PERMIT ME TO RANT, PART TWO: AMAIRICUN EDGYKAYSHUN AND THE COMING ...
Now before we get started with today's Rant, Part Two, again, my hat is off to those good teachers in the system who know how bad and far gone the system is, and who, in spite of the glittering mediocrities for colleagues that they suffer with, in spite of the mandates and dictates of government eddubabblers and computerized tests, somehow manage to impart an appreciation for history, literature, grammar, science, music, art, or mathematics to their knowledge-starved students. My hat is off even more to those parents who confront the edubabblers, the nutty principals and dumbed and numbed-down idiots that overpopulate the system, and who support the good teachers, principals and superintendents... and there are good people. The problem is, there are too few such parents, and too few such principals and teachers.
Now with that in mind let's get started.
First: a personal story, and while I normally don't indulge in personal stories on this site, here I think it is relevant, and highly so. Many years ago, on my way to doing my master's degree, I had the privilege to be taught mediaeval history in a small seminary by a French lady whose doctorate was in paleography from the Sorbonne. She was eminently qualified, and a brilliant and inspiring professor. She made us think. We'll call her Nicole, and that indeed was her first name. Nicole had grown up in France during World War Two, under the German occupation, in a little village. Nicole never ceased to enforce the idea to us to learn as much as we could about our heritage and culture, and to think for ourselves, no matter what the bureaucrats said. In that vein, one day she related how one morning, at the beginning of the school day, her normal teacher did not appear, and in his place, stepped a German captain, who proceeded to inform her class that he was their new teacher, and that under the terms of the local Nazi Kulturminister, the local French children were forbidden to learn anything about their country's history, literature, or contributions to science.
Then the captain informed the class that he objected to this mandate, and that he would teach them about their history and literature, and that it would have to be a secret between him and the class.
He was an educational subversive, and he did so at peril to himself, to preserve and transmit to French children their heritage in the wider western culture. Bear that in mind, as backdrop to what you are about to read, and to what you read above about similar teachers facing similar prospects in this country.
Yesterday I ranted (and rambled) a bit about the so-called "referencing" methods in modern Amairicun edgykayshun, and in particular about the "standard" MLA method. Previously on this site, and in numerous interviews, I have aired my complaints against the Amairicun system of standardized computerized tests with pre-selected answers that students are expected to fill in with their number two lead pencils, after learning them from an Amairicun textbook that contains no primary texts.
The edubabblers have finally received the message, and are now making moves away from those tests.
Yes, you read that correctly.
But don't head for the punchbowl in celebration just yet, because as always with the edubabblers (especially those in the goobernment), there is a sizable pile of taurus cacas floating in the punchbowl(with apologies to male bovines of all species for associating them or their doo with these people).
The pile of taurus cacas is the latest edubabble fad to come from the federal goobernment in its never ending quest to fulfill Mr. Rockefailure's dream of not having people that can think, but people that can take orders and work. If you think your school is failing now, just wait for this one to be implemented across the board. And wait until you hear what the implications are.
The newest fad is something called "Smarter Balanced Assessments," and I am just hearing about it from various people involved professionally in education. As I am only just now learning about this, bear with me. The essence of it is a uniform federal standard across all states. Now here's the kicker:
"Based on student responses, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment. For example, a student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging item, while an incorrect answer generates an easier question. By adapting to the student as the assessment is taking place, these assessments present an individually tailored set of questions to each student and can quickly identify which skills students have mastered. This approach represents a significant improvement over traditional paper-and-pencil assessments used in many states today, providing more accurate scores for all students across the full range of the achievement continuum.
- "Better information for teachers: Optional computer adaptive interim assessments will provide a more detailed picture of where students excel or need additional support, helping teachers to differentiate instruction. The interim assessments will be reported on the same scale as the summative assessment, and schools will have the flexibility to assess small elements of content or the full breadth of the Common Core State Standards at locally-determined times throughout the year.
- "More efficient and more secure: Computer adaptive tests are typically shorter than paper-and-pencil assessments because fewer questions are required to accurately determine each student’s achievement level. The assessments draw from a large bank of questions, and since students receive different questions based on their responses, test items are more secure and can be used for a longer period of time.
- "More accurate: CAT offers teachers and schools a more accurate way to evaluate student achievement, readiness for college and careers, and to measure growth over time.
"Computerized assessments allow teachers, principals, and parents to receive results in weeks, not months. Faster results mean that teachers can use the information from optional interim assessments throughout the school year to differentiate instruction and better meet the unique needs of their students."(See http://www.smarterbalanced.org/smarter-balanced-assessments/computer-adaptive-testing/)
Sounds neat, doesn't it?
But after talking with a couple of teachers in language arts around the country in areas where this new system is being field tested, I'm being told that most of the emphasis in schools is now on reading and comprehension of mundane tasks, such as alphabetization and so on. One teacher informed me that the mix of "practical" reading skills versus actual study of literature in the classroom under the new standards will be about 80% to 20%.
In other words, gone are Shakespeare, Dickens... you name it. Gone with them are the ability to think critically, to reflect on a text or an image and its meanings.
It's all about "career-readiness." Universities and schools will be - even more than now - licensing bureaus for narrowly defined "competencies" to have a "career" as a compliant worker.
Now plug all this computer-adaptive testing into emergent computerized federal databanks - we already know they track everything about us, even though they protest they're not really invading anyone's privacy, right? - and perhaps possibly the real hidden goal becomes evident: test scores will be fed into federal computers, and federal bureaucrats will lay down "career guidelines" for people with certain scores, and student loans will only be available for those who follow federal "guidelines" for career choices.
Or to put it into yesterday's context: why bother referencing anything in detail, or properly? It's all about simply pointing people in the general direction. Want to know where that quotation of Paul R. Hill comes from? Go read his 430 page book... it's from there. Maybe you'll find it. Besides, it doesn't really matter. It's all about learning the "correct" Pavlovian response, and pushing the "correct" button on your computer to indicate the pre-determined officially "correct" answer:
Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
9/11 was a bunch of Arab Muslim fundamentalists.
The burning airplane fuel brought down the Twin Towers.
....and in some cases, the "correct" answers will lead to career choices that will be a matter of national security, and you'll simply be compelled to do it.
Then, for kicks, imagine plugging it all into the transhumanist context that my co-author Dr Scott de Hart and I surveyed in our book on the subject: "We're sorry sir/madam, your test scores indicate mental and emotional deficiencies. In order to qualify for (insert: car loan, federal grant, student loan, food stamps, medical care) you're going to have to be implanted with an "emotion stabilizer chip" and you're going to have to receive federal approval of your genetically compatible spouse to have well-adjusted children (or face permanent sterilization)..." Well, you get the idea. It's the ultimate final touch for the eugenicist.
And don't forget, not following "federal guidelines" in the classroom - teaching too much Euclid or Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Payne or Lawrence Sterne or Shakespeare - might become a federal offense. Remember that German captain, for rest assured, this new program will inevitably bring with it the customary federal laws and intrusions, instantly transforming the genuine teachers into outlaws and subversives. Imagine the traffic camera in the classroom, monitoring how much time the teacher spends on "competencies" and how much on genuine language arts, grammar, and literature.
While you're contemplating these Orwellian prospects, think about this statement of Terrence McKenna: “The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”
When one no longer is able to think critically about words, about the symbols of our culture, then the ability of oligarchs to work their magic grows exponentially. Only the individual, critical mind, is the last hedge against this black magic.
See you on the flip side.
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Cheers to Joseph P Farrell. Telling it like it is. A thinkers thinker. A beacon of light in the land of subterfuge. A breath of fresh air. A hot bowl of soup on a cold winters day.
have been pulling my hair out for a few decades ? since the big purple dinosaur from the mid 80s.something smelled funny about barny?? they spend a great deal on teaching how to live in a principle-less paradigm.the hegelian dialectic of definition ..
As far as computer testing goes, it CAN be a good thing according to some. I cannot claim knowledge here . . .
For instance, I heard about a licensing exam years ago that I would have to take (for a medical lab degree). The computer option (today I’m guessing there is no option: the computer test is all there is) was explained as being very interactive. If you got one question right, you would get another question of the subject that was a bit more difficult. If you got that one right, maybe another one even more difficult. If you got that one right, you were done with that subject. Of course, if you get the first one wrong, you get an easier one. Answer that one incorrectly, the next one is even easier. Miss that one, you “fail” that subject. Subjects here were blood banking, microbiology, chemistry, etc.
In this way, supposedly, instead of asking 25 to 50 questions on each subject, you might only get 3 to 5 questions, or maybe 10 (I am making the numbers up, but you get the idea). So this is supposed to make taking the test faster for the taker. Also, you got the results IMMEDIATELY, before you left the testing station. I don’t know why 20 years later it takes WEEKS to get the results.
Also, again supposedly (I cannot claim to “know” any of this, I am just repeating what I was told), if you missed a question in some category, you would be fed more questions on that subject, and if (IF) you got many of those other ones correct, it would improve your score. How many times have you taken a test when the teacher asks the ONE thing you do not know?
So, computer testing can have a positive side, IF “they” want to make it positive.
Good old Terrence McKenna. I miss him dearly.
Thanks for the speech material and everybody’s input. I’m preparing to do battle with these dark forces tomorrow as my local community selects a new principal for the public school. The bureaucracy is pushing their hack and champion of standardized tests while the community pushes for the maverick, beloved, inspirational lover of knowledge and critical thinking. The great weapon the status quo yields is the threat of lost funding if the school doesn’t meet the test standards. Its hard to convince the townspeople not to cower to them. Moreover, the district bureaucracy stacks the selection committee with their administrative employees.
As I sit in these committees and observe the guile of some of these people, I can’t help thinking their is something very sinister at work beyond the status quo just defending itself with any means necessary. I feel like I am truly in the presence of evil. I hope I’m just crazy.
On a positive note, the only thing I would add is that influencing our pill popping, tv hypnotized, easily suggestible, fellow citizens is a two edged sword. Any body can be the pied piper, not just the bad guys. People who can no longer think for themselves are willing to follow anyone so the one with the most forceful argument and best presentation can rule the day.
“It’s all about “career-readiness.” Universities and schools will be – even more than now – licensing bureaus for narrowly defined “competencies” to have a “career” as a compliant worker.”
To be honest, I don’t really see anything wrong with that. Of what value is a degree in art history, psychology, history, English, etc??? I am not the only one who says that a very large number of people with college degrees have basically wasted their (or someone’s) money: they will never get a job using what they majored in.
So many people getting useless degrees is a HUGE waste. Might as well channel them into something that might actually be useful to society. In this age of diminishing resources, collegedegrees for their own sake will sooner or later have to go.
I am not saying that the above listed SUBJECTS (and many others) are useless. I am saying that far too many people who end up with a “degree” end up with nothing of value after four years of toil.
It is my experience that very few people actually want to live the life of learning. Even the ancients realized that it was a life for the very few. Most of the people I know do not even read one book a year. Women sometimes read the occasional romance novel or celebrity bio. Guys might read sports news. I know someone with a degree in physics who reads maybe one book every 5 years. Maybe. You cannot pay him to read a book.
While I agree with most of your critique of education, to expect most or all people to be real scholars just is not going to happen in our lifetime. Society simply does not have the resources to waste producing thousands and thousands of “degreed people” every year who do not really end up using all those resources poured into their education when they get a job.
At the University of Virginia a few years ago half of all undergraduate degrees (about 4,000 out of 8,000) one year were in English (I’m guessing this is a long term trend). Maybe 10 or 20 or those will become English professors. Maybe (and due to recent cuts in education, this is a real maybe) one or two hundred will become teachers in k thru 12 grades. What are the other 3800 people with English degrees going to do with that degree? What is the point? Does society actually need all those English degrees if they won’t be teaching English? How many English teachers do we need in this society? The resources of this planet are limited. That is a fact. Sooner or later, we as a society are going to have to come to terms with what we produce most: WASTE (in just about every aspect of life). Education is definitely part of this waste. Paring education down to the bare essentials is a good thing.
Train the professors? Sure. Everybody else: get ’em ready for a job that society actually needs done, and let them (and this includes me) learn in their own time (as in “read”) and on their own initiative, IF they so desire.
Just like morality, true learning cannot be legislated (or forced by whatever means the government chooses to use).
Doesn’t MLA stand for “Modern Lunatic Asylum”??
I don’t like raining on your parade, JPF, but sometimes I feel compelled to, just to voice a different perspective.
I said this not too long ago: “literature” is nowhere near as important as other subjects. It is, first and foremost, entertainment. While literature (entertainment) can have value, how important is it, really? How different is Shakespeare than a crummy TV show, really? Both are, first and foremost, entertainment.
As a case in point: you could probably line up every single English language book of the 20th century (or any century) that has been labelled “literature,” and I would probably prefer to vomit than to read it. I just do not like “literature.” (Of course I admit that many people do enjoy literature). And believe me, I like to read. I read more than about .0000001% of the population.
But books by none other than JPF, now I could read one of those every single week for the rest of my life (hint, hint). If I had to choose between all the works of Shakespeare, and all the books of JPF, I would take the JPF books hands down. It is not even a contest. And yet no book by JPF will ever be labelled “literature.” Why is that? Because “the powers that be” do not want to praise what they do not want people to read . . . . .
The word “literature” just does not have the value that many assign to it.
I suggest not placing too much value on “literature.”
I am not a big Lenin fan, but wasn’t it Lenin who said something like the following (gross paraphrase ahead):
“Ideas are weapons. We would not let our enemies have guns, neither should we let them have ideas.”
American education makes sense if “someone” considers the general population “the enemy.” At least part of the plan is about denying children and students IDEAS.
“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
So a government run computer system is going to determine what your calling in life is? Oh wonderful, I don’t have to perform that bothersome thing called “thinking for myself”. Great, now I can spend more time on twitter and facebook and watching American Idol. Isn’t progress magnificent?
Something like this is happening in Australia. There is a movement that wishes to implement a system whereby only courses that can lead to a career will be taught in our universities. All others are a waste of time and money according to these beneficent buffoons.
The way things are going one has to wonder when our lords and masters will re-institute the reform of Diocletian. That is that a son must follow in the line of work that his father performed. If your father was a farmer then to the farm with you, if your father was a soldier then to the army with you. Sound farfetched? Methinks we are not at all that far away from it.
There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.
hey, Luke, am glad you’re posting again- have missed your commentaries-
“Something like this is happening in Australia”- don’t doubt that for a second, probably already for a long time- but even my Aussie friends here in Germany seem to be in the same political quagmire as Americans-
my one Aussie opera singer co-worker (and she is an incredibly dear person!)- she studied in NYC- is very proud that her husband (living in Berlin, by the way) studied at the London School of Economics (an off-shoot of the Fabian Society- and if someone like David Icke is to be given any credulity whatsoever, read what he has to state about the Fabian Society in regard to economics)-
the mind-control shit is everywhere- but I tend to think that Americans and Aussies (above all) are the most susceptible simply because they are distracted by the topographical vastness of their countries (Australia has a larger “out back” than the US) thinking because they have a natural wilderness at their backs to deal with they are not susceptible to any kind of mental pre-programming- whereas smaller countries who aren’t distracted by a wilderness can concentrate more on whatever is influencing their daily lives (the UK is an exception- it’s wilderness is the North Sea but, hey, when one is “watered-down,” what do reports about Jimmy Savile actually mean?)-
am I making any sense of myself?-
“There is something rotten in the state of Denmark”- yeah, it’s a start- if anyone has been to Copenhagen (as I have) and viewed the outer walls of the Danish Palace one will see the sheave of bonded arrows (symbol of Facsism) carved into the outer walls of the palace- go and see for one’s self-
and we’re not living in a world of deception?- enough for now-
stay well- many regards-
Apologies for my tardiness for there has been an addition to the legion recently. Baby Legio (Caligula anyone? haha) is quite a handful and she takes up much of the spare time that I used to have. However she is a joy and I wouldn’t trade her for anything.
I agree with the mind control being everywhere and the susceptibility of Aussies and Yanks to fall for it. However one other reason I feel is the general stupidity of our respective populations. Our schools create semi-literate baboons with low concentration spans easily distracted by the latest Ipad/Iphone or so called “reality” shows. Incidentally the only reality that these shows present is how far the West has become culturally and intellectually disabled. I mean no-one reads books anymore, we would rather see “the movie”. How pathetic we have become, Sometimes I feel that I could scream. Poor Legio has become intellectually starved. Haha that’s why I come here.
As to the Fabian’s Larry, you don’t need David Icke to tell you what they are about, just look at their website. It’s all there in simple black and white. Hiding in plain site as it always has.
Good to hear from you mate and take care,
Thanks Robert, I appreciate that.
Congratulations mate! My little ‘contubernium’ is asleep at present.
Marking said mindless baboon’s essays……there is still hope for some, but it is keeping me up very late every night fighting the war against stupidity, illiteracy and apathy.
I am convinced that the rampant utilitarianism and consequentialism in the West is part of the problem.
Thanks mate and I hope that the inquisition is going a little easier on you Matt, you naughty, subversive fellow. I remember once that you said that you got your students to study “Reich of the Black Sun”. Kudos to you my friend, get the little blighters thinking. There isn’t enough of that these days.
All the best mate,
warmest congrats Luke- this is great news!
twas the greatest day of my life.
I love all of your rants, Dr. Farrell, but above all on this subject- so now instead of singing the whole “Ring” cycle I’ll warble the Monteverdi “Ulysses” trilogy in retrograde inversion as another response 🙂
but now on a serious note I wish you had stated somewhere in these 2 edumakayshun rants what you mentioned on your March ByteShow interview: “many Americans think that logical, critical thinking is a conspiracy theory”- boy, can I attest to that!-
one of my best American friends here in SW Germany initially came to Germany on a Fulbright study scholarship, subsequently stayed and now teaches piano/accompanies at two conservatories in SW Germany- now I really have to ask myself how “full bright” these scholarship recipients are because whenever I try to logically break down/explain my viewpoint(s) about even the most basic concepts concerning mundane things his response has always and exclusively been: “you and your stupid conspiracy theories”- it’s just so disheartening- he’s otherwise a great guy, but politically he has the understanding of a ‘dore nob’-
on a last but amusing note: after having just started my musical studies at U. of Cinciinati College-Conservatory of Music (just started woik on my Masstuhs dugree) I moved into a new building already inhabited by many fellow classmates; the first thing my new landlady asked me was: “do you also go to the observatory?”-
stay well awl- many regurds-
Larree in Jermoney
Brave New World six hundred years After Ford everybody. Alphas,Betas,Gammas that’s if we are lucky more likely Nineteen Eighty Four Support Your Local Library,Bookstore If YOU Have Them Read Every Book You Can Get Hands On. Beat back the coming darkness Or It’s Here Already Stay Informed And GOOD LUCK.
By the way go to itunes today I hear Fareed Zakaria’s opening comments it relevant to your topic of these two rants about the American Education System you have posted.
Just read the stuff on these two so called education websites looks like something out of the Dead Poets Society the film.
Oh yes indeed Joseph! Terence McKenna was indeed so right about language.
As an IT guy I also found his ‘Culture is your Operating System’ [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c8an2XZ3MU ] such an amazing metaphor. How your culture also determined what you could see or how you would see things.
(Also reminded me instantly of studies describing certain cultures being able to see way more shades of red or white.. but less of green (example colors might be of))
I guess what you describe in your rant also matches what Terence says in this piece:
“Culture is not your friend”
http://evolutionisntscience.wordpress.com/evolution-frauds/ Fairy Tales passing as school texts!
Little Red Reding Hood/Grandmother, what a Big Head you have.
“All the better to teach you with”
They have had for years, a computer gaming program for school/academic/university administrators, on business vs learning, in terms of dollars spent and returned. It was/is a vitual way to game the art of teaching into the art corporatized profit$ vertically & horizontally. I’am sure it’s state-of the-art(pun intentended).
This new “Smarter Balanced assessments” will have to do until “they” have the babies rolling off the new Taurus Cacus conveyors belts.