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.

8/21/13

War on Children? Unfortunately, yes.


There is so much talk in the newspapers, especially here in Virginia,  about a War on Women. The Democrats have been very clever about turning Sandra Fluke's sex life into a so-called War on Women.

It's not just that Democrats took something and made it into a lot more. It's that there is a much more serious war going on in America. And the phrase "War on Women" suggested the obvious parallel phrase "War on Children."

At first, this phrase was a shock and almost painful to think. But everything that I've figured out about our public schools is very nicely summed up in those three words: war on children.

It starts in K and goes to 12. It's a sort of dumbing-down, if you like that phrase. One might also call it anti-education. One might call it systematic leveling. The people in charge (what I call the Education Establishment) are mostly some sort of socialist. For them it's an ideological given that children should be kept more or less equal. That's why these wannabe commissars are so effective and so dangerous.

 They don't think of themselves as destroying the minds and dreams of children. They think of themselves as building a brave new world, and if children have to be sacrificed to that dream, well, as the great Walter Duranty said, you can't make omelets without breaking some eggs.

 So they can happily promote educational methods that basically don't work, at least in an educational way. But they do work in a collectivist way. They make students more or less the same. That is, they make students mediocre.

 That's the vision that glows in the minds of our Education Establishment. All students hold hands and sing in gentle harmony. They play well together. The big enemy is individualism; it must be stamped out. Children must learn to be cooperative, not competitive.

Maybe if all children were more or less equal to begin with, this whole process wouldn't be so  destructive to most of them. Maybe if we didn't have any enemies in the world, we could get away with putting so much money and energy into social engineering.

The problem is, every child is different. They have hugely different potentials. We can't know what those potentials are unless we push them gently along. That approach is obviously best for each individual person.

Meanwhile, the world's gotten more complicated but the schools have gotten dumber. This just makes no sense to anyone (except our enemies).

 Meanwhile, there are always lots of enemies, lots of challenges. We need the public to be smarter.

 Well, that's the basic story. For a longer version of what's wrong and how we fix it, please see "Public Schools are a War on Children." article

http://brucedprice.hubpages.com/hub/Public-Schools-are-a-War-on-Children

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8/14/13

Literacy versus Illiteracy


Once upon a time, that was a very simple statement. A child could read and write; and we said that child was literate.

Or the child cannot read and write; and we said that child was illiterate.

The whole thrust, the big mission, of any serious school was to move every child from illiterate to literate. Oddly enough, our public schools for a long time have been very casual about this. They were always promoting bad techniques. They were grading loosely. They were suggesting in various ways that reading and writing weren’t all that important. 

John Dewey, 100 years ago, was clearly suspicious of putting too much emphasis on literacy.  He even called it a “perversion.” For him and his socialist cohorts the big mission was killing individualism, and turning children into cooperative comrades.

Things got so bad that by 1955 somebody could write a book called “Why Johnny Can’t Read” and millions of parents would exclaim, “They’re talking about my kid!”

 The point is, our Education Establishment has never cared deeply about literacy. They still don’t. We hear the most amazing anecdotes about first- and second-graders who don’t know the alphabet, can’t print their names, don’t seem to know how to hold a pencil. This of course is a national scandal, and fixing it should be our first priority. (For example, Common Core should be entirely ignored until we have prepared the way for something more sophisticated than where we are now. If we can't even teach reading to little children, that all this blather about new "standards" is not just nonsense, it's dishonest.)

 Now there is more bad news. The onrush of digital technologies and devices has given our Education Establishment sophisticated new reasons to slight literacy. The sophistry goes like this: what really matters now is that children can use the Internet and prepare a PowerPoint presentation.

 For more analysis of this, see What is literacy in the 21st century? The Education Establishment wants the answer to be: digital manipulations. The answer had better be what it has always been: kids can read and write, competently and comfortably.

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If you have always wondered what the Reading Wars are all about, I've just created a short YouTube video called "Reading is Easy," which presents the testimony of seven experts who say that if you teach with phonics, reading is indeed easy. This would seem to be the reason that our Education Establishment constantly condemned this approach. As noted, they were always promoting bad techniques.
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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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