Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leftist Dogma Presented as Education

‘Something Amiss’ - “there’s something amiss when the university turns itself into a source of doctrine rather than a source of inquiry.” Last March, the National Association of Scholars issued a groundbreaking report causing a splash on campuses and within the progressive movement. “Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism” is a comprehensive expose of an ominous grab bag of progressive ideological causes bleeding into more and more college courses. Rachelle Peterson, one of the study’s authors, was surprised to find “how well sustainability was entrenched in the college curriculum — not just in sustainability courses, but in English and history classes.” The reports’ authors, Peter Wood, the president of NAS, and Peterson, say most people mistakenly believe sustainability is about global warming or a benign form of environmentalism. Yet, the report and this exclusive 39 minute video interview, expose how progressive activists are swallowing up a host of issues — including gay marriage, raising the minimum wage, #BlackLivesMatter and ending capitalism — as being within the “sustainability” umbrella. NAS’s report details “an ideology that demands new limits on economic, political and intellectual freedom as the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations.”……. the “new fundamentalism, because it is a movement that brooks no doubts about the truth of its basic propositions.” In fact, Peter Wood reminds us that instead of welcoming substantive challenge, the loaded and offensive term of “denier” is widely thrown at any who dissent from the orthodoxy of sustainability….

Teaching how to think is just as important as teaching anything else - Moving our educational focus from knowledge to inquiry allows for the development of effective thinking. A new paper on teaching critical thinking skills in science has pointed out, yet again, the value of giving students experiences that go beyond simple recall or learned procedures. It is a common lamentation that students are not taught to think, but there is usually an accompanying lack of clarity about exactly what that might mean. There is a way of understanding this idea that is conceptually easy and delivers a sharp educational focus – a way that focuses on the explicit teaching of thinking skills through an inquiry process, and allows students to effectively evaluate their thinking. What are thinking skills? Let’s first understand what we might mean by thinking skills. Thinking skills, or cognitive skills, are, in large part, things you do with knowledge. Things like analysing, evaluating, synthesising, inferring, conjecturing, justifying, categorising and many other terms describe your cognitive events at a particular functional level.

Competition For The College Board, Now More Than Ever - The aim of modern propaganda is no longer to modify ideas, but to provoke action.When teachers and scholars began to speak out against its 2014 Advanced Placement U. S. History (APUSH) Framework, the College Board initially dismissed the critics as extremists unworthy of attention. The response changed somewhat when the Texas State Board of Education challenged the curriculum’s leftist tenor. Texas’s status as a major supplier of lucrative AP students prompted the College Board to move into Phase Two of its defense, hiring high-powered lobbying firms to persuade critics that the Framework didn’t say what it said. Phase Three – agreeing to consider the objections and revise the Framework – didn’t happen until the College Board learned of serious discussions to create competition to its near-monopoly on advanced placement courses.

Religious instruction scrapped from curriculum - Mr Merlino said qualified teachers would deliver the new faith and ethics content.Victorian schools will scrap special religious instruction from class time, with changes to the state’s curriculum throwing the future of the controversial program in doubt. The Andrews government has ordered that the weekly 30 minute program move to lunchtime and before and after school in 2016 to make way for new content on world histories, cultures, faiths and ethics. Classes that address domestic violence and respectful relationships will also become compulsory for all prep to year 10 students from 2016. The state government says students miss out on essential learning while special religious instruction takes place. Photo: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Rating California schools is a big battle - California’s largest-in-the-nation public school system educates – or purports to do so – 6 million-plus kids from dozens of socioeconomic, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. National academic testing has found that California’s students rank near the bottom in achievement.  The situation spawns two perpetual political debates – whether we’re spending enough money to raise that achievement, and whether there’s sufficient accountability for results.…..Educators, particularly the politically powerful California Teachers Association, despised a system that not only graded schools on how well they were improving academic achievement, but provided the basis for “parent trigger” actions to seize control of ill-performing schools. Nor did the CTA like the potential for using the data to judge teachers’ competence.

An Israel-free world map? Our tax dollars at work - Palestinian "textbooks" are printed with maps that don't show the nation of Israel. A Messianic Jewish leader says it’s an outrage that U.S. taxpayers are helping bail out Palestinian schools that are nothing more than training grounds for young terrorists. The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees told The Associated Press that last-minute donations of approximately $70 million dollars helped avert the closures of schools attended by a half-million students. Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, says Palestinian “textbooks” are printed with maps that don’t show the nation of Israel.  “The Palestinian Authority and Hamas want Israel driven into the sea,” she says. “And as a result they don’t even put them on their education maps.” Numerous reports from watchdog organizations, such as Palestinian Media Watch, have documented similar propaganda for years, such as a Hamas children’s TV program (see video below) that discusses killing Jews.

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