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Bruce Deitrick Price
Author and artist: Bruce Deitrick Price
Author and artist: Bruce Deitrick Price

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Curriculum planners, please take a look at this idea.

Most subjects can wander off into aimless discussion, and especially so in the typical American public school.

Language classes are uniquely simple. You learn vocabulary. You learn pronunciation. Etc. All these steps are well known; and it's clear whether a class is advancing properly or not. Clear, that is, to teachers, parents, and the students themselves.

Most public schools have been forced to use Constructivism. Teachers can't teach; students go off on their own looking for knowledge. Not just looking for it, they are supposed to construct it! The practical point is, looking at this disorderly descent into something or other, no one knows for sure whether any progress is being made. The whole class can be a smokescreen for no progress at all.

Ideally, all classes would start to look more and more like French classes. You have simple goals, you have simple procedures that lead directly to each goal, and each student knows whether they are advancing or not.

What we're describing there is traditional education. We're describing education around the world even today. It's just in the USA that everything is smoke and mirrors. The Education Establishment plays games with the public, and probably with itself. They are not seriously trying to teach very much and whether anything is being taught or not is probably a question they don't even think about.

I believe it's fair to say that American children can go through a whole year in math or history or science and at the end not know anything more than they knew at the beginning. That's about 30 weeks of schooling and they've got maybe one new week of knowledge. This is disgraceful. Why not make something happen every week? They're doing it in French class.
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This article is addressed directly to students. The goal is to jolt them a little bit. The method is to speak to them in a somewhat rude and aggressive way. Look out, danger ahead. Okay, the goal is to scare them.

The school’s not going to tell the students, hey, we’re doing a half-baked job, we’re mainly trying to control you. The parents don’t understand the nuances. Don’t expect to see any help from the media.

How’s the kid going to have any sense of his education until five or 10 years in the future when he looks back? Then it’s too late. A lot of damage is already done.

One of the most troubling aspects of K-12 education is that there is a relentless attack on character. There aren’t too many people telling students to try harder, work more hours, push yourself. In fact, there is a tendency to excuse lateness and laziness. So you didn’t show up for the test, so what? So you didn’t bother to do the paper? No problem.

Kids need to develop good study habits and a work ethic.

Kids need to know that in general the schools are not asking much of their students. Everything tends to be slack and indulgent. But the kids sense this. They may like going to easy schools. But in the back of their minds they know they are being set up for problems in the future.
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A Plan For Saving The Public Schools----Short press release tries to sum up the whole K-12 situation. If parents knew what was going on in the classroom, they would no longer trust the Education Establishment. That's a good first step.

Sight-words can't teach reading. Common Core Math can't teach arithmetic. Constructivism can't teach facts and knowledge. Not efficiently and successfully. But our public school curricula are built on these dysfunctional theories and methods. If the public understood how corrupt this is, intellectually speaking, surely they would demand better ideas.

The problem is, our movers and shakers, that is, the people at the top, are not doing their job. It's as if they're all in comas. So what's the answer? Every individual citizen has to start being a mover and shaker. Be a leader. Get involved in the local school and start throwing your weight around, at least just a little.

Please share this press release with friends. Discuss these issues. Learn more about each one. The point of the press release is to tell people I've got 500 articles on the Internet. You want to know about phonics or sight-words or Common Core Math, it's easy. All you do is Google that topic and my name. Bingo! You've got a bunch of articles.
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More than 100 years ago (1913 to be exact), Maria Montessori had become world famous. She was renowned for educating children who had previously been classified as uneducable. She did this with a multi-sensory approach where you basically throw every possible answer at the problem. She was willing to find what worked. You use singing, or dancing, or exotic foods or painting the schoolroom a different color-- whatever works. Soon her supposedly defective children were operating at a normal or above level.

In December, 1913, already famous throughout Europe, Montessori went on a tour of the US. John Dewey and his bunch could not allow this woman to be too popular. She was a threat to their own methods. Her appearance at Carnegie Hall was the pretext for an attack piece written by Kilpatrick, the second most powerful educator. He also wrote a book titled The Montessori Method Examined.

Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy. I believe she came from a somewhat aristocratic background. For two decades, she had her way with the world. Then she ran into our Education Establishment, already a ruthless juggernaut. They devastated her reputation and sent her home in tatters. War War I was just starting. After that war, Montessori schools tended to diminish and fade into history. She died in 1952, the same year as John Dewey.

Montessori schools and theories came back only in the 1960s because the hippies and countercultural types were looking for looser approaches to educating children. The definition of Montessori tended to be blurred as she was not there to define it.

Meanwhile, public schools declined in a straight line from roughly 1910 to roughly 2020. John Dewey and his ideas prevailed. Although very pretentious and ambitious in making claims, Progressive education was by large a practical failure because it put much less emphasis on academic aspects. Dewey wanted to create a new kind of society and he needed a new kind of kid. Taking care of these two projects meant that kids sometimes weren't learning to read or count. Academics were not a priority for Dewey.

Dewey and his gang were ideologues, socialist ideologues. This is the problem Montessori ran into in 1913 and it's the problem we have now. Dewey's thinking was bifurcated. He's trying to do two things at once and he defined them in such a way that they're actually incompatible. Collective approaches tend to mean leveling. You're guaranteed to get mediocrity. And that's what Dewey gave us.

Bottom line. America would've been much better off if Montessori had come here in 1913 and laughed Dewey and his gang off the stage,
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I was reading some articles about Venezuela. This was one of the beauty spots of the world 50 years ago. So many advantages, so much success. But now it’s all gone. People are almost eating out of garbage cans.

I’m reading the articles and start to think about the American school system, which has so much wealth, infrastructure, and trained people. But it has gotten dumber and dumber over the last several decades. People graduate from high school ignorant and illiterate.

And what we see in both cases is a sort of paralysis. A small group of people at the top of American K-12 and at the top of Venezuela have doubled down on certain ideas that don’t work very well. But nobody seems able to regroup and start over.

I think that both situations, our schools and a country in South America, have much in common.

I think that teachers in lots of subjects could use this article:
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Fast, fun, maybe even profound...

I’m still trying to figure out how to use a blog on I've had this site for more than five years and put a lot of articles on it. But I don’t like the cascade of articles going down forever and forever....

I want all the titles on the screen at once. Well, this new design is as close as I’ve gotten.

This blog has 110 articles about improving K-12 education.

If you click the option at the far left called Flip Card, all the titles are on the page. It’s easy and fun to go from one article to the other. Light reading about serious topics, as I like to say.

If you have friends who might like my work, please pass along this link: IMPROVEEDUCATION.BLOGSPOT.COM
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There is too much dull teaching in the world. We want joy in the classroom and nothing else but.

Many forces work against this, and not just that there are many unimaginative people in education.

The Education Establishment has continually whittled down the amount of content in a school or classroom. Now mix that up with Constructivism, which limits the teacher’s ability to teach. See the drift? Less content. Less maneuverability. Less chance to create some razzle-dazzle.

Americans should start demanding more excitement in the classroom, more joy in learning. Come on, we can dream. We’ve got Hollywood movies to show us how to do this. We’ve got Madison Avenue commercials. We’ve got Broadway musicals. That’s the particular genius we want to encourage.

If people in a classroom are saying “Wow!,” you know somebody is doing something right

I’ve always had an interest in what I call ergonomic education, that is, efficient education. I will bet you that our professors of education haven’t got a clue how you get there. In Common Core you see all this idiotic theorizing about underlying meaning and deeper learning; such blather leads to counterproductive, counterintuitive instruction. Efficient education is fun education. Get those kids laughing and having fun, you might be able to teach them something.
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The war on males is one of the largest, most successful social engineering projects of the past hundred years. John Dewey and his gang didn’t like independent-minded students. Probably boys are in general more inclined to push back against whatever the rules are. That marked them for extinction.

A key feature of sight-word memorization, forced on the schools in 1931, is that it’s basically idiotic and impossible to do at a high-level. So here you have all these millions of young boys, confident and cocky, running full speed into the unmovable object known as non-phonetic instruction. The boys try to do what they’re told but it’s not easy. Little by little their common sense rebels against the idiocy of memorizing the English language one word at a time. Meanwhile, girls will try to make a situation work. They want the class to get along and the teacher to succeed. But many of the boys finally say: this is nuts and I’m not putting up with it anymore. So you have a lot of passive resistance where boys sort of drop out.

The nightmare is that five or 10 years later the boys never learn to read. They'll say, “I don’t like books…. I hate reading.” The horrible truth is these boys hardly have a clue how to read. They were never taught correctly. More exactly, they were taught incorrectly. They were told to guess, to skip ahead, to use the pictures, to figure words out from context. They were told to memorize sight-words. The big stupid.

Illiteracy was the quickest, simplest way for the school system to convince boys that they weren't very bright and they should give up and drop out. Men were bullied by the most subtle bullies we have, professors of education.

A lot of other techniques were used, a lot of other school subjects, a lot of other tricks. But reading was the dark center of the war against boys because you start doing that in the first grade or even kindergarten. With very little effort, the Education Establishment put a pebble in every boy’s shoe. A nagging pain in the foot, just enough to keep you from walking straight or running very fast. So that little pebble effectively became a nonsurgical lobotomy where some cognitive function was cut out. If you want to quantify this whole thing, you could probably figure every boy who couldn't read lost 10 or 15 points off his IQ, Not fatal, you may say, but certainly enough to eliminate thoughts of going to college. And so to quantify things again, we now have 57% females and 43% males in our colleges. That is a huge shift, especially considering the ratio was probably the reverse of that just a generation or two ago.
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This is one of the biggest themes possible. Teaching basic knowledge, steadily steadily steadily, is the best way to create educated citizens.Start early and continue steadily.

Do you realize what we have instead? We have an Education Establishment which has one major skill: creating endless elaborate curricula that have no content whatsoever.

Imagine a whole school devoted to blah blah blah.

That's how you create the dumbest citizens in the world. As Prof. Deneen discovered, there are students at Notre Dame who don't know who won the Civil War. This is easily accomplished. You simply refuse to teach anything. Ever.

Imagine the sands of the Sahara stretching off forever. Not even a small puddle..

For Progressive educators, facts are something like sex for Victorians. They just are not comfortable with them. They want emptiness, which they will call self-fulfillment.

Seriously, folks, our schools are terrible because the people in charge don't believe In teaching facts and knowledge. If we would teach kids to read in the first grade, half of our problems would be solved. If we would teach a steady diet of interesting information K-12, the other half would be solved.

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The big problem in American society is that the education problems are so murky and complicated no one knows how to proceed.

We need more education about education!

If people understood sight-words, constructivism, reform math, common core, and all the other absurdities, then they can get involved in fighting the Education Establishment, which typically chooses the worst idea they can find.

I created a page on Pinterest with a good selection of articles for people who are not quite sure how to proceed or whom to trust.

I'm a good explainer of sophistry and dysfunction, which is what our public schools are full of. Please pass this link on to other people who may be interested in education reform.
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