Testing, Assessments, Standards, Teaching Machines… The Science of Creating Obedient Citizens. Behavioral Science. Part 3

The latest installment of a multi-part series. Read Part 2 here.

9. Mass Men, mass production, minimum Standards and human capital.

If you’ve ever made homemade bread, you realize it takes time and loving attention. One searches out the best ingredients, reads all the labels, and hones appropriate proportions and rise times that depend on factors such as humidity, room and oven temperature, and other variations that occur in real ingredients and in real life. Making good bread, like artisan cheeses, or any handcrafted piece is an art.

Nurturing minds, your own child’s mind is like that as well. One cannot separate the mind from the body or the spirit. Nor can one ignore the emotions, the setting factors, and the variances of talent, temperament, interest or heart in each unique individual. Children are a gift from God to be handled with His guidance, time and loving attention.

Mass produced bread gets shoved here and there and is trashed with very little concern. Homemade bread is crafted with care, anticipated with its attending aroma, appreciated for its taste, texture, nutrient value, extra efforts, shared with family and friends, and savored to the last crumb.

When the Third-Party payers took over education, outsourcing the designated transmitters, the parents accountable to God, they needed student-testing outcomes on dictated minimum standards to report metrics to third party investors.

Now, we all know what “minimum standards” have done for any industry.

Houses were far better constructed when the builder and homeowner worked together, eye-to-eye to design and build a house that would become a home enjoyed for generations, packed with friends and remarked upon as representative of the excellent craftsmanship of the builder.

Medical care was far better when the patient-doctor relationship had no third party middlemen dictating minimum and maximum allowable fees, appointment times, procedure frequency, record documentation, services, interventions, medications, reimbursements, surgeons, stays, providers, co-pays, information transportability, diagnosis codes and insurance processing.

Food was far more nutritious when the farmer raised foods he, his family and neighbors would eat; food that was not genetically modified to kill bugs, weeds and consumers. Nor was the food government subsidized to control market prices and pawned off on government aligned institutions, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, food banks and impoverished countries.

When men are educated in mass, conditioned for obedience to a minimum ‘standard’, and viewed only as human capital to be regimented in rank and file for labor and consumption purposes, then human life is devalued to that of day old commercial bread. In contrast to proposed theories of humanitarian benevolence, the socialist humanist models result in very little respect for human life, individual distinction, or individual liberty.  BLOG Featured Image_Action Logo Square BW 10.28.15 SMALL

10. Liberty requires that education be privately funded, parent directed.

“A general education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.” ~ J.S. Mill, On Liberty 1859

Even political economist, parliamentarian, Utilitarian John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), dubbed as “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century,” rallied against standardized government subsidized education. Mill himself was educated at home by his parents.

J. S. Mill was a great advocate of education for all, as he sought to see the people of England equipped with the abilities to vote and participate in governance. Yet, the locale of education was not to be dictated and “there would be no official pressure to supply people with teachers previously instructed in government training colleges. In the words of Adam Smith: ‘They would soon find better teachers than any whom the state could provide for them.” Educator, Philosopher, Economist Adam Smith (1723-1790), the author of “Wealth of Nations”, noted for the division of labor, had himself been a college professor and witnessed the realities of government subsidized education.

“In the University of Oxford, the greater part of the public professors have, for these many years, given up altogether even the pretence of teaching.” ~ Adam Smith in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations (1776)

To be continued.

 

Dr. Dawn Kazmierzak has over twenty years in private practice Optometry. Academic stickers include majors in biology, neurobiology, neuroscience, visual science, doctorate of Optometry; post-graduate work for SUNY and West Point (USMC) in developmental and hospital-based Optometry; cognitive science Feuerstein trained in Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) and FIE (Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment). Having been transmitted a love of learning and commitment to discerning the truth from her parents, she and her husband labor to model this transmission to their daughter.

 It was (and is), the anchors of faith in Christ and Biblical study that shielded Dawn from the operant conditioning that accompanies academic “successes.” These studies and stickers (degrees, certifications) were chosen in preparation for participation in third-world medical missions. If individuals lack the abilities to see, it is very difficult to teach themselves, grow in their faith, or provide for their families. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 This applies to physical, cognitive(mental) and spiritual ‘sight.’

You, as a homeschool parent, do not need all these stickers to transmit truth to and equip your child for their future; but, in her opinion, one does need a relationship with The Author, who defines what is true, right and just. Genesis 18:19. This relationship will provide all you need.

Blessings on your transmissions of your culture!

Testing, Assessments, Standards, Teaching Machines… The Science of Creating Obedient Citizens. Behavioral Science. Part 2

This is a continuation of our multi-part series. Read Part 1 here.

4. Conditioned to Compromise, Conform, Lie and Cheat to get the Grade, “Success”, The Positive Reinforcement Reward.

Students want so much to make the grade, get the score, have ‘success’, please the test givers, their parents, peers, audience and get the conditioned reward, that they confess to lying, cheating and stealing to do so…and being okay with their “ethic.”

Josephson Institute on Ethics…

  • Age: 17 or under (51%); 18-24 (36%); 25-40 (18%); 41-50 (11%); Over 50 (10%). Teens are five times and young adults (18-24) are three times more likely than those over 40 to hold the cynical belief that lying and cheating is necessary to success. This belief is one of the most significant and reliable predictors of dishonest behavior in the adult world.

“According to the Josephson Institute of Ethics 2010 survey of 43,000 young people, 92 percent of students were satisfied with their personal ethics and character. However:

While 89 percent of students believe that being a good person is more important than being rich, almost one in three boys and one in four girls admitted stealing from a store within the past year. Moreover, 21 percent admitted they stole something from a parent or other relative, and 18 percent admitted stealing from a friend.

On lying, more than two in five said they sometimes lie to save money (48 percent of males and 35 percent of females). While 92 percent of students believe their parents want them to do the right thing, more than eight in ten confessed they lied to a parent about something significant.

Rampant cheating in school continuesA majority of students (59 percent) admitted cheating on a test during the last year, with 34 percent doing it more than two times. One in three admitted they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.

In its 2008 report on the relationship between un-ethical behavior in school and unethical behavior as adults, the Josephson Institute of Ethics reported:

Regardless of current age, people who cheated on exams in high school two or more times are considerably more likely to be dishonest later in life. Compared to those who never cheated, high school cheaters are:

Three times more likely to lie to a customer (20% vs. 6%) or inflate an insurance claim (6% vs. 2%) and more than twice as likely to inflate an expense claim (10% vs. 4%).

Twice as likely to lie to or deceive their boss (20% vs. 10%) or lie about their address to get a child into a better school (29% vs. 15%) and one-and-a-half times more likely to lie to spouse or significant other (35% vs. 22%) or cheat on taxes (18% vs. 13%).” [4]

 

5. The problem with Digital media and the human brain

It is a basic practice that when cognition is low, “educators” use behavioral science.

When the client or student is low on cognitive skills, the mediator employs a system of currency, the rewards, and coercions to get them to learn, conform, and cooperate with the desired behavior. The stickers on the refrigerator, the ice cream after the doctor appointment, the candy, the rewards cards, coupons, the new video game, material enticement, whatever shiny object to attract and hold up as an external currency. This is how animals are trained with treats, or affection for a good performance. This is the external reward under the control of the giver of the reward to define “success” or failure and keep the student on the leash.

In order to keep cognition low, planners continue to employ behavioral science. The human brain is an information processor. Information to process is received via the sensory systems of sight, sound, smell, balance, proprioception, taste, temperature, and pain and converted to representations in the brain. Sensory information (stimuli) must be transduced from the various forms of receptors into electrical, chemical and structural changes within the brain. This involves encoding, organization, elaboration and integration with previous experiences and memories that are stored all over the brain, nervous system and muscle. This takes time to create an accurate representation in a brain and to catalog it for appropriate recall, analysis and application of reasoned thought. Information processing in the human is an analog process, not a binary, digital one. [9]

When human sensory systems receive too much information, too rapidly, from too many sources, with too much change in scenes, volumes, colors, too many visuals, the systems cannot handle the volume of stimuli. This overwhelms the system and it resorts to the emotional, limbic, survival centers of the brain. This is the same default for preconditioned responses, fear conditioning, stimuli that the amygdala has associated with previously fearful, traumatic, or unpleasant experiences. The Midbrain, functions primarily on an emotional, fight, flight, fright, reactionary, and survival oriented level. This is not cerebral cognition. This is not rational, reasoning, or thoughtful response.

This is the level of Operant Conditioning. Trained impulse reflexive behaviors. Like Pavlov’s dogs, and Skinner’s Utopianists. Success means survival in “The Call of The Wild” and in government subsidized “education” for 21st-century labor force development.

“A government strong enough to act in defiance of public feeling may disregard…for it is able to punish. But a government entirely dependent on opinion looks for some security as to what that opinion shall be, strives for the control of the forces that shape it, and is fearful of suffering the people to be educated in sentiments hostile to its institutions.” ~ Lord Acton (1834-1902) Essays in the History of Liberty

6. Forging Shackles: The Master – Slave or Patron – Proselyte Paradigm

The consequences of operant conditioning go beyond the immediate reinforcements. A student who tests well, will be offered monetary rewards, scholarships, special considerations in placement and in turn become indebted to his patrons. This is the simple master-slave relationship. The relationship becomes one of obligation of servitude to identify with one’s patron in funding, master in academia and their ideologies.

A student who receives an academic or merit scholarship is psychologically under obligation and angst to perform well in his studies, rank high in testing, and carry on the creed, in order to continue to receive the monetary rewards, subsidies, approbation and favors.  

Often these relationships result in references for future professional positions in academia, research consortia, networks or related positions in the intelligentsia, bureaucracy, or influential laborforce. By this time, the recipient has long lost their individuality and the patrons know it. These well-trained proselytes, high-performance pleasers, become the fiercest defenders of their patrons, mentors, system and alma maters in which they excelled, received recognition, approbation, and identity. They will quite often demonstrate an obeisance, a worship of the patrons and masters who have forged their chains.

To accept money from another creates a relationship in which the recipient is the slave and the donor the master. The slave will continue to carry the baggage. 

7. Big Money in Test Prepping

Students in public schools spend over half their school days in preparation for accountability testing. Student Outcomes on testing determine funding, program continuation, teacher and administration employment. Now that vouchers have infected many private schools, they too, spend days on end prepping to pass the state and national tests to make the grade to continue voucher dollars. Prepping vendors market videos, on-line courses, private tutoring, extended courses, test prep study guides, etc.

Parents shell out millions (thousands per student) to purchase Junior all the possible advantages to score high on the college placement, industry, and digital badge tests. They pay thousands of dollars in prep and continue to pay for taking the same exams repeatedly to keep raising scores. Practice does not make perfect, but it does create permanence in conditioning the logic of the test. Those that invest dollars in prepping to give the desired answers often get rewarded with higher scores. Test scores are often used to award monetary scholarships, which again reinforces the notion that it takes money to get more money. This also reinforces the attitudes expressed in the Josephson Institute Ethics studies on why students are willing to lie, cheat and steal to get the high scores. And why so many go on to lie, cheat, and rationalize their unprincipled actions later in life. They’ve been ‘rewarded,’ conditioned to do so.

8. Academia reinforces the notion that there is No Absolute Truth.

In a survival oriented society of animals, the concept of moral absolutes, or absolute truth has little bearing. It is survival of the fittest, might makes right, the Darwinian dogma promoted by socialists that invaded campuses over a century ago.

Humanists (B.F. Skinner signed the Humanist Manifesto II) aligned with Marxist philosophies have labored toward creating a Utopia. They continue efforts to systematically transform humans to fit their idealized Utopian society.

The Academy for Systemic Change, promoting the utopian plans of MIT systems engineers, Peter Senge and Joe Hsueh, provides insightful systems maps to produce their “Effective Responsible Happy Citizens” goals. “The goal is to invest in various high-leverage points to the extent where the system tips to self-sustaining change processes.” [8]

Those key leverage points consist of: Peer Pressure Network Loops and Student Testing Outcomes.

In his book, The Fascist, His State, His Mind, E.B. Ashton points out that the Germans and Italians embraced fascism because the mindset of the people was such that they wanted it. Focusing on material goods, productivity, and prosperity as coordinated and distributed by the state, removed from the people the need to think. Citizens under Mussolini and Hitler’s National Socialist Workers (Nazi) Party, had only to do, to obey, to be “Effective Responsible Happy Citizens” just as the Academy for Systemic Change envisions for our citizens today.

The problem with conditioning citizens using awards, stickers, degrees of expertise and positions of authority in business and bureaucracy is that they eventually begin to believe they really are experts, above the law, above their fellow citizens, above God. This is what Chuck Colson said had allowed him to lie, cheat and steal during the 1970’s Watergate scandal and what the German Academics said allowed them to take the oath to the Nazi party. Their extensive education had taught them that they could rationalize away their principles, their faith, their consciences and convictions of right and just as defined by God.

[4] http://josephsoninstitute.org/surveys/

http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/on-education/2008/12/02/cheating-on-the-rise-among-high-school-students

http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2000092200

http://www.gtbe.org/uploads/images/files/Doing%20the%20Right%20Thing%20-%20for%20Public%20Schools(1).pdf

[8][Academy for Systemic Change Common Core State Standards Systems Map Version 2013.6.13]

[9] https://dawnkazmierzak.net/2016/09/08/the-digital-dictatorships-formation-of-mastered-minions-the-road-to-serfdom/

To be continued.

Dr. Dawn Kazmierzak has over twenty years in private practice Optometry. Academic stickers include majors in biology, neurobiology, neuroscience, visual science, doctorate of Optometry; post-graduate work for SUNY and West Point (USMC) in developmental and hospital-based Optometry; cognitive science Feuerstein trained in Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) and FIE (Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment). Having been transmitted a love of learning and commitment to discerning the truth from her parents, she and her husband labor to model this transmission to their daughter.

It was (and is), the anchors of faith in Christ and Biblical study that shielded Dawn from the operant conditioning that accompanies academic “successes.” These studies and stickers (degrees, certifications) were chosen in preparation for participation in third-world medical missions. If individuals lack the abilities to see, it is very difficult to teach themselves, grow in their faith, or provide for their families. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 This applies to physical, cognitive(mental) and spiritual ‘sight.’

You, as a homeschool parent, do not need all these stickers to transmit truth to and equip your child for their future; but, in her opinion, one does need a relationship with The Author, who defines what is true, right and just. Genesis 18:19. This relationship will provide all you need.

Blessings on your transmissions of your culture!

Testing, Assessments, Standards, Teaching Machines…The Science of Creating Obedient Citizens. Behavioral Science. Part 1

In this multi-part series, Dr. Dawn Kazmierzak reminds us of how and why Behavioral Science is applied in the education of the public. This series of posts also explains why Dawn and her husband have chosen privately-funded, parent-directed education for their daughter.

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has long been forgotten.” ~ B.F. Skinner, father of Operant Conditioning.

  1. Behavior modifies the Neural System.

The human brain is neuroplastic. It changes all the time. The mere act of seeing something, reading something, doing something, thinking about something or being emotionally engaged in something changes the brain itself. “The behavior modifies the neural system no less than the neural system directs the behavior.” *

Behavioral Science is the branch of psychology that specializes in studying behaviors and means of influencing, modifying, and controlling those behaviors. Behavioral Science is known to ply its trade on and through living things such as: animals, humans, communities, markets, cultures, herds, etc. as well as computers and artificial intelligence.

Behavioral Sciences utilizes tests, assessments, embedded formative assessments, computers, artificial intelligence, peer relations, group dynamics, ethical training, digital media, digital learning, public relations media, polls, social media, advertising etc. to ply its trade on its subjects. Behaviors are largely modified without subject consent.

Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) is noted for his Classical Conditioning of dogs, often called Pavlovian Conditioning. Pavlov trained, (conditioned), dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by associating the ringing of a bell each time the dogs were presented with food. The dogs associated the stimulus, the ringing bell, with the food so well, that eventually, they would salivate with only the ringing of the bell and no food presented. Their habit became reflexive, formed and embedded. The association of two stimuli to elicit a behavior is called “classical conditioning.” Classical conditioning is a form of learning. Cell phones are conditioning users ad nauseum these days. The general public resembles Alessandro Volta’s electrified frogs with each buzz, beep, jingle, flash or vibration of the conditioning cell phone.

American psychologist, Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner (1904-1990) took Pavlov’s work further. Skinner is known as the father of Operant Conditioning, the branch of Behaviorism that seeks to reinforce the desired behavior, action, or ideology, via the use of positive or negative consequences. Skinner designed tests, assessments, teaching machines, operant conditioning chambers, etc. using rewards for desired responses and punishment, “aversive stimulus,” for undesirable responses. (Or resistance to the desired behavior criteria: the logic or standards of the training experiment – the test.)

Skinner advanced the use of testing, assessment, “teaching machines” that would train human beings to the desired behaviors of his utopian society, which he wrote about in his novel entitled “Walden Two.” The methods espoused in Skinner’s novel are now known and employed as applied behavior **analysis (ABA). **Note the misleading word “analysis” which is, in fact, shaping the neural system, behaviors, attitudes, values and framework upon which future stimuli will be integrated and acted upon. Any test, assessment, media that stimulates any of the receptive sensory systems (auditory, visual, proprioceptive, olfactory, tactile, chemical, thermal, pain, vestibular) or engages cognition, thought, of the participant changes the subject himself.

   2. Rewards, Testing, Stickers, Grades, Degrees and Positive Reinforcement, Operant conditioning in the Brain – Yours, your child’s, your culture’s.

Learning happens every moment whether we are cognizant of it or not. We can experience active learning in which we are intentional about building brain pathways, encoding new information with previous experiences and organizing this input for future reference, rumination, pruning or reflexive reactions. Learning also happens passively, even when we are not focused, engaged and perceiving accurately nor being organized wisely.

Learning happens whether the information is true, accurate, beneficial, novel, interesting or in agreement with our personal convictions and faith. This is why education was to be administered by parents. Genesis 18:19 provides explicit details and intentions in establishing parents with the transmission of knowledge, beliefs and values to their children.

“For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised.” ~ Genesis 18:19

This decree contains the four essentials for successful transmission of culture. The Source is God; the content is that which is right and just; the transmitter is the parent and the target is the child, and heirs.

Behavioral science has long yoked with political science to remove the parents from the education and transmission of culture to their heirs and to instead create a dependency on the government as being the “paternal state.”

When the education of the child became a taxpayer funded, government administrated entity, compulsory, and universal,- it removed the parents as being the transmitters of knowledge, values, and beliefs. It also sought to remove the responsibility of the parents to answer to God for successful transmission of what is right and just. The responsibility remains.

In the statist model, the parents were replaced with a Third-party payer system that had millions of payers, taxpayers, who demanded accountability for their assumed interests and returns on their third party payer investments.

Thus, enters the Operant Conditioning system of tests, assessments, teaching machines, social-emotional rewards and punishment based not upon the parents’ assigned content, but upon those of the administration, governors, planners, peer review, group consensus, investors, vendors, employees, and future employers of the infrastructure upon which the paternal government builds its power; and shapes public opinion.

So, in order to convince:

Parents- that junior is learning;

Taxpayers- that teachers are laboring;

Administrators- that teachers are intimidated and teaching to the test;

Employers- that workers (human capital) will be produced and productive;

Government- that taxes will be harvested;

Colleges and Universities- that academia will still produce proselytes;

and Politicians – that folks will be easily led …the Operant Conditioning reward system is employed on all levels. (How many reward cards do you have? How many regulated tax-deferred ‘savings’ accounts…ESA, FSA, HSA, 401 K, 529, IRA, SIMPLE, Roth etc. ….or non-profit tax deductible affiliations? How many degrees? Certifications? Guild memberships? Accreditations?)

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3. Tests used to Sort, Lane, verify conformity of proselytes, to assign stickers of state to wards of state.

Each time the politically “correct” answer is regurgitated in the class, on the quiz, on the test, on the “assessment,” on the computer…. the student gets a “good boy!” This desired response is positively reinforced via a hit of dopamine in the reward center of the brain, the nucleus accumbens. Consistently regurgitating the “correct” response results in more approbation: “You memorize well, Johnny….You are so smart! ….. We need to advance you to the Alpha class. …..You will go to college and manage other people. You may even run testing machines like I do.” Or “Johnny, you may be a scientist…or even a planner! Planners are above us managers. Keep giving the “right” answer, the one the planners want or you may just be a ‘worker.’”

Tests are used for embedding ideas, conformity, shaping predictable behaviors and for student sorting. Laning and sifting out which students perform well, meaning conform well and take orders well. These will be good for administrators in civil servant, bureaucracy positions. The use of digital media, computers with artificial intelligence with self-adapting algorithms makes Skinner’s dreams of “teaching machines” to upload Utopian mindsets a very present reality. The logic uploaded is not that of the Source, God, nor that of the parent, but rather the logic of the software. The software programmer embeds the logic of the governing authorities over him; whoever pays his wage dictates what is deemed as “correct,” politically correct.

Most of Socialist Europe employs classical education methods whose content is reinforced via high-pressure testing, sorting and laning for assigned positions within the socialist frameworks often called “republics.”

See the educational methods and mindset of Germany, Hungary, Austria, United Kingdom, Romania, Italy, Russia, Ukraine and China. Access, Placement, Advancement, lifework and societal rank are determined by test performance and evaluations at specific ages. These systems remove the need for the individual to think and self-direct. They are conditioned to only “do” as told, to fulfill their assigned role in the state. Germans know this as “Gleichschaltung,” the integration of man into the State. [ 7]

In the early to mid 20th century, parents from Europe and Asia sent their children to America for education. But, as American education duplicates the socialist mindset of these socialist nations, her education system is no longer one of excellence nor is it fit for those seeking to prepare their heirs for constitutional self-governance.

See articles from academics on the failure of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Programme of International Student Assessment known as PISA exams, which entails over 60 countries and by Bruce G. Hammond on Chinese test takers– China and Testing Great Test Scores, Bad Schools: A Cautionary Tale From China .

If the student regurgitates the desired responses flawlessly they will get many “A’s,” the teacher will get good evaluations, the school will get its funding for successful operant conditioning, the student will get scholarships, Advanced Placement (AP) credits, approval from parents and family. The student will be called a ‘scholar’ and advance to the next round of testing and assessments conditioning him to do whatever it takes to pass the test, get the grade, get the neurochemical fix and sense of self-worth that is reinforced in these operations. Students learn to “give the system, the test, the teacher, what they want,” advance past “GO” collect the rewards and keep collecting the stickers, the currency, the prestige and the position – the ‘reward’.

[7] Milton Mayer in They Thought They Were Free, The Germans 1933-1945 https://dawnkazmierzak.net/2016/07/13/they-thought-they-were-free-the-germans-1933-1945/comment-page-1/#comment-97

To be continued.

Dr. Dawn Kazmierzak has over twenty years in private practice Optometry. Academic stickers include majors in biology, neurobiology, neuroscience, visual science, doctorate of Optometry; post-graduate work for SUNY and West Point (USMC) in developmental and hospital-based Optometry; cognitive science Feuerstein trained in Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) and FIE (Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment). Having been transmitted a love of learning and commitment to discerning the truth from her parents, she and her husband labor to model this transmission to their daughter.

It was (and is), the anchors of faith in Christ and Biblical study that shielded Dawn from the operant conditioning that accompanies academic “successes.” These studies and stickers (degrees, certifications) were chosen in preparation for participation in third-world medical missions. If individuals lack the abilities to see, it is very difficult to teach themselves, grow in their faith, or provide for their families. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 This applies to physical, cognitive(mental) and spiritual ‘sight.’

You, as a homeschool parent, do not need all these stickers to transmit truth to and equip your child for their future; but, in her opinion, one does need a relationship with The Author, who defines what is true, right and just. Genesis 18:19. This relationship will provide all you need.

Blessings on your transmissions of your culture!

Test v. Assessments

Indiana homeschoolers test their children regularly. Many are concerned about assessments. We’ve asked a veteran, professional educator, Mary Black, to explain why assessments are a concern to many who are informed about this issue.

The passage of No Child Left Behind brought about many regrettable changes to education.   One change rarely mentioned is the blurring of the distinction between tests and assessments. The distinction has in the last two decades become unknown and the two words are now used interchangeably.

A look at the definitions of each must precede a discussion of the purpose for this lack of clarity.

Beverly Eakman, a renowned writer on education, states in her book “Agenda Games” that the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) is an “un-American” department within the Department of Education whose purpose is to gather data on every student in the United States including the attitudes of each. Mrs. Eakman defines the difference between a test and assessment in the following statement.

It defines the difference between an assessment and a test. “An assessment is any systematic procedure for obtaining information from tests and other sources that can be used to draw inferences about characteristics of people, objects or programs.” … The aim is to assess psychological and political attitudes, to see who is swallowing the propaganda that passes for academics, and, more importantly, who is either waffling or “not buying.” If too many don’t “buy,” then curriculum is altered using a more heavy-handed approach.
http://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/13044-federalized-progressive-education-marches-on

A Penn State University tutorial website gives the following definitions of a test and assessment.

A test or quiz is used to examine someone’s knowledge of something to determine what he or she knows or has learned. Testing measures the level of skill or knowledge that has been reached.

Assessment is the process of documenting knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs, usually in measurable terms. The goal of assessment is to make improvements, as opposed to simply being judged. In an educational context, assessment is the process of describing, collecting, recording, scoring, and interpreting information about learning.

At Work For You

The psychological, behavioral nature of assessments should be clearly understood as distinct from academically based tests. Many states require homeschool students to take at intervals standardized “tests” or the state “test.”   These are not tests, they are assessments designed to gather data about all students including homeschool students. The term P20W refers to the plan to collect data on every child from preschool to the workforce. Development of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) are required by federal law (ESSA) with the long-term plan to link all 50 states to a pipeline to the NCES (perhaps) that is offering grants to states to develop a SLDS that gathers all the required points of data. The Indiana SLDS is known by the name of Indiana Network of Knowledge.

To fully comprehend the influence of behavioral science in assessments and curriculum (including some online curriculums), one should study the 21st Century Competencies Chart on p. 7 of the USDOE’s document “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance” (February, 2013). The chart shows three types of competencies – cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. The word competent implies mediocrity and two of the three categories on this chart are behavioral in nature.   Movement to social and emotional learning (SEL) is based on this document. SEL can only be measured by assessments.

Behavioral science was introduced to education by John Dewey who was influenced by what he observed in Russia and others including Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist. Vygotsky’s work became the basis of research and theory in cognitive development over the last few decades, now known as Social Development Theory. Vygotsky’s “More Knowledgeable Other”(MKO) and “Zone of Proximal Development” or scaffolding are based on his belief that important learning occurs through social interaction with a skillful tutor or MKO, who is not necessarily an adult but likely a peer. Scaffolding involves an MKO first modeling a concept while the children watch.   When the students are deemed capable, the MKO allows the children to help. The last step of scaffolding is allowing the children to do the work while the MKO watches. The purpose of scaffolding is to be certain that the child will give the same response to the stimuli before the scaffolding provided by MKO is removed. Scaffolding incorporates Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development that identifies three zones of a learner – Unable to do the task, Able to do the task with help, and Able to do the task independently. This necessarily diminishes the role of MKO and embellishes peer learning.   Assessments are the only means to be certain that the process of scaffolding does not need to be repeated. Sadly, Vygotsky’s fingerprints are all over the Common Core State Standards and the curriculum designed to meet them.

The point of the inclusion of behavioral science in the process of education is to leave the student indoctrinated and only capable of following (dependent) rather than a leader who is capable of thinking for himself/herself in a reasonable not an emotional manner. As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to form the latter rather than the former by avoiding curriculums and assessments based on behavioral science.

 

Mrs. Mary Black earned her B.A. in elementary education from Marian College. She taught for 36 years in Parochial, public, and private schools as well as homeschooling her own children. Mrs. Black’s teaching experience spans from Kindergarten through 12thgrade inclusive and includes three years in a life skills classroom.

After her retirement from the classroom in 2010, Mrs. Black joined FreedomProject Academy as Curriculum Director and was instrumental in developing the FPA curriculum at all levels. Recently retired after 42 years from the daily responsibilities of working with parents, teachers, and students, Mrs. Black is currently writing a 4th grade Arithmetic textbook after completing the arithmetic workbooks for K through 3 grade.

Very early in the discussion of Common Core, she began to alert others of its potential danger to students and local control of schools. Mrs. Black’s extensive research and thorough understanding of all aspects of Common Core has made her one of America’s foremost authorities.

Maintaining the Integrity of Home Education

Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) and IAHE Action protect Hoosier parents’ autonomy to direct the education and upbringing of their children.  We know one of the biggest threats to our liberty is entanglement with government funding. When we hear of the government trying to “help” homeschoolers, we are very cautious as not to jeopardize our liberty. We remember the wise words of our second president, John Adams, “Liberty once lost is lost forever.”


Common Schools

Although Common Schools are mentioned in the Indiana Constitution, we wonder if the State remembers the history of Common Schools? According to E.G. West author of, Education and the State, the Common Schools were only for those families who did not desire to take responsibility to educate their children privately.

Before these government schools began in America, most families were privately educating their children in brick and mortar schools or at home. The Common Schools were first formed in the rural areas for those who did not have access to private brick and mortar schools. Common Schools were not universal, compulsory, or free. Parents had to pay to send their child to a Common School.

Those who benefitted economically from the Common Schools were the ones who advocated that schools become universal, compulsory, and free. Of course, human nature being what it is, people soon flocked to the “free/taxpayer funded” schools and the private options eventually withered. Today, most do not even realize that at one point in our nation’s history most everyone was privately educated, and public schools were basically non-existent. The United States had a very high literacy rate prior to the advent of Common Schools.

We have come full circle. Today, some advocate for the government to have control or “accountability” for all forms of private education through “school choice.” The state of Indiana has accountability requirements for private voucher-accepting schools that require the students to take ISTEP and to collect intrusive student data. Vouchers were originally “sold” to the public as having little to no regulation. Now some private school families whose school accepts voucher students feel like it was a “bait and switch.”  Their private school feels compelled to follow the state standards that resemble Common Core in order to do well on the state test to protect their school rating.

This is a valuable lesson for us to remember.  Home educators must fight hard to maintain our liberty for our families and our posterity.

 

Universal ESAs and Liberty

Should universal ESAs concern homeschoolers? Yes, according to attorney Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project.  In her July 19, 2016, article, “New GOP Platform: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Concerning” she writes, “Now for the troubling parts. The platform focuses a great deal on choice in education and endorses the concept of “portability” of education funding to be used for many different types of schooling (private or parochial schools, homeschooling, etc.) and with many different funding mechanisms (tax credits, vouchers, etc.). While efforts to shatter the government monopoly on education are laudable, extreme caution must be exercised to ensure—if this is even possible—that when government money follows the child, government regulations don’t follow as well. For example, a state that grants vouchers (such as Indiana) may require the private schools that accept voucher students to give the state Common Core-aligned test, which means the private schools will pretty much have to teach Common Core.  

“Choice” that results in all schools’, whether public or private, having to teach the same thing is no choice at all. The platform would have done well to acknowledge this danger.”

Ms. Robbins reminds us that “school choice” has the potential to trample on individual liberty. Universal government programs do not take into account the liberties of the individual even when they assure us that they will.

Nevada Homeschool Network learned this first-hand with Nevada’s ESA bill. There was an attempt to use their homeschool statute as the vehicle for the ESA bill. They were told they didn’t have to accept the ESA money if they didn’t want it. They fought too hard to gain their homeschool freedom after many years of bad homeschool regulations to take a chance on it. As we have recently seen in Indiana, confusion between virtual charter school students and home educated students has resulted in a threat of increased regulations for the homeschoolers. ESAs would cause increased confusion.

Homeschoolers always need to be concerned about guarding liberty and parental rights when dealing with elected officials and bureaucrats who think they are responsible for the education of all children and for determining how that education should present itself. IAHE has spent 33+ years protecting our rights.  Whenever a government “freebie” is accepted, there is ALWAYS a risk to liberty.


Indiana is a Leader in Home Education Freedom

We have excellent laws in Indiana that protect a parent’s right to educate their children.  The Indiana Constitution provides for schools that are open to all, but it does not say that all must be educated in a Common School under government control.

Homeschoolers do not accept state funding and do not have to register with the State; although, we may report enrollment.  We have the freedom to direct our children’s education and are not forced to submit test results to the State. As homeschool parents understand, we do not need to have a standardized test to inform us of our child’s progress. Teaching our children on a daily basis enables us to know how they are progressing. The Superintendent has the ability to check on students by requesting attendance records. Indiana also has educational neglect and truancy laws to deal with any issues that may arise.

When we are not entangled with the State, we have the ability to do what is the best for our children. We have the freedom to teach in the manner that best suits their needs.  As Dr. Karen Effrem of Education Liberty Watch shares, Indiana is rated an “F” on the Private School Choice Freedom Grading Scale due to the regulations associated with vouchers in the Hoosier state.  The schools that take vouchers must administer ISTEP; therefore, many schools feel obligated to teach Indiana’s version of Common Core in order to do well on the test.  

In order to be reimbursed for ESA expenses, families must submit receipts for expenses. Would homeschool families eventually be at risk for using faith-based or non-Common Core curriculum? Would the State decide we are not providing an equivalent education since they would have the ability to evaluate our curriculum?  The State ultimately decides which “choices” are acceptable. The State in charge of deciding which curriculum or providers are acceptable is a very troubling proposition. Homeschoolers currently have a real choice that is not limited by the State.

Home education works! Hoosier homeschoolers have proven that families of all income levels can successfully homeschool apart from government involvement. Leave us alone! The fact that families take this responsibility without State involvement should be encouraged. It increases self-respect and self-sufficiency.  The IAHE Testimonial page is a source of encouraging stories of Hoosier families who have educated their children without government assistance.

Over the course of the past three decades, Hoosier home educators have proven it does not take a lot of money to educate a child. Many have had the experience of eventually having children who end up being better educated than their parents. It takes a dedicated parent and not an exorbitant amount of money to educate a child.

Note: There are a variety of types of ESAs.  IAHE Action will assess each one and alert homeschoolers about required strings.

Who’s in Charge?

Who’s in charge of your child’s education? It depends on the type of school in which your child is enrolled. The type of school determines the amount of parental involvement and oversight. It is important to remember the Common Schools (public schools) were formed by the States to provide an education for those families who chose not to educate their child privately. Originally, they were not compulsory, universal, or free.*  “In Abington v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that education historically was privately-controlled and public schooling, in the modern sense, was non-existent.”**

Funding and control are key issues in the chart. On the left is the public school in which the parent gives full control to the State. The State funds the education and has maximum control. On the right is the home-based, non-accredited, nonpublic school which is how home schools are defined in Indiana Code. Home educators have full control of their child’s education. They also fund it.  Some who are enrolled in a home-based on-line public school such as Connections Academy or Hoosier Academy mistakenly believe their school is classified the same way as a home school. As you can see, those schools are classified in the third category under government-funded varieties and not in the eighth category with home education under privately-funded varieties.  We hope this helps clarify the differences in the various types of schools and their funding.

Click on the chart to enlarge it.

*The history of Common Schools in the US is from “Education and the State: A Study in Political Economy” by E. G. West, Liberty Fund, 1994, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded, Chapter 17.

**”The Right to Home School: A Guide to the Law on Parents’ Rights in Education” by Christopher J. Klicka, Carolina Academic Press, 1998, Second Edition, page 29.

Whose Children? Rethinking Schools and Education

Frank Schnorbus, President of Nevada Homeschool Network, has written an excellent piece about the history of government-run education.  Compulsory attendance laws are discussed, as well as, whether or not citizens are well-served by government involvement in education. He leads us to consider what is required to be truly educated and to question if it can even occur with government involvement.

While our American school system may have the appearance of a static and unchanging institution, it is not. “Fix our failing schools!” has been the steady mantra from school reformers of all stripes for more than one hundred years. Convinced that the Civil War would not have happened if there had been a public education system to help us understand one another, public school advocates of the late 19th and early 20th centuries lobbied state legislatures for a statute to fully fund schools and a statute to compel attendance at those schools. Inspired by the success of school reformers of 17th century totalitarian Prussia, these visionaries successfully reproduced the government-controlled German system that appeared to render obedient citizens with morals and academics. Government, however, was the latecomer in education. Driven by different objectives, the Church, parents, and finally the government have historically sought to control the educational system in European countries and later here in America. A balance today in education between historical expectations, differing objectives, and individual rights is a futile effort because we have adopted a system intended for a totalitarian state, not our pluralistic and democratic society.

By tracing the origins of the modern state school system driven by the incongruent objectives of parents, the Church, and the state, this article is intended to show that a satisfactory balance can never be attained, and that the system must be replaced, not repaired, for true education to occur. The difference between schooling and education is defined, and then the origins and world reaction to Prussia’s school system are discussed. The economic and social justifications used to justify government involvement in schools are then revisited, and contemporary English, Prussian, and French arguments regarding public school laws are examined. The objectives of parents, then of the Church, and then of the state in a child’s education are considered. Compulsion in a free society and criticisms of existing government school systems are then noted before the final conclusion.

At Work For You

When Mark Twain quipped, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” (Twain, n.d.), what did he mean? Is there a difference between “school” and “education”? Brian Ray, president of National Home Education Research Institute, defines academic schooling as a small part of the overall life education of a child, which also includes the child’s philosophy, morals, manners, and usefulness in his or her community (personal communication, March 9, 2010). Public school advocate Christopher Lubienski, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, noted “an emerging recognition of the difference between ‘public education’ and ‘public schools'” (Lubienski, 2003, p. 478). Yet we often say “education system” when we really mean “school system,” or “compulsory education” when we actually mean “compulsory school attendance.” All 50 states compel school attendance, but not one has a law requiring an education for a child. The debate we have today over schools and education has not occurred spontaneously.

Read more here.