Train Up a Child…! Treasure in Clay Pots

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Humankind is being led along an evolving course, through this migration of intelligences, and though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.” Rumi

In 1958, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik. To help ensure that highly trained individuals would be available to help America compete with the Soviet Union in scientific and technical fields, the NDEA included support for loans to college students, the improvement of science, mathematics, and foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools, graduate fellowships, foreign language and area studies, and vocational-technical training.

By 1965, the nation was in a state of flux. And the focus of federally funded education dramatically shifted from math and science to social programs. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act launched a comprehensive set of programs, including the Title I program of Federal aid to disadvantaged children to address the problems of poor urban and rural areas. And in that same year, the Higher Education Act authorized assistance for postsecondary education, including financial aid programs for needy college students.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Department of Education Organization Act. By 1980, Congress established the Department of Education as a Cabinet level agency. However, the ED only held an 8% vested interest in the education of America’s children. Today, the 4,045 ED employees (by far the smallest Cabinet-level department) serve nearly 14,000 school districts and some 56 million students attending roughly 99,000 public schools and 34,000 private schools.

Since the creation of ED, the setting of academic standards for what students should know and be able to do has largely driven Education reform in the United States. The standards-based reform movement calls for clear, measurable standards for all students. The major problem is that many students are failing to master the standards of competency for their particular grade level. So by middle school these same students particularly minorities are several standards behind grade level. Subsequently, hundreds of thousands of American school children drop out of high school every year because they are unable to pass an exit exam whose standard requirement is pre-Algebra and 8th grade reading proficiency. Why have educational expectations sunk so low? What happened to American pride and scholastic excellence? Why are our children’s future being disposed of like recycled plastic bottles? Why has this nation failed its children so miserably?

As parents, what will it take for us to seize the mantle of responsibility for raising our children once again? How many more shootings, beatings and rapes will it take to get our attention? What good is an education if it fails to educate and make us better human beings?

Our children are learning to be mediocre. They are learning to question nothing and accept everything. They are learning to defy authority and despise what is good. They are learning to cheat, lie and take short cuts in life in order to get what they want. They are learning to kill without conscience and to be students of violence and war. They are learning that the only heroes are those who wear a badge or carry a gun in battle. They are learning that 15-minutes of fame is greater than a lifetime of service or sacrifice. They are learning that God is whatever you believe God is; that is, if they believe in god at all. They are learning that only those with money, power and prestige are suitable role models. They are learning that dysfunction and noise is normative and that peace and silence is boring. They are learning that being smart or intelligent will only get you bullied. They are learning to distrust the voice of their parents and denounce all great traditions. However in spite of what the world is teaching them. In spite of this world’s efforts to mis-educate them, it is our awesome responsibility as parents to do the job of shaping the future of their souls, not only for this time, but also for all eternity. Our children are worth it! Within each of them is precious heavenly treasure stored up in clay pots.

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Train Up a Child…! The Age of Aquarius

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The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom…between the rotting corpse of Christianity…and the new faith of humanism. Humanism will emerge triumphant. —John Dunphy; The Humanist; January/February, 1983

Among those who experienced the socio-political revolution of the 1960s, many felt that era was the beginning of the Age of Aquarius; a Uranus-Pluto conjunction which astrologically marked an era of collective change in the universe. Thus, the Age of Aquarius was purportedly a galactic shift in human consciousness which promised to usher in a much anticipated age of peace and love. Yet as we look back on the decade of the sixties it is apparent that something overtook love.

If this were the true Age of Aquarius then humanity distinguished itself more as warrior then peace-bearer because never in the history of the United States had there been so much violence, civil-disobedience, political unrest, assassinations and war! The counterculture that was foisted on the 1960s adolescent youth of America was not merely analogous to hedonism and paganism, it was a literal resurrection of an ancient cult down to the popularization of the Isis cross (the “peace symbol”) as the counterculture’s most frequently used symbol.

Train up a Child Education 5The peace symbol (also called the “broken cross,” “crow’s foot,” “witch’s foot,” “Nero Cross,” “sign of the ‘broken Jew,'” and the “symbol of the ‘anti-Christ”’) is actually a cross with the arms broken. It also signifies the “gesture of despair,” and the “death of man.”

Two ideals struggled for supremacy over the minds of American youth, the one: the industrial ideal, culminating through the supremacy of commercialism; the other, the ideal of humanism, which placed humanity above all. The fight to control the course of education reform was crucial to the future of the nation. It was no accident that commercialism won the battle but humanism won the war. Subsequently, radical education reforms were introduced as the political landscape of America was undergoing its own “galactic shift.”

Reformers began to see education as a major player in helping shape public policy and consciousness as the integration of American schools allowed for the slow erosion of long-standing institutions like Jim Crow along with centuries of generational race prejudice. Believing that all education had to take its lead from the laws of human development elucidated by the new discipline of child psychology, the educational progressives scorned the attempt by traditionalists to maintain the sovereignty of a moral code which had for centuries governed American schools. Many traditionalists argued: ‘the laws governing the development of the soul were not subject to conditions arising out of the crudely developed social institutions of men. The laws, they reasoned, may be ignored, and the institutions may continue, but at a sacrifice beyond estimation.’ A key conviction underlying the progressive agenda was that children had to be guided into becoming critical thinkers who could judge for themselves accepted institutions, customs, morality and values.

This humanistic philosophy has been allowed to indoctrinate indeed brainwash our children unabated for decades through the guise of public school reform, education policy, and most insidiously through its academic curriculum.

So today . . .

  • 1,000,000 million students across the United States failed to graduate in 2006.
  • US school children take 4x as much behavior modification meds as all children in the rest of the world combined.

Now . . .

  • Approximately 38% of public schools reported at least one incident of violence to police during 2005-2006.

In the same year, students ages 12-18 were the victims of about 628,200 violent crimes at school, including rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.

  • Violent street gangs are active in 94% of all medium and large sized cities in America.
  • Today’s gangs are very sophisticated, crossing state lines to establish groups and recruit members as young as 10 years old in communities across the country.

A recent survey of schools found there were an estimated 4,000 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault in public schools across the country. And this was in just one academic year!

  • About 40% of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

Inauspiciously the US Constitution made no provision for federal authority in education. So why was there a need for the US Department of Education (DOE) to come into existence in 1980? Who has benefited? And what are American children really learning in the village?

To be continued…

Train Up a Child…! The Psychology of the Village

Train up a Child Education

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our Founding Fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. Its up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.

— Chester M. Pierce; Professor of Education and Psychiatry; Harvard

In 1996, Hilary Clinton made famous the ancient African Proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” The proverb is from Igbo and Yoruba regions of Nigeria and the basic meaning is that raising a child is a communal effort. In other words, the responsibility for raising a child lies not only with the parents, but also with the extended family and in some cases the community. I have little or no problem with a community assuming responsibility for the safety and welfare of its children. On the surface, there is nothing controversial about the idea that it takes more than parents to raise a child. Grandparents, friends, pastors, teachers, local leaders, and many others in the community all have a role in the lives of our children. In her book, Mrs. Clinton does acknowledge, “Parent’s bear the first and primary responsibility for their sons and daughters.” Unfortunately, the remainder of the book not only contradicts this position it exposes her true purpose and intention for the use of the word ‘village.’

Let’s look at just one example. Mrs. Clinton believes that the best way to solve what she believes is the problem of adequate day care facilities, is to adopt the French model of day care. She asks us to “imagine a country in which nearly all children between the ages of three and five attend preschool in sparkling classrooms, with teachers recruited and trained as child care professionals.” She goes on to say this exists where “more than 90 percent of French children between ages three and five attend free or inexpensive preschools called écoles maternelles. Even before they reach the age of three, many of them are in full-day programs.” (President Obama is also proposing a similar program for pre-K children).

Her desire is to replicate this system in the United States so that the state can have an early maternal influence on the children of America. She envisions a country in which “Big Brother” essentially becomes “Big Sister or Big Momma.”

But is this really what we want for our children? Do we really want a nationally subsidized day care system that puts three-years-olds (even two-year olds) in institutionalized care? Throughout the book Mrs. Clinton seems to be making the tragic assumption that the state can do a better job of raising children than parents. She proposes a system in which the First Lady becomes the “First Mom”–a system in which children are no longer the responsibility of the parents, but become instead wards of the state. This is what I call the psychology of the village whereby our children essentially become quasi-wards of the state and the government becomes the adopted parent for our children. The controversial plan would start with low-income families, single parent homes, and then extend the program as a public option to the general public. Sound familiar? The problem is the federal government has already socialized public education and over the last forty years has failed miserably to provide our children with even the most basic education and life skills. So why would we ever consider entrusting our pre-k children to the State?

Mrs. Clinton fosters the idea that one day the global village will replace our antiquated notions of child rearing and parenting. What she and others fail to say outright is that they believe the psychology of the village will one day replace the “old” moral code.

Teachers must guide students toward a new morality.  The strict adherence to a code — a moral code — is out of date. — Theodore Sizer

So what is this newly proposed morality? Is this the unspoken purpose of a public school education? Doesn’t this contradict the very word of God which exhorts each of us to train up our own children? Which proverb will raise our children?

You can only have a new society, the visionaries have said, if you change the education of the younger generation. … Of the Aquarian Conspirators surveyed, more were involved in education than in any other single category of work. … “The psychology of becoming has to be smuggled into the schools.” …— Marilyn Ferguson; The Aquarian Conspiracy; p. 280-281

To be continued…

Train Up a Child…! The purpose of Education?

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“The purpose of education is to change the thoughts feelings and actions of students.” (Benjamin Bloom, 2005, p. 1)

If I asked any parent what the purpose of a public education is today what do you think they would say? Well . . . According to a recent Gallup poll (August 2009) — Three in four American parents (75%) expressed satisfaction with the education their children receive in public school, compared to 45% of the general public who are satisfied with the state of schools nationwide. This is disturbing on numerous levels. However, I’m convinced that this is only true because most Americans are ostensibly unaware of the true purpose of public education. In order to fully understand the intended purpose of public education one must critically examine the sub-textual language of public education’s founding fathers. One pioneer, an educational psychologist by the name of Benjamin Bloom, introduced a distinct theory of education called Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Bloom’s Taxonomy was a classification system developed in 1956 to categorize intellectual skills and behavior important to learning. Bloom identified six cognitive levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, with sophistication growing from basic knowledge-recall skills to the highest level, evaluation. It is important to note that all teachers in the United States are required to study Bloom’s taxonomy. Below is an illustration of Dr. Bloom’s original model.

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However, in the 1990s, one of Bloom’s students, Lorin Anderson, revised the original taxonomy. In the amended version of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the names of the major cognitive process categories were changed to indicate action because thinking implies active engagements.

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Notice the developmental category Knowledge was replaced by Remembering. As well as the developmental category Synthesis was replaced by Creating. (More on that later!)

But why was it necessary to replace knowledge with remembering? Why the emphasis on rote memorization relative to knowing and mastery? Take a look at what a noted Harvard University Professor had to say. . .

The present “traditional” concept of literacy has to do with the ability to read and write.  But … do we really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write … when they have a five-dollar hand-held calculator or a word processor? … Do we really have to have everybody literate—writing and reading in the traditional sense … ?

— Anthony Oettinger; Professor; Harvard University; as quoted in Chronology of Education

Wait a minute! But isn’t literacy and writing the purpose of an education to begin with? Why would a professor of higher learning who is obviously educated in the traditional sense oppose your children and mine having access to the same education that he was afforded? And why would he purport to exclude some from attaining a basic education? To better understand Professor Oettinger listen to the sub-textual argument his predecessor educational philosopher John Dewey made to his colleagues.

The children who know how to think for themselves, spoil the harmony of the collective society that is coming, where everyone would be interdependent.

Independent self-reliant people would be a counterproductive anachronism in the collective society of the future where people will be defined by their associations.

— John Dewey, 1896, educational philosopher, proponent of modern public schools.

Are you still confident about the purpose of public education? Surely our elected officials have our children’s best interest at heart. After all, they’re the ones who keep reminding us of how low performing American children are in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world.

We no longer see the teaching of facts and information as the primary function of education… Building a new kind of people must be a part of the curriculum… More and more schools are the center of all human resource development… The earlier we can intervene in the lives of people the more effective we can be.

Some people say we are spending more on schools and getting less. I disagree – what we are doing is taking on more and more in schools and that will continue. We are not only feeding kids at lunch, we are supplying more psychological services. We are providing special ed services. More and more school is the cog or center of all human resource development.

— Dr. Shirley McCune; Governor’s Conference on Education; Wichita, Kansas; 1989

What? This was said at a Governor’s Conference on Education? In America? So if the purpose of education isn’t to educate then what is its purpose?

To be continued…

Train Up a Child…!

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Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it. Proverbs 22:6 GWT

My God! What have we done? What are we doing? Our children are dying mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and our only prayer to you Father is for a bigger house; a larger storeroom. Is this why we blindly drive by the public schools in our neighborhoods everyday in our new cars with the license plates that arrogantly boast about Your goodness, mercy and grace? Meanwhile the majority of the children in those schools don’t know You. And so, they instinctively re-enact the scripted training the public schools, the social engineers, the commercial media has taught them.

Script #1: Kill or be killed!

Script #2: It’s a jungle out there!

Script #3: It’s a dog eat dog world!

Script #4: Survival of the fittest!

And so, our children try to survive by any means necessary. Which essentially means that if I need to sell drugs in order to get that new car with the 24-inch rims then so be it!

If I can’t afford those Jordan’s you’re wearing then it’s okay for me to kill you for them (the street credo)!

If I‘m not motivated to learn then nobody’s going to learn!

If you don’t give me what I want then I don’t want anything to do with you!

I don’t have to respect you just because you’re an adult; you got to give respect before you get respect.

Everybody’s cheating and breaking the rules!

I’m not a snitch. Stitches for snitches!

Can you see the results of this scripted training? Do you hear our children’s conversation? On You-tube, My-space and Face book? Have you ever read their text messages; how they talk to one another? What they talk about? Our children are receiving training one way or another. Our children are getting an education one way or another. The question is whose training and whose education are they receiving? The recent murder of an innocent bystander Derrion Albert in Chicago has received a lot of media attention but soon his senseless death will fade from the headlines and from our personal consciousness and regrettably from our collective conscience much like the other 36 homicides in Chicago schools alone, which have received little or no media scrutiny.

In the next few days, we’re going take a serious look at the training of our children from a biblical and world perspective. Somewhere . . . somehow . . . we lost sight of the charge God has given each of us to train our children. Not just our biological children, but also all children. What is imperatively clear is that our children need us. They so need us. They are like orphans without a home who are circumnavigating this life without a moral compass. They are stepping into their future while being completely ignorant of their past. Who does this to someone they profess to love? What manner of people allows their children to abort babies without ever ascertaining the spiritual cost? What manner of people watch with almost abject indifference their children gambling their health away by not exercising, over eating, and consuming cocktails of over-the-counter medications and illicit drugs? What manner of people are willing to fill up town halls and express outrage over health care yet sit eerily silent while our children kill one another in our public schools? What manner of people allows their children to drop out of school at an alarming rate of 50% per many local school districts? Parents what have we done? Church what are we doing? Public school administrators in what direction are we going? Mr. President, State Senators, Local and State Congressional leaders where is this political bus taking us?

Is there still time? Does any one out there still have hope? Does any one out there still believe God is bigger than our precipitous problems? Does anyone out there still believe God can fix our nation? My God! I pray so.

To be continued…