Monday, May 21, 2012

The War On Indoctrination (Saving Your Kids)

This weekend, several new media sources released a video displaying one incident demonstrating the indoctrination occurring in the government school systems.



First, let's dissect this video. Some older conservatives have remarked that this sort of exchange would not have happened when they were in school. That is mostly true. Education theories have changed. In high schools, the theories called "The Adult Learning Models" are replacing traditional formats. In upperclassmen courses, this method can be very effective if done properly. However, this teacher obviously failed to learn the model. Why? The model hinges on the tenets of the Critical Thinking Model. That model is designed to encourage discussions among students as facilitated by the educator. It is designed to start from a foundation of facts, definitions, and understanding. From that foundation, the method uses Socratic Method and other facilitation methods to enable students to share other facts and assessments from their personal experiences and independent research in order to increase the exposure of all involved to subjects that are less cut and dry.

When the student asked a serious question that should have prompted such a discussion, the comprachico was offended that a student would ask a question that would provoke such thought. Why? It was a point of view, based upon facts, that she didn't agree with. She chose to ignore the facts and to lie to the students concerning the protections of the First Amendment. She turned it into a (poor) campaign speech in favor of her chosen candidate.

 Allegedly, the student had a friend record that video (to get the audio) to demonstrate to his parents and the school administrators that the "teacher" was doing these sorts of things and was biased against students with conservative ideals. In a recent update, it has been announced that the teacher in question has been suspended. Parents have a say in their local public education systems. School administrators will try to tell you otherwise. The bottom-line fact is that these administrators and "teachers" work for you. They are paid by your tax dollars. They are your employees, not the union's and not the school board's. Don't be afraid to assert your authority over how your kids are taught.

This is the problem with CTM & ALM. Both theories (which work in conjunction) require base understanding of definitions and an ability to employ empirical data (facts) into the discussion of the problem. They both require an intimate knowledge of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. For those uninitiated in the Taxonomy, it is simply a method of bringing competency on a subject from its foundation to mastery through a two-dimensional approach. Using the dimensions of Knowledge (from factual basis and definition to meta-cognitive knowledge "outside the box") and Cognitive Process (From remembering the foundation to understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, to the end goal of creating), the Taxonomy assists educators to determine the progress of a student and establish gateways towards that next step. Those ALM/CTM methods only work in the higher spectrum of those scales. If the foundations aren't first met, ALM & CTM are ineffective.



CTM and ALM are starting to be used in elementary schools. This is a violation of the Taxonomy as students are denied that basis. The first rule is that you cannot create your own definitions or facts. However, kids are taught to do so. The "facts" they are given are often teacher's personal opinions, key political talking points from the unions, or unverified statements.

Judging from the somewhat open-forum discussion these students, in the video, attempted to engage in; these kids must be accustomed to ALM style classes in this "social[ist] studies" class. The comprachico quickly switched to the base-level factual-remembering aspect of the spectrum. Why did she revert there? For one purpose only:  to lie to the students and indoctrinate/re-educate them when they presented facts and questions that opposed her personal views. I guess that ALM and CTM are all fine only when the students obey like good little puppets, according to this (and many other) teachers in government schools.


Recently, I asked Amelia Hamilton a question for her weekly "Ask AmHam" column at Misfit Politics. I know Amelia. She is the author of a great children's book, One Nation Under God,  that helps kids learn to count while learning facts about US Civics. On Twitter, she can be quite "snarky" like her compatriots at Misfit Politics. The question was actually my second submitted for her column. The first was "Why does Amelia hate me so much?". I already knew the answer, she doesn't. The second was on the subject of combating the indoctrination in the government school system. Her normally tongue-in-cheek responses took a pause as she answered that question. She summarized many of the same things I have discussed before.

The years from preschool through high school are the years to build our children's foundations and defenses against the onslaught of indoctrination they may face in college. A recent University of California study indicates that in some fields of study, the Frankfurt School Indoctrinators to Conservative Educators ratio is as high as 21 to 1.  

How do we defend our children in this battle for their minds? As parents, we want our kids to learn morals, values, and basic definitions. We want them armed with facts so they can go forward and be independent, free-thinking adults. Comprachicos will tell parents we are stupid and that they know better. That is not true.  However, teachers and administrators will tell your kids this. So, we have to be prepared to take an active role in our kids' education. we have to start at birth and continue through high school.

So, what weapons do we have available in this war?

Several states now have programs and laws to assist. Indiana has a great voucher program. Parents get tax rebates if they send their kids to private schools. They also encourage P3 education programs (charter schools). Indiana goes anther step for home-schooled kids or kids that work and achieve ahead of their peers. If your child completes high school early, the state of Indiana will pay those taxes that would have gone to your child's remaining years in high school and add them towards tuition at a state university.

Georgia just expanded their charter school program. Given the dismal performance of many of their public schools, they enhanced the charter program. That has a two-fold effect on the state's education programs. First, it gives parents an affordable alternative to government indoctrination centers. It rewards the more successful charter schools with continued contracts, etc. So the schools have an incentive to do better than the public schools. They also, then present competition to the public schools, giving them a reason to improve.

Arizona just passed a new law (AZ HB 2622). There was a pilot program called "Education Savings Accounts" tested in the state. The success met with a bill signed by Governor Brewer on May 14, 2012. The law won't go into full effect until the 2013-14 school year. But it opens up these ESAs to "disadvantaged children". The original plan, currently in place for 150 families, included only "special needs" children. It has now been expanded to include children in schools that have poor performance ratings from the state, military children, adopted children, and children in foster care programs.

Arizona's new law was proposed by the Goldwater Institute in 2005 and sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale). Since the pilot program in Arizona went into effect in 2011, Utah, Florida, and Iowa have enacted similar legislation.

1) Private Schools. With these, the parents can choose a school that fits their desires, goals, and needs. If the school fails to deliver, you fire them. (You go someplace else).

2) Charter Schools. These are great P3 (private-public-partnership) programs. Again, if you don't like their methods or what they tell your kids, you can fire them. (You go someplace else).

3) Employ tutors. Yes, there are several companies out there that offer tutors for just about any subject you desire. You get to interview them and pick one that will fill in those gaps in your kids' learning that the schools fail to fill. these are far more cost-effective than a private school.

4) Home-school. I know several home-school students. Talking with parents, this option does not require parents to have advanced degrees in anything. What it requires is the parents to buy textbooks (they choose) and read them ahead of the students. There are several online programs that assist, provide sample tests, and contain sample curricula for parents. The great part about homeschooling is that it moves at your child's pace. So, your child is not reigned-in by the slower students in a class. On the flip side, your kids are not passed by on a subject they just don't understand. Most home-schooled students are actually ahead of government school students of similar age and demographics. It is proven to work. How much of the parents' time does it require? From those I have spoken with, the average is about four hours a day of active "class time". However, routine household activities such as playtime, shopping, or cooking can easily segue into alternative teaching methods. (Think of the fractions used in cooking! The math in shopping and keeping to a budget! and basic lessons in inertia in playing with matchbox cars!). If you want examples of home-school success:  Abraham Lincoln, Timothy Tebow, Madeleine McAulay.


Several states now have programs and laws to assist. Indiana has a great voucher program. Parents get tax rebates if they send their kids to private schools. They also encourage P3 education programs (charter schools). Indiana goes anther step for home-schooled kids or kids that work and achieve ahead of their peers. If your child completes high school early, the state of Indiana will pay those taxes that would have gone to your child's remaining years in high school and add them towards tuition at a state university.

Georgia just expanded their charter school program. Given the dismal performance of many of their public schools, they enhanced the charter program. That has a two-fold effect on the state's education programs. First, it gives parents an affordable alternative to government indoctrination centers. It rewards the more successful charter schools with continued contracts, etc. So the schools have an incentive to do better than the public schools. They also, then present competition to the public schools, giving them a reason to improve.

Arizona just passed a new law (AZ HB 2622). There was a pilot program called "Education Savings Accounts" tested in the state. The success met with a bill signed by Governor Brewer on May 14, 2012. The law won't go into full effect until the 2013-14 school year. But it opens up these ESAs to "disadvantaged children". The original plan, currently in place for 150 families, included only "special needs" children. It has now been expanded to include children in schools that have poor performance ratings from the state, military children, adopted children, and children in foster care programs.

Arizona's new law was proposed by the Goldwater Institute in 2005 and sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale). Since the pilot program in Arizona went into effect in 2011, Utah, Florida, and Iowa have enacted similar legislation. Read the Goldwater Institute's Press Release for more information.

Real-life demands sometimes make the above options not viable. If both parents need to work 8-10 hours a day outside the home to make ends meet, home-schooling may not be a good option. In the struggling economy, tutors or private schools may not be an option. there may not be a charter school program where you live. So, what now?

Take two hours a day and five hours a weekend and devote it to your kids. That concept may seem alien to some parents. they may say "I spend two hours screaming at my kid each day. I don't have time to tutor them on top of that!". Screaming matches and disciplining your kids will not go away. However, your kids want to spend time with you. They want to show off and make you proud. Take advantage of that. Look at their schoolwork. Review their homework. Read their textbooks. That is the start.

Next, you need to see what your child is not learning. Textbooks are not the end. They are summaries. Some of them are poor summaries, especially if a history book written by H. Zinn. So, now it is time to get a great little card called a library card. Go to the library and assign your kid books on those subjects. Pick two types of subjects. First, pick the ones your child does well on in school and is proud of. Encourage them to further pursue those subjects. the second set are those your child is doing poor on. I will make one little caution on this. If your kids did well on a history exam and you do some simple Google fact-checking and find out if your kids were taught the facts you find important. The teacher may be failing your child or lying to her (or him).

Quiz your kids on what they learned. Do this while they tell you about what they learned in school that day. Take that hour to review their homework. Take an hour to go beyond the school's curricula. That hour can be "reading hour". It can be "let's analyze the news" hour. It can be "let's take this recipe for 4 and make it for 3" hour. You can ask them to write a paper explaining things to you after they read  a book outside of the textbook. (This makes you seem cool because it sounds like they know more. Who knows, on that subject, you may learn something!).

Three books you should invest in, however, are a good dictionary, like Websters II New College Dictionary, Hardbound, a good thesaurus, and a grammar guide. The reasons are simple. Knowing something is fine and dandy. If your kid doesn't learn how to express that knowledge or those thoughts in a coherent manner, it is worthless. The rules for expressing understanding, knowledge, and ideas are the laws of grammar. Words have specific meanings. Spelling is important. of note, my step-daughter came home with a spelling test. She got one wrong on it. The teacher wrote in the "correction". Using a dictionary as proof, I demonstrated that the teacher was incorrect and also misspelled the word in her "correction".

As far as alternate methods go, for example, I will bet your kid is curious how fast they can run, bike, roller skate, etc. Teach them basic physics.  V(elocity) = D(istance) / T(ime) expressed as a vector (direction). So, time them from a measured start line to finish line. Then teach them how to take that measured distance and divide it by time (from a stopwatch). Teach them how to convert that into miles / hour (mph). You can then teach them how acceleration is change in velocity (speed and/or direction) by doing split times along the course. Then teach them to compare those to a speeds of other things. If you want to get fancy, you can look up friction coefficients and factor in the forces of gravity, etc, and turn that into a lesson on calculating "work".

In any way, shape, or form, your kids love three things:  making you proud of them (showing off), spending time with you, and learning things they find "fun". When these things are lacking, they migrate and become entrenched in things such as video games, television, and mischief. Who do you want to raise your kids and show them what love and success look like:  Street Fighter IV On a PS3, "Jersey Shore", Unionized Puppet-masters (government "educators") or YOU?