Bruce Deitrick Price's BLOG. Welcome.

Still running at the ed school cineplex: "John Dewey and the Effete Elite"

1) Main site is Improve-Education.org. Articles there are scholarly (in a lively way) and intended to last for years. This blog is for short newsy bits. 2) This site is pro-education, pro-teacher, and anti-Education Establishment. Basically, that's the professors who devise policy. They love social engineering.

12/4/10

US Military Suffers Artificially-Induced Manpower Crisis

"75% of young Americans are not able to join the military," that's what my local paper says. 

Some of these people are fat and out of shape. But a shockingly large number are simply too ignorant and illiterate to be useful in the military. The Pentagon has tried creating remedial schools within the Army; more recently, a group of retired generals is pushing the new National Standards. Forget about it.

The linked article argues that the real problem is our Education Establishment, the people who control the public schools. They love social engineering. They don't give much of a damn about intellectual engineering. Whether intentionally or by accident, they end up sabotaging remedial schools and the creation of new Standards.

This article urges the military to start thinking outside the education box. Forget what the so-called experts think. You would be better off picking 400 names out of the phone book, Senator Moynihan once argued.

Tell your military friends to read this article: "Memo to: PENTAGON / Subject: EDUCATION / Status: HIGHEST PRIORITY" ( http://bit.ly/hgCidD )

Another good strong statement (addressed to leaders of business and military) is here: http://edfrontier.blogspot.com/ (Ed Frontier is a new blog.)


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11/8/10

"Standards" is Mushy Term, Thus Assuring Low Standards

All this talk about Core Standards is just more of the confusion and murkiness that our Education Establishment is so fond of. Here's why:
The word "Standards" is used unpredictably to refer to: 
goals or levels that students must reach to pass; 
goals we dream of reaching some day; 
levels that are good enough in our society; 
and the means/techniques we'll use to achieve certain goals. 
Ergo, we can never be sure what the Education Establishment is talking about.


Take the simple sentence: "Our Standards are too low." No matter what you take that to mean, they can say, no, we were talking about something else.
Mush Test 1. Visit corestandards.org and read some of the math stuff for younger grades. Decide what these educators mean by "core standards."


For deeper discussion of linguistic confusions, see: "Obama's Ed Plan Is Anti-Ed"  


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10/26/10

Improve-Education.org is a Teacher's Best Friend

A teacher wrote an emotional letter to the site asking why I was saying bad things about teachers??? I wrote back saying, I hardly mention teachers at all!

Some critics do try to blame our educational problems on teachers. I am not one of those people. Teachers don't make policy; they don’t have much power. Why talk about teachers if we are trying to figure out what is wrong with the schools?? 

I blame the people I call the Education Establishment. These elite ideologues (since John Dewey) want to use public schools to change the country. That is a problem for our nation. It’s also a problem for individual teachers because best practice is often not what these ideologues end up promoting.

Unfortunately, many classroom teachers have been bamboozled into thinking they have the same interests as the Education Establishment. That's why the teacher thought she was being criticized when, in fact, the criticism was aimed at elite professors who live in another world.   


Improve-Education.org is concerned with explaining how education policy is implemented, the theories behind the common practices, and why teachers should oppose the people at the top.

(Teachers, please see "31: Teacher Liberation Front" on  Improve-Education.org.)

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10/7/10

Republicans Must Attack Education

Does the NEA also control the Republican Party, the same way it controls the Democrat Party??

What other explanation do you find for the curious silence of the Pledge on one of the country's worse problems?? Which is education; which is public schools that don't do much.

The Pledge was pretty good, as linked article argues, but in 20 pages there was no mention of education. Nothing. Nada. Not even a perfunctory little squiggle.

Folks, it's like this: if we don't save the public schools, the rest is toast. Alan Greenspan put it so well. "If you don't solve (the K-12 education problem), nothing else is going to matter all that much." Don't you trust the Chairman of the Federal Reserve?

Come on, Sarah, tell these dumb Republicans what needs to be done. Just some simple little 3-point plan to focus on. How about Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic? Our public schools have a kind of gas-chamber genius at designing curricula that don't teach basic skills. Kids straggle off into adulthood in a kind of stupor. Thank you, Education Establishment. But how long can your luck hold up? You're getting away with child abuse.

See this article for What The Pledge Should Have Said:
http://www.rantrave.com/Rant/What-Republicans-Left-Out-of-The-Pledge.aspx

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9/30/10

Listen To Me, You Rich People.

I know, you don’t want to think about all the bad public schools out there. Nothing to do with you, right?? Wrong. The effects are oozing through the society. You are in danger. If this country gets any dumber, we won't have a country.


Want safety? Here are the threats we have to overcome:


1) THE EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT CAN’T BE TRUSTED. Almost a century ago, they took a wrong turn, and went down a road marked SOCIAL ENGINEERING. The problem for everybody else is that these ideologues hope to wreck the society we’ve got, so they can build the collectivized world they dream about...


2) PRESS AND MAJOR UNIVERSITIES ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE...It's sad/funny to watch the smartest people in the country behave in such an embarrassing, smart-free way.... [Smart-free. That might be an original coinage. It means free of smartness.]


THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD RIFF. AND SCARY. FOR MORE, GO; bit.ly/cDwsGv

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9/6/10

Why The War Against Geography??????

From the earliest grades, all children have to know the basic geographical facts: names of the oceans, continents, main rivers, biggest mountains, main countries, the US states. All of this is essential foundational knowledge. All of this is the stage on which all other subjects occur, for example, history, geology, anthropology, archaeology, military history, world trade, environmental science, etc.

That our nitwit Education Establishment has for almost a century waged war against geographical facts is like the mark of Cain. It's the scarlet letter. It's the itch that says disease. You know these people aren't serious about education. And that's why we have to reverse their policies.
For a good, quick analysis of why our elite educators scorned geography, please see "Four Reasons Why Educators Hate Geography."


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8/5/10

Local Media Fail Community

We hear it all the time: the government is governing against the will of the people. But we've been seeing the same sad phenomenon for decades in every city in America, where the local paper (often enjoying a monopoly) will report and editorialize against the will of the people. I see it every day in my paper in Norfolk.
In particular, I've been astonished at the complacent and complicit way the paper reports on education. They don't report on education. Oh, they'll tell you that a principal has been fired or a new building is under construction. But they won't tell you why a quarter of the class can't read and a quarter of the kids entering school don't graduate. That's the really big news.
Moreover, these kids who can't read won't grow up to be customers of newspapers. So it seems to me many newspapers have a death wish. But then they turn around and say: we need a government handout to survive!
If we're going to improve public schools in the US, we really need the help of local media. They have to engage in a much more energetic kind of investigative journalism. Encourage your paper to do this.
>>>>>>>>Here's more on this topic: "Liberal Media Pimp for Education Establishment".

http://www.rantrave.com/Rant/Liberal-Media-Pimp-For-Education-Establishment.aspx
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7/12/10

Conspiracy, Crime, and Comedy

Okay, here's what funny. The word "conspiracy" makes some people nervous. (Oh, no, they shudder, it can't be true. Our own educators conspiring to dumb down the schools??! That's too horrible to think about.)
Folks, I'm sorry to tell you this. Saying there's no conspiracy is like saying the mob wasn't in Chicago in the 1920s. Dewey, Counts, Rugg, and the rest of these twits ran a conspiracy the size of Texas. You can't miss it. It permeated every corner of every school. "Progressive Education" was the gang's code for Socialist Education. "Social Studies" was the gang's code for Socialism Studies. Crack just those two phrases (i.e., hear them as the speakers heard them) and the rest is elementary.
Ready for more? Go to "The Conspiracy Question" http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/24113

PS: the current push for National Standards and Common Core Standards should be understood as just another chapter in this long-running conspiracy. Aiming low. Less local control, more government control. Do you see anything new??
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6/19/10

A "Map" With No Scale Of Miles Is Good Enough For Time Magazine

20 years ago I noticed a simple index of our educational decline: books and magazines would run maps without a scale of miles. I created a sheet titled “Map Alert,” which made the point that maps without a scale of miles are no longer maps. They are abstract art. Only a fool or an ignoramus would run a map without a scale of miles. (I sent Map Alert to many editors, some of whom even apologized!)


Which brings us to Time magazine, June 21, 2010, and its long article on cleaning up the mess in the Gulf. On pages 56-57, there’s a "map" of the huge area from Texas to Florida showing various oil wells. Very interesting, I thought, as I settled in to see what was what and where. Then I realized there was no way for me to compare distances I know with distances on the map. Many people speak of a Golden Age when Time was respectable and trustworthy. Alas. (I often think the whole magazine should be written by Joel Stein. At least it would be funny.)


Please see “MAP ALERT” here.

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6/14/10

Race To The Bottom -- Constructivism Sits in Catbird Seat

I'm starting to see the caper. Feds want to give lots of money to states if they'll change all their testing. Change as in DEBASE.

Virginia, where I am, is resisting. Good news. The Norfolk paper yesterday ran an editorial, explaining that the feds want to emphasize "strategies and approaches," as opposed to actually knowing answers. The other giveaway is that the feds don't actually have their ideas worked out, so nobody can see how bad they are. All we know is, drug dealers are handing out free money.

Virginia, I predict, will emerge as one of the smartest states in the country if they stay with real testing.

Meanwhile, the most popular gimmick in education now (and it will surely be part of the Race to the Bottom) is call Constructivism. Every parent needs to understand this fad. Please see "Constructivism versus Minorities and the Poor," a short article. Or check out "34: The Con in Constructivism."
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6/3/10

Boys, Books: Where's The Class Action Suit??

I've been tracking this mess for years: boys can't read or they don't read.

The schools use stupid whole-word methods, then compound the problem by telling boys how much they'll enjoy the Diary of Anne Frank and other such deep, literary, boring, or otherwise inappropriate books. Babies are 51% male; but college students are only 43% male. Hmmmmm, it's almost as if some schemers are trying to damage male literacy. Successfully so! For decades!

Parents with boys in school should spend 10 minutes getting up to speed on the boys/books problem. Drastic action may be required. See "50: Leading Boys To Reading" on Improve-Education.org. Article includes a list of books that boys love.
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5/26/10

A Letter to Public School Teachers--Come On Home

The following plea--written 55 years ago and addressed to all the teachers of America--is still solid gold today:


"You are a grade-school teacher. I know that you are doing a conscientious job, that you work overtime for very little pay, that you love children and are proud of your profession. Aren't you getting tired of being attacked and criticized all the time? Every second mother who comes in to talk to you tells you that she is dissatisfied, that her child doesn't seem to learn anything, that you should do your job in a different way, that you don't know your business. Why should you be the scapegoat? The educators in their teachers' colleges and publishing offices think up all these fancy ideas, and you are on the firing line and have to take the consequences. Have another look at the system you are defending with so much effort. I know you are an intelligent young woman. You belong on the other side."


Isn't that great? See rest of article here: www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/158657


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5/13/10

American Public Education = Doomsday Machine

Years ago I wrote a sci-fi story in which disease wiped out the thousands of people living in a huge space station. All the technology continued on autopilot; sensors, missiles, and robots perfectly defended the space station. The station became a type of doomsday machine. All the inhabitants had been killed. New arrivals would be killed.


I certainly wasn’t thinking about our public schools at that time but now I see a creepy similarity between what happened to that space station and what happened to this country’s Education Establishment. Both are running on an unintended autopilot and no longer serve the purposes for which they were constructed. Neither can be reasoned with or even approached....


See this brief and illuminating historical report--"How American Public Education Became A Doomsday Machine"--here: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/23112

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4/26/10

Education: Incompetence or Sabotage???

Could the US really have 50,000,000 functional illiterates (among many other problems) because the top educators were careless and didn't pay attention decade after decade until: Whoops! What happened?? Nobody can read!???

Explaining the decline in the public schools seems to me to come down to a nasty choice: the people in charge are dreadfully incompetent; or they're dreadfully subversive. (In either case, they should be replaced, shouldn't they?)

My new article on CanadaFreePress wrestles with this dilemma. Title is "Could Educators Be That Dumb?--Everyone Wants To Know."

Bottom line: we're almost forced to conclude that our educators were trying to undercut education. Why?? Because nobody's that incompetent. There must have been intent.

A good read. You'll like it. (http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/22395)

4/19/10

How Educators Try To Sabotage Reading...

When you make a list of all the stupid ideas enshrined in the public schools, there will be many contenders for stupidest idea of all.

It’s tough to pick the absolute worst but let me nominate the common practice in public schools of teaching children to GUESS what words mean. This is the central gimmick in whole-word or sight-word reading.

But here’s the good news. Guessing is a clear signal that a child cannot actually read. It is thus the quickest diagnostic we have. If a child looks at “car” and reads “house,” you see immediately that the meaning is wrong, and the phonetics are wrong. So you know this is just a stab in the dark, a hopeless cry in the wilderness. You don’t need to know anything else. It’s time to stop whatever so-called training the child is getting and teach the child to read using phonics.

The leading experts in the Whole Word movement said that guessing is good. I’d argue that guessing is part of a broader strategy known as dumbing down.

The link is to a four-minute video on YouTube that explains why guessing is a problem. This graphic video is intended for teachers and parents who don’t quite understand the flaws in Whole Word. Please pass this link around:
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4/6/10

Facts Are Fun! Knowledge Is Power!

Here Is the exciting truth: the human brain loves to acquire new information.


Imagine the misery of human brains stuck in public schools where the curriculum is in effect a war on content, and the reigning educational philosophy states that children must be protected from knowledge.


With regard to ignorance, it’s time to go cold turkey. No more ignorance! From this point on, learning is king, and knowledge is the whole point.


A simple one-step recovery program is available free for all public schools. The program is titled “Teach One Fact Each Day.” This thing is easy and fool-proof. It can be started now.


See “47: Teach One Fact Each Day” on Improve-Education.org.

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3/24/10

School-Induced Mental Impairment (SIMI): reality or delusion?

Last week I posted background on FreeRepublic about a column published months earlier titled “Education as Neurotoxin.”


This column tries to explain why the US has 50 million functional illiterates and 1 million dyslexics. Were these people born this way? Or had bad education methods caused the impairments? (In which case, our enemies never needed to put fluoride, etc., in the water as our public schools were already harming the nation’s intelligence.)


Someone left a half-dozen bitter comments insisting I was “delusional,” “illogical,” “irrational,” “nonsensical,” etc. I’m not sure which part offended him most, that sight-words create mental problems; or that the far-left could possibly promote the use of destructive methods.


This commenter embraced the Dolch Dogma that kids must memorize 300 Dolch words in order to start reading. My belief is that it’s precisely the memorizing of the sight-words that causes mental impairment. English words are phonetic objects; and all of them, even the irregular ones, should be learned as such. (Flesch explained all this in his 1955 book “Why Johnny Can’t Read.” I wish everyone could read the first chapter.)


For my attempt at illuminating what happens to children in sight-word classrooms, please see “41: Sight Words--The Big Stupid.”


The other side of the discussion is this question: what prompted our educators in the depths of the Depression (ca. 1932) to discard all the phonics books, and to waste vast sums on Dick and Jane books? My sense is that their actions are irrational or subversive. For an analysis of these questions, please see “Stalinists?? Or They Walked That Way.

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3/17/10

Boys Abused by Education Establishment

Only 43% of college students are male. This huge shift was achieved by massive social engineering, which starts in the early grades.

Children aren't taught to read properly. Sight-words and Dolch words don't work; indeed, they have been called child abuse. But this pedagogical abuse afflicts boys more than girls, as girls tend to be more verbal.

The abuse continues. For those who can read, the schools recommend books intended for girls, with only a rare mention of the action-and-adventure books that boys actually like. Boys learn that books are for wimps. So long, literacy and all things literary. Thanks, Education Establishment!!!!

"Keeping Boys From Reading" is an important new article that explains these issues and what to do.

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/21018
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3/1/10

Flesch Update: Public Schools Need Him As much As Ever

Here's the wacky story. This professor-type writes a bestseller in 1955 that explains why millions of kids can't read. End of story, right? Happy ending?

No, not happy. America's elite Education Establishment dug in like a pack of ferrets in heat. They denounced Flesch. They went on doing all the things he said were killing kids. Results: 50,000,000 functional illiterates and counting.

This story weighs heavily in my calculations that these so-called educators are not all that interested in education. Social engineering? Yeah, definitely.

"Why Johnny Can't Read" turns 55 this month. Forever young. Here's a great piece: "Rudolph Flesch Rules the World of Reading." Spread the word.

PS: I just put a video on YouTube, same exact title, same message, just 4 minutes, and you know.

2/19/10

Immoral: Media in bed with Big Ed

One of the invisible things I've been searching for around Norfolk is investigative journalism aimed at education, specifically, why the public schools can't teach almost 1/4 of the kids to read properly.

This 1/4 figure, by the way, has been holding steady for many decades, ever since the Education Establishment (a/k/a Big Ed) has been teaching kids to read with sight-words. So stupid. You'd think the press would want to expose this fraud. If people can't read, who buys newspapers???

Anyway, not finding the aggressive journalism I expect has been a frustration. And a red-hot inspiration. Please see the tragicomic, ought-to-be-off-Broadway result: "Media in bed with Big Ed: a love story??" (To be factual, it's an article written in the form of a playlet.)

From what I can figure out, the mainstream media support Big Education reflexively, even thought their interests are really different. Alas...If we had any investigative journalists left, they'd be asking the big editors what's going on?????
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2/11/10

21st Century Bull

Okay, here's the last century of American education summed up in a sentence: the Education Establishment pretends to care about education, knowledge, basics, all that stuff, even as they undercut them at every opportunity.

That's it. A century of disingenuousness. Every single pedagogy and method was a con. New Math and Whole Word, most spectacularly so. The others less blatantly so but just as subversive....It's as if we're dealing with drug addicts here. They say they've reformed; they say they're "clean." Maybe at this point they can't help themselves.

Anyway, the melodrama continues. The big new gimmick is 21st Century Skills. The argument goes like this: our young people are all weighed down with knowledge. The burden is just too horrible....Yes, that's right, they're talking about American kids who can barely find the USA on a map!!! What these kids need instead is skills. Enough with the knowledge. Teach them vital skills, like how to prepare a portfolio, resume or slide show.

This is going to be The Big (Phony) Battle in American education for the next few years. Get your program right here. Please see "21st Century Skills--Same Old, Lame Old."


2/1/10

Teachers Ordered NOT to Teach??????

A recent letter in the Virginian-Pilot lamented that “some middle school principals direct their teachers not to ‘teach’ their students but to have them learn on their own.” It’s hard to imagine that most people would know what to make of this curious statement.

In fact, this approach is the latest fad sweeping through the public schools. Teachers, recast as “facilitators,” don’t teach. That would be an imposition on their students.

The correct name for this method is Constructivism. Students, according to this philosphy, must construct their own new knowledge.

The arguments for Constructivism are particularly lush and ambitious. Schools must be revamped. Books rewritten. Teachers retrained. It’ll be very expensive. My fear is that most students will learn even less than they do now.

Parents, this thing is coming for your kids. Please see graphic video titled : Constructivism: A Primer for Parents.

1/25/10

We Know What's Good For You....So Shut Up and Do It

I asked my doctor what he thought of President Obama’s proposals for health insurance.


The doctor quietly remarked: “Obama’s saying, this is what’s good for you -- whether you like it or not.”


Hold that thought! It’s everything you need to know about American education for the past one hundred years.


The far-left likes to devise abstract answers, and then force them on the public. That sensibility is at odds with American democracy. It certainly wasn’t common in American education...until John Dewey and his progressive educators cracked open a nasty can of worms.


I immediately wrote down the doctor's remark (that was all he said), and got a column out of it.


Education or everyday politics, contempt is the killer.

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1/8/10

Conspiracy, Guilt, Educators ( plus A Birthday )

It's actually a very touchy subject. Dare we say that the Education Establishment has, actually, ahem, conspired to teach less and indoctrinate more??

One of the country's most successful executives sent me an email in which he noted that he agreed with much of what I said but couldn't cross the line into thinking our elite educators capable of, ahem, conspiracy. That email has weighed on me. After all, this guy is 100 times richer than I and several times smarter. Alas.

So I read some more Dewey and Counts and Rugg. And you know what, it's not that hard a call. These guys were planning, scheming, organizing, propagandizing, promoting, managing, finagling, prevaricating, and in every way attempting to make their socialist ideas prevail.

Here's a SHORT PRESS RELEASE that makes the case for calling all that effort a conspiracy. There's a link to a bigger version.


HURRAY: IMPROVE-EDUCATION.ORG CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY, ENTERS FIFTH YEAR. READ ALL ABOUT IT.

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Improve-Education.org is The Answer

Find out what ails American education on Improve-Education.org.
Main site: Improve-Education.org (Now up to 105,000 words and growing. Newest article: "50: Leading Boys To Reading")
Fun on YouTube...I have 50+ graphic videos on YouTube. Educational and entertaining, often. Many deal with reading and educational strategies. Many have good music and need some volume. (Channel is: YouTube.com/BruceDeitrickPrice)
COMMENTS don't seem to work on this design. Here's a link to CONTACT page on Improve-Education.org

About Me

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Remain a novelist, artist, poet, and art director. But main activity is writing about education reform.. The schools, now bad due to ideology and laziness, could be easily improved. 

That claim is clearly explained in new book  "Saving K-12--What happened to our public schools. How do we fix them?"

I invite everyone to join my crusade or start your own. The worst thing is letting the Education Establishment continue its reign of incompetence.
Visit Improve-Education.org. (Or Google Bruce Deitrick Price and any education topic; you'll find some interesting articles. I have 400 ed articles, videos, and book reviews on web. Please use them in your own battles.)    

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