March 2, 2010
There has been a growing controversy — in Rhode Island and across the nation — about the firing of the teachers at Central Falls High School.
Teachers are in an uproar, the union is "outraged," the parents are "outraged," the students are surely "going to be traumatized" (But then, that seems easy to accomplish these days. To listen to the talking heads, one definitely comes to the conclusion that children are just not as resilient as they used to be when adults had common sense.)
To understand why these teachers were fired, one needs to understand the system.
Back in 1994, Goals 2000, the educate America Act was passed by Congress. This was under the Clinton Administration but Goals 2000 was the end product of America 2000 which went back to the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration. Prior to America 2000, there were all the meetings of head honchos across the country, like the National Governors' Association (NGA) meeting, called by Bush in September 1989, that brought about America 2000. The meeting occurred at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and resulted in the establishment of the Governors' Task Force on Education with Governor Booth Gardner of Washington state, head of the NGA, appointing himself, Governor Roy Romer of Colorado (appointed chair of the Task Force), Governor Carroll Campbell of South Carolina, Governor Evan Bayh of Indiana, Governor Terry Branstead of Iowa, and Governor John Ashcroft of Missouri to the committee.
And before that, there was the Schools for the 21st Century pilot project in states across the nation, including Washington State, that commenced ca 1988-1989. These schools were the precursor to education transformation nation-wide; they were the foundation of Goals 2000.
The pilot project in Washington state never met the requirements of the laws governing it, yet it was heralded as a roaring success by those running the program, not based on quantifiable evidence but rather on anecdotal "evidence."
The whole sham that was the Schools for the 21st Century pilot project in Washington State was finally brought before the Senate Education Committee, through the hard work of many people, myself included, in February 1998.
One would think that the Washington State Legislature would not want to subject children to a failed education system. One would think that the Washington State Legislature would not want to waste taxpayer dollars on a colossal failure.
The reaction of the Washington State Legislature? For the most part, legislators boycotted the hearing.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction tried to disrupt the hearing.
The Democrat co-chair of the Senate Education Committee tried to disrupt and sidetrack the hearing.
TVW, the organization that videos hearings held by Senate and House committees, suddenly decided they couldn't video the hearing. Although slated to do so, they cancelled at the last minute, obviously the game plan being that the last-minute cancellation would ensure that there would not be enough time to bring in and set up video equipment of the type needed to provide quality video of the hearing. TVW's excuse for cancelling was that the Superintendent of Public Instruction wasn't invited to be center stage at the hearing.
For his role in setting up the hearing, the Republican co-chair of the Senate Education Committee was castigated by his own party. When he ran for Governor, his own party undermined his campaign.
The message was clear: the Washington State Legislature, Democrats and Republicans alike, did not want hear that the program they had implemented in the schools in the state, under Goals 2000, was a colossal failure if educating children for intelligence was the goal.
Systems education, what was implemented in every school nation-wide under Goals 2000, is a system intended specifically to coalesce the sustainable global environment agenda.
Under systems education, "education" becomes life-role or life-related with knowledge only incorporated as it is used and applied in teaching unit themes or thematic units centered around four main issues: world economy, world ecology, world security, and world population growth, in no particular order.
This is why parents are finding their children exposed, in schools, to the rabid, extremist environmental propaganda intended to end private ownership of land "in the interests of saving mother earth." This is why parents are finding their children exposed, in schools, to "life-role" situations far beyond their ability, experience-wise and maturity-wise, to comprehend the ramifications of. This is why parents are finding that their children have been exposed, in schools, to books like The Giver and asked to decide who should be thrown out of the overloaded lifeboat of passengers from a sinking ship. More recently, parents in California discovered their children had been given a survey, in schools, asking them to disclose when they lost their virginity. And parents in Pennsylvania discovered their children had been given laptops with cameras that could be used by school administrators to watch children on and off school campus; the continual assessment of the child by observation being a focus of systems education which depends on the accumulation and analysis of information obtained from behavioral assessment. While school administrators denied such was their purpose, how the cameras were discovered was when school administrators decided that the conduct of a student, while off campus, needed addressed.
The dearth of knowledge, imparted to students under systems education, insures that which is stated in a well-known publication entitled America's Choice: high skills or low wages! put out in June 1990 by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) subcommittee, Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (CSAW),
"But in a broad survey of employment needs across America, we found little evidence of a far-reaching desire for a more educated workforce." (page 25)
In other documents, it is made very clear that America is to become a "service economy." With manufacturing jobs being outsourced to foreign countries left and right, the majority of the jobs remaining would be in the service sector, such as cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, changing beds, washing laundry, flipping burgers, repairing cars, stocking shelves, running a cash register, repairing appliances and equipment.
Under such a system, innovation is not an imperative, nor is the goal of education, in public schools, to discipline the mind of the child such that the child has a vast knowledge base on which to draw in articulating a reasoned conclusion as an individual (classical education). Under systems education, it is no longer important that children be able to think and reason; only that they respond appropriately to the given behaviorally oriented prompt or trigger—the Skinnerian operant conditioning technique of punishment and reward used to train animals.
Children are expected to demonstrate mastery of behaviorally-oriented exit outcomes (known in some states as essential academic learning requirements), established at the state level, that coalesce, and are benchmarked to, the eight goals of Goals 2000. Goals 2000, in turn, directly reflects the National Skills Standards Board competencies as written by the Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) established under Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Labor under GHW Bush. The SCANS competencies, in turn, were the direct result of the work of the NCEE CSAW publication America's Choice: high skills or low wages!; many of the people sitting on CSAW also sitting on the SCANS commission.
As made very clear by the Schools for the 21st Century pilot program in Washington Stated, under systems education …
• content is defined as excellence in terms of the change agenda;
• process is the product; the destination; what learning is about;
• emotionality and affectivity are the means by which content and process will be achieved;
• feelings are paramount (Washington State Board of Education, 1995).
The measure of whether the child is demonstrating mastery of the behaviorally-oriented exit outcomes is the assessment. An assessment is not an objective measure of knowledge, it is not a test, nor is it a standardized test; an assessment is a subjective measure of behavior based on a rubric that gives points depending on the level of behavior demonstrated. Usually using a scale of four points possible, the more points given, the more closely the child is said to demonstrate the wanted behavior. This is why getting the right answer on an assessment is not a priority. The assessment is looking to see if the child is demonstrating the wanted behaviors.
Points are then added together and a pass/fail line is determined. The pass/fail line can be changed, year to year, to augment a political agenda or political climate. For instance, if the legislature says "no more money until results are shown", the pass/fail bar can be lowered so more children are considered to pass. Beyond the behavioral aspect, this is why assessments are not considered to be a reliable instrument or valid measurement.
What happens if the child doesn't demonstrate the wanted behaviors? In all cases, the child is remediated. If enough children in a classroom are not demonstrating the wanted behaviors, benchmarked to grade level, the teacher is also remediated. This can come in several forms, including mentoring, further education, decrease in salary, and probation. If enough children in the school are not demonstrating the wanted behaviors, the teachers and/or administrators are also remediated or fired.
In Rhode Island, it was the teachers. In Longview, Washington, it was the principal.
When parents in Washington state tried to tell teachers and administrators this would happen, parents were scoffed at, ridiculed, called names, made the subject of derision — the teacher unions would never allow that to happen!
But it was very apparent that the teacher unions were very much involved in promoting systems education, nation-wide. Maybe the teachers didn't know what was coming, but can the same be said for teacher unions?
Teachers were warned but they were so enamored with systems education holding children accountable for the demonstration of the wanted subjective behaviors that they refused to listen. So, is it really anyone's fault but their own when children fail to demonstrate the wanted behaviors?
Is it anyone's fault but their own that they jumped on the education transformation (a.k.a., systems education) band-wagon when they had no clue what it was really all about beyond what they were told to believe, and did believe?
When people ask me about sending their children to public (i.e., government) schools, I tell them two things,
1. do not put your child in harm's way; no child is capable of withstanding the brainwashing going on in government schools under systems education; either home school your child or put your child in a private school that does not accept public money;
2. get involved because all really does mean all, and the government fully intends that all children be subjected to systems education; thus the advent of charter schools and public schools in homes (like K-12™) to suck parents into the system.
Systems education has cost the taxpayers billions (if not trillions) of dollars to implement and sustain. In the top-heavy school administrations, full of counselors, psychologists, play-ground monitors, and aides, all seeking to pry into the minds of children, billions more are being wasted.
States are now in financial trouble. When Washington State legislators were asked what they intended to do when systems education became a financial burden on the taxpayers, as it was bound to do, not one legislator had an answer. And not one of them, beyond the Republican Senator who was castigated by his own party for letting the truth be told, has had the courage to do anything to avoid the inevitable.
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Parents who tried to tell teachers, administrators and legislators certainly have the right to say "we told you so" but that does not change the bottom-line fact that children are paying the ultimate price, as is our nation and our society as a whole, for the failure to properly educate children for intelligence.
© 2010 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved
Activist and researcher, Stuter has spent the last fifteen years researching systems theory and systems philosophy with a particular emphasis on education as it pertains to achieving the sustainable global environment. She home schooled two daughters. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance, the sustainable global environment and education reform. She networks nationwide with other researchers and a growing body of citizens concerned about the transformation of our nation from a Constitutional Republic to a participatory democracy. She has traveled the United States and lived overseas.
Web site: www.learn-usa.com