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:


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.

Classical Education and Four-Year Cycles

I’m hoping this will start to disabuse people of the notion that classical education is all about 4 year development cycles. The classical tradition is about inquiry, ideas, and character rather than intellectual achievement.

My introduction to classical education came through twentieth-century authors. I was encouraged to read contemporary authors who based their ideas largely on Dorothy Sayers’ essay The Lost Tools of Learning, but she also was a twentieth-century thinker. I knew that if her ideas were right, I should be able to find the roots of them by reading the classical authors. I read Plato, Erasmus, Quintilian, and others, and when I found no correlation between their ideas and Dorothy Sayers’ about stages, I felt that “classical education” was an undefinable, nebulous idea that could not be understood.

Ironically (and yet, not ironically), it was another twentieth-century author who shed light on the classical tradition for me, and allowed those nebulous ideas to coalesce into a solid foundation upon which educational methods could be built. When I read Norms and Nobility, I was able to see that classical education was more than I had previously perceived.

Suddenly, Plato, Milton, Erasmus, Comenius, and Augustine spoke in unison—-not because they prescribed the exact same process or curriculum, but because they shared a common desire to educate men to be the very best that it was possible for them to be—-to make the best humans they could be. What ought men to do? What ought men to think? What is right for a man to know? What knowledge can man not do without? These kinds of questions should be asked again and again, in every generation, and the answer should be sought because it is both new and old—-old, because men have answered it before, and new because the answers act as a germinating seed in the heart of every thinker and learner who seeks them, producing new ideas and avenues to explore.

Karen Glass:

(Remember that these were written in response to specific other posts, and I’m not including those comments, so if my remarks seem a little disjointed, that’s why.)

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Crimes of the Educators: Why Education Is More Screwed Up Than You Think

Tom Woods just did an episode about education with Alex Newman, author of Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children. Here is the episode description:

How bad is American education? Worse than you think. Alex Newman walks us through the crazy math, the crazy reading strategies, the behavioral drugs, and the historical origins of it all.

A link to the episode.

This is truth that most won’t want to hear, but I am glad they went back to Dewey to show the history of how we got here instead of just saying, “Common Core is bad”. I’m also glad they brought UNESCO into the discussion and their goal of having a one world order, global education curriculum. Common Core is just the beginning. World Core is the end. It already exists, there just hasn’t been the big push for adoption, but it is coming.

My biggest fear about education is that the establishment will eventually tire of people opting out of the system and make it illegal for us to do so. The system will not work while there are people educated outside of it to point out its flaws. Total compliance is required. If these trends continue unabated, we will lose our legal right to homeschool.

A Manifesto for Liberal Education


For at least three decades now I’ve talked about liberal education in public, but I can say in my own favor that I’ve done it—at least done it lately—with a somewhat bad conscience. That bad conscience comes in part from adding yet more to a magnitude, that of words about education, which is already large (though not great) beyond all reason. The other part of my slight sense of guilt comes from talking at the public and the students and the teachers, just when my point usually is that people shouldn’t talk at but to each other.

This time round, and I’ve resolved that it should be the last time (though I haven’t much faith in that resolve), I’ll therefore do it differently. I’ll still talk for a while, but I’ll leave off in time for an ample question period. And instead of expanding in consecutive arguments and rounded periods on this subject, which is so close to my heart that I could probably do that, I’ll be concise to the point of brusqueness and bold to the point of offense. So much the more important will it be that you get your chance to give your counter-opinions as you question my theses. For that is the way I want to proceed this time: to nail my nine theses concerning liberal education on the imaginary gates of this college and then to weather whatever small storm results. So let me begin forthwith and in accordance with my introduction by announcing the following first thesis.

Thesis One: Lectures are not a legitimate part of liberal education, at least not as a primary part. I conceive of liberal education as quite sharply distinct from vocational training. This distinction goes back to Aristotle, who speaks of liberal, that is to say, free learning as being done for its own sake and not as a means to an end. Now when students are being trained in some expertise in which it is important that they should receive the most effective methods and the established facts from those who are learned in them, that is, from the professors and authorities, then lectures may be the right mode of imparting that knowledge. It might be more efficient to excuse students from class and to hand them outright the paper or notes from which the professors are reading, but insofar as a certain amount of theater on their part helps students remember the material, a live delivery may be useful. But liberal education as I understand it does not have the purpose of shaping students to professional standards. Instead it is a slow self-development guided by teachers who are also and genuinely fellow learners. The subject matter of liberal education is not primarily jigged methods and established facts, but questions and inquiries of the sort for which there are no experts and in the face of which students and teachers are not so far apart—not because the teachers are not far more learned but because the matter is so very deep. One way to put my first thesis is that professors should give up professing and take up teaching. Liberal learning is by its nature conversational or, to use a fancier term, dialectical. In a dialectical education the student is not the passive recipient of knowledge but an active participant in a common search. So the class is a place of real, not pretended questions, and the conversation is not a disguised solicitation of fixed answers but a shared effort. And that means throwing to the winds such false professorial ambitions as “covering the material” or “making students see” a certain thing, and above all “teaching them the methods of research” in a subject—for methods are, as I said, jigged ways of figuring, and they are the last thing a student should learn about, perhaps even as late as graduate school.

Read the rest at The Imaginative Conservative.

Envy and Egalitarianism: C.S. Lewis on Education

An excerpt from Louis Markos’ new handbook, C.S. Lewis: An Apologist for Education, published by Classical Academic Press. You can buy a copy of this book, or learn more about CAP’s Giants in the History of Education series, by clicking here. 

Two decades after publishing The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis published a standalone essay, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” in which the senior tempter Screwtape lectures his fellow devils at the Tempters’ Training College. In a preface he wrote to the essay, Lewis reveals that the true target of his satire was none other than the American public school system. As a result, the toast offers us one of Lewis’s most direct statements on the dangers latent in democratic concepts of education.

Lewis does not mince words in identifying the root of those dangers: envy. Although democracies are supposed to secure political equality, they tend, Lewis argues, to call for a tearing down of all forms of excellence. Rather than admit and accept that some students are naturally brighter than others, schools loosen their standards and create a lowest-common-denominator atmosphere fueled by a spirit that Lewis dubs “I’m as good as you.” Not satisfied with seeking equality before the law, democracies seek to effect an egalitarian vision of education in which no student is allowed to stick out or be left out.

 In words that could have been written today, Lewis has Screwtape draw out for his audience the implications of an envy-driven educational system: “The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. . . . Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not.” Though he devoted his life to providing students with a classical, liberal arts education, Lewis did not believe that college was for everyone or that it should be considered a political or God-given right. The attempt to provide all young people with a college education would not result in a nation of philosophers, he thought, but in a state of universal mediocrity.
Although Lewis “supported equality in the treatment of people,” argues Joel Heck, he

“. . . Was concerned about the negative effects of the self-esteem movement, the dumbing down of the curriculum (for the sake of not harming the self-esteem of those not gifted), the inappropriate rewarding of the lazy, and the holding back of the gifted (the negative side of egalitarianism) at the elementary school levels, as well as in higher education.”

Politically speaking, Lewis was by no means an elitist or aristocrat; however, when it came to the arts and education, he favored a system that encouraged and rewarded excellence.

This insight was not one that came to Lewis at the end of his life. During World War II, he published an essay titled “Democratic Education” (1944) in which he prophesied what would happen to a democracy that eliminated academic standards in order to foster egalitarianism and guard self-esteem. In its quest to protect schoolchildren (and their parents) from feelings of inferiority, such a society would end up breeding in them laziness and a false sense of their own strengths and limitations. By so doing, it would corrupt and weaken the will, drive, and creativity of the entire state. No, Lewis makes clear, a “truly democratic education—one which will preserve democracy—must be, in its own field, ruthlessly aristocratic, shamelessly ‘high brow.’ ”

In formulating his theories of democratic education, Lewis was always guided by Aristotle’s reminder that the kind of behavior that a democracy breeds is often sharply at odds with the kind of behavior that allows it to flourish. Indeed, as Plato shows in his Republic, democracy tends to produce the very lack of temperance and respect for authority that ends up destroying it. For Lewis, proper education was not just a matter for abstract theorizing; it was a matter of survival! Just as an education that relativizes our stock responses toward treachery, ugliness, and debauchery will, in the end, deaden the souls of our youth, so an education that abandons standards and discipline will rob society of the creative and industrious minds it needs to thrive and grow.

And besides, Lewis reminds his readers, the weaker students themselves rarely want to be like the “brainy” ones. They are happy to play their games and ignore the more studious among their peers. Lewis wisely advises that rather than trying to turn all students into Latin scholars, society should steer the weaker students toward professions that will better suit their skills, make them happier, and likely gain them a larger paycheck than the academic-minded students.

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”.