Protect us from Public Schools

by Romelle Winters

My grandson had trouble in KINDERGARTEN in a Catholic school. I went to a meeting with my daughter and listened to these "educators" tear apart this 5 year old kid. They were all EVIL. After listening to them I wrote a 40 page report ripping them into shreds. (And you know about my mean streak -- ask Donna Donovan.)

This is the part I addressed to the Catholic school. It may seem long, but bear with me. It answers the problems in all schools -- caused by the socialists who are driving the education colleges and who have written the guidelines for future teachers.

Needless to say little Freddie and now his younger brother are homeschooled and doing beautifully. California Achievement Test results in the 96th to 98 percentiles. Romelle

It was not difficult to recognize the true concern for Fred at the April 22, 1999 meeting. Mrs. Gyorke and Mrs. Bancroft are sympathetic to Fred and genuinely want what is best for him. However, even the mildest suggestion that Fred would be better off in a public school is loosing sight of the purpose of Catholic education.

Parents place their children in a religious atmosphere out of their obligation to God to equip them with the tools necessary for salvation. Thus, the primary goal of a Catholic school is to instill in them a love of God, knowledge of His commandments, and a commitment to the Church of their Baptism. The secondary goal is the education essential for their journey through this temporal life. Through the years, Catholic schools have proven successful in both ventures. Shepherded by the hard work and dedication of priests, nuns, and lay personnel, Catholic education has produced generations of citizens inculcated with, not only excellent academic credentials, but a bedrock foundation of morals, values, and spiritual well-being.

Recently, Catholic schools have become known, not only for their commitment to the faith, but for noteworthy leadership in education. As the public schools moved further and further into progressive innovations, Catholic schools, for the most part, retained traditional teaching methods. The results have proven dramatic. Students from Catholic schools know how to read, write, calculate, and think. Students from public schools know how to raise their self-esteem, celebrate diversity, spout environmental propaganda, and practice safer sex. Society is now befuddled, wondering what went wrong. After all, they followed the modern ways; they left behind outmoded thinking; they abandoned old-fashioned techniques and did their best to prepare students for the 21st century. When public school students graduate without the skill to read their diplomas, the blame is placed on lack of money. When students go on a rampage, shooting their classmates, guns are the cause. When students in Boston refused to do homework, teachers stopped the assignments. The current child-centered classrooms are run by immature dictators controlling the adults who should know better. Whatever happened to public education?

My first encounter that something was wrong occurred in an Educational Philosophy class. The professor proudly announced that the purpose of education was not to teach children how to read and write, but to level off society. When we asked what she meant she responded by raising one hand high above her head. “We have some kids way up here.” Then she lowered the other hand below her waist. “Then we have others way down here.” She lowered the top hand until it was within a few inches from the bottom. “This is where we want them.” Noting that the higher hand was dropped down to the lower we asked her to explain why that would be the major goal of education. “Because then they’re easier to control.”

This startling example was my first step away from the liberalism I had long embraced. The shock sent me on a search into the philosophies that molded today’s education. I read Dewey, Rousseau, Skinner, Bloom, Chisholm, and Thorndike -- men who created a system designed to restructure our society through ingraining their thoughts into succeeding generations of students attending public schools. The following quotes exhibit how well my college professor learned her lessons:

“Despite rapid progress in the right direction, the program of the average elementary school is too narrow and academic in character. Traditionally, the elementary school has been primarily devoted to teaching the fundamental subjects, the three Rs, and closely related disciplines. Artivical exercises, like drills on phonetics, multiplication tables, and formal writing movements are used to a wasteful degree. Subjects such as arithmetic, language, and history include content that is intrinsically of little value. Nearly every subject is enlarged unwisely to satisfy the academic ideal of thoroughness. Elimination of the unessential by scientific study, then, is one step in improving the curriculum.” Edward Lee Thorndike

“Teaching children to read is a great perversion and a high literacy rate breeds destructive individualism.” John Dewey

“The present traditional concept of literacy has to do with the ability to read and write. But, do we really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write when they have five dollar hand-held calculators or a word processor? Do we really have to have everybody literate -- writing and reading in the traditional sense?” Anthony Ottinger

Now we have a small glimmer into the philosophy that is driving our public school system. But it gets worse. The public school system is designed to denigrate and supplant the religious beliefs of its students. Following are the words of its sages:

“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that (sic) correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith which will replace the rotting corpse of Christianity.” John J. Dunphy

“All of the human experience can be reduced to behavior. A person’s soul or mind has little or no importance.” B.F. Skinner

“Every child who believes in God is mentally ill.” Dr. Paul Brandwein

“Fundamental, Bible-believing people do not have the right to indoctrinate their children in their religious beliefs, because we, the state, are preparing them for the year 2000 when America will be part of a one-world global society and their children will not fit in.” Peter Hoagland

These quotes are but a few of many I discovered. The shapers of today’s education do not hide their views from the world, but proudly shout them from pages of books used in the colleges of education.

I have now established -- with their own words -- that the molders of today’s education system plan to restructure society. And that these plans will eliminate religious belief. They intend to ridicule the value of a Catholic education, making its supporters appear ignorant, uneducated, old fashioned, and even part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. They are committed to an agenda that will change our lives. I soon found out how they planned to accomplish their goal.

My career began as a history teacher in a Chicago public school. Since I was taught very little in my education college about how to actually conduct a class, I relied upon the tried and true methods used in my own Catholic school background. My students learned names and dates, memorized sections of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Gettysberg Address. Working around this strong foundation in facts, we were able to investigate the causes and results of actions taken in the past, how they relate to the present, and how they will affect the future. My juniors and seniors learned that, without knowledge of facts, their opinions were invalid and their conclusions were suspect. Our discussions became so involved that many of my students brought their friends to class to participate. Their final exams indicated to me that they had learned much and would carry this basic knowledge through life. Creating thoughtful, informed voters and citizens is vital to a healthy democratic republican form of government.

But, as the years passed, I detected a change in the students. They no longer had a firm foundation in the basic reading and writing skills. They were argumentative, opinionated, and likely to make assumptions founded on ignorance and absurd conclusions. They refused to do homework, take tests, and didn’t care about learning. Teaching became a difficult chore as frustration set in. One day a new student transferred into my class. At the top of his first assigned paper his name, Edward Williams, appeared: Ed Wms. I explained that he was required to place his entire name on his assignments (there was nothing else on his paper but his name). It didn’t take long to realize that after 10 1/2 years of education he did not know how to write his name fully. What is more, he didn’t want to learn, and grumbled, “You’re the only one who ever complained.” He was one of many juniors and seniors who came to my class unequipped to learn at the intended level -- they could not read or write.

Other teachers voiced the same complaints; we were bewildered about the dramatic turn in the basic skills of our students and frustrated that we could not correct the problem in their short time with us. Then an in-service day enlightened us. We met in small groups with the elementary feeder schools. The first question we asked was what in the world were they doing. They responded that it was not them -- it was the program. These schools were part of a new ‘innovative’ program from the University of Chicago. It was designed and promoted by Benjamin Bloom and called Mastery Learning.

The feeder school's California Achievement Tests had indicated that since the progressive program was instituted, these schools had slowly rising scores. How, we asked, could this happen? We were told in a whisper that the answers were changed on the test by teachers -- just enough to keep scores on a slight upward slope. Eventually the ruse was discovered and parents sued the Chicago Board of Education. They won. Reason would dictate that Mastery Learning would be pitched into the oblivion it so deserved.

Former President Clinton once observed: “A sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” The ‘experts’ in education appear to fit into this definition of insanity. Mastery Learning was resurrected and renamed. It has since been called, Virginia’s Common Core of Learning, Mastery Education, Coalition of Essential Schools, The Little Red Schoolhouse, and -- most recently -- outcome based education or OBE. Once Bloom’s program is recognized as a failure it is restructured, renamed, and returned to the classroom. Professional educators are unable and unwilling to put a final stake through its heart because they need the program to complete their plan.

Let us look briefly at one component of Bloom’s bizarre OBE plan. Using Benjamin Bloom’s program outlined in his “Taxonomy of Education,” outcome based education categorizes education into various components. Visualize a tower built of blocks, the lowest level is LOTS, or Lower Order Thinking Skills. This level called KNOWLEDGE consists of skills such as: define, identify, label, list, locate, match, memorize, etc. The second level is called COMPREHENSION consisting of skills: describe, explain, interpret, paraphrase, summarize, etc. The third level, APPLICATION, uses adeptness in: compute, construct, demonstrate, draw, illustrate, etc. The fourth row of blocks is called ANALYSIS and requires skills in: analyze, classify, compare, contrast, debate, diagnose, diagram, etc. The fifth row is SYNTHESIS which calls for: change, compose, write, design, invent, plan, predict, pretend, reorganize, write, etc. The top of the tower is EVALUATION -- appraise, choose, decide, defend, judge, justify, rank, select, support, etc. This sixth row is termed HOTS or Higher Order Thinking Skills.

In his two “Taxonomy of Education” books, Bloom is able to convince supposedly intelligent, educated individuals that students do not need the repetitive, boring, out-dated skills found at the first levels. Rather they should begin with the Higher Order Thinking Skills or Critical Thinking.

It would seem that no thinking person actually believes one can start -- not at the beginning -- but with a fully developed skill for thought processes. Yet, Bloom and other proponents emanating from federal education laboratories have convinced future teachers that this is a possibility. Is this valid in real life? Hardly. One does not begin playing the piano by sitting down and playing a Mozart symphony. It takes years of practice -- yes, the dull, boring rote learning ridiculed by educators -- before the mind and hands cooperate thus producing an ability to produce the complex skill needed. One does not learn baseball by joining a professional team. It takes years of practice with Little League, sand lot ball, bringing about development of necessary muscles and mind combined with a thorough knowledge of the rules. “How boring,” Bloom would cry.

Bloom uses Skinner’s Behavior Modification programs to change fixed attitudes, values, and beliefs. The void is then filled with the goals of the state-desired attitudes:

“We do not need any more preaching about right and wrong. The old ‘thou shalt nots’ simply are not relevant. Values clarification is a method for teachers to change the values of children without getting caught.” Dr. Sidney Simon

The pathetic results of Bloom’s theory abound in our society today. Cashiers cannot give correct change, voters do not know the names or positions of candidates, and even professional reports are filled with grammatical and spelling errors. We are a dumbed down culture because we have accepted less than the best from our schools. It is not surprising to see our students testing at the level of third world countries. Sadly, it is the federal Department of Education, using taxpayer’s money, that is promoting and financing this failed system -- outcome based education.

Should we be surprised? Not if we have used our own form of critical thinking. The engineers of the education train have never tried to hide their agenda. Again we need only to listen to their own words:

“A large part of what we call ‘good teaching’ is the teacher’s ability to attain affective objectives through challenging the student’s fixed beliefs.” Benjamin Bloom.

“A person has reached the highest level of intelligence when he no longer believes in right or wrong.” Benjamin Bloom

“Successful students are those who develop state-desired attitudes.” Virginia’s Common Core of Learning

“Every child in America who enters school at the age of five is mentally ill, because he comes to school with an allegiance to our institutions, toward the preservation of this form of government that we have. Patriotism, nationalism, sovereignty, all that proves that children are sick because a truly well individual is one who has rejected all of those things and is truly the international child of the future.” Chester Pierce

“It’s OK to lie. It’s OK to steal. It’s OK to have premarital sex. It’s OK to cheat or to kill if these things are part of your value system, and you clarified these values for yourself. The important thing is not what values you choose, but that you have chosen them for yourself freely and without the coercion of parents, spouse, priest, friends, ministers, or social pressures of any kind.” Weep for the Children -- a Values Clarification/Situational Ethics program

It seems quite obvious that a public school is not where any parent with religious values, morals, and beliefs would like to see their child. The function of Catholic schools is more important now than ever. Catholic educators have an increased obligation to protect the children from an atmosphere hostile to their spiritual and intellectual development. They should not fall prey to the false impression that a child will be better off with public school programs. Catholic schools must find ways to make all of its students succeed in both its spiritual and educational goals. Catholic schools must support parents who are doing their spiritual duty to educate their children away from the Godless culture that flourishes in the public schools. It is their raison d’etre. It is what Jesus would do.

Romelle Winters is the Secretary for the NH Reform Party

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