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The Blumenfeld Education Letter March_1993

The Blumenfeld Education Letter March_1993

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TheBlurnenfeld
Education
Letter
Vol8No3(Letter
#
79)
'''MyPeopleAreDestroyedFor
lack
OfKnowledge"HOSEA4:6
March1993
:.1I·_:.1I···
ThepurposeofthisnewsletteristoprovideknowledgeforparentsandeducatorswhowanttosavethechildrenofAmericafromthedestructiveforcesthatendangerthem.
OUf
childreninthepublicschoolsareatgraveriskin4ways;academically,spiritually,morally,andphysically-andonlyawell-informedpublicwillbeabletoreducetheserisks."Withoutvision,thepeopleperish."
OutcomeBasedEducationorHowtoTurn
:a
DinosaurintoanOctopus
Insomeofourpastwritingswehavecalledpubliceducationa"sickdinosaur"beingkeptalivebyalife-supportsystemknownastheeducationestablishment.Thelatter,throughconsiderablepoliticalpower,hasmanagedtokeepthisailing,obsolete,nineteenth-centuryanachronismalivebe-causesomanycareersnotonlydependon
it
butmustcontinuetouseitastheirmeanstowieldpoweroversociety.Wehavepre-dictedthedemiseofthisdinosaurbecause,likeitsextinctancestor,publiceducationhas
a
hugebody,avoraciousappetite,andatinybrain.Andtheestablishmentknowsthis.Andso,theyhaveworkedoutanewplan,notmerelyforsurvival,butforamajorenhancementoftheirpowerwhich,
if
suc-cessful,willtransformthedoomeddinosaurintoahugeoctopuswithtentaclessolarge,soblood-sucking,that
it
willembracetheentireAmericanpeople.Theplaniscalled"OutcomeBasedEducation"or
nBE
forshort.
It
canalsobedescribedasthelastnailinthecoffinoftraditionaleducation,notthatthereismuchof
it
leftbynow.ThemostradicalfeatureofaBEisthat
it
doesawaywiththetraditionalrequirementsforgraduationbasedontheCarnegieunits.UndertheCarnegieunits,youwererequired,forexample,totake4yearsofEnglish,2yearsofAmericanhistory,3yearsofmath,etc.Eachunitwasworthanumberofcredits,andwhenyouobtainedthenecessarycred-itsyouwereeligibleforgraduationwithadiplomaattestingtothefactthatyouhadcoveredallofthesesubjectssuccessfully.Thesuccessofthesystemwasbasedontheeffectiveteachingofthesesubjectsbycompetentteacherswhoknewwhattheyweredoing,withthestudentspassinganumberofteststoverifythattheyhadlearnedwhateveritwastheyweresupposedtolearn.
All
ofuswhowentthroughthesystemrememberstudying,orcramming,forthemidtermsorfinals.Youhopedtogetan
/I
A"ora"Bplus",ora"B."
If
yougota
"C'
youpassed.
If
yougota"0"oran
"F,"
youwererequiredtodosomesortofmakeuporrepeattheclass.All
in
all,thesystem,withitscompul-soryattendancelawsrequiringchildrentoattendschoolfromtheageof6to16or18,
TheBlumenfeldEducationLetterispublishedmonthly.Sourcesofproductsandservicesdescribedarenotnecessarilyendorsedbythispublication.Theyareintendedtoprovideourreaderswithinformationonarapidlyexpandingfieldofeducation~lactivity.Permissiontoquoteisgrantedprovidedpropercreditisgiven.OriginalmaterialiscopyrightedbyTheBlumenfeldEducationLetter.SubscriptionRate:1year$36.00.Address:PostOfficeBox45161,Boise,Idaho83711.Phone(208)343-3790.
 
EducationLetter"Pg.2"March
1993
seemedtoworkfairlywellaslongastheschoolstaughtthesubjectsproperly.Butwhentheschoolsstartedteachinglook-sayinreading,andstudentsbeganhavingseri-ousreadingproblems,thesystembegantobreakdown.
It
becameimpossibletoexpecttheever-increasingnumberofnonreaderstodothekindofreadingrequiredtopassthemoredifficultsubjectsinthehighergrades.Theresultwassocialpromotion,gradeinfla-tion,andageneraldeteriorationofacademicstandards.Whatwehavelearnedfromallofthisisthatthetraditionalsystemcannotworkifitsacademichearthasbeencutoutandre-placedbyteacherspretendingtoteachandstudentspretendingtolearn.
In
fact,itisnowquitepossibletogetthroughtwelveyearsofpublicschoolingandemergeattheendoftheprocessknowingvirtuallynoth-ing.That'swhythere'sbeensomuchpublicclamorforback-to-basicsreforminthelast30years.Butsofar"therehasn'tbeenanyrealimprovementinthesystem"mainlybecausetheeducatorsdon'twanttogetbacktobasics.Andsotheeducatorshavehadtocomeupwithanewideatoappeasethepublic,anidea,however,thatpermitstheeducatorstokeeptheirprogressiverevolution
in
educa-tionintactwhilemakingsweepingchanges.Theideais:"Let'schangethesystem.Let'sgetridofthewholetraditionalsystemandstartafresh."Andwhatexactlyistoreplacetheoldsystem?Outcomebasededucation.IfoundaverygooddescriptionofthenewOBEprograminaprojectmanualwhichwasgiventomeduringarecenttriptoNorthCarolina"wheretheGastonCountyschoolsareimplementinganaBEprogramcalledOdyssey.Theprogramdocumentreads:
TheOdysseyProjectdescribesaformalsystemofbasicschoolingforstudentsages3to18withadevelopmentalprenataltoage3component.Theprojectwilluseanoutcome-basededucationmodelthatfocusesontheknowledge,skill,andattitudesthatstudentsshouldpossesswhentheygraduatefromOdysseylearningcenters.
SofirstwelearnthataBEbeginswiththeprenatalchildandnotonlyfocusesonknowledgeandskill,butalsoonattitudes.Willnewcompulsoryattendancelawsberequiredtoincludeprenatalchildren?Sincetheeducatorshavesobadlybotchedupteachingchildrenfrom5to18,whatmakesthemthinktheycandobetterwithinfantsfrom0to5?Andwhatkindofattitudesdotheeducatorsthinkthestudentsoughttohavewhentheyleavethe"learningcenter"?Humanisticones"nodoubt.Thesummarycontinues:
Fivebasicexitoutcomeswillprovidethefocusfortheinstructionalprogramproposedbytheproj-ect:
(1)
Communicator;(2)Collaborator;(3)CreativeProducer;(4)CriticalThinker;(5)ConcernedandConfidentCitizen.Odysseyschoolswillsubscribetothetheoryofmultipleintelligencesandwillseektodevelopeachstudent'suniquetalents....PerformanceoutcomessetforeachlevelofOdysseyschoolingwillincludesubstantiveassess-mentofeachstudent'smasteryofEnglish,socialstudies(includinggeography),science,andmathe-maticsobjectives....EachOdysseystudentwillstudyasecondlanguage,music,art,drama,andkinesthet-icsateachlevelofschooling.Thecomputerwillbeusedasabasictoolforinstructionandmanagementinallthedisciplines.Thecurriculumwillemphasizecriticalthinkingandproblemsolving,andstudentswillexaminerelevantethicalissuesandlearnhowtomakesoundchoices.Inallcurriculumareasanemphasiswillbeplacedonunderstandingglobalissues.
Noticethat"criticalthinking"isaveryimportantcomponent
in
OutcomeBasedEducation,notlogicalthinking,orclearthink-ing,butcriticalthinking.CriticalthinkingwastheprimarymethodthephilosophersoftheEnlightenmentusedtodestroyfaithinChristianityineighteenth-centuryEurope.PeterGay,inanintroductiontohisanthol-......_TheBlumenfeldEducationLetter-PostOfficeBox
45161-
Boise"Idaho
83711.
__J
 
EducationLetter,Pg.3,March1993ogyofEnlightenmentwritings,inwhichheusedtheFrenchword"philosophe"torep-resentthecriticallymindedEnlightenmentphilosopher,writes:
Whatunited.[thephilosophers]wasthecom-monexperienceofsheddingtheirinherited.Christianbeliefswiththeaidofclassicalphilosophersandforthesakeofamodemphilosophy....Andwhatunitedthephilosophesaboveallwasconfidenceinthecriti-calmethod.Herewehavereachedthecoreoftheeight-eenth-centuryEnlightenmentasamovement.Thephilosophesofallcountriesandallpersuasi.onswerelyricalintheirsingle-mindedpraiseofcriticism....Forthephilosophes,criticism...wasanactofaggression.TheChristiancenturiesthroughwhichWesterncivilizationhadpassed,andtheChristianfaithinwhosegripthecivilizationstillfounditself,haderectedprotectivewallsaroundthemostimpor-tantareasofhumanactivity,notablyreligion,poli-tics,andsexualmorality.Nowcriticismimpartiallyclaimedtherighttocriticizeeverything...."Every-thingmustbeexamined,"Diderotwroteinthe
Ency-clopedia,
"everythingmustbeshakenup,withoutexceptionandwithoutcircumspection."(p.18)Thephilosophes'passionforcriticism
has
ledhistorianstochargethemwithapassionfordestruc-tion,withequatingnegativecriticismwithgood
think-
ing....Butthephilosopheswouldhavefoundthechargeincomprehensible....Thephilosophesweredestructivebecausetheythoughtonemustclearthegroundbeforeonecanbuild;onecannotconstructthecityofmanunderfirefromtheenemy,onrubbish,oronaswamp.Theworldthatreligionhadshapedforsolongwas-inthephilosophes'language-preytothewildbeastsoffanaticismandenfeebledbythepoisonousfruitsofthetreeofsuperstition.
Andso,totheEnlightenmentphiloso-phers,Christianitywasnothingbutsuper-stitionwhichhadtobewipedawaybyunre-lentingcriticismsothatanewatheist-hu-manistcivilizationcouldbebuilt.Thepollti-calresultsinEuropeweretheFrenchRevo-lutionwithitsreignofterror,theriseofsocialism,Nazism,andCommunism,twoworldwars,concentrationcamps,gulags,slavelabor,andmillionsofcorpses.TheRev.RichardWurmbrand,whowasimprisonedfor14yearsinEuropeforhisoutspokenviewsagainstcommunism,wrotearemarkablebook,
Marx
&
Satan
(Cross-waysBooks,1986),inwhichheconvincinglyshowsthecloserelationshipbetweenMarx-ismandSatanism.Onpage80,hewrites:
JustasSatancametoJesuswithBibleverses,soMarxusedtextsofScripture,thoughwithmuchdistortion.Volume2of
TheWorksofMarxandEngels
openswithJesus'wordstoHisdisciples(John6:63),asquoted.byMarxinhisbook
TheHolyFamily:
"It
isthespiritwhichgiveslife."Thenweread:
Criticism[hiscriticismofaUthatexistsIsolovedthemassesthat
it
sentitsonlybegottenson[i.e.,Marxl,thatwhosoeverbelievesinhimshouldnotperishbuthavealifeofcriticism.Criticismbecamemassesandlivedamongus,andwesawitsgloryoftheonly-begottenSonoftheFather.Criticismdidnotconsider
it
robberytobeequalwithGod,butmadeitselfofnoreputation,takingthefonnofabookbinder,andhumbleditselfuptononsense-yes,criti-calnonsenseinforeignlanguages.
ThoseknowledgeableinScripturewillrecog-nizethisasaparodyofBiblicalverses(John3:16;1:14;Philippians2:6-8).Hereagain,Marxdeclareshisownworkstobe"nonsense,"aswellas"swinishbooks."
Andso,criticalthinkinghasbeenatthecoreofanti-ChristianphilosophyamongsocialistsandMarxists.Forexample,onefindsthethemeofcriticalthinkingcentralinthewritingsofPauloFreire,theBrazilianMarxisteducator-philosopherandexponentofLiberationTheology.HisworksarewidelyreadandadmiredbyAmericanradicaleducators.RadicalprofessorHenryA.Gir-ouxwritesinhisintroductiontoFreire'sbook,
ThePoliticsofEducation
(Bergin
&
Garvey,1985):
CentraltoFreire'spoliticsandpedagogyisaphilosophicalvisionofaliberated.humanity.Thenatureofthisvisionisrooted.inarespectforlifeandtheacknowledgmentthatthehopeandvisionofthefuturethatinspireitarenotmeanttoprovideconso-lationfortheoppressedasmuchastopromoteongo-ingformsofcritiqueandastruggleagainstobjectiveforcesofoppression.Bycombiningthedynamicsofcritiqueandcollectivestrugglewithaphilosophyofhope,Freirehascreatedalanguageofpossibility
that
isrootedinwhathecallsapermanentprophetic
.__TheBlumenfeldEducationLetter-PostOfficeBox45161-Boise,Idaho83711__----'
_.~""""5"",-_""'~__,
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