Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ideology, Pedagogy, Indoctrination & Education

Over the past few years I have tossed around the notion of being a teacher. It's a noble profession that can be fulfilling. It is also a profession I am not unfamiliar with. I have taken numerous courses on education and was a certified instructor for the US Army. I am adept at leading panel discussions and open discussions, managing them and directing them in order to enable advanced learning and thought. This is part of the "Adult Learning Model" and several of its related pedagogies. I have a deep working knowledge of Bloom's Taxonomy and Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. I can write rubrics, lesson plans, and teaching plans for days. I am adept at test development, and insuring a test is directed at the appropriate level of Bloom's Taxonomy, as well as sticking to a rubric that rewards higher functioning within the Taxonomy.

I excelled in Socratic Method. I am adept at small group instruction as well as large group lecturing. Hands-on practical application exercises are no problem, either. In fact, they tend to push learning further along than lectures.

I have taught collegiate level courses at the undergraduate level. I have taught graduate-level courses as well. While my experience has all been post-secondary education, I predict I could do well teaching grammar school or high school also.

My wife has started working for her teachers' certification through an "alternate process". She is about to graduate with her Masters Degree in Counseling, well on her way to becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). She had an epiphany of sorts, which we discussed. She has decided she prefers to work with children. So, we did the research on her becoming a school counselor. School counselors are not LPCs, though they require much of the same graduate-level academics. They do not require the amount of internship hours of direct contact. They do, however, get paid more. The curricula differ by one class. But those classes are offered as acceptable electives for both courses of study. What the law requires for a school counselor, though, is two years as a teacher. So, my wife is looking to do that two years in order to legally qualify for a job she is probably already overqualified for.

The above is stated so many will understand that the following thoughts are not just random rantings from somebody ignorant of the topics.

On a national scale, there is a problem with our school system. The biggest problem is that we don't own it anymore. We have allowed federal and state bureaucrats and politicians to take it over. In doing so, we are giving them our kids.

Read the Tenth Amendment. Our kids are our responsibility, not the government's. Nobody cares more about our kids than we do. In reality, the only way to fix the system on a national or state level is to get them out of the equation. If we do that, we also remove the influence of union organizers who buy politicians that pass laws that favor the unions and their socialist ideologies.

There is a concept gaining popularity in academia. It is a philosophy founded in existentialism, nihilism, and socialism. Its goal is to destroy critical thought. Bloom's Taxonomy counts on students first learning and understanding definitions and facts before moving into conceptual thought and creative "out of the box" thought. This movement seeks to skip those foundational steps and move straight into those higher levels. In doing so, they seek to teach kids that there are no facts, only opinions. They seek to teach kids that definitions do not matter, that you can make up your own. These tear down the common denominators that enable communication. These concepts also tear at the basic moral and ethical foundations parents should desire in their kids.

This is the very concept that lead people to believe that murdering a baby still in the womb is somehow more acceptable than executing a mass murderer and serial rapist. This is the same concept that leads people to believe it more of a crime to worship one's deities than to vandalize a church. This same ideology makes it a crime to be loyal to the United States and its founding principles while rewarding the "cultural diversity" of pledging allegiance to a foreign government.

In Texas, there is a program called CSCOPE that has been pushing that dangerous ideology. To make things worse, CSCOPE has provisions that make it illegal for teachers to show their employers the lesson plans. Some may argue that the lesson plans are available for school administrators and education boards to review. However, the employers are the parents of those students, not the politicians or bureaucrats.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) pushes similar concepts and seeks to keep all schools tied  to the same pace of progress. It does so under the guise of "leading to increased common standards that apply uniformly state to state". It is a back-door effort to enact a national standard, or, at least, get local school districts warmed-up to the idea so the federal government can infringe upon the Tenth Amendment easier in the near future. Texas refused to accept CCSSI. CSCOPE is a means to back-door CCSSI into Texas schools.

They don't teach History anymore. Now they teach "Social Studies" and "Cultural Diversity". Those are fine subjects, once a student learns basic history. They skip the foundational history, though.

They fail to teach civics. Kids are no longer taught the founding principles of our government and the basic tenets of the US Constitution. Instead, they are taught that the Constitution is a list of guidelines. The document itself is a contract between the government and the governed that contains a clause that makes it the supreme law of the land. Yet it is dismissed as just "a concept".

The emphasis on grammar has fallen. Kids are taught to express their ideas in writing. But grammar is no longer graded as heavily. This allows for too much miscommunication and reinterpretation of the messages written. To further inflame this trend, they no longer teach hard vocabulary that encourages knowing actual definitions of terms. Instead they push kids to make up their own definitions that may or may not come close in concept to the actual definitions.  In addition, schools no longer teach cursive writing.

We have a higher percentage of students graduating from NY government high schools who are illiterate than ever before.

We have teachers in Arizona who cannot read or write at an eighth-grade level. These teachers cannot pass a sixth-grade level grammar and vocabulary proficiency exam. This exam is actually mandated by federal law and further enforced by state-level legislation. The teachers and their unions/associations file continuous suits against the state for attempting to make sure the teachers are qualified to teach. 

In the wake of the terrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT, schools across the country are committing the ridiculous actions of suspending kids for being kids. Activism and socialist-indoctrination in the classroom seems and halls is replacing education. This is disgraceful to the education profession. Yet, it is becoming more and more the "accepted practice".

Why are they suspending kids for eating a toaster pastry? He bit it until it looked like a gun. So what? Did he start to shoot warm fruit filling at fellow students?

 Why are they suspending kids for using their imagination while at play (and playing at defending innocents against evil people)? The kid was using his imagination to fight off evil terrorists. He was defending. The "grenades" were not even real rocks. They were air! No real person was targeted. This was healthy, imaginative play.

We played "WWII" and "cops & robbers" when I was a kid. Today, your kid would be suspended for that.

Now they are confiscating little plastic model soldiers, the same ones I used to play with as a kid. If you  put them on cupcakes that you intend for your kid to hand out on his birthday, he will be suspended or expelled.

School counselors and administrators are interrogating students to find out if their parents own firearms or are active with the TEA Party.

The system has gone from teaching to indoctrination.Too many teachers and administrators believe they have the right to decide the moral and ethical foundations for our kids. Parents who are involved with their kids and attempt to instill morals and ethics onto the children that in any way contrast those indoctrinated by schools are vilified by those teachers and administrators. Kids will openly challenge their parents, accusing them of hypocrisy or "bad thoughts", but won't challenge those teachers. Teachers have, too often, disrupted the hierarchy of authority, placing themselves above the parents in the pecking order. 

I do know many teachers who are not complicit in any of this. I know almost as many who are not complacent, either, and work to not be part of that problem.  But their jobs get more and more difficult each year. CSCOPE and CCSSI come in and tells them they cannot inform parents what they intend to teach the kids.

Parents need to randomly pop-in and inspect how their kids are being taught. If you don't, shame on you. they have yet to outlaw the action, at least in Texas and Arizona.

Tell your teachers "shut up and teach". If you have an issue with political activism in the classroom, then make an appointment for that conference. Sit down with the teacher and discuss things. In some cases, the students may be missing a point and misunderstanding what the teacher is trying to teach. You owe it to the student and to the teacher to find out before you start screaming. However, if it does turn out to be the case, then write letters to your local school board, your local city councilman, and your state-level representatives expressing your concerns. Make them remember that we hired them to do a job, they work for use. We are not their subjects, serfs, or slaves.

Demand access to lesson plans, curricula, and teaching plans. Demand to see copies of evaluation rubrics to make sure that Johnny isn't getting a "A" just because he can chant a song about Obama and can tell you that Benjamin Franklin is the "bald dude on the $100 bill". We need History back in the classrooms (and not Howard Zinn's revisionist fiction, either).

Be active in your kids' education. Have them do "free reading" for pleasure instead of video games, television, or internet searches in the evenings. An idea is to rotate whose turn it is to pick a book. Then each person takes a turn reading a page. This makes it fun, educational, and a family participation event.

Talk to your kids. Ask them about what they learned in school. If they are excited about a certain topic, encourage that topic. If some things they bring up seem more directed at indoctrination than education, then take the chance to get the kids to see the other side of the topic. Give them facts to consider, not just opinions. The facts are more important, anyway. Discuss with the kids. Ask them their assessments and thoughts. 

We need to support the teachers who want to teach and do not wish to bend to indoctrination. There are many who do not like the way activism and indoctrination are invading. But they need their jobs. So they worry about tipping the boat. Give them your support. Let them know you appreciate what they do and that you understand that this is probably the majority demographic in the school system.

Applaud those who still manage to teach and refuse to indoctrinate. They are fighting to maintain that ethical divide and do the right thing. The right thing is seldom the easy thing, especially in the short term. It just happens to the be more rewarding thing in the long-term.

Fire those who blatantly indoctrinate. Call them out and expose them. Do so civilly. Do so through proper channels. Don't be afraid to write letters, make phone calls, and to then do interviews with local citizen-journalists. Those journalists will give your side of the story a mouthpiece while giving the educators a platform to clarify their side. It also forces transparency and lets the public servants know we are watching.

We need to start firing administrators if they more support socialist ideology over proper education. It's not their place to dictate right and wrong to our kids. That is our job. It is theirs to enforce and support the morality and ethics the parents wish to impress upon the kids.

Now, can anybody tell me where I can find gummy-guns? I'm looking for fruit snacks that are like gummy bears only shaped like AR-15s, M-2s, Glock-19s, etc.