65: How They Wrecked The Schools, How They Keep Them Wrecked
History of K-12 in the USA
over the last 100+ years
HOW THEY WRECKED THE SCHOOLS
ALL GOOD IDEAS:
3 R’s. Cursive. Phonics. Arithmetic with Mastery. Facts. Knowledge. Academics. Aesop’s Fables. Geography. Literature,
General Science, History, Second Language, Homework, Tests, Grades, Proper Spelling, Accuracy, Promptness, Real Critical Thinking; Teacher teaches directly. Teacher is supported by principal and community. Schools
try to build character.
ADD EVERY BAD IDEA:
No Cursive. No memorization of multiplication
tables, facts, etc. Do memorize sight-words. Reform Math (12 varieties). Constructivism.
Cooperative Learning. Ignore spelling and grammar. Self-Esteem, Fuzziness, Social Studies. Guessing. Disdain for right answers.
Relevance, Multiculturalism. Pretend Critical Thinking. Disorderly Schools. Permissive About Cheating. No direct instruction.
Testing and grades are scorned,
Getting rid of good ideas creates, In effect, empty warehouse.
Kids are ignorant but still normal; can still be saved.
the bad ideas that damage them.
Bad ideas are like computer viruses: must
be deliberately inserted
but can be deliberately removed…
What if we could have 1917 again? Yes, this is good
but we would want more emphasis on fun.
HOW THEY KEEP THEM WRECKED
The Education Establishment creates a semantic fog so
that no two Americans can have a helpful conversation about education. There’s a constant flood of jargon, marketing
phrases, weird new methods. One phrase can refer to many things. Conversely, several different terms can refer to the same
thing. For example, Inquiry, Investigations, Constructivism, Project-Based Learning, and Discovery, they all refer to the
same thing. The key feature is actually hidden: teachers can no longer teach directly. Sight-words have 10 different names
going back to 1930. Half of them are still in play. But the main fog is the relentless introduction of new jargon, new so-called
theories, innovations that are supposed to represent the final triumph of progressive education, until they are discarded
a few years later
was prepared for a speech delivered in Milan, Italy
at the Pensare Oltre conference in October, 2017.
My goal was to present
the whole of American K-12 history in a flowchart. The advantage was I could cover a lot of material in a few minutes, simply
by reading from the graph. But the audience wouldn't be able to remember or jot down so many words delivered in a minute or
Thus this page.
Note that many of the bad ideas have their own article on this site, for example, Constructivism,
Reform Math, Learning Styles, Sight Words, the War on Reading, the Crusade against Knowledge, and many others.
Simply scan titles to the left.
As I write this, the Milan conference is over and I'm back in my office
in Virginia Beach.
For those curious about how "frontier thinkers"
in Virginia and Italy found each other, read this brief blog post.
Bruce Deitrick Price to speak in Italy