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‘Book Reviews’ Category

  1. 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


  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 —

    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] 


  3. “Stealthy” Education Shifts ?

    May 31, 2017 by Tunya

    21st Century Education “Shifts” ?

    Hopefully, the book “The Case for Contention” will help resolve some nagging questions parents have about education reforms sweeping into schools without their awareness. “Knowledge’ and academic pursuits are being shifted to competencies and “soft skills” as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and a whole host of other unmeasurables. How do you measure empathy?

    Also, age-appropriateness is a concern to parents — what degree of controversy is appropriate at what age?

    Additionally, are teachers able to lead balanced discussions or do they lean on popular texts for their own background learning? A quick search of the Internet yields, for example, in the primary grades books on Math and Social Justice; for secondary history Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”; and in college/university “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is frequently assigned reading in the social sciences — all rather biased points-of-view!

    Now, since the authors of “The Case for Contention” do say, “parents may legitimately ask that the schools represent their side of the issue” when and how can parents be “legitimately” involved? So much that transpires in schools today is unknown to parents and public. If the aim of public education is indeed enlightenment — “to advance truth and strengthen democracy” — then we need more information about the content of 21st C Learning.

    commenbt sent to Joanne Jacobs blog,  The review by Steiner is important to read: .. He quotes the significant quote by James Madison:  

    A people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

    —James Madison (1822)  and lead one to pursue how Dewey viewed Madison's point of view.  Book — Reinhold Niebuhr and John Dewey: An American Odyssey gives some discussion of Dewey (communitarian) and Niebuhr (libertarian?) ]


  4. Choice is the answer

    January 20, 2017 by Tunya

    Choice Is The Answer

    “ . . . the educational bureaucracy has tended to replace parents in deciding what and how our children should learn. The most expedient, and perhaps the only way, to return control to parents is an arrangement whereby parents can choose the schools their children attend and — if they are not satisfied — can move their children from one school to another.” Milton & Rose Friedman, Tyranny of the Status Quo, 1984, p 143)

    My comment to article:  

    Former NEA Lawyer: Abolish the Department of Education

    Would we see a change for the better in the nation’s schools if education was placed back in the hands of local communities?

    Annie Holmquist | January 9, 2017  



  5. Teachers as Avengers ?

    January 11, 2017 by Tunya

    Should Teachers Be Avengers?

    Teachers should do more to steer people to the progressive point-of-view. Democracy’s supposedly “wrong” turns in Brexit and Trump need correction. So say a number of teachers in opinion pieces in the TES (Times Education Supplement). The word “brainwashing” comes up.

    The latest has Oliver Beach proposing that teachers work harder at shaping student dispositions — “The next world leader is sitting in a classroom today”. ]

    What is so striking is the irony. These “thought leaders” do not admit that they are proposing groupthink!

    All this has been foretold and expected through the use of sophisticated propaganda techniques precisely designed to develop this progressive mindset. This book lays it out — Soviet Impregnational Propaganda, Baruch Hazan, 1982 — “ . . . the basic propaganda target is the large social group and not the individual.”

    The chapters include these groupings to be manipulated: sports, the cinema, theater, language studies, and literature. The aim of these propaganda techniques and formation of opinion is to “promote uniform behavior of large social groups”. Today, since 1982, we could guess that media and the education system have been added to that list of groupings.

    We should recognize that these opinions being now parroted are indeed the result of successful permeation. We should strive mightily against teachers taking on the role of heroic avengers — shaping students to predispositions rather than becoming objective, analytical and independent thinkers. Individual thinking is not the norm while collaboration and group projects are being normalized in schools.

    Unfortunately, this shift to social/emotional learning (SEL) in education outcomes has already seen much worldwide adoption. Even the valued OECD’s Program for International Student Assessments (PISA) has been testing for non-academic factors in school. One question students are to reply Yes or No to is: “I feel happy at school.”