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‘Obstacles’ Category

  1. futility of ed reform — Leave !

    May 2, 2017 by Tunya

    Futility Of Public Education Reform

    This is an important story about the futility of public education reform, particularly as it’s expected to serve the expectations of parents. “The system” serves well the producers — the educators and the multitudes that comprise the various sub trades and industries like textbook publishers, etc. It’s a self-oiling machine with little accountability. All “the system” needs is a steady inflow of school-age children and this the “consumer” side of the equation — parents and taxpayer dollars — generously provide.

    That is, until this shot across the bow — Goodbye, Public School. It’s Not Me, It’s You —

    Erin Brighton, an ex-teacher with 5 small children in North Carolina, felt it was only proper to fully support public schools and did her best to show “skin in the game” by being totally involved, saying: “As an educator and an engaged citizen I want our public schools to work.” Until she finally withdrew one child with special needs 2 years ago, she never thought she would ever consider home education. For 7 years she prevailed in this mindset till she launched this short and punchy article to Huff Post with the punch line — “. . . everyone who can leave, should.”

    I’m not aware of her plan now — home educate all, some, or private schools. I’m just hoping this story goes viral and spurs more parents to consider, if their children’s school experiences are unsatisfactory, how they are harming their life chances if they don’t make other choices. Hopefully, the American government will move swiftly in their new drive to widen education choices for all, not just those who can afford options. I hope this story reaches the offices of the new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos.

    [to Education Consumers Clearinghouse and Intellectual Takeout ]

  2. Stop Discredited Reading Method

    November 5, 2016 by Tunya

    Damning Proof Of Child School Abuse

    My thoughts on these TWO “smoking guns” (two copied sheets sent by email to ECC readers by Deb with the subject being — Reading homework first grade early October).

    1 These sheets shared by a Gr 1 child’s mother show that Whole-Language is currently being used as a primary reading method decades after serious discrediting of the “psycholinguistic guessing game”.

    2 I closely read the instructions. I felt both for the mother and child trying to faithfully follow the instructions. I cringed and soon felt great sympathy for the young parent who was likely feeling that she was inflicting pure sequential, sustained and systematic torture on the child.

    3 Thankfully, the parent passed on her concern to someone like Deb who can help raise the alarm. There must be dozens of ways to broadcast our dismay about this inappropriate method of teaching reading and hopefully some formal means can be activated to stop this.

    4 I add my voice to the previous reader who expresses disappointment — “We have made no progress”.

    5 Hopefully dozens more people can add their names to exposing this misconduct that is allowed to continue to this day.

    [Thank you Deb for bringing this forward!]

    PS:  I can send the 2 sheets as PDFs via email but don't know how to make them into links.


  3. Dark Omens in New Curriculum

    September 29, 2016 by Tunya

    Dark Omens Emerge From Hurried School Change

    In eagerness to get on the latest education bandwagon people in gung-ho schools could lose all sense of correctness. The global education arms race, undoubtedly accelerating, is pushing normal boundaries!

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold . . . The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” (Yeats, The Second Coming)

    If it wasn’t for one parent sensing creepy implications, a dubious school experiment would have run for 4-6 weeks with 12-13 year old students. The parent notified a national newspaper, which ran a front-page story. The project was suspended. A hush has settled in.

    Here are the brief details and links will amplify. From day one of Sept school start the students were assigned numbers, told they were “followers” and involved in arbitrary discipline. This was to be an experience in critical thinking. Neither the students nor parents were informed and asked for consent. In fact, parents received an email asking them to keep this project “confidential” but “debrief” students as usual about school. Comments to the newspaper stories brought forward professional and every-day reader reservations about human subject experimentation and depersonalization.

    2 links —

    As a grandparent of school-age children and a long-ago psychology major I as offended in many ways by the news. But the biggest disappointment and dismay was with the presumption that parents would be an easy pushover — that they would both trust and accept this project and, furthermore, agree to betray their children by allowing them to participate in an unexamined project without consent.

    That one parent recognized the magnitude of this incident was remarkable! Not a pushover, this parent went beyond the local media for attention, and did not fall like a predictable domino.

    The challenge is — Just how do we help parents become aware of the looming dangers inherent in this headlong shift from standard education practices and protocols toward untested 21st Century Learning schemes? How can parents reclaim an instrumental voice in the education of their children?

    [ to Invisible Serfs Collar ]

  4. Parents Need Outlets for their outrage

    September 5, 2016 by Tunya


    Ever since the teacher unions gained legal voice through collective bargaining parents have been shunted to the side. The PTA was no longer useful. Education decisions increasingly were made by and between bureaucrats and the unions.

    Parents as a class never had much voice and as individuals it was the most ardent and persistent individual families who got anywhere with the public schools.

    Compulsory schooling and monopoly public schools effectively usurped parents from the role Nature endows them with — the duty and instincts to safely bring up their children.

    It is in times of crisis that parents feel most alarmed and anxious that their children’s’ well-being is being threatened. This current teacher strike — nearly nine months already — illustrates just how robbed of voice parents have become.

    So, in this age of communication, parents, as the ultimate educators of their children, find themselves gagged.

    Thus we can see how this website, Where Is My Kids Report Card? has proved so profoundly effective.

    1. Without the complaints about missing, blank, scanty Report Cards here on this site it is unlikely we would have seen the LRB and BCPSEA and the Ministry in concert to restore some legal sanity to this matter.

    2. Without this site frequently using the word “pawns” it is unlikely that so many people would now be using that term as a regular term for those hostage kids caught in the middle. See: “Most vulnerable are hurt the most by BCTF strike”, May 09, by a retired superintendent:…/geoff-johnson-most…/

    This quote is precious:

    “Using those kids as pawns in a political dispute is so wrong it defies description.”

    3. This site and others (Janet’s Report Card, Parents Saying NO, etc.) are providing a most welcome voice to muzzled and browbeaten parents, suffering far too long at the command of “the establishment”. Productive and positive results have already been seen. Long may these sites thrive !

    [comment on Facebook site Where is my Kid’s Report Card?]

  5. GROUPTHINK Is The Agenda

    September 4, 2016 by Tunya

    GROUPTHINK Is The Agenda

    From the 30s at least there was an interest in “the new man”. George Counts wrote: “Dare The School Build A New Social Order?” Carleton Washburne, a school superintendent, travelled the world, then wrote: “Remaking Mankind” reporting how different nations viewed education and the state.

    In 1952 Raymond A Bauer produced: “The New Man In Soviet Psychology”.

    The point is that educators are and were deeply involved in — not only educating, but also “transforming” society and man and the group — mostly in the direction of being useful and obedient to the state. Often posed as “the common good”. What we have today is considerable effort to play down “the individual” and favor the group.

    Groupthink is both the method and the desired outcome. Parents of university students report that convocation speeches often project these messages. One parent heard the president actually say: “We all know that groups think better than individuals alone.”

    Of course, our topic here is Math and how group work and discovery methods are interfering with the learning of the basics. Experiential learning, collaboration and the rest of the 21st Century competencies (note the word competencies, not skills) are the talking points of new curriculums. It’s the collective, not the individual, which is to be developed.

    A 1999 book by Lieberman and Miller: “Teachers Transforming Their World and Their Work” emphasizes community-building to even include parents. Now, that’s a change!

    And don’t let’s forget, we’re not in the olden days anymore. We now have technology, pre-loaded IPads and gaming to bring forth “the new man” ! Are plummeting academic scores the only time we ask fundamental questions about what our public schools are doing?

    [I’m writing from Canada. Same problem.]

    [This comment was published last night at ]

    [Also a comment to Globe and Mail about Math decline in Ontario, Anna Stokke article ]