Education Materials Cannot be Objective if Selection Criteria are Subjective!

June 17, 2016

The following information represents a small segment excerpted from the WV Board of Education Policy that illustrates guidelines for vendors providing instructional material for evaluation by the state for inclusion in the list of approved instructional materials each cycle. Following that information, my commentary regarding solutions to address these inadequacies.   This particular one is taken from the chart outlining the requirements for social studies for elementary grade students in WV schools.   Emphasis in red, below, denote this writer’s suggestion that the emphasized words are of a completely subjective nature that can be interpreted broadly and in widely divergent ways by different teachers in the classroom.  

For student mastery of content standards and objectives, the instructional materials will provide students with the opportunity to:

A. Civics

1.identify and explain the following commonly held American democratic values, principles and beliefs:

- diversity
- rule of law
– family values
– community service
justice
- liberty

  1. determine the need for government and compare and contrast the following forms: tribal, monarchy, and democracy.
  2. investigate significant cultural contributions of various groups creating our multicultural society.
  3. examine historical conflicts and their resolutions (e.g., conflict between Native Americans and Explorers, Boston Tea Party and Civil Rights Movement).
  4. examine how rights and responsibilities of citizens are reflected in patriotic symbols, songs and holidays of the United States (e.g., the meaning of our flag’s colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the meaning of the words, the National Anthem, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day).
  5. participate in a local service project and discover the importance of working together and how participation leads to improvement in the lives of individuals, as well as communities.

COMMENTARY  

What is most important to consider in evaluating the appropriateness of such standards for the selection of materials is 1) Will the resulting materials be objective and fact-based? and 2) whether or not there is a mechanism in place that provides for monitoring of the classroom and teacher with regard to the specifics of how these standards translate into an accurate interpretation of instructional materials to the students in the classroom.   I submit at present that 1) The materials will largely reflect the subjective nature of the standard used to produce the materials; and 2) there is no such system or provision in existence in WV schools.   For the above reasons, it is highly likely, given the extremely high amount of progressive influence existing in the teacher education institutions of our state as well as our country, and noticeably in the above standards, that these criteria will nearly always be interpreted in the most progressive, liberal manner possible.

As a result, WV students will, in reality, be indoctrinated into a highly left-leaning, progressive view of civics, civic responsibility, the fallacies of “democracy” being the type of government under which we live, diversity being a positive influence on our country, liberty being an acceptable principle as long as the individual is in agreement with government policy, the individual is irrelevant while the community is paramount, the need for government, the context of history in America (manifest destiny? Or Genocidal destruction?), etc., etc.   The education system has been slanted so greatly to reflect only one viewpoint that it is imperative that a balance be re-established within our classrooms that, at the very least reflects a factual, non-opinionated, presentation that allows students to draw their own conclusions and think for themselves.

Example: There is more than ample evidence among the original documents produced by the very founders of our country that clearly delineate the influence and foundational arguments for a Christian origin to our country. These documents clearly describe a mindset among the many members of the Constitutional Convention (numbering over 200, but seldom are more than about a dozen ever mentioned in instructional materials) that demonstrates the degree to which faith influenced their decisions in creating our Constitution.   These foundational principles were amply demonstrated by actions. The very first “group activity” of the attendees present at the time the final document was completed was to walk a short distance (as a group) from the convention location to a nearby chapel that still sets on the site of what is now the NY Port Authority property adjacent to the World Trade Center Twin Towers Site. At that chapel, those attendees committed and dedicated their new country and new constitution to God Almighty.

This sort of information is important for students in order to understand why things happened in America the way they did, how our constitution was created, justified to the people, and finally ratified. It is at least as important as the prevalent view that America was all about commerce, money, expansion at any cost, and a total disregard for the welfare of Native Americans, and slavery, among others. There is also ample evidence that much of this misguided information is not based on historical facts, but far more often on revisionists writing textbooks since WW I during the rise of Socialism, Marxism, Communism, and ‘educators’ such as Dewey and others who succeeded in forcing the education system to the far left of the political spectrum and toward a collectivist mentality.

It is for this reason that I believe it is important that the role of the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) be altered to include district-based teams of classroom auditors assigned to small groups of schools to monitor the objectivity of teachers in conveying the material mandated by the policies of the state (in all subject areas). This should be able to work within existing budgets and manpower without the need to further expand what a recent audit suggests is already a bloated bureaucracy, but that is for another discussion.

Before anyone suggests that this is taking away local control, since control of schools should always remain as close to home as possible while remaining as free of political influences as possible, the results of this monitoring process should be made available to the general public and local school boards. Changes and adjustments would, under this concept, be approved and implemented at the local level with the effectiveness of the effort reflected in the state-issued district-wide and individual school grades assigned to the specific schools affected by the auditing process. In this way, the state is an observer free of local political influence, but only a reporting agency rather than the disciplinary agent or the one responsible for deciding what corrective action is needed. That remains a local responsibility with the consequences for the local district and school being their final grade from the state after changes were made.

It is only through this monitoring process that we will begin to gain an accurate picture of what is being taught and how objectively it is presented.   This approach would also allow students to fully understand a complete picture of their country, it’s place in the world, the value of a common culture shared by all (as opposed to multiculturalism that is ripping Europe apart as we speak), and the value of the individual and his/her freedom to determine the direction of their own lives without hindrance from government, guilt heaped on them for events that happened centuries before they were born, and the un-hampered ability to evaluate material and information objectively and accurately because they have been provided with or have sought out arguments from all sides.

Most importantly, regardless of whether such a modification of WVDE ever occurs,  parents and other concerned citizens with or without children MUST become completely engaged in what is going on in our schools.

Contrary to popular belief, local school boards have virtually total control over “WHAT” (curriculum) is being taught to their students while the state of WV makes the determination of just how much about each subject a student must know at the end of each grade (standards). Most local boards abdicate that responsibility to administrators at the local district and school level because they are the alleged professionals. However, by abdicating instead of assigning and monitoring they leave our students at the mercy of people who are largely (not completely) trained in how to turn your children into leftist believers in collective socialistic, multi-cultural societies steeped in global warming alarmism and “the individual is unimportant” nonsense.

Parents and other must read the papers provided to students by their teachers. Read their textbooks – cover to cover. If your child cannot leave it home long enough, contact the district and borrow a copy. Yes, you can do it. Question your child’s teacher about their views on different subjects. It will truly be enlightening. Examine how much of your child’s time in class is being used to teach so-called “social engineering and social/emotional skills” rather than academic subjects. Again, you just might be surprised at how much of your child’s 180 days of instruction are committed to social engineering instead of math, reading, writing, and factual history.   Without engagement, there is no protection for your children.

Think about it!


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Tags: accountability, classroom, Education, God, Government, leftist, progressive, teachers, teaching, textbooks, United States

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