunya
In the ongoing School Wars of British Columbia the latest "Victory" was achieved by the teachers' union, the BCTF. Judge Griffin ruled that the government did no bargain in good faith cvoncerning issues of class size and composition, that previous arrangements should be restored and fined the government $2million.
Teacher unionists were of mixed mind since appeals and negotiations were ongoing. I wrote a letter-to-the editor to our local paper, but it did not get published. Below is a copy:
The patience of parents and public alike has been sorely tested by the endless conflicts between the teachers’ union and the government.
What we fail to remember is that these struggles have been going on for over 40 years, not the 12-year period recently highlighted by the recent BC Supreme Court decision (BCTF vs BC, 2014). Furthermore, this happens regardless of the political stripe of the government of the day — be it Social Credit, NDP or Liberal.
This is a power struggle that may never be sorted out. Legal actions bankrupt resources. Students are shortchanged. And parents, who are ultimately responsible for their children’s education, are left unsure, frustrated and unable to pursue their children’s best interests.
Much of the problem rests with the service model adopted to ensure an educated public. The mistake is to consider education as a public utility that only a government monopoly can provide. The predictable happens — special interests vie for control and interfere with the intended mission.
However, if the common good of appropriately educated students is to be served, why not seek alternative models to deliver the desired outcomes?
Even now, economists are warning that many school graduates are not meeting career or college expectations. But so much is known about what works in education and much more can be achieved with greater innovation, flexibility and stability.
Why not release the public education dollar and have it follow the student? Charter schools are working elsewhere. Education Savings Accounts are being used in some US states for parents to shop and mix-and-match education choices for their kids. In particular, special needs and talents are better served in this manner.
This current impasse provides a great opportunity to try different ways to help our kids and grandkids get the education they need for the 21st Century.
March 4, 2014 by Tunya
"Comprachico" has been adopted as a pejorative term used for individuals and entities who manipulate the minds and attitudes of children in a way that will permanently distort their beliefs or worldview. Twentieth-century philosopher Ayn Rand referred to educators of the time as "the Comprachicos of the mind" in her article "The Comprachicos." Her criticism was targeted especially toward educational progressivists, but also grade-school and high-school educators.