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July, 2017

  1. Evidence-based education — When?

    July 30, 2017 by Tunya

    Desperately Seeking Evidence-based Practice In Education

    There are at least two reasons why we should study the Whole-language experience if evidence-based education practice is a goal.

    Dress-Rehearsal: The entire, long, frustrating experience of how this now generally discredited method was initiated and sustained can be seen as dress rehearsal for the fads and untested methods being thrust upon us now. There is considerable literature on this topic, though unfortunately, few confessions by those largely responsible for the error of their ways. This would add considerably to the insights needed to understand how these movements gain traction and overcome opposition. For those opposing some of these new methods for the 21st Century the insights from this study would be enormously beneficial. Is there, maybe, such a book or article already?

    Characteristics of the Followers: Not everyone falls for the latest trends and fancies in education. But, during the Whole-Language debates Patrick Groff (1924-2014) did identify six such characteristics:

    “The Special Attractions of Whole-Language (WL)
    1 . . . educators historically have been notorious for their inability to resist the lures of educational innovations, regardless of whether or not they have been empirically validated.
    2 . . . WL relieves educators of much direct personal accountability for the results . . .
    3 . . . WL appeals to many educators’ romantic and/or humanistic interpretations of what is healthy child development . . . honoring children’s freedom and dignity is held to be more essential than how literate they become.
    4 . . . in the past, educators have ignored or rejected most of the empirical findings in practically all aspects of their field of endeavor.
    5 . . .the apparent simplicity of WL is alluring for teachers . . . With WL, teachers do not have to submit to pedagogical discipline that a prescribed course of direct and systematic instruction demands.
    6 . . . educators who have liberal social, economic, and political views doubtless are charmed by WL’s decidedly left-wing agenda . . . ”

    I will find a link for this Groff article and post it later in case current teachers might be seeking ways not to fall for the enticements placed in their way.

    [posted on Filling the Pail blog, topic: Problem-solving does not exist, July 30, 2017]

    Desperately Seeking Evidence-based Practice In Education – Supplementary

    I said I would provide the link to the full article by Patrick Groff —

    His more complete article on Whole-Language and how it spread is worth reading for those who are interested in how shaky theories in education proliferate. By going to the link above there is a “click” provided at the bottom for his fuller article plus more from a Journal in 1997 concerned about language and spelling.

    I know this post by Greg is about problem-solving as a shaky theory, but generally it’s also about how the education field seems to glom onto unproven fads so easily. There’s a lot of that going on right now. It’s important to call out these questionable practices, and Greg does a fine job of it, but is there hope to squelch bad practices?

    Self-esteem was a huge phenomenon pushed in the schools in the last decades. Is current exposure, calling it a “con” or “hoax”, going to sway anyone? See:

    [2nd comment posted 31 July, 2017]

  2. Betrayal of enlightenment purpose

    July 28, 2017 by Tunya

    What betrayal is this? Those who are to assist the enlightenment of the masses are in actual alliance to thwart and undermine the cause. Teacher education faculties are actually anti-enlightenment champions? Who would have thought?

    Professor Mark Bauerlein in a book review (The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform—1967-2014, by Raymond Wolters) is appalled how E D Hirsch was shunned after his book “Cultural Literacy” proved to be a phenomenal best-seller — “ed school faculty had urged all the students to stay away” from his class.

    Deliberate dumbing down is real, folks! And faculties of education in the United States and Canada endorse it!

    And it’s not just literature and culture that are attacked. Math doesn’t make sense — see the Math Petitions that parents are mounting. What about reading?

    Marilyn Jager Adams in a new foreword to the paperback edition of Jeanne Chall’s book, “The Academic Achievement Challenge “‘ says: “ . . . reviewing the research on phonics, Chall told me that if I wrote the truth, I would lose old friends and make new enemies. She warned me that I would never again be fully accepted by my academic colleagues . . . Sadly, however, as the evidence in favor of systematic, explicit phonics instruction for beginners increased, so too did the vehemence and nastiness of the backlash. The goal became one of discrediting not just the research, but the integrity and character of those who had conducted it. Chall was treated most shabbily . . . “

    What about Science? Here is a scientist, Michael R Matthews, who wrote — Reflections on 25 Years of Journal Editorship. It’s about how constructivism was injected into the teaching of science to the point that the search for truth through science became decidedly “anti-enlightenment”! I can’t find a link for free reading (as I had earlier). I wrote and asked in 2015 whether his article “ruffled any feathers”. Basically, he said: “No. Silence”.

    When will there be a full-scale investigation into how faculties of education are undermining our civilization? When will there be a Bill Gates who really believes in education to help fund such a study?

    Thanks Will Fitzhugh for the post alerting us to this treachery. What can be done?

    [Published to listserve, ECC, Educ Consumers Clearinghouse, re excerpt from a two page review of Wolter's book, which I've ordered.)


    …Those are all reasons sufficient in themselves to have students and young scholars read the book [The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform—1967-2014, by Raymond Wolters]. But there is something about education training that makes it especially valuable. A moment in the career of E.D. Hirsch, Jr. demonstrates it (Wolters mentions it and Hirsch has recalled it several times in his writings). When Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know became a surprise bestseller after it was published in 1987 [The year The Concord Review was founded—WF], Hirsch approached the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia (UVA) to offer a course to their students. Hirsch was a longtime member of UVA’s English department  and a renowned literary theorist. (When I was in graduate school in the 1980s, everyone read his essay on literary interpretation.)

    With Cultural Literacy standing as the most phenomenal education book of the time, Hirsch expected education students to flood his class. Even if they disagreed with his ideas, they could argue with him, not to mention enjoy the opportunity to engage with one of the most influential thinkers of the moment.

    But that’s not what happened. To his surprise, few students showed up. Hirsch learned why when one of them revealed that the ed school faculty had urged all the students to stay away. Their professors didn’t encourage students to join the class and challenge Hirsch—they told them to avoid him altogether.

    It brought a dismaying realization: education theory and practice had become so hardened that ed schools simply didn’t want to hear anything contrary. Students receive the idea and principles taught in ed school as if they are the received wisdom of the profession. If other opinions slip into the training, they do so in caricatured form, such as the allegation that Hirsch simply wanted to reinstate a Eurocentric dead-white-male curriculum…

    Professor Mark Bauerlein, book review in Academic Questions  National Association of Scholars, Spring 2017, pp. 108-109


  3. Unfreedom is the default

    July 21, 2017 by Tunya

    Unfreedom Is The Default, Not Liberty

    “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is a quote that deserves close observance, especially in these days of heightened sensitivities. Mercifully, Berkeley has finally seen the light after three previous visits by Milo, Horowitz and Coulter were stopped. Here is the latest UPDATE: Under Pressure, UC Berkeley Reverses Decision, Will Accommodate Shapiro Speech.

    Thankfully there are campus groups like FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) affirming that “freedom to speak also means the freedom to hear”.

    [ posted on EducationViews blog Disgrace: As UC Berkeley Blocks Another Conservative Speaker, Congress Should Threaten Federal Funding ]


  4. Trending: confessions from educators

    July 16, 2017 by Tunya

    1001 Complaints About Schools — Title Of A Future Book?

    Bruce Deitrick Price could easily compile such a book because there are 1000s of similar comments people have made to his articles. These few we see here are just some about reading. One place to read more of his articles and the countless comments is here —

    Such compilation, in my opinion, should be done ASAP and presented to Betsy DeVos, current US Education Secretary as she struggles, against considerable bullying, to bring common sense to the education industry.

    I have been a fan of BDP since I came across his excellent little book, The Education Enigma, which I am glad to report is still available on Amazon for a very decent price. Such a report as I recommend would not be just Bruce talking, but the thousands of parents, citizens and even teachers who have been betrayed by our education systems.

    Are we seeing a growing trend in confessions about education systems? Yes. See items like: Keeping the Proles Down (Joanne Jacobs); Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax? (Chester Finn), etc.

    I remember when there was more sharp criticism in the 70s about the failures of schools. Remember Nat Hentoff? He was a regular ed reporter (now deceased) who wrote in 1977 — the article, The Greatest Consumer Fraud Of All and the book, Does Anybody Give A Damn?

    It’s time to give a damn and people at the highest levels should be made to hear these complaints from people in the trenches and be prepared to do something about the issues!

    [comment to Education Views – – A Shocking Tour of K-12 Today by Bruce Deitrick Price] 


  5. need ‘higher standard’ for education

    July 14, 2017 by Tunya

    Education, Especially “Public” Education, Should Be Held To A Higher Standard!

    Because educators can lead people astray, this biblical injunction should be brought forward as a reminder from time to time — “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1, NIV).”

    In these days when truth is being called upon evermore, we are beginning to see more people brave enough to judge and call out bad “science” in education. Thanks to JPGreene and blog for leadership in this regard.

    See also how the self-esteem hype is being unmasked:

    – “It was quasi-religious”: the great self-esteem con”, Will Storr, Guardian, 3 June ’17,

    – “Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax? – Social-emotional learning is rooted in ‘faux psychology’”, Chester Finn, Education Week, 19 June ’17,

    – Selfie, (the book by Will Storr) describes in more detail than the two articles above how the self-esteem project was pushed through to a global education phenomenon despite poor science.

    [rejected by JPG blog — “mendacity” comment of GF accepted — Mendacity — falsehood, deceit, deception, fabrication, dishonesty, deceitfulness, untruthfulness,  unreliability, spuriousness, inaccuracy]

    [submitted as response, but blocked — ]

    Professional mendacity in the education field should be called out.  It ultimately harms both individuals and society.  The deceits and trickeries used to advance unproven education projects and methods need exposure.  Perhaps a trend is emerging.  See how the self-esteem phenomenon is being unmasked; [quotes as above re self-esteem]

    [to JPG FB, and remains — 

    “mis-stating basic facts” in education is a key issue being raised here.  If people twist “facts” to their own purpose how can genuine education reform happen?  Greene gives an example.  Here is another example of exposing an education project based on hype and misuse of “research” — the self-esteem movement unmasked: –   [quotes as above re s-e]  

    [this is the contradiction, irony, of the blocking – so avowedly promote “choice” — my quote in Joanne Jacobs comment “So as educators increasingly opt for private schools for their own children and often rail against choice, the best that the “proles” can hope for —you know, those who are on long waiting lists for alternatives — is for radically more choices. And that is where public policy needs legislation and laws to open up vouchers and the other plans to help parents choose freely.]