It’s Official: The Feds Will Collect Psycho-Social Data On Your Child

Every year, hundreds of thousands of U.S. students take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the NAEP), the federally authorized test known as the “nation’s report card.” Education Week reported recently that, beginning in 2017, NAEP will ask “background questions” designed to gauge each student’s level of “motivation, mindset, and grit.” It’s not enough for the federal government to keep tabs on whether your child knows the material he’s been taught. Instead, it wants to peer inside his mind and critique his personality to see if he has the “noncognitive skills” government thinks he should.

As described by the Educational Testing Service at a conference of the Association for Psychological Science, two of the categories on the NAEP background survey will be labeled “grit” and “desire for learning.” Questions in these categories will be presented to all test-takers. Specific subject areas may include additional questions about other “noncognitive factors” such as “self-efficacy” and “personal achievement goals.”

Almost any parent would read this and wonder why his child’s mindsets and personal goals are any of the government’s business. Indeed, there is serious doubt whether NAEP even has the statutory authority to delve into such matters. The federal statute authorizing NAEP requires that the assessment “objectively measure academic achievement, knowledge, and skills” and that the tests “do not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes . . . .” The statute further requires that NAEP “only collect information that is directly related to the appraisal of academic achievement . . . .”

Presumably NAEP bureaucrats would argue that the background questions aren’t part of the assessment itself, so don’t violate the prohibition against assessing attitudes. Even so, is the non-cognitive information these questions collect “directly related to the appraisal of academic achievement”? Only in the sense that every aspect of one’s personality might theoretically affect one’s academic performance. If we take that broad a view, there is no limit to what NAEP can ask about.

Do you find yourself getting frustrated when you study? Does poor academic performance make your parents angry with you? Do you have problems at home that might affect your schoolwork? We’re here to help.

Read the rest at the Federalist.

Crimes of the Educators

What I’m reading right now. It has been very interesting so far:

crimeseducatorsbook_front

Utopian dictators like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao are criminals – genocidal psychopaths who have killed more human beings in the last hundred years than any other ideologues in history. They don’t limit their murder to individuals, but to entire nations.

In the United States another form of utopians, the “progressives,” have tried to destroy traditional America by strategically dumbing down her people. America’s future is being crippled on purpose in order to fundamentally transform the nation, its values, and its system of government. Laid out a century ago by progressive luminary John Dewey, the fruits of his schemes are plain to see today.

American author and veteran educator Samuel Blumenfeld and journalist Alex Newman have taken on the public education establishment as never before and exposed it for the de facto criminal enterprise it is.

Crimes of the Educators reveals how the architects of America’s public school disaster implemented a plan to socialize the United States by knowingly and willingly dumbing down the population, a mission closer to success than ever as the Obama administration works relentlessly to nationalize K-12 schooling with Common Core.

The whole-word method of teaching children to read – introduced by John Dewey and colleagues in the early twentieth century and which permeates Common Core – is a significant cause of dyslexia among students. Public education’s war against religion, the “great American math disaster,” promotion of death education, and the government’s plan to lower standards for all so “no one is left behind” is destroying the logic, reasoning, and overall educational prowess of America’s next generation.

Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

From an opinion piece by a philosophy professor in the New York Times. It really is an interesting read, and it boils down very well the problem with modern education:

In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.

“No moral truths.” That is the end goal of all modern education. We can’t “progress” as a species if we accept that there are absolutes when it comes to morals and truths. This precept is how the progressives have chipped away at the moral underpinnings of society, and it is how they convince the world to accept more and more aberrant behavior.

“Truth is relative. What is right for you may not be for others. But we have to accept everyone’s conception of truth.”

Except there is absolute moral truth. There is right and wrong. Our denial of it has led to much suffering and unrest, and it is extremely sad to see children conditioned to accept such lies in the guise of “education”.

Get Ready For a “Quantitative Approach” to Reading

From an article by Josh Mayo over at First Things:

At Stanford, literary scholar and marxist critic Franco Moretti proposes a radical plan for English departments: less reading, more computing. With an ocean of texts yet to be studied, literary-historians must, Moretti argues, adopt the methods of quantitative history, geography, and evolutionary theory. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History (2005) frames the problem in layman’s terms: The whole canon of the nineteenth century British novel—about two hundred titles, Moretti estimates—

“is still less than one per cent of the novels that were actually published: twenty thousand, thirty, more, no one really knows—and close reading won’t help here, a novel a day every day of the year would take a century or so. . . . And it’s not even a matter of time, but of method: a field this large cannot be understood by stitching together separate bits of knowledge about individual cases, because it isn’t a sum of individual cases: it’s a collective system, that should be grasped as such, as a whole.”

To grasp this collective system, Moretti calls for a “quantitative approach to literature”—hence the graphs, maps, and trees—which will “widen the domain of the literary historian” and deal in data “ideally independent of interpretations.” Moretti calls this approach “distant reading,” a method of “deliberate reduction and abstraction” which yields historical patterns through artificial constructs. Moretti hopes emerging literary labs can collect and share data and create a new quarry for the digital humanities, a future heretofore unimagined in literary scholarship: namely, research without close-reading.

A further eroding of education as the means of transmitting virtue and instead transforming it into a simple acquisition of skills, much to our detriment. As Mayo puts it:

Here is a rather unfashionable thought: Perhaps analysis is not the summum bonum of reading. Perhaps the remedy isn’t more critical thinking. While analysis aids us in breaking down a text into its mechanical, interlocking parts, analysis alone cannot relate literary experience to life. That good comes a different way, through a moral (or dare we say, religious) mode of thought. As David Hicks has observed, it is “normative inquiry, not analysis,” which “renders experience valuable to mankind. . . . In the study of arts and letters, normative inquiry must precede and sustain analysis.”

Still, in our age of postliteracy and transliteracy, educators remain consumed with the analytical, descriptive questions of what is or seems and forget prescriptive inquiry into what ought to be, the questions that calibrate the heart’s moral compass and provide a way of integrating wisdom with experience. Ironically, while the former may enable us to float in the digital deluge, only the latter apprehends a world beyond the storm, an olive branch sent from somewhere better we may yet arrive.

It is definitely worth reading the entire article.

The Common Core and the Classical Tradition

Dr. Christopher Perrin of Classical Academic Press has written an article about Common Core that is definitely worth taking the time to read. I know there has already been much ink used, both physical and digital, to cover the pitfalls of the Common Core, but Dr. Perrin covers it from a distinctly Classical position. Here is an excerpt:

Traditionally, education is the cultivation and nourishment of a human soul on truth, goodness and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts, such that students realize their humanitas and acquire wisdom, virtue and eloquence. This is almost completely absent from the standards (and their associated goals) of the CC—and so what he have left is program for educational training. We have the parts, not the whole; we have pearls (yes some of the standards are good per se) without a string; we have analysis and numerical data and machine-readable assessments.

Without a vision for seeking after truth, goodness and beauty, this is what is left—efficient training exercises of some sort. You have scholastic anesthesia. Watch the teachers become technicians. Watch the students go to sleep.

Read the rest of the article here.

Is Next Step in War on Religious Liberty Inspection of Religious Schools? That’s Happening in the UK

Coming soon to a community near you:

You see, teaching about other cultures and other religions is apparently no longer enough–you must fully accept them.  And as we’re seeing with the issue of same-sex marriage in this country, acceptance no longer means live and let live, the “tolerance” police want you to embrace and endorse.

Is religious freedom our most important right?  Without question, promoting and defending it is one of our most important battles.

Read the rest here.

Why Common Core Will Fail: ‘Children Are Not Standardized’

Forbes contributor Alice Walton has written a terrific roundup of the anti-Common Core expert consensus. Numerous education researchers and academics have reservations about greater classroom standardization—particularly in the early grades, where excessive testing and homework is most deleterious for kids.

There are of course many experts who dispute the above notions and believe that Common Core is an improvement over what is being offered in many American schools. They may even be right; it’s perfectly possible that Common Core is bad and what it’s replacing is worse. This is the public school system we are talking about, after all.

But why waste tons of time, money, and effort enacting an across-the-board reform that makes kids miserable, relies on deeply unsettled science, has no demonstrable benefit, and deals a death blow to federalism (at least as far as national education policy is concerned)?

More choice, not less, is what will save public education. As Elkin observed, kids don’t come standard.

I really hope Common Core fails, but the people pushing it will be back with a “new program” by a new name soon after. They have been trying for the past century to control public education this way, and they have been winning incrementally! They aren’t going away.