A Dark Vision of Education Overcoming the Family

The University of Brussels used to have the Latin version of “Truth Conquers Darkness” (veritas vincere tenebras) as its motto. It has since changed the first word to science instead of truth. I think the shift in education has been a consistent shift in a focus away from discerning truth. Now we are focused, not on truth, but on creating the “correct” kinds of people, regardless of truth. Education has become a means of social engineering.


The author, Wendy Hart, is known across Utah as one of the leading voices on the need for academic pedagogy and content centered on foundational American heritage and values.

As a former Alpine School Board Member and researcher of local and national education trends, her singular insights on the public education system have informed multiple policy efforts and decisions, including a challenge to the installation of Common Core.

John Goodlad (founder and visiting professor of BYU’s Public School Partnership) said in 1969:

The most controversial issues of the twenty-first century will pertain to the ends and means of modifying human behavior and who shall determine them. The first educational question will not be “what knowledge is of the most worth?” but “what kinds of human beings do we wish to produce?” The possibilities virtually defy our imagination. (Goodlad, A Report from the State Committee on Education to the California Board of Education…)

 

So, how do we produce these kinds of human beings? We must remove them from the foundations of their parents (“Honor thy father and thy mother”), their society, and their religion. We do this through what Benjamin Bloom calls the ‘affective domain’: attitudes, values, and beliefs. In practice, we call this critical thinking, but Bloom summarized his theories by saying, “The highest form of intellect is when an individual no longer believes in right or wrong.”

 

Why would we want to strip away right and wrong? For social engineering purposes. The entire focus on ‘democracy’ and ‘democratic character’ is about the ‘collective good’. In an article for BYU’s McKay Today, Fall 2012, it states, “But Woodruff challenges readers to consider how much they still believe what ancient Athenians had to believe in order to try their experiment with democracy: that collectively we are better, stronger, and smarter than we are individually; that the most desirable form of government is, as Abraham Lincoln claimed in the Gettysburg Address, a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” suggesting that greater trust can be put in the goodwill and disposition of the people as a whole than in that of individuals acting for themselves.” [emphasis mine] (http://education.byu.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Mckay_Today_Fall_2012_Final.pdf)

The whole purpose of schooling is to create individuals who are willing to subsume their individuality, their free agency, to the overriding purposes of the collective good. “Sustaining the delicate balance between collective responsibility (public purpose) and individual freedom (private purpose) is the work in progress referred to as democracy.” (Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, p. xvii) The use of the word ‘democracy’ in education circles isn’t really about everyone having a vote or consent of the governed, it is about this ‘balance’ between collectivism and individuality. In the end, as you read in the McKay article, “collectively we are better, stronger, and smarter than we are individually.” Parents, it must be noted, will want their children to succeed as individuals. They will defend their individual (and inalienable rights). Nephi was not ‘raised by a good democratic society’, but he was born of ‘goodly parents’. Anything that alienates parents from children is contrary to the establishment of the family as the basic unit of society.

 

A couple more quotes from “Democratic Character”:

education is a task for both parents and the state. The state, parents, and children all have interests that must be protected.”

“Parents do not own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education fully.” “Instead of intruding heavily in the conduct of private schools, we might do better to stem their proliferation.” (p.164)

“Public education has served as a check on the power of parents, and this is another powerful reason for maintaining it.”

“This means,…that students must be encouraged to inquire, to object, to think critically. Thus, the state has a compelling interest to enforce forms of education that will produce such a citizenry.”

“Critical thinking widely adopted at the secondary school level might indeed weaken some religious groups. But without it, the public schools really will have given up their central mission in a democracy.” (p.165)

 

Another buzz-word is ‘constructivism’ or constructivist thinking.

Here is a definition from Goodlad’s Moral Dimensions of Teaching, p. 282, Constructive thinking requires the capacity to break one’s customary patterns of thought and to create new ones.”

From Wikipedia: “Constructivist learning environments provide multiple representations of reality.”


What do multiple representations of reality do to a child with very basic cognitive processes? They create an uncertain reality—they create confusion. You can’t create situational ethics for young children—they can’t process it. For them, things are black and white, good and bad. If you take away this dichotomy, you create too much complexity for them to handle. The world becomes something that you can’t depend on.

 

Another consequence of constructivist teaching and a distancing from truth and fact is that parents are unable to help their children with homework. Math problems are about the correct process, not the correct answer. As such, children develop an attitude that only the teachers and the schools are the source of knowledge. In the end, parents end up looking like people who gave birth but are not to be trusted for knowledge. This violates the most basic of all relationships.

"Parents will want their children to succeed as individuals. They will defend their individual and inalienable rights."

Additionally, parents’ rights are being eroded by justices around the county. Two examples:

2007 in Massachusetts: “they[parents] have no constitutional right, however, to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.”

Fields vs Palmdale (CA) “We agree, and hold that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.“

What schools are teaching isn’t a lack of religion and simply basic facts (reading, writing, and arithmetic), they are socially engineering in the ‘secular humanist’ tradition for the purposes of removing parents and their values from children.

“most youth still hold the same values as their parents…. If we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocialize… our society may decay.”[8]

“Enlightened social engineering is required to face situations that demand global action now. Parents and the general public must be reached also, otherwise, children and youth enrolled in globally oriented programs may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home.”[9] (Goodlad)

In short, for the good of society, we must remove students from their parents’ values and resocialize them with the ‘correct’ values for a collectivist society, in a secular humanist view—absent God.

John Dewey: One of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.
“Independent, self-reliant people would be a counter-productive anachronism in the collective society of the future where people will be defined by their associations.”

Charles F. Potter (1930)
“Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday schools meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of 5 day program of humanistic teaching?

John J. Dunphey (1983)(https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/3452)
“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.”

By emphasizing critical thinking over fact and truth, we have taken education from an endeavor that we all could agree on (phonics, arithmetic, subject-predicate) to engineer values, attitudes and beliefs. These values, attitudes and beliefs are all designed to take the individual and make them part of the larger collective, an association of individuals, where the ‘greater good’ of the society outweighs all individual freedoms, rights, or responsibilities. In short, God gave inalienable rights to Man, to every individual man, woman, and child as a birthright. Governments are instituted among men to protect those rights, granted by God, Himself. “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated without his wrath?” and “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.” I read in these words, not that the collective was given liberty by God, but, as the Declaration states, all men were given liberty by God, individually. Each, individual is given free agency to choose for himself. The atonement is a personal, individual one—Christ suffered for every individual and every sin committed by each individual. We are not a collective, but we are each known to God, by name. When we remove the individual and inalienable rights, we remove the acknowledgement of each one of us as an individual child of God.

Some other thoughts on ‘sustaining’, ‘having faith and trust’ in those in authority. BYU’s partnership talks about the ‘Agenda’. This ‘Agenda’ is the Agenda for Democracy, as defined by John Goodlad. ASD does say that we don’t just accept everything Goodlad says, but this is all good. Too many people are less worried about the principle and more worried about how it looks and if people are nice who are on whatever side. Truth is no longer important, only emotion and how we feel. We hire good people and we trust them, is something I’ve heard over and over again. We trust our leaders. We trust our superintendent. We trust the people at BYU, especially because it is the Lord’s University. They couldn’t possibly lead us astray. And in the end, we don’t really need to worry about what is going on in the world because Pres. Monson will just let us know what is important. We don’t need to ‘study it out’ for ourselves. Additionally, so many people I’ve spoken with believe that as long as we are in Utah, we do not need to be diligent about schools, about ideas, about government, because we are in Utah. We will be protected somehow, that ‘all is well in Zion’. Because nearly everyone in the schools is a faithful LDS church member, we can trust them. We don’t need to rely on the Spirit, on personal study, on personal revelation. We just trust. If we bring anything up that isn’t ‘sustaining our leaders’ in some way, we are accused of being contentious. Getting along is more important than truth and standing for righteousness.

Wendy Hart, Author

 

References

Benjamin Bloom and Bloom’s Taxonomy, foundation of ‘critical thinking’ and ‘depth of knowledge’ in education.

“the purpose of education is to change the thoughts, actions and feelings of students.” (Bloom, All Our Children Learning, p. 180)
“In fact, a large part of what we call “good teaching” is the teacher’s ability to attain affective
objectives [attitudes, values, beliefs] through challenging the students’ fixed beliefs and
getting them to discuss issues. (Kratwohl, Bloom et. al. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives…Handbook II: Affective Domain, p. 55)” (http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/OtherPDFs/B_to_B_Reform_Iserbyt_book.pdf, pg. 6)

“The highest form of intellect is when an individual no longer believes in right or wrong.” (Can’t find a direct source for this.) (http://everything2.com/title/Benjamin+Bloom)

Bloom and the goals of instruction. Also during the 1950s and 1960s, results of a project directed by Benjamin Bloom touched education at all levels around the world. Bloom and his colleagues developed a taxonomy, or classification system, of educational objectives. Objectives were divided into three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. A handbook describing the objectives in each area was eventually published. These taxonomies have been included in hundreds of books and articles about teaching and testing. Teachers, test developers, and curriculum designers use the taxonomies to develop instructional objectives and test questions. It would be difficult to find an educator trained in the past thirty years who had not heard of Bloom’s taxonomy in some form. 

The cognitive domain taxonomy was revised in 2001 by Lorin W. Anderson and David R. Krathwohl. (http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1938/Educational-Psychology.html)

BYU and BYU-Public School Partnership:

(I find this bizarre: ‘beliefs about the nature of mathematics’. Why are we talking about beliefs about the nature of math? The nature of math should be truth. Galileo said, “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the Universe.”)
BYU: McKay Today article: http://education.byu.edu/news/2012/11/12/a-new-interest-in-new-math/
PSP influence. Quote: The goal of this study—which resulted in Bahr and Monroe’s journal article Examining Preservice Teacher Belief Changes in the Context of Coordinated Mathematics Methods Coursework and Classroom Experiences—was to determine how these different approaches affected the intensity of the candidates’ beliefs about the nature of mathematics and, therefore, about teaching mathematics to students.

BYU’s Moral Dimensions: http://education.byu.edu/epp/moral_dimensions
Note the first one: Enculturating the young in a social and political democracy. From wikipedia: Social democracy is a political ideology that officially has as its goal the establishment of democratic socialism …Alternatively, social democracy is defined as a policy regime involving a universal welfare state and collective bargaining schemes within the framework of a capitalist economy …

Finally, all 5 of the BYU Partnership schools (Provo, Alpine, Nebo, Wasatch, and Jordan) have adopted the new 5 Commitments as their values. Public school districts are adopting ‘values’ based on their partnership commitments with BYU instead of representing the taxpayers who vote for their elected officials and fund their districts. Is BYU exercising unrighteous dominion over the public realm?

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