Saving Community Schools

by EdwardBerger on January 18, 2015

“We did not declare this war, but we have to win it.”
Diane Ravitch

1. Define what is worth saving

Parents across America are fighting for quality education. There are many options, but only one addresses the needs of the complete child: Comprehensive Education. What is that? It is a well-balanced curriculum like the curricula found in public schools that introduces every child to the ways of thinking in at least ten disciplines.

It is a curriculum that begins pre-K and extends through the university level. It is a foundation approach that creates threads running through each level of schooling, becoming more pronounced and visible in secondary schools where the disciplines are studied separately, but in an interdisciplinary manner.

Teaching is done on a continuum. The acquisition of learning skills and knowledge is not a one-time, one shot approach to educating a child. Taking a child out of this skills-building education approach has lasting damage. Even a “good” partial school breaks these threads and often is unable to provide the foundation skills every child needs.

Most parents understand the importance of the K-12 approach to teaching and learning. Before removing their child from a public school with a comprehensive program, they explore other options their school district provides. (For example, changing teachers or exploring a different approach to mastery).

Over 90 % of parents trust and want to save public district schools. The reasons for the war we have to win is that profiteers and ideologues have severely damaged our schools by financial starvation and campaigns of misinformation. The main reason for this is that they want access to the tax dollars we citizens pay for public education. They do not want community elected school boards. They want only minimal accountability and that only in areas where they assume they can provide better test scores. For-profit partial schools take approximately 30% out of the money the state provides for each child and puts it in private pockets. Yes, there are well-meaning people who really believe they can take over and do education better. None – I must repeat that, NONE – have demonstrated that they can provide quality comprehensive schools that work for the whole child.

Think about your public school experiences. Outside of class, many other very important activities were supported by the school. Clubs played a major role in introducing students to different ways of thinking. Astronomy may not have been taught as a course but there was probably an astronomy club. If you were not out for a sport, there were intramural opportunities to learn games and sportsmanship. Work-study programs and field trips provided real adventures in the world outside of school. The school paper, the annual staff, theater, the arts, marching band, competitions like We The People, and so many more opportunities were available. Our public schools provide so much more.

Combined with the threads of learning and thinking in many disciplines, these activities – including play and physical movement – must be present for all children. These are the components of comprehensive education.

2. How to win the war

A majority of parents, teachers, and community members want to win this war. But how?

We must stop assuming that people know what public schools do. Identify the strengths of your public schools. Their staff. Their graduates. The history of your district schools. Be able to explain how important our schools are to the community and what they do. Be able to explain the damage a partial school can do to children and to community.

Prepare so that you can explain what teacher certification requires. How teachers train to be experts in their fields and understand how learning takes place. Be able to go into depth about how certified, experienced teachers identify learning styles, learning readiness, developmental readiness, and overcoming the effects of disabilities,poverty and other negative factors. These skills are not “gut feelings.” Untrained and un-vetted individuals are not good teachers. Nor would they be good doctors or good accountants. They may be caring people, but that doesn’t make them good educators. Teachers are trained and prepared to deal with the needs of children. It does not come naturally.

Form a community education group working with the district administration, teachers, and key community leaders. Focus on educating your community. You must counter the misinformation and lies put out by those who intend to kill public education and the teaching profession.

The most important rule that all must remember and follow is:Ownership through contribution.

Get locals involved in the solutions and they will have ownership. Ownership is the basic element in contribution. Donations of time and money flow from ownership. Votes for overrides and bonds flow from ownership.

I have never seen a program or ‘fundraising’ succeed if the people who are asked for help do not know they are an important part of the solution.

Finally, fight like hell! You have the majority on your side. When you ask, you will find the community is already sold on quality schools. Educate and ask!Talk about children and their needs, not administration needs or operational costs. Those issues fall into line when you serve children.


BARBERISM Raises Its Head

by EdwardBerger on January 1, 2015

Let’s agree to use simple terms to describe complex matters. Think of a sieve used for separating coarse, from fine parts of matter. Now imagine people who believe that running students through a sieve built of data will allow them to correct or remove unacceptable thinking – like getting rid of individuality, and those who think in ways that are not acceptable to those who are designing new standards for humankind. Barberism: Selecting those who can be programmed (educated?) in a new world order, and re-programming those who do not fit through the data-screens they create.

Sieves, for that is exactly what they are, were used in Nazi Germany to sort out those with unacceptable religions, race, physical measurements, intelligence, illnesses, and of course wrong thinking.

Sieves are being designed to standardize and program children. The warp and woof of these techniques is made up of data threads used to identify children who will be shaped to fit a predetermined ideal of the perfect subordinated child/citizen (learner?) Sieves are being used to generate data to decide who will be accepted into the new order and those data-judged souls who must go through “customized” re-programming. No one is making this up. This is happening now.

Who designs the sieves? That’s easy: TEST DESIGNERS. When people have the power to design tests, they can force what is taught, in any way they choose. Sadly, there are still people who have not realized that tests drive curriculum – what is taught, what is left out, and what is fact-adverse. Teachers use tests to see if what they taught is what students learned. Now, corporations have made testing and curriculum design a multi-billion dollar a year business. They are so powerful they can force their products and their views on school districts, universities, departments of education, the AMA and doctors – on all of us. Few question their motives or the Barberism behind their hidden agendas. They make the tests secret so no organization can study them and understand how they are used for inculcation.

Those who run these corporations have amassed great wealth and power. They are well aware that by writing tests and the curriculum to support the tests, and by using tests to collect data on every aspect of a child’s life, they can engineer a new order, a utopia they design and force into place. This is beyond fiction in any genre. This is the power and warped ideology they are forcing on America and much of the world. Focusing on the Common Core fiasco is but one example. Common Core forces machine language and thinking, instead of creative and original thought in all disciplines.

Will it work? Can they program young brains to do what they want while sorting out those who do not or cannot think their way? As we peruse their agenda and plan of attack, we ask, who would have to be re-programmed? Who would not be admitted into their utopia? Of course, Albert Einstein. As a child he did not do what was expected. He jumped over the limited thinking of his time. He would be data-judged by the new Barberism, and rejected as untrainable. Steven Hawking? Same thing. He would test at the low end of everything these iniquitous, limited thinkers hold dear. How about Alan Turning? Would they use body and mind altering chemicals to eliminate those they don’t want?

Let’s bring this closer to home. One of the most avid supporters of this data-driven sieving process is Billy Gates. If Billy applied the new standards to himself as a child, he would never have been allowed in the garage. A character on the education scene would disappear. Arne Duncan, who has championed this takeover and a promised data-driven utopia, and has directed the USDOE to support Barberism, would be getting his pilot’s (pile it) license in a stable.

The fact is, almost all our creative thinkers would be discouraged, labelled, and damaged. Poets, authors, musicians, artists, planners, visionaries, lovers, and even some great politicians, would never pass through the sieves they are now designing. Barberism alludes to a way to identify and reprogram these misfits and mesh them into shape.

If this information sparked your sense of right and wrong, read: 6 Lessons from Pearson’s Assessment Renaissance: “Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment,” critiqued and compiled by Peter Greene. My version came through Diane Ravitch’s blog, as does most current information about American education. I was able to copy all four parts of Green’s work into Word, where I had time to peruse it and react.

Pearson PLC is no stranger to me. It is a massive foreign corporation. (Google: Pearson PLC and understand its power). I have blogged for several years about the damage they do. Remember, corporate “veils” are used to hide the individuals who control them. What do you think of Peter Hill’s and Michael Barber’s plans for world change?

“It would be easy to dismiss Pearson as simple money-grubbing corporatists, to lump them together with the goofy amateurism of a Duncan or a Coleman. But they are rich, they are polished, they are powerful, and they are, I believe, driven. I have never read work by Michael Barber in which he does not note that changing the global face of education is a moral imperative, a job that he must do because he knows what must be done to improve mankind. For me, that takes this all to a new level of scary.” Peter Greene Dec. 2014


Charter Schools are Set-up To Fail

December 18, 2014

For many years, I have written about the charter school movement. As you know, I label the majority of these schools “Partial Schools,” because they deprive students of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary curriculum. They discount the need for teacher certification and experience, and they duplicate many services and programs the taxpayers are already providing. What happened […]

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Arizona Ethics? The Most Corrupt State? How Corruption Affects Arizona Schools

December 8, 2014

According to researchers at the Harvard University, Edmond J. Safra Center For Ethics, I live in a State that is home to the most political corruption in America. I am 75-years old and have been an educator all my life. I have taught, mentored, pioneered, and researched. I am a leader in experiential education. I […]

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We Need To Know … We Don’t Want To Know

November 23, 2014

IS EDUCATION REALLY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO All CHILDREN? If so, where are the follow-up studies of those dropped on their heads by the schools? We don’t have information – at least not in any district or charter schools I know of – about the kids pushed out of schools. We like to call them […]

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President Obama Destroyed His Educator Base

November 6, 2014

The Obama administration, and especially Arne Duncan, dealt a blow to educators, parents and educated citizens when they sided with corporations like Pearson, and those who believe a punishing blow to teachers and public community schools will improve American education. The USDOE is now an agency without credibility, driven by ideologies that are not based […]

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Opening The Door To the Space In-Between

September 4, 2014

There are questions we don’t ask because…? Maybe we never thought about the possibilities and couldn’t form the question. Or, maybe we thought about the possibilities and decided that what we imagined couldn’t happen – even if the changes wrought would make a significant contribution. This is a true story, my story as a young […]

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Focus On The Children – What We Do for Them And to Them

August 23, 2014

Many communities are fighting to save their public schools. When the administrators and elected board members interface with their communities to pass bond issues or stop the drain of students pulled away by partial schools, they assume everyone knows they are fighting for kids. That must be the reason they don’t focus on education issues. […]

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August 9, 2014

NOW THE EVIDENCE IS IRREFUTABLE… While America was asleep at least three groups have moved to control American Education: Group one, the most damaging, is motivated by gaining access to the tax dollars citizens pay for public education. They hide behind a pretense of serving children and building America’s future. They are ruthless pirates who […]

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Votes Of No Confidence Must Not Be Ignored

July 6, 2014

The attempted destruction of America’s great education system was aided by the NEA and AFT. Teachers had many forces working against them. The failure of the organizations (unions/associations) that were created to represent teachers were a major reason self-appointed billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli Broad, creeps working for GW Bush, and… were allowed […]

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