The Education Wars Are Also Crimes Against Humanity
Geoffrey York is to be praised for reporting on the International Criminal Court’s latest case dealing with crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This case dealt with willful cultural destruction. The individual who pleaded guilty said he was “really remorseful”, and apologized for falling under the influence of “deviant” and “evil” people when he instigated destruction of religious monuments in Timbuktu.
I want to make the case that the current Education Wars — Reading War, Math War and Science War — be referred to the ICC as soon as possible, not only for damage already done but yet to be committed under the category of crimes against humanity.
1 The guilty Timbuktu person admitted he was under the influence of “deviant” and “evil” people. In education we have so many fads proliferating. The absolute worst of all being the current 21st Century transformation shift from skills and knowledge to “discovery learning” where students are to “construct” their own knowledge. None of this constructivism is evidence-based, is actually anti-enlightenment and spreads via malicious Groupthink. These are some of the features of Groupthink: a type of hysterical excitement takes over; the opportunity is there without opposition; there is a belief that this is the correct thing to do; and the individual is not held responsible because it’s a group thing.
2 In the Reading War and Math War there is a deliberate withholding by many teachers of the standard long-held methods of mastering the basics before going into creative, exploratory exercises. Instead, today, students are urged to read by “guessing” words from the pictures attached and urged to do math by “discovering” things instead of memorizing the times tables, for example.
3 In the Science War this “child-centered teaching” downgrades textbooks and is “not to teach content but to help students become mini-scientists”. (Nova Scotia curriculum) There must be “group work” which is just as likely to discover ignorance as it is any “truths” that might happen.
4 Students complain that teachers don’t teach. The teacher mantra is “Learning is caught, not taught!” A Society for Quality Education (SQE) report on science teaching concludes “One might hope that science teachers, in particular, might . . . be willing to question the continual ebb and flow of fads and quackery in education.” — Teaching Science in the 21st Century http://www.sqecanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SQE_Science_Report.pdf
5 Now here is the kicker. There is a massive effort to be launched called the EGRA project. Look it up — Early Grade Reading Assessment to bring English literacy to illiterate areas of the developing world. In the Toolkit is this ominous one sentence: “The reading ‘wars’ are alive and well in many low-income countries, often miring ministries of education and teaching centers in seemingly endless debates between the ‘whole-language’ and ‘phonics-based’ approaches.” (p4) Now this goes beyond unethical. Is it not a crime against humanity to let loose a project, which is open to appropriation by a method or methods discredited, lead to spiteful contests, and that will predictably cause harm instead of good?
Would Geoffrey York or someone with standing please refer this matter to the ICC?
[comment in G&M story, ECC, EDUCAN, FB]