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PART 4 of 5


By Charlotte Iserbyt

December 21, 2010

Jed Brown on Behavioral Conditioning (1994)

This powerful video of the late O. Jerome (Jed) Brown discusses Skinner’s behavioral psychology and how it works in the training of rats (your children?). Jed was an educator who opposed the Skinnerian Outcomes Based Education (mastery learning/direct instruction) being rammed down our throats in the eighties and nineties and now being pushed under new labels, such as “The Reinventing Schools” label.

Jed majored in behavioral psychology and, in order to become expert in his understanding of the method, had his own pet rats who he trained to “perform.”

Jed ran for Superintendent of Schools in the state of Washington. He didn’t win since he ran up against the very powerful forces in education and business (same ones Ann Herzer encountered in Arizona) who need this method for the training of our children in perfunctory skills in the global service economy. (Refer back to Thomas Sticht quote.) Visit website “Remembering Jed: A Traditional Educator”:

Educators Push Back Against Obama’s “Business Model” for School Reform

The following words of a concerned teacher, Lois Weiner, surely reflect the views of those of us who have carefully researched the restructuring movement as it relates to the “method”, “school choice/charter schools”, etc. In an interview, Weiner says in part:

JUAN GONZALEZ:—the right-wing foundations, the Walton Foundation, the Eli Broad Foundation, as well as all of the hedge fund and Wall Street people that have gotten involved in funding schools and creating charter networks. What do you analyze is behind this?

LOIS WEINER: Well, I mean, their effect has been, really, all-encompassing and quite pernicious. And we have a great deal of research about what's going on with this, if we want to take a look at it. It's never—it's never mentioned in the popular media, in the corporate mass media. And they are controlling the education agenda. They are controlling these new core curriculum standards. And if people really looked at these core curriculum standards, I think they would be aghast. You know, vocationalization of the curriculum is beginning in first grade. They're doing career education in first grade, if you look at these standards. What is that about? That we're preparing kids for the workforce when they're in first grade? And the foundations, the right-wing foundations, including the Gates Foundation, they are absolutely driving this. They're funding it. They're funding the media campaign to persuade people that this is necessary. And they are funding the—

KAREN LEWIS: Research.

LOIS WEINER: They're funding the research. (End Excerpt)

Some readers may think: “I’ve never heard of what Charlotte’s talking about; my school doesn’t use such a ‘sick’ method to teach my children.” My answer is: “If your school is not located in an inner city or doesn’t have a large number of disadvantaged students covered by Title I, then your school may not be using the Skinner method.” The federal Title I program is what spread this method across the country.


Siegfried Engelmann, the developer of the DISTAR (direct instruction) method to teach reading, has received federal tax monies from the U.S. Office of Education—now known as the U.S. Department of Education—since the late 1960s. These programs were part of the Follow Through experiments. (See sidebar next page.)

First, hide it by implementing it only in the inner city schools, for minority and underprivileged children. That is what “change agents" from the U.S. Office of Education did in the late sixties after passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) — now called “No Child Left Behind”. The ESEA basically changed the teacher from a dispenser of knowledge to a little psychiatrist, using The Behavior Science Teacher Preparation program to brainwash teachers into switching from true teaching to “operant conditioning/performance-based training.” Education Week, March 6, 1985, carried an article entitled “Half of Chicago Students (18,000) Drop Out, Study Finds: Problem Called Enormous Human Tragedy.”

Click on Link # 2 and scroll down to pdf entitled “Experimentation on Minorities,” an article I wrote which explains how the inner city children were used as guinea pigs to pilot the Skinner system, necessary for “across the board — all students” school-to-work training in the service economy now in 2010 being implemented nationwide. Most jobs are and will be in the service economy and will not require the truly challenging academic education once found in our nation’s public schools.

The reader may wonder why anyone in their right mind would spend thirty years of his/her life trying to get people to listen to her regarding an education program/method. Ordinarily I wouldn’t continue to bother, even to explain to parents the dangers of all the values-changing programs that have been foisted on our children since 1965. I fought them as a local school board member. The reason I will go to my grave trying to educate people about this animal training method follows:

It is so powerful, in conjunction with the computer, that your children’s values will change. Even if schools used computers to instill “absolute” values, I would be equally opposed since the student has no defense against the power of the software in conjunction with the computer. His/her free will to select what he or she agrees with or not is effectively shut down. Children will be unable to resist the virtual elimination of their free will since it bypasses the brain and works on the nervous system to elicit “correct” responses. At least with the destructive values changing programs of the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties your child was still able to use his brain (intellect) and conscience to accept or reject whatever the school was trying to present to him as a “new” way of looking at things.

Please read the following quote taken from the May 1985 issue of The Effective School Report and found on page 32, “Back to Basics Reform…” This quote illustrates perfectly how the power of Skinnerian “Effective school” research (without even using the computer) is being applied in conditioning the classroom teacher and in turn guaranteeing the teacher Merit Pay/Pay for Performance:

“The principal expects specific behaviors from particular teachers which should then translate into achievement by the students of these teachers; because of these varied expectations, the principal behaves differently toward different teachers, i.e., body language, verbal interactions and resource allocations. This treatment also influences the attitudes of the teacher toward the principal and their perception of the future utility of any increased effort toward student achievement. If this treatment is consistent over time, and if the teachers do not resist change, it will shape their behavior and through it the achievement of their students…With time teachers’ behavior, self-concept of ability, perceptions of future utility, attitude toward the principal, and students’ achievement will conform more and more closely to the behavior originally expected of them.” (Note the word “treatment” which is classic Skinnerian behavior modification operant conditioning terminology.)

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“We must change the people who manage the school program, it is frequently said, if we are to change the ‘curriculum’. Thus [Alice] Miel has remarked, ‘To change the curriculum of the school . . . means bringing about changes in people — in their desires, beliefs, and attitudes, in their knowledge and skill. . . . In short, the nature of curriculum change should be seen for what it really is — a type of social change, change in people, not mere change on paper.’”Human Relations in Curriculum Change, Ed. Kenneth D. Benne and Bozidar Muntyan, The Dryden Press, Inc., NY, 1951, pg. 7. See Charlotte's 9 min. vedeo below. For part five click below.

Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

� 2010 Charlotte T. Iserbyt - All Rights Reserved

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Charlotte Iserbyt is the consummate whistleblower! Iserbyt served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration, where she first blew the whistle on a major technology initiative which would control curriculum in America's classrooms. Iserbyt is a former school board director in Camden, Maine and was co-founder and research analyst of Guardians of Education for Maine (GEM) from 1978 to 2000. She has also served in the American Red Cross on Guam and Japan during the Korean War, and in the United States Foreign Service in Belgium and in the Republic of South Africa.

Iserbyt is a speaker and writer, best known for her 1985 booklet Back to Basics Reform or OBE: Skinnerian International Curriculum and her 1989 pamphlet Soviets in the Classroom: America's Latest Education Fad which  covered the details of the U.S.-Soviet and Carnegie-Soviet Education Agreements which remain in effect to this day. She is a freelance writer and has had articles published in Human Events, The Washington Times, The Bangor Daily News, and included in the record of Congressional hearings.








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Something is drastically wrong with the present restructuring of education. I hope this article will persuade parents and traditional public school administrators and teachers to work together to stop the dismantling of what was once considered the finest educational system in the world.