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‘Absurdities’ Category

  1. 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!

    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!


    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:

    “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”    ]

  3. 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.

    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 bd found by title,] 


  4. Is Education about dependency on the state?

    January 7, 2017 by Tunya

    Teaching For The “Real World” — Homelessness, Universal Basic Income, Etc.

    WOW ! Time to think again ! What is education for? Is it for jobs? For democracy? For perpetuation of the system or to radically change it? Learning to collaborate? Learning to avoid homelessness? What?

    The education field has been rife and ridden with fads and frills for generations and it’s a wonder that people still send their kids to schools. Maybe it’s just a safe place for kids while growing up. Certainly the 3Rs are “old hat”. Graduate’s Math skills are reported as deplorable and functional illiteracy is stated at 40% of the population.

    The latest education buzzword (fad) is Design Thinking.

    Basically, it’s yet another variation of what has beset the whole 20th C education industry — progressivism, the John Dewey method of experiential learning — learning by doing — teacher as guide by the side not sage on the stage — discovery, inquiry — education is “caught”, not “taught”, etc., etc., etc.

    One parent has just posted that under the “umbrella of Entrepreneurship” her school used Design Thinking to help solve “poverty” problems in developing countries. A business model was drawn up whereby impoverished girls would make bracelets for a Fair Trade organization. The Atlantic article referenced above says Design Thinking has “gone viral despite scant objective data regarding its effectiveness for learning”.

    Many teachers adopt progressive methods because they don’t like the drill of didactic teaching. Others are romantics and do want to save the world! The Atlantic article states that they see themselves as “helping their students learn through solving real-world problems”.

    Well, here’s a real-world problem. Many Think Tanks, including some of the most conservative free-market types, are seriously exploring the expansion of the womb-to-tomb welfare state. These are some of the plans: GAI (Guaranteed Annual Income); UBI (Universal Basic Income); ESP (Economic Security Project); BIG (Basic Income Guarantee). Finland is already into its first week of the Western world’s first UBI as national policy.

    BIG was tried for 4 years in the late 70s in the town of Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada (pop. 8500 in 2011)

    My question is this: Since our Thought Leaders think UBI is the inevitable direction of our economic system how soon before public schools start injecting this topic into the classrooms? Is there an alternative? Will broader private and public education choices avert this slippery slope to universal state dependency?

    [Above post published on my Facebook and Invisible Serfs Collar.  ]

  5. 2016 – year of scary education roadmaps

    December 31, 2016 by Tunya

    2016 — Year Of Scary Education Roadmaps

    If we followed this blog (ISC) throughout 2016 we would have seen tons of links to organizations promoting their insights about needed education transformations. Most (probably 95%) had elaborate graphs, diagrams, flow-charts and roadmaps showing the inevitable great results to be had.

    If one photocopied — in full color — all these charts and posted them on the walls of a school gym one would be knocked out by the psychedelic overload!

    My nominee for the most astounding and scary chart is this roadmap from Global Education Futures (GEF). But be warned, you won’t be able to read it as is — I had to enlarge it at a print shop to size 24” X 36” and had to use strong reading glasses: Global Education 2015-2035

    Here are some of the projections:

    2018 – Obligatory Universal ID
    2019 – Psychosocial assessments to adjust education paths
    2020 – Threshold of Omniscience: all human culture digitized
    – Virtual Jail: criminals receive compulsory corrective education
    – Student Genetic Passport: individualized planning according to genotype
    – Our Common Kids: global unification of school standards
    2028 – The Great Psychic Divide: distance between users & non-users of cognitive products widens
    2030 – Cyberspace Graphomaniacs prompt anti-robot movement resulting in call for robot rights
    2035 – Kids a la Carte: elite gene patterns are available for purchase
    – Cognitive Revolution: “Forest of Minds” — full-fledged collective intelligence appears

    GEF says these transformations are being driven by waves of new technologies and powerful social shifts.

    Happy New Year — 2017 !