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!

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