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Commentary: “The Gathering Storm in Education”

Teacher/ columnist and education activist Donna Garner

by Donna Garner~~~~

5.30.12~~~

I will try to keep this short. As you know by now, my passion is education because to me it is a root cause for much of what is wrong with this country.

At the bottom of this e-mail, I have posted five links that I believe hold the answer to restoring our nation’s strength.
Most people in this country know there is something  badly wrong with our schools, but those same people when asked to share their recommendations have problems expressing them.

It finally occurred to me a few months ago that I needed to do a better job of categorizing the two distinct philosophies of education and their two different end games.

I named these two types “Type 1” and “Type 2,”  and it is amazing how much clarity these terms have brought to the public.  Once we all understand the same terminology, now education issues and those who support certain education issues can be categorized into Type #1 or Type #2 camps.

Quote from Donna Garner:  “Type #1’s end goal is academic achievement. Type #2’s end goal is the indoctrination and manipulation of students’ minds.”
(1)  Type #1 Philosophy of Education: Knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level-specific content that is tested largely through objectively scored tests  — These standards are built from K through Grade 12 and are taught mostly through direct, systematic instruction.

Type #1 standards could be referred to as the traditional method – the method of teaching that people perhaps 50 years old and older experienced when they were in school.  This included the teaching of phonics, grammar, correct usage/spelling, cursive handwriting, classical literature, expository/persuasive/research writing, the four math functions taught to automaticity, fact-based and discreet courses in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Calculus, U. S. History, World History, Botany, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.

(2) Type #2 Philosophy of Education — Project-based, subjective (emphasize cognitive domain – beliefs, opinions, emotions), subjectively assessed based upon the value system of the evaluator — emphasize multiculturalism, political correctness,  environmental extremism, diversity, social justice agenda  — These standards are built backwards from Grade 12 down to K (similar to trying to build a house from the roof down) and are taught mostly using the constructivist (project-based) approach.

Obama’s social justice agenda includes an emphasis on subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom/contraceptives instead of abstinence, environmental extremism, global warming, victimization, diversity, an acceptance of the normalcy of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender lifestyle, redistribution of wealth, a de-emphasis on factual knowledge, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers, and American exceptionalism.

The Obama social justice agenda in the Common Core Standards will be enmeshed into students’ curricula by way of math word problems, textbook examples, practice sets, questions at the end of chapters, informational text selections, essay assignments, student projects, formative and summative assessments (written and scored at the national level), community service at nationally approved sites, etc.
The Common Core Standards along with their curriculum activities and assessments are Type #2 because the end game is to indoctrinate students into the social justice agenda.

The curriculum standards implemented into Texas and into most other states during the late 90’s were Type #2.

Texas has refused to join the Common Core Standards and has been fighting since May 2008 to move our Type #2 over into Type #1.

Because of the leadership and hard work of our elected Texas State Board of Education conservatives, we now have Type #1 curriculum standards in (1) English/Language Arts/Reading, (2) Science, (3) Social Studies, and (4) Math; and this spring the all-new STAAR/End-of-Course tests based upon Type #1 were administered to our public school students.

Not to be defeated, the Type #2 proponents are putting together a “gathering storm” to try to destroy Type #1 by removing the people on the Texas State Board of Education (and in the Texas Legislature) who have worked so hard to move our state from Type #2 to Type #1.

Texas has begun to lead the nation by adopting the Type #1 Philosophy of Education, and we must not allow the Type #2 proponents to undo our efforts.

We lost Gail Lowe from the fight in yesterday’s SBOE election. Nobody on the Board has fought any harder nor given any more of her time to the Type #1 cause than has Gail Lowe.

The person who defeated Gail Lowe, Sue Melton, is the past president of ATPE and is undoubtedly a Type #2 proponent.  My husband and I as public school teachers joined ATPE when it first started, but sadly ATPE has done nothing to move our state back to Type #1 but has instead turned into a labor issues organization for educators.

Yesterday’s elections also failed to remove Thomas Ratliff from the SBOE. Ratliff could be called “the father of Type #2” because he is a registered lobbyist for Bill Gates/Microsoft which has used its political and monetary power to force America into the technology-based, Type #2 Common Core Standards (with its accompanying national curriculum, assessments, and national database provided by Microsoft) from which Bill Gates plans to make a fortune.

Thomas Ratliff is a part of the “gathering storm” that is trying to undo the efforts of the Type #1 proponents on the SBOE.

For those in Texas, I have provided the list of SBOE candidates going forward into the run-offs and into the General Elections in Nov. 2012.  Our work is cut out for us.

Please take the time to go to the five links that I have provided at the bottom of this page.  I believe they will help to clarify the education morass.

By the way, these two philosophies are not found only in the public schools (including charter schools). Type #2’s tentacles are spreading into private schools also.  Parents and the public must learn how to recognize them, define them, categorize them, and then take the appropriate action.

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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