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‘Absurdities’ Category

  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.

    ONE
    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?

    TWO
    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 — http://www.readinghorizons.com/research/whole-language-vs-phonics-instruction#special

    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:http://www.educationviews.org/it-quasi-religious-great-self-esteem-con/
    and http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/06/21/why-are-schools-still-peddling-the-self-esteem.html

    [2nd comment posted 31 July, 2017]


  2. 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 — http://www.americanthinker.com/author/bruce_deitrick_price/

    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 – http://www.educationviews.org/shocking-tour-k-12-today/ – A Shocking Tour of K-12 Today by Bruce Deitrick Price] 

     


  3. Beach reading for “social justice warriors”

    June 8, 2017 by Tunya

    The Irony Of 10 Top Books For College Freshmen

    A list has appeared that college freshies are to read before joining their classes, Fall 2017.

    An impressive organization, the National Association of Scholars, supposedly produced the latest list for beach reading after compiling various university and college lists. NAS claims that such books could turn students into Social Justice Warriors.

    The top 10 include 5 (50%) of the titles dealing with African-American themes.

    This week’s news also brings in the story from Baltimore — population 2/3 African American — and which school system apparently produces no (zero, zilch, zip) students proficient in Math and English! http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/shock-no-students-six-baltimore-city-schools-are-proficient-math-and-english

    Some of these schools are even named after African American protagonists; including Frederick Douglass whose own story of how he learned to read is a tearjerker.

    What kind of justice will these SJWs promote or extract for the children of Baltimore who don’t read or compute proficiently and have been supposedly deprived (deliberately or from incompetence) by their schools?

    Why doesn’t some irate person or group (NAS?) write an essay that might galvanize some obvious reform instead of just writing provocative outrage? Why doesn’t Annie Holmquist who writes for the Intellectual Takeout and brought this story forward do a tearjerker story instead of just repeating a news release?

    When will social justice happen in real time for those whose life chances have been cruelly crippled but who don’t lack for prompted cheerleaders at the sidelines? Oh, the irony!


  4. UNMASKING EDUCATION SWINDLE

    May 3, 2017 by Tunya

    Unmasking Education Swindle

    Look at the long history of criticism of the education system. It’s a wonder that this field still exists — quackery, wasteland, 12-year sentence . . . There was even a legal symposium in the 70s on “Suing the schools for fraud”. The lawyers speculated that there would be a successful case within 5 years ! Didn’t happen.

    Bruce has productively spent the last decades unmasking some of the frauds in education, particularly the disasters dumped on us by seemingly deliberate reading failures. Bruce finds a long history of culprits and economic factors that have enabled wholesale acceptance of questionable practices. Scientific evidence is definitely not a factor in education decision-making, is it?

    Patrick Groff (1924-2014) was heavily involved in the reading issues of the day. Here is a digest of what he saw as fueling the whole-language fiasco: http://www.readinghorizons.com/research/whole-language-vs-phonics-instruction#special

    “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 . . . ”

    Until there is legislation and laws forbidding quackery in education and science is no longer held in disdain we will continue to see spotty education quality from our schools. Thanks to people like Bruce for keeping on exposing the frauds. At least some parents, if they had real choice, could then choose evidence-based schools.

    [ Posted as comment to American Thinker, article by Bruce Deitrick Price, “K-12 ‘Alien Covenant” http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/05/k12_alien_covenant.html    ]


  5. Effective Schools Movement – 40 yrs ago

    April 6, 2017 by Tunya

     

     

    What Killed The Effective Schools Movement?

    Reading Tom Bennett’s independent report on behaviour in UK schools (76 pg) I was struck by the parallels to the Effective Schools Checklist (1 pg), which evolved from Ron Edmond’s USA work in the 70s.http://www.parentsteachingparents.net/2017/04/effective-schools-checklist-2/

    I will compare the two. Using Edmonds’ checklist as guide I’ll try to show how Bennett’s analyses reiterate the insights of 40 years ago and how foolish it has proven to dismiss excellent principles.

    1 Instructional Leadership — both stress the key role of the head teacher (principal) in good schools.

    2 Focused School Mission — both refer to this vision — made clear to all involved. Bennett refers to school ethos and school culture.

    3 Orderly Environment — Edmonds says: “Purposeful atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning.” Bennett’s whole report is about behavior, if disruptive, as not conducive, and makes many recommendations. IMO a major flaw in his report — there is no digest of recommendations: They are all over the place and could number 10 or 20 or more, with repetitions.

    4 High Expectations — Bennett uses the term “high expectations” 11 times, appropriately and on point. But Edmonds says it well too — in one sentence: “The belief is that students are capable and able to achieve, that teachers are capable and not powerless to make a difference.”

    5 Mastery of Basic Skills — While Bennett’s report is all about creating a culture of positive behavior there is scant recognition of why it is that students go to school in the first place. They do not go there to learn positive behaviour but to learn the 3Rs and academics. His one concession to this foremost motive for schools: Referencing behavior, “As with academic subjects, mastery of the basics is necessary before proceeding to more complex tasks.” As a remedial teacher said in the comments on this blog, when teachers focus on literacy of the disruptive, barely literate, “with success, their behavior improved.” Behaviour Improvement follows academic achievement.

    My editorial comment on this point is to bemoan the twisted nature of “schooling” today. The “shift” is away from academics to behaviour and development of character (13X in Bennett’s report). The shift from “sage on the stage to guide on the side” has deservedly gained the antipathy of students who will exclaim: “Why should I learn, they don’t teach?”

    6 Frequent Monitoring of Results — While Edmonds’ checklist specifically refers to assessments of the student, the teacher and the school this refers to the academics. Welcome additions to the field of education are Bennett’s new behavior survey forms: “Behaviour in school is inseparable from academic achievement, safety, welfare and well-being, and all other aspects of learning. It is the key to all other aims, and therefore crucial.” (p12) #3 above

    7 Meaningful Parent Involvement — Both regard the role of parents as important to school mission.

    8 Avoidance of Pitfalls — Edmonds says: “Up-to-date awareness of good educational practice plus retaining currency in the field concerning promising and discredited practices.” Here is the essence of my grief with the state of education today and the failings in Bennett’s report. If the Effective Schools movement had not been sabotaged (an untold story) decades ago we would not be suffering the behavior and attitude problems now besetting our schools today.

    Bennett mentions that in the medical field discredited practices are not tolerated. Why are we re-inventing the wheel? Bennett’s work, on top of Edmonds’, should produce a new checklist.

    [posted on Educhatter blog post of April 2, 2017, Student Behaviour.  Tom Bennett’s report, Creating a Culture: how school leaders can optimise behaviour, is a UK document and can be found by title,]