Friday, November 22, 2013

Education Ain't What It Should Be (Part 5)


Does Decline of Grammar Signify Decadence?
by Henry Makow, Ph.D.
(From Oct. 15, 2011)
November 27, 2013 is a satanic era where the laws of God and nature are distorted and inverted.
Why would the rules of grammar be exempt?
A disturbing sign of cultural decline is that more and more people cannot write a proper sentence.
A sentence is the basic unit of written communication. If we learn only one thing in school, it should be to write a sentence.
Increasingly I am posting submissions and material from other sources. I also post email response. About one in three cannot write a sentence.
A sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. It must contain a noun and a verb, a subject and a predicate. See here.
"The dog (noun) chases (verb) the cat." "The dog" is the subject. "Chases the cat" is the predicate.
Yet I have an acquaintance who somehow attained a Master's Degree in Social Work and cannot write a sentence.
He is engaged in a custody battle and is writing his own affidavits.
"Your inability to write a sentence discredits you," I tell him.
He just laughs and acts like I am an old pedant defending his obsolete turf.
"You sound like one of my old professors," he says.
"I would have flunked you," I say.
He wouldn't appear in court wearing pajamas but thinks nothing of submitting documents that discredit him.
His children's welfare is at stake. He cannot defend them effectively. Everyone who cannot write is similarly handicapped.
Just as our grip on culture in general is becoming more tenuous, increasingly, English grammar is treated like an anachronism.
The popularity of texting may be a factor. People think they can write like they talk, in a stream of consciousness.
But this doesn't explain why schools don't require English proficiency as a condition of graduation. What else is an education for?
Being able to write a sentence is the equivalent of two plus two equals four. I suspect that a subversive force is behind this cultural disintegration. Flouting the rules of grammar is treated like another form of liberation and revolt.
At the same time, the rules for plagiarism are being relaxed and the objectivity of Math is being challenged and fudged.
Ours is a satanic era where the laws of God and nature are distorted and reversed. Why would the rules of grammar be exempt?
I posted a powerful article by "Duran" about how young men are being psychologically destroyed in school.
In that article, Duran's periods were originally all commas and there was little to no capitalization. This talented young man transferred to an all-male private school and graduated with flying colors.
Yet, he still cannot write a sentence, and like my social work friend, doesn't think he needs to. The same applies to some other valued contributors.
I was lucky to attend public high school in Ontario in the 1960's when the rules of writing were drummed into our heads, and we were expected to master a wide range of knowledge: history, geography, sciences, languages, math. My teachers were young, smart and dedicated.
But clearly the education system today is more concerned with grooming youth for gay sex than equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed.
We are witnessing a return to mass illiteracy. The culture is moving away from text and becoming verbal and visual. The hidden agenda is to dumb down the new generation, and to make them ineffectual and easier to control.
Sheep don't need to write. They just need to bleat.
For comments to the article, go to:  
 *******Common Core a hot topic among parents, teachers
by Justin Corr
Follow: @JCorrKTVB
Posted on November 24, 2013
BOISE -- The already hot topic of education is heating up even more, with many Idaho parents and teachers talking about the new Common Core standards adopted by Idaho schools this year.
The new standards are intended to better prepare students for college and the workforce, but some critics say the standards are too rigid, while others say they're just plain confusing.
"I've attended lots and lots of meetings over the last year about Common Core," said Karma Nalder, who has three kids in the Boise School District. "I was very interested in it, but I didn't really have an opinion whether it was going to be good or bad. It's been about the last month that I've developed a strong opinion, a negative opinion, regarding the Common Core."
Nalder says one of her kids brought home work with correct answers marked wrong, because the child's process in getting that answer was not what was being taught.
"If a student gets to the right answer, it doesn't matter how that student got to the right answer, they should still get credit," said Nalder.
Some other parents from across the nation protested last week, saying the Common Core curriculum is too rigid, and that it relies too heavily on testing and not enough on teaching individual students.
KTVB met with Nalder while she was attending a workshop about Common Core, headed up by Boise State University literacy professor Roger Stewart.
He understands why parents have questions and concerns, but says the Common Core standards can be a great thing for Idaho kids, specifically because they focus on the process, instead of just the answer.
"The Common Core has an emphasis on deeper level processing and higher level thinking," said Stewart.
Stewart also balked at the suggestion of some critics that Common Core is too intrusive.
"The standards don't really tell teachers how to teach, or even, for that matter, to any great degree, what to teach," he said. "There are more outcomes that students or children are to achieve."
Steward tells KTVB that Common Core is valuable because it provides comprehensive details about how much our kids are learning, compared to kids in other states -- kids that they may be competing against for college and jobs.
In Idaho Common Core standards have had broad-based support from the Governor's Education task force, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and the Teacher's Union.
But opposition to the standards has been more vocal, and those opposed hope to get the Common Core decision revisited by lawmakers in the next legislation session.
Too much, too young: Should schooling start at age 7?
by David Whitebread and Sue Bingham
18 November 2013 
New Scientist, Magazine issue 2943
England and a few other countries start formal education at age 4 or 5. That's harmful and misguided

AT WHAT age should children start formal schooling? England is one of a few countries to say the answer is as young as 4 years old.
A long-running debate on this question has been reignited by a letter, signed by about 130 early childhood education experts. It called for an extension of informal, play-based preschool provision and for the start of formal schooling in England to be delayed until the age of 7, from the current effective start at age 4.
This would bring it in line with the overwhelming evidence showing that starting school later is best, and the practice in many countries, such as Sweden and Finland. These countries have better academic achievement and child well-being, despite children not starting school until age 7.
The fear is that the English system – which was introduced in 1870 in order to get women back into work, rather than on the basis of any educational benefit to children – is now causing profound damage. A similar story applies in the rest of the UK, and there is pressure for greater formality in preschools in other countries, such as the US.
Why a renewed call for change now? The UK minister for education, Michael Gove, and his team are continuing to advocate earlier formal teaching of literacy and numeracy and earlier formal assessment of children. The head of the UK's Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) has also suggested that schools could take children aged 2. The learning style for this proposal wasn't spelled out, but critics quickly warned against formal methods.
If we consider the contribution of play to children's development as learners, and the harm caused by starting formal learning at 4 to 5 years old, the evidence for a later start is very persuasive.
This evidence comes from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies. For example, research on children's play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of other mammalian young, have identified play as an adaptation that enabled early humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers.
Neuroscientific studies have supported this view of play as a central mechanism in learning. The 2009 book The Playful Brain: Venturing to the limits of neuroscience, for example, reviewed many studies showing that playful activity leads to the growth of more connections between neurons, particularly in the frontal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for uniquely human higher mental functions.
Experimental psychology has consistently demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful, as opposed to instructional, approaches to early education.
Yet another study, in 2002, demonstrated that, by the end of their sixth year in school, children in the US whose preschool learning had been academically directed achieved significantly lower marks compared with those who had attended play-based programmes.
Developmental psychologists have identified two mental processes that underpin this relationship between play and learning. First, much of children's play involves pretending that one thing represents another, for example that a cardboard box is a space ship. This ability is thought to be unique to humans and underpins language, drawing and other ways in which we convey meaning.
James Christie at Arizona State University and Kathleen Roskos at John Carroll University in Ohio have reviewed evidence that such an approach to language learning, as opposed to formal instruction, offers the most powerful support for the early development of phonological and literacy skills.
Second, through all kinds of physical, constructional and social play, children become more aware of, and more in control of, their physical and mental activity. This allows them to gradually rely less on adult support and become more "self-regulating", both intellectually and emotionally. A growing number of empirical studies suggest that encouraging play early on enhances this ability, and that educational interventions supporting it are the most powerful predictors of children's development as learners.
There is another important strand of evidence. In 2004, a study of 3000 children, funded by the UK Department of Education, showed that an extended period of play-based preschool education made a significant difference to learning and well-being through the primary school years.
In New Zealand, several key investigations compared children who started formal literacy lessons at age 5 with those who started age 7. They showed that early formal learning doesn't improve reading development, and may even be damaging. By the age of 11, there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups. However, those who started aged 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading and showed poorer text comprehension than those who had started later.
Further research exploring the relative reading achievement of 15-year-olds, across 55 countries, found no significant evidence that an early start brings later benefits.
There is an equally substantial body of research concerning the worrying increase in stress and mental health problems among children whose childhood education is being "schoolified". It suggests strong links with loss of playful experiences and increased achievement pressures.
Taken together, all these strands of evidence raise important and serious questions about the trajectory of early education policy in England.
In the interests of children's academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously.
This article appeared in print under the headline "Too much, too young"
David Whitebread is a developmental psychologist at the University of Cambridge, UK
Sue Bingham is an early childhood education consultant

Also See:
Common Core: Public Education or is it Indoctrination?
(Part 1)
02 April 2013
(Part 2)
23 October 2013
What is Happening in Education?
08 September 2013
Education Ain't What It Should Be (Part 1)
21 April 2008
(Part 2)
12 June 2011
(Part 3)
17 June 2012
(Part 4)
16 May 2013
Your Children Don't Belong to You!
09 April 2013
Corporal Punishment in Schools!
29 January 2012
Agenda 21! The Death Knell of Liberty! (Part 1)
02 March 2011
(Part 2)
22 January 2012
Socialism is Not Disappearing!
15 November 2011
Should We Have Prayer in Schools?
06 July 2011
Don't Blame the Teachers! Blame the Parents!
18 March 2011
Parents! What do You Know about Whole Child Education?
13 August 2010
Sex Education in Ontario Elementary Schools is Going Too Far!!
24 June 2010
Teaching Propaganda or American History?
25 April 2010
What Happened to Education?
30 August 2009
Homeschooling - What About It?
18 June 2009
Who Writes History?
23 July 2007