By Charlotte Iserbyt
In 1990 our family bought a Greek Revival house in
These college-level school books, as well as the Salina, Kansas 1898 eighth grade final exam (on the Internet) which the average Harvard graduate could not pass, supported conclusions I had reached over a period of thirty years as a researcher, school board member, co-founder, with Bettina Dobbs, of Guardians of Education for Maine (1980-1998), and Sr. Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education 1980-1982. Those conclusions were that the creation of moral chaos and the “dumbing down” of
Citizens who know nothing of their country’s history, its free economic and political systems, or of those alien systems such as democracy, fascism, socialism, and communism, who cannot read well, write or calculate, will accept whatever the highly paid “change agents” feed them in regard to “the need for change.” Example: citizens’ acceptance of free trade (NAFTA and GATT) which sounds so nice but is really socialistic international “redistribution of wealth.” If a citizen doesn’t know what he has, how can he know or care when that thing is taken from him?
The danger in not teaching our children American history and their rights under the Constitution and Bill of Rights was underscored by a recent survey commissioned by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and conducted at 339 U.S. colleges and universities which found that more than 2/3 of students and administrators were unable to remember that freedom of religion and the press are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. When asked what essential rights are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, over 1/4 failed to mention freedom of speech and over 3/4 did not name freedom of assembly or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Only 21% mentioned freedom of religion, and less than 30% mentioned freedom of the press.
How long will Maine citizens support the highly paid education “change agents” in Augusta as they continue to bulldoze what was prior to 1965 a good academic education system… under the guise of accountability (the dubious saving of money through consolidation/regionalism, which is communism.) restructuring, revisioning, Guiding Principles, Maine Learning Results and the present highly controversial international lifelong, School-to- Work system which, by the way, is the same failed system used in socialist/communist countries?
The frightening flavor (scare tactics!) of this latest un-American “dumbing-down” agenda is expressed in the following question posed by the Select Panel on Revisioning Education for
“Will a global economy coupled with chemical and biological tools of warfare necessitate new forms of governance, citizenship and divisions of world resources and power. We cannot really know.”
The latest “Draft for State Board of Education Receipt…Select Panel on Revisioning Education in Maine” goes on to recommend the consolidation of Maine’s 286 small school units into 35 large school units, necessitating the building of Taj Mahal-size schools to serve not only students but the entire community, the type one sees sprouting up across the country. Did
What blew my mind in this Select Panel’s Draft was the following blatant admission of what many taxpayers have been complaining about for a long, long time…
Really? Why admit this now? Because they need a disaster (a crisis/scare tactics) in order to get the taxpayers so upset they will cough up more millions of dollars for the next bound-to-fail (academically, that is) reform movement. Remember the National Commission On Excellence which resulted in the publication of “A Nation At Risk” which conned Americans into supporting the very restructuring which culminated in the controversial Pavlovian, lowest common denominater Outcomes-Based Education (OBE); America 2000; Goals 2000; the School-to-Work Opportunities Act; and the very highly controversial No Child Left Behind Act. (This writer worked in the office which prepared the “Nation at Risk” Report and I heard the late Secretary of Education T. H. Bell say, in 1981, at the first “closed-to-the public” meeting of the Commission, that “We need a crisis in order to move ahead with the radical changes necessary for education restructuring.”)
The change agents in Augusta, including our elected officials, have some nerve expecting us to pay for another round of reform which has nothing to do with traditional “academics” and your child’s future upward mobility, and much to do with Pavlovian, robotic “training” for low paying third-world jobs for the planned global economy! In “Human Capital and America’s Future: An Economic Strategy for the Future” co-edited by David Hornbeck, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, one finds a shocking statement: “Employer beliefs about the superior capabilities of educated people turned out NOT to be confirmed in practice; educated employees have higher turn-over rates, lower job satisfaction, and poorer promotion records than less educated employees.” Hornbeck’s statement about the preference for dumbed-down employees is not to be taken lightly since he is probably the principal designer of national education/school-to-work restructuring proposals upon which
The Panel recommends “expanding school choice” and that does not mean traditional private school or home school choice, but government-funded (controlled) private education which includes tuition tax credits, vouchers, charter schools and virtual computerized charter schools used by home schoolers to be connected with the school district’s central office! Charter schools are designed to provide job training in a“planned” (socialist) economy.
Recommends preparing leaders as “change agents.” This writer was trained in 1976 to be a change agent, which includes “identifying resisters:” those smart taxpayers who resist controversial no-right/no wrong dumbing down programs being implemented in the schools. The first national headquarters for change agent training, the National Training Laboratories, was established in the fifties in
Recommends laptop computers for grades 5-12 and calls for integrating technology into student learning, teaching and living, and makes the very dubious claim that recent research demonstrates that students benefit from use of technology.
Recommends “Improving Teacher Quality by Monitoring and Coaching,” This recommendation mirrors recommendations in the Carnegie Corporation’s “A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century which says in part “The practice of teaching must be influenced by and evaluated on the basis of research.” Was the superior, inexpensive education in
Recommends a longer school year, with a 20% increase in school time; half for professional development.
Believes that “dramatic change needs to occur in the governance and political organization of the system” mirroring all the national restructuring reports of the nineties. His is a scarey one! and “clearly defines school board responsibilities” which means reduces/limits traditional school board authority and responsibilities.
There is nothing new about this plan proposed by the Select Panel on Revisioning Education in
It is time its citizens say “STOP!…LEAVE US ALONE!”