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. 3) Title of my fifth book is: "THE EDUCATION ENIGMA — What Happened To American Education.” On Amazon.

12/22/12

Sandy Hook massacre: media and politicians fail us. Not to mention, public schools.



The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) has published many articles on the Sandy Hook massacre, provoking an intense debate about what we should do. I just left this comment at the paper's site, which I like enough to post here as well:
"I see so many extreme positions. I don't see any proof that we know exactly what happened in Sandy Hook. So why are people sounding off as if they know exactly what happened???
This new massacre is very much like the one in Aurora. There are many discrepancies. The closer you look, the more murky it gets. In both cases you have a mentally/emotionally impaired person, who seems almost unable to function in society, but we are supposed to believe that this person organized a complex commando raid, requiring professional skills comparable to what a Navy seal has????? (It's not enough to say they're out of their minds on some drug or mental problem. That just makes you more clumsy and erratic, and unable to follow-through on a long list of operational steps.)
Obviously, if these are contrived or staged events, the main danger is that the public will overreact. The Pilot et al have spent a week trying to make sure that this happens. I am disgusted with our politicians and media. They know how complex these events are, and how unlikely anybody less than a Rambo-type could pull them off. It's quite possible that Adam Lanza is the fall guy or patsy. Feel sorry for him. I can see some scenarios where he didn't even fire a shot."

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Mayor Bloomberg, New York City's little dictator, set the tone for this whole last week. The dead were hardly dead, the police hadn't started to investigate at all, but Mayor Bloomberg was confident that he knew all the facts and could therefore proclaim to the world precisely what we should do. I bet he's wrong on his facts and on our proper response. His long-suffering subjects should invite him to take a vacation. Mayor, you're working too hard. Spend some time in the Caribbean.
Well, it's Saturday, December 22, and the story is still unfolding. But I will share with you what is on my mind. If you go to the New York Times now and search Sandy Hook massacre discrepancies, you will find zero results. This is where our media, in terms of fulfilling its responsibilities to a free society, is almost in free fall. 
Our media is fatally incompetent or corrupt, just like our education establishment. The schools don't teach the facts. The newspaper don't report the facts. But, boy, do they know how to waste time on propaganda, indoctrination, and social engineering.
 As for Sandy Hook, the major discrepancy is that the police took two people into custody just minutes after the shooting stopped. There is a lot of evidence on scans of police radio, and video from a news helicopter. The men ran along the side of the school to the rear, and then tried to run up a wooded hill. One of the men seems to been subdued by a police dog. Have you heard anything in your paper about other possible shooters being arrested?
 Perhaps the single most bizarre feature of the massacre is that all of the victims were shot three or more times. Why? I don't see any news stories analyzing this question. But there is really only one answer. Normally, in a murderous shooting rampage, you have a great percentage of wounded. Clearly, in this case the shooters did not want there to be any wounded. No survivors means no witnesses. But again, why? Shooters can wear ski mask and fake beards or other disguises. What is it that witnesses, even one of them, might see that would be so crucial? I think the answer is simple. The witness would see that there was more than one shooter.
The media wants to believe that some sort of mental/drug combination led to this extreme behavior. But that's precisely the kind of person who would not think for a second about things like methodically shooting everyone over and over to make sure that no one is left alive.
 So here's what we need to see to accept the official version. We need a psychiatrist to say, yes if this kind of young man, in a certain state that day, took this particular drug, he could be transformed into exactly the systematic, careful murderer who is nonetheless intending to commit suicide in the end.


11/27/12

Motives Matter, e.g., those of our Education Establishment

Townhall.com, and many other sites, have discussed a recent Pravda story arguing that Putin is the real capitalist, while Obama is the wrong-headed Communist, intent on using every bad idea the Russian people have had to suffer through.

Just in passing, Pravda casually alleges that US public schools have been taken over by Communists. That's what I've been explaining for years. I had to leave a comment:

"To save our schools, the first step is to realize they didn't go to hell by accident. John Dewey, his so-called Progressives, and all the people following them, have been Socialists, Communists, Marxists, etc. They degrade the schools as a way of making kids dumber and more pliable. The same ruthless twits, as I think of them, are now campaigning under the banners of Social Justice and Fairness. For these far-left people, bad education is a good thing. 

(These people, the ones at the top of the Education Establishment, are probably best understood as the Pigs that Orwell described in Animal Farm.)"

Until we deal with motives, there's no way to make sense of the mediocrity found in so many public schools. It's deliberate mediocrity. That is what is so tough to accept. Doctors who make people sick?? So-called education experts who seem always to lower scores?? Same weirdly counter-intuitive deal. For further analysis along this line, see "Education: What Lurks Below The Surface?"
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11/19/12

Education Establishment continues assault on USA


A few years ago, the big question for me was whether we should say that the public schools are bad because of incompetence or subversion.

 Incompetence is a pleasant cop-out. You have clumsy people who can’t do a job right. You have the gang that can’t shoot straight. You have F Troop, an old TV program. They’re clumsy and sort of ridiculous. But you don’t have to deal with that whole realm of intentional malfeasance, of evil.

 More and more, when I looked at the patterns over decades -- the same dumb methods and bad results--you couldn’t conclude it was incompetence. Even the most incompetent persons, when they see themselves doing badly over and over and over again, will seek help and find better answers. But our Education Establishment never does. They keep all their bad ideas in play decade after decade. It’s quite a shocking thing. 

When Rudolf Flesch wrote his famous book in 1955, you might have thought that the schools would banish sight-words forever. Wrong. Public schools today are just as keen on sight-words in the first grade as they were 50 years ago. The only thing that changes is the jargon and supporting arguments, that is, the razzmatazz they feed to parents and teachers.

I have no trouble now using the words subversion and conspiracy. They seem correct. Now, I’m more focused on motive or mental state. Are these people sociopathic, pathological liars, sadists, or what? There is something so seriously wrong with a group that can consistently harm children -- that is, dumb them down in a variety of ways. How would YOU describe that group?
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For best antitdote to this assault, see BILL OF RIGHTS FOR STUDENTS 2012


8/3/12

Tell Kids The Truth About Education


Instead of nagging kids to do their homework, etc. how about this strategy: tell them the facts of life, educationally speaking. A good education is just like a good physique --- you have to work at it. 

A lot of public schools are just lazy and mediocre to the bone. Kids have to understand that they're not being pushed, even if they think they're being pushed. Ergo, they have to start pushing themselves. Here are TWO assists:

"A SPEECH TO TEENAGERS ABOUT THEIR EDUCATION." This piece is only about 700 words, very direct, the kind of thing that tough-minded ministers, principals, and community leaders might say to an audience of unruly15-year-olds. Do you own version; or just read the speech; or let them read it. This will save you a lot of trouble and your kids will get the message.

"IS YOUR SCHOOL REALLY EDUCATING YOU?" This is a longer article, for older students who may be ready for the news that they really haven't gotten a very good education, and now it's time to take stock and do something about it. 

The broader question here is, how do you motivate kids when they may be in a situation where everyone is lying to them? Self-esteem dictates that children should get constant praise. Grade inflation means everybody gets an A or B. Guessing is encouraged; while finding the one correct answer is disdained. Constructivism mixed in with fuzzy thinking creates a world where solid facts and precise answers rarely intrude. The broader answer is: tell them the truth to the best of your ability.


The message preached here is that the Education Establishment doesn't care about "education" as most parents define the term. The Establishment is lost in progressive visions for a collectivist future. If you can't change these ideologues, try at least to maneuver around them.
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7/16/12

Healthcare and public schools are different worlds




The Virginian-Pilot just ran (July 15) a column taken from Bloomberg News, that basically argues that the public didn’t initially support public education but now they do and everybody loves it, THEREFORE it’s only a matter of time before the public wants free healthcare and everybody will love it. So shut up and give Obama whatever he demands.

The column wants to suggest a parallel; but there may be more differences than similarities.

First, doctors and nurses must try to make you healthier, thanks to the Hippocratic Oath, morality, and  thousands of lawsuits. This means that free healthcare will cost all the money we have; and we may still end up with rationing. Chasing an impossible, unaffordable perfection will be built into the system. Still, it's comforting to know that doctors, etc. are really trying. 

Meanwhile, the public schools have no such constraints. They can keep children illiterate and unable to do arithmetic. Our public schools are still following John Dewey’s prescription that education should really be indoctrination (social engineering). That’s why we have the Reading Wars, the Math Wars, and the Education Wars generally -- because the Education Establishment is focused on ideological goals, and is not primarily concerned with educational goals. I tend to think that our public schools are a mess; and  we shouldn’t try to make policy arguments based on what is  going on there.

Here's another huge difference. Our public schools, as they are now, are vastly expensive but we get bad results. If the public schools would kick John Dewey aside, and follow the most sensible theories and methods, we would find an extraordinary reversal. Education will be much improved. Costs would be much reduced.

 What the Bloomberg column is saying is that we are drifting toward a cliff and don't fight it. I’m saying each cliff is different and maybe sometimes it’s okay to fall off. Sometimes you should run back the other way. But the point is to try to be critically discriminating. The column seems to think that more health care equals more education. And the brain should stop working right there.

 As you look at health care and schools, you're mainly struck by the different institutional inertia within each. Many of the big problems in health care are because we’re trying to screen, test, and insure for for every possible situation; and we're treating people who don’t want to be alive and perhaps should be allowed to die. The point is, that’s the very noble tradition in healthcare. You do everything possible to keep people alive.

 In the education world, there is a different tradition. John Dewey and his progressives introduced the notion that you could change everything, deform everything, and lie about everything, because we had to build a brave new socialist country.

QED: different worlds. Parallels are hard to come by.

[Title in Pilot: "Our governments, raising the bar.]" 
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7/5/12

Is Education Reform Even Possible???



Anyone taking even a casual glance at American public schools during the last 75 years would have to scream: “NO!”

My thesis, often written about, is that John Dewey and his progressives got control by the 1930s, and from then on they dumbed-down education to whatever degree they could in each particular school district. 

The point to focus on is that virtually every public school is LESS THAN IT COULD BE. The Education Establishment uses the most extraordinary array of bogus theories and methods to undermine the schools. Whole Word guarantees illiteracy. Reform Math guarantees that many children can’t do arithmetic. Constructivism guarantees the kids don’t have much knowledge. Etc. For quick recap of this tragedy, see 56: Top 10 Worst Ideas in Education.”

The past few weeks I’ve been writing a lot of articles about John Saxon. He was a brilliant man. His books were clearly superior. And yet the Education Establishment was able to marginalize him, and is now slowly trying to grind him into irrelevance. That they wish to do so is the great sin. “A Nation at Risk” in 1983 declared that the public schools, if designed by another country, would be regarded as “an act of war.” Think what they were saying. 

The Education Establishment is, in effect, that other country. It seems to operate as a cult, with its own rules, its own initiation ceremonies, its own way of making sure that all the people who rise to the top are true believers. So it’s easy to be pessimistic and cynical about any chances for improvement.

However, there are some positive signs. I listed eight in a piece called Good News About K-12 Education. The title is lightly ironic. The people in charge of K-12 education would see this news as bad. However, Americans in general should be glad for anything that reduces the power of the Education Establishment, that undermines the monopoly of the public schools system, and that allows people to try other ways to educate kids.

 I write all over the Internet, and I know from comments that many people are bitter and have given up hope. Their attitude is that public schools should just be burned to the ground. And then we start over. That doesn't seem to me even remotely realistic. I’ve always held to the idea that if we are clever, and we understand the opposition, we can work our way toward better ideas. If you agree with that approach, please read this article and pass it on to others who might appreciate a short article about hope.

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6/21/12

Homeschooling...the Bigger Picture


Homeschooling is alive and well in the USA. This is very important, not just for homeschoolers, but for everyone.

We need diversity: public schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschooling, etc. We need competition, which is why vouchers are so important.

The bigger point is that the Education Establishment has, for the most part, a monopoly. They abuse this monopoly. They refuse to correct their bad behavior and their flawed methods. So the best defense is to encourage alternatives and options. Let the public see that education can be handled in many ways. Help the public to understand that many of the favorite methods used in the public schools are, in fact, inferior.

 The bottom line on American education is that we wouldn't need these alternatives, just as there wouldn't be a billion-dollar tutoring business in this country, if the public schools did a good job. They don't. I'm sure they could do a better job at less cost. They simply do not seem to be interested in doing a better job. They seem to prefer mediocrity. It fits in with their ideological preference for leveling and collectivism.

 Are you interested in raising standards? One good strategy is to defend and support all other forms of public education. This strategy is especially crucial now that the Education Establishment is trying to grab more power over schools and curricula, under the banner of Common Core Curriculum.

 The linked article contains specifics about Hampton Roads in Virginia. But it's a good big-picture article about the situation nationally.

http://www.examiner.com/article/homeschooling-hampton-roads-the-big-picture

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5/12/12

Media and Schools Should Provide FACTS


One of the main reasons I started this blog was to comment on local things, educational and political. For example, the Virginian-Pilot has a bad habit of pushing its favorite issues 10 or 25 times. Gays in the military was worth at least 50 times. Same for those lacrosse-playing racists at Duke!

But something they don’t want you to know, silence!!! They are not even subtle about it. I mean, if you want to downplay something and still pretend to be balanced, you can drop the item into the last paragraph. But not mentioning it at all?

A practical result is I can go to the gym or an art show, and talk to people about things I’m following on the Internet, and they look at me blankly. No idea. And some of these are big stories.

For example, two days ago the Pilot reported that the controversial Arizona sheriff was being sued by the equally controversial Attorney General. That would be Eric Holder, who many people think has politicized and corrupted the DOJ. Holder apparently lied about his prior knowledge of Fast and Furious. So the Pilot  blandly reported all of Arpaio’s alleged excesses. But did not bother to mention that this Department of Justice is under its own cloud.

But the much greater omission was forgetting to mention that Sheriff Arpaio is bringing incredible heat down on President Obama for presenting what is very likely a forged birth certificate. This of course gives a huge motive for Obama to try to pressure Arpaio into shutting up. (We might call all this Gunfight at the O-No Corral.)

 I just put a piece on the Examiner where I tie the Pilot’s bad journalism in with the public schools’ tendency not to teach facts. In a way, all one big educational issue. Do you believe in giving people the truth or don’t you? Well, do you?

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4/5/12

Comedy Gold


American Thinker has article called "Musings of a College Instructor." Dumb things said by ill-educated students, basically. A lot of people left hostile comments directed at the incompetent clique in control of our schools. Not so fast, I objected. Incompetent?? I think not! I left this comment, which is so good I couldn't let it languish in forum obscurity:

"Folks, many of you are being very stingy. I want to remind you of your manners.

 We Americans are lucky to have an Education Establishment that is truly gifted at the task of dumbing-down an entire population. Be more appreciative. This work requires constant dedication and an almost inhuman devotion to ever lower standards. Admire the sacrifice.

Sure, they're Commies more or less. They hate us and want to grind this civilization into the dirt. Point is, they're good at what they do. They're geniuses. Personally, I don't admire illiteracy, ignorance, cultural nihilism, and intellectual decline. These people do!! They're working to build a beautiful dream. Surely we can praise the sincere effort they so generously make on our behalf. 

Bruce Deitrick Price
Improve-Education.org" 

3/30/12

A Letter to the Virginian-Pilot



Say Goodbye To Common Core Curriculum

Let's all be grateful for George Will. In his recent column (“Those pesky things called laws," March 11), Will explained the dangers and illegality of Common Core Curriculum.

For three years, the Virginian-Pilot, local foundations, leading citizens, and retired military dignitaries have crusaded for this federal intrusion, and lambasted Governor McDonnell for trying to keep Virginia safe from it.

I do not understand why so many smart people cannot see a power grab when it is unfolding in front of their eyes. If Obama didn’t bribe the states with million-dollar grants, Common Core Curriculum was DOA. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know? 

The federal government has no constitutional business getting involved in education. George Will quotes several laws that prohibit the Department of Education from meddling in curriculum. Why doesn’t that end the discussion?

I suspect Obama wants to do to education what he‘s doing to the economy and health care. Now is a good time for all states to roll back their involvement, if any, with Common Core Curriculum. 

ADDENDUM: IT HAS BEEN SURREAL FOR ME TO WATCH THIS NEWSPAPER, AND MANY BIG SHOTS IN MY AREA, AGITATE FOR SOMETHING WHICH THEY WILL SURELY LATER BE ASHAMED THEY SUPPORTED. IT'S FEDERAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION BY PEOPLE LIKE OBAMA AND HIS CZARS. NO ALARM BELLS THERE! WHAT COULD GO WRONG? ...I'VE JUST POSTED "PROTOCOLS FOR IMPROVING EDUCATION," WHICH TELLS HOW TO OUTWIT THE EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT.

2/10/12

Blame those in charge


“The value of teachers,” a column by Nicholas Kristof (Jan. 20), provides an example of an unsatisfying pattern. An expert announces that “our faltering education system may be the most important long-term threat to America’s economy and national well-being,” and then presumes to tell us precisely why we are in this mess. Kristof’s answer is bad teachers.

Other experts focus on other explanations. Parents. Students. Poverty. The culture. The internet. Drugs. Sex. Rock ‘n roll. The usual suspects. 

Here is the obvious truth that nobody bothers to speak. If public education were a publicly traded corporation, all of top management would be immediately fired. New leadership would be brought in. This process would be repeated until our schools showed clear improvement.

The more I studied public schools, the more I felt that the system is weighed down by bad theories and failed methods. I blame the Education Establishment (that is, the people at the top) for these misguided decisions.

Bruce Deitrick Price
Improve-Education.org
Virginia Beach

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>letter to VIRGINIAN-PILOT

1/12/12

Why Do We Need A Bill Of Rights For Students??

Easy! Because in the process of dumbing down the schools, our Education Establishment has cheated children out of their most basic rights: the right to read, to do math, to know history, to learn geography, to study science, to engage in real critical thinking, and in general to become an educated person.

All the things we call basics and fundamental knowledge....our Education Establishment has waged a relentless war of attrition against them. It's time to stop the war, and to save all the essential things that children have a right to  expect when they attend public schools.

If you're involved in school reform, please take a look at this handy 10-point  agenda for improving public schools:  A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR STUDENTS 2012. (On Improve-Education.org. Form can be printed.) 

www.improve-education.org/id90.html
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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 (always with full name, Bruce Deitrick Price). The schools, now bad due to ideology and laziness, could be easily improved.
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 probably find some interesting articles. I have 300 ed articles, videos, and book reviews on web. Please use them in your own battles.)    

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