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.

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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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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