Outcome-Based Education: Skinnerian Conditioning in the Classroom
William F. Jasper | The New American
August 23, 1993
From Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, angry parents are laying siege to local school boards and state legislators. Continued academic decline, burgeoning school crime, morally offensive textbooks, psychologically manipulative curricula, privacy-invading surveys, and skyrocketing taxes have parents and property owners up in arms. Whatever happened, they are demanding to know, with the vaunted "reforms" of just a few years ago that were supposed to remedy these ills.
The educational establishment is responding, as usual, with the claim that it is being victimized by extremists. The title of a recent cover story of the American School Board Journal (April 1993) warns: "Targets of the Right: Public schools -- and school boards -- are under attack from the religious right." The article notes that one of the lightning rods that is attracting parents' ire nationwide is "outcome-based education" or OBE, the centerpiece of the education reform movement.
Reform Déjà vu
A full decade has passed since A Nation at Risk, the much ballyhooed 1983 report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, thundered across the land. To the accompaniment of great rounds of handwringing, finger pointing, political speechifying, and media preachifying, the report darkly warned that "the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people."
Among the host of gruesome statistics cited by the commission to validate its alarm were these:
• "Some 23 million American adults are functionally illiterate...."
• "About 13 percent of all 17-year-olds in the United States can be considered functionally illiterate...."
• "International comparisons of student achievement ... reveal that on 19 academic tests American students were never first or second and ... were last seven times."
• "Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) demonstrate a virtually unbroken decline from 1963 to 1980.
Conservative critics of the liberal education policies that had wrought this academic carnage welcomed the national attention given to the commission's dire findings and cheered the report's recommendations. The commission's recommendations seemed to echo what every major poll showed the American people wanted in education: an end to pedagogical fads and experimentation and a return to educational basics. The report called for strengthened requirements in the "Five New Basics": English, mathematics, science, social studies, and computer science. It also called for more homework, a longer school day and school year, stricter discipline, tougher standards for teachers, more challenging curricula, and better textbooks.
A Nation At Risk was subtitled, "The Imperative for Educational Reform," and a flurry of state education reform initiatives spawned in its wake inspired hope among millions of Americans that at last the corrective measures so desperately needed in the government school systems would be forthcoming.
It never happened. Most of the children who were in school when the report was issued have since graduated from high school, and their academic achievement shows little, if any, improvement over that decried ten years ago. Millions of their classmates never even made it that far; they gave up and dropped out. Even worse, there is nothing to indicate that the little tykes entering the school house for the first time this fall will fare any better a decade hence.
What parents are finding most distressing, however, is that it is the very "reforms" they were counting on to solve the school crises that are now exacerbating and accelerating the problems with which they were most concerned.
Parents and educators who have been investigating the reform process are discovering that it is the master plan of the national reform movement itself- usually flying under the label of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) -- that is driving many of the most alarming trends they see in education. But that only scratches the surface. It is becoming frighteningly clear that educational reform through OBE is a major part of a sweeping Orwellian plan to radically restructure all of American society along revolutionary socialist lines from top to bottom.
Addressing the 1989 National Governors Conference in Wichita, Kansas, OBE priestess Shirley McCune, senior director of the Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory, explained:
What we're into is the total restructuring of society. What is happening in America today and what is happening in Kansas and the Great Plains is not simply a chance situation in the usual winds of change, What it amounts to is a total transformation of society .... Our total society is in a crisis of restructuring and you can't get away from it. You can't go into rural areas, you can't go into the churches, you can't go into government or into business and hide from the fact that what we are facing is the total restructuring of our society.
When McCune and her OBE colleagues talk "total transformation" and "total restructuring" they mean total. The OBE transformationists envision their role as one of completely re-engineering society. The OBE plan calls not only for radically changing what is taught in the schools and how it is taught, but for tying every child into a master computer system that will continuously track not only his academic progress but his beliefs, values, attitudes, medical and health records, and family history. Moreover, under OBE, schools are scheduled for expansion not only to include day care, but to be merged with health, employment, and other social service agencies. Parents will be drawn into the OBE web through mandatory "parent training" classes and a "Lifelong Learning" program that will require continuous retraining and recertification for every job.
What is so amazing is that this revolutionary plan has progressed so far with so little opposition; OBE is operating in its various forms and at one level or another in most of the state school systems of this country. Ann Herzer, an Arizona teacher, reading specialist, and education writer who has been warning about the dangers of outcome-based education for many years, told THE NEW AMERICAN that "through OBE we are actually implementing the Soviet polytechnic system of education, and, incredibly, most conservative organizations and Christian groups that should be opposing it are completely oblivious to the threat, or are actually applauding it."
With OBE, Americans are in much the same position as that referred to by the great essayist, journalist, and editor Garet Garrett in his 1938 essay, The Revolution Was. "There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road," Garrett said. "But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom." FDR's New Deal, he noted, carried forth a profound revolution that radically altered our Republic -- without the bombthrowing and violence usually associated with such events. But the historian writing at some distance in time, Garet observed, "will be much less impressed by the fact that it was peacefully accomplished than by the marvelous technique of bringing it to pass not only within the form but within the word, so that people were all the while fixed in the delusion that they were talking about the same things because they were using the same words. Opposite and violently hostile ideas were represented by the same word signs. This was the American people's first experience with dialectic according to Marx and Lenin."
OBE is one of the latest American experiences with the Marxian dialectic. So, just what is outcome-based education? That question defies brief or simple answers. Volumes have been written on it -- virtually all, however, by OBE advocates, most financed with your tax dollars. William Spady, director of the International Center on Outcome-Based Restructuring, and widely acknowledged as the leading architect of OBE, has said, "OBE means: focusing and organizing all of the school's programs and instructional efforts around clearly defined outcomes we want all students to demonstrate when they leave school." Certainly nothing very sinister sounding there, right? In fact, it sounds commonsensical, even ordinary. After all, isn't that basically what we shoot for in the traditional educational setting? We set goals (or "outcomes") and then direct our curriculum to achieving those goals.
Unfortunately, like everything else associated with OBE, Spady's definition is intentionally deceptive. In fact, the first thing one learns when getting acquainted with OBE is that everything about it is deceitful and deceptive. Words take on meanings entirely divorced from those traditionally associated with them. Orwell's "Newspeak" is alive and flourishing in OBE programs.
One of the first problems one runs into is defining "outcomes." Most folks would assume that it refers to the demonstration of discreet knowledge. As, for instance, in the first grade, the ability to recite, recognize, and write the letters of the alphabet or numbers from 1 to 100; or, in eighth grade, the ability to solve an algebra problem and locate the Tropic of Capricorn on a map of the world. But that is not what OBE "outcomes" are about.
According to Ann Herzer, "Outcome-Based Education is essentially a more advanced version of Professor Benjamin Bloom's Mastery Learning, which is pure Skinnerian, behaviorist, stimulus-response conditioning and indoctrination." Herzer, who was trained in Mastery Learning as a teacher, warns that the system "has proven to be utterly disastrous everywhere it has been -- or is being -- used." Most parents, however, are only vaguely familiar, if they are familiar at all, with behaviorist psychology, and have never heard of Mastery Learning.
William Spady and other OBE champions do not deny the Mastery Learning connection. In a recent interview (Educational Leadership, December 1992 - January 1993) Spady explained the OBE-ML tie-in:
In January of 1980 we convened a meeting of 42 people to form the Network for Outcome-Based Schools. Most of the people who were there ... had a strong background in Mastery Learning, since it was what OBE was called at the time. But I pleaded with the group not to use the name "mastery learning" in the network's new name because the word "mastery" had already been destroyed through poor implementation.
What is it that has given Mastery Learning such a bad name that it must now run disguised as OBE, Outcome-Based Instruction, Outcomes-Driven Development Model, Performance-Based Curriculum, Competency-Based Education, or some other cognomen? Try repeated abject failure.
One of the most notorious failed Mastery Learning experiments is the one that demolished the Chicago public schools. Back in 1977 when the Chicago fiasco was launched it was hailed as "a program that may be a pacesetter for the nation." Chicago dubbed its "pacesetter" Continuous Progress-Mastery Learning (CP-ML). Five years later, Learning magazine reported the grim results:
A growing number of students, many teachers said, were entering high school having successfully completed the CP-ML program without ever having read a book and without being able to read one.
Author and educator Samuel Blumenfeld described the outcome of Chicago's OBE-ML program, as assessed on the Tests of Academic Progress (TAP), as "appalling." "Only 4 of 64 high schools scored above the 50th percentile, 34 scored below the 20th percentile, and 5 schools, with a total enrollment of more than 7,500, scored at the 10th percentile (a score students could have achieved by simply answering the questions at random)," he noted.
The public schools in our nation's capital embarked on an ML-OBE program around the same time that Chicago did -- with the same tragic results. The Washington Post of August 1, 1977 reported that Washington, DC Associate Superintendent of Schools James T. Guines, who led the design of the program, "said the new curriculum is based on the work in behavioral psychology of Harvard University's B.F. Skinner, who developed teaching machines and even trained pigeons during World War II to pilot and detonate bombs and torpedoes."
This is the same Skinner, of course, who proposed the son of despotic society where "experts" (like himself) play God and "shape behavior as a sculptor shapes a lump of clay" (Walden II); the same totalitarian-minded, militant atheist and signer of the Humanist Manifesto II who won the American Humanist Association's "Humanist of the Year" award in 1972 for his infamous attack on truth, freedom, and morality entitled Beyond Freedom and Dignity. In that celebrated tome, Professor Skinner proposed that government institute a "technology of behavior" to radically alter man and the environment. In Skinner's view, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are outmoded and invalid goals that have no place in the 20th century.
These tyrannical opinions were sufficient to commend the good professor for lavish federal funding. The National Science Foundation was so impressed with his work that it put $7 million into developing and marketing his PACOS (People: A Course Of Study) and MACOS (Man: A Course Of Study) elementary school courses featuring promiscuity, cannibalism, murder, mayhem, adultery, extermination of the weak and elderly, and wife-swapping.
Superintendent Guines, obviously enamored with his pigeon-training mentor's brilliance, told the Post: "If you can train a pigeon to fly up there and press a button and set off a bomb, why can't you teach human beings to behave in an effective and rational way? We know we can modify human behavior. We're not scared of that. This is the biggest thing that's happening in education today." Indeed -- and getting bigger.
Children, Not Rats
The Post reported further, "According to Thomas B. Sticht, associate director for basic skills of the National Institute of Education, similar techniques, called competency education or mastery teaching, are now being used in many parts of the country." Unfortunately, and in spite of one debacle after another, this cancer has continued to spread across the country and it is still "the biggest thing happening in education today." What the double domes at our prestigious universities and research laboratories don't seem to be able to grasp, the average man on the street sees as self evident: Children are not pigeons or rats.
Of course, to many of these esteemed practitioners of psychobabble masquerading as "science," children are, if not rats or pigeons, only slightly more advanced organisms -- and just as susceptible to behaviorist training. And we would do well to keep in mind that the ML-OBE results we are quick to condemn as failures, the behaviorists may well consider roaring successes.
Harvard professor Anthony Oettinger, for instance, tells us that teaching reading and writing is probably a waste of time anyway:
The present "traditional" concept of literacy has to do with the ability to read and write. But the real question that confronts us today is: How do we help citizens function well in their society? ... Do we really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write in a fine round hand when they have a five-dollar hand-held calculator or a word processor to work with? Or do we really have to have everybody literate -- writing and reading in the traditional sense -- when we have the means through our technology to achieve a new flowering of oral communication? It is the traditional idea that says certain forms of communication, such as comic books, are "bad." But in the modern sense of functionalism they may not be all that bad.
The National Institute of Education's Thomas B. Sticht apparently agrees. "Many companies," he told the Washington Post, "have moved operations to places with cheap, relatively poorly educated labor. What may be crucial, they say, is the dependability of a labor force and how well it can be managed and trained -- not its general educational level, although a small cadre of highly educated creative people is essential to innovation and growth. Ending discrimination and changing values are probably more important than reading in moving low-income families into the middle class." Skinner, Spady, Bloom, Guines, Sticht, McCune, et al., have already nominated themselves for that "small cadre" of trainers and relegated the rest of us to the role of trainees.
Phyllis Schlafly hit the mark in her May 1993 newsletter when she wrote: "The education elitists who are promoting OBE are perfectly content to have the schools turn out quotas of semi-literate workers who can be trained to perform menial tasks under supervision in order to serve the demands of the global economy. OBE graduates will never be able to aspire to enjoy the great literature in the English language." We might add that neither will they be mentally or morally equipped to challenge the oppressive authority of the elitists. As Schlafly has noted, "OBE is converting the three R's to the three D's: Deliberately Dumbed Down."
According to the Mid-Continent Lab's Shirley McCune, "What has changed in education today-is that we no longer see the teaching of facts and information as the primary outcome of education ." For decades educationists like McCune have scorned the learning of facts and information as mindless "rote memorization," a relic of a bygone age that they have discarded as a "lower order thinking." For them, psychologist Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, published in 1956, has become the epistemological and pedagogical bible. A taxonomy is a system of classification, and Bloom's Taxonomy purports to be the authoritative classification of hierarchical thinking skills. It was taught as holy writ in the educational psychology and teacher preparation classes this author took 20 years ago and is taught as same in most of the teachers colleges in the U.S. today. Bloom's Taxonomy forms the basis of virtually all OBE programs today.
Bloom's system structures thinking into two different domains: cognitive and affective. The "cognitive domain" concerns reasoning, or rational, concrete thought processes. The "affective domain" deals with feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and values. In Bloom's schema, knowledge ("learning the information") and comprehension ("understanding the information") are classified as "lower order" levels of cognitive thinking. The complexity and sophistication of cognitive thought development proceeds then to "higher order" levels of thinking as one moves from comprehension to application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
There is much in Bloom's hierarchical framework with which traditional educators would find little argument. However, Bloom presents some major challenges to what most parents and teachers consider the primary purpose of education. In Bloom's Taxonomy, the highest order of cognitive development, "evaluation," is defined as "formulating subjective judgement as the end product resulting in personal values/opinions with no real right or wrong answer." In other words, the highest goal is moral relativism.
"The purpose of education and schools," wrote Bloom in his book, All Our Children Learning, "is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students." Bloom and associates have an incredible fixation with "change," and it is quite clear from their writings that the change they have in mind is not the change desired by the American public. All surveys show the overwhelming majority of Americans calling for a return to "basics" in education: the three R's plus traditional values and discipline. The educationist elite, however, will have none of that.
In an article entitled "Leadership for Human Change," that appeared in Educational Leadership (December 1964), Harold G. Drummond wrote: "The basic goal of education is change -- human change -- in desirable directions ....This issue of Educational Leadership focuses attention upon the school as a change agent -- and the specific focus is on changing people." Drummond continued: "We need to de-emphasize tradition and the past. Educators can no longer afford to deplore and resist change."
Writing in the May 1967 issue of Educational Leadership, Carl Rogers, another demigod in the pantheon of psychology, affirmed that "the goal of education must be to develop individuals who are open to change .... The goal of education must be to develop a society in which people can live more comfortably with change than rigidity. In the coming world the capacity to face the new appropriately is more important than the ability to know and repeat the old."
Agents of "Change"
Educational Leadership, a major promoter of OBE, is the journal of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), a spinoff of the left-wing National Education Association. The quotes cited above are not isolated statements by fringe elements of the education world; they represent the prevailing sentiments of the education establishment. The mainstream education literature is replete with similarly arrogant and elitist drivel. As are many of the studies and reports that emanate from state and federal education agencies, such as B-STEP, the Behavioral Teacher Education Project, published in 1967, thanks to funding from the U.S. Office of Education (contract no. OEC-0-9-320424-4042). The primary goal of this influential program is stated as: "1. Development of a new kind of elementary school teacher who ... engages in teaching as clinical practice ... and functions as a responsible agent of social change." B-STEP tells teachers that they must prepare for a future world in which "a small elite will carry society's burdens." And, naturally, direct the activities and lives of the mindless lumpen proletariat as well.
The National Training Laboratory (NTL) is yet another change-agent think tank and propaganda fount set up by the National Education Association to reeducate teachers along politically correct lines. NTL says it works "to change teachers' inflexible patterns of thinking." This must take place, of course, before the teachers can reeducate Johnny and Suzie. Because, you see, even though Johnny and Suzie may appear to be normal, they are almost certainly mentally and socially defective and in need of remediation.
The NTL teachers manual says of children: "Although they appear to behave appropriately and seem normal by most cultural standards, they may actually be in need of mental health care in order to help them change, adapt, and conform to the planned society in which there will be no conflict of attitudes or beliefs." That kind of "planned society" has already been tried in Cambodia, China, Cuba, the USSR, and other communist countries, and we know full well its abhorrent, bloody consequences. A cardinal feature of all these totalitarian regimes is a demonic zeal to destroy parental influence over, and eradicate any transmission of parental values to, children.
This same anti-parent mentality is chillingly obvious in American education circles. It was splendidly displayed by one of OBE's big guns, Professor John Goodlad, in the 1970 federal "Report of the President's Commission on School Finance," in which Goodlad declared that "most youth still hold the same values as their parents and if we don't resocialize, our system will decay." Goodlad, the former dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California-Los Angeles and currently director of the Center for Educational Renewal, believes, "Parents and the general public must be reached .... Otherwise, children and youth enrolled in globally oriented programs may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home. And then the educational institution frequently comes under scrutiny and must pull back."
The Rand Corporation is another of the big think tanks that has long been involved in OBE. In a speech to a 1975 educators conference sponsored by the New York State Education Department, Rand's Dr. R. Gary Bridge complained, "When the kids come to us at age four, five, or six, they already have these beliefs set. We have to unwind them and start over, and even then, we get them only a few hours a day." As we shall see, the OBE behavioral engineers have plans to change that.
Which OBE Is It?
It is hardly surprising that confusion abounds in discussions of outcome-based education, since there are different kinds and different operational levels of OBE. So, let us digress to explain some terms. William Spady identifies three types of OBE: traditional, transitional, and transformational. In addition, we should differentiate between local, state, national, and global OBE. "Traditional" OBE utilizes a school's existing curriculum but imposes OBE exit outcomes in place of traditional objectives. "Transformational," or full-blown OBE involves complete, radical restructuring of school and society. "Transitional" OBE, as the name implies, lies somewhere between the two.
Since transformational OBE presents the greatest danger, we will concentrate on it. The following are features common to transformational OBE:
• Rather than being taught facts, information, concepts, and essential skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic, children are engaged in supposed "higher order thinking skills," ignoring the self-evident truth that it is impossible to employ "higher order thinking" without a base of factual knowledge.
• The curriculum is tilted heavily to the affective domain in order to manipulate and change feelings, attitudes, and values. An outcome listed for grades 912 in Oklahoma's OBE states: "The student will develop communication skills, including being able to talk with one's actual or potential partner about sexual behavior." In first grade, "The student will identify different types of family structures, so that no single type is seen as the only possible one."
• Behavioral objectives are loaded with vague terms geared toward producing "politically correct" outcomes. Examples from the Pennsylvania State OBE: "All students make environmentally sound decisions in their personal and civic lives"; "All students develop interpersonal communication, decision making, coping, and evaluation skills and apply them to personal, family, and community living"; "All students understand and appreciate their worth as unique and capable individuals, and exhibit self-esteem."
• Even in the curriculum's cognitive domain areas, emphasis is placed on subjective thought rather than objective knowledge. Students dabble in all manner of heady "problem solving" and "decision making" even though they cannot read or compute. Thus, a national OBE program called Roots and Wings tells us: "Children in Roots and Wings will negotiate the future of the South American rain forest, manage an African Kingdom, write a new U.S. Constitution, sail with Darwin, and plan a transportation system for their own county .... Innovative performance-based assessments will measure students' progress toward world class standards."
• In teaching reading, phonics is excluded; the "whole language" and "look-say" methods that are responsible for our pandemic illiteracy are used.
• Traditional report cards with grades for individual subjects are abandoned in favor of check marks on a list of behaviors, attitudes, and skills.
• Children are grouped in multi-age groupings (ages six to eight-years, nine to 11-years, etc.) rather than the traditional grades one-12.
• "Cooperative learning" is stressed by organizing virtually all learning activities into group activities. Individual excellence is discouraged, as the group is allowed to progress only as a unit, when every child has mastered the stated behavioral goals. "Group think" is in, individuality, competition, personal striving are out.
• A permanent computer file or "portfolio" is established for each child, complete with detailed school, health, medical, and family records.
• The student is trapped in a computer-driven behavior modification curriculum. Each student's progress on learning outcomes is tracked on the computer; if the student gives an "incorrect" response for either cognitive or affective-based behavioral outcomes, the computer automatically recycles him again and again, like Dr. Skinner's pigeons, until he exhibits the "correct" behavioral response.
• Teachers are likewise trapped in a computer-driven behavior modification curriculum of their own, which they must successfully complete in order to maintain their teaching credentials. Those teachers who do not regurgitate the "correct" responses will be weeded out of the profession.
• In high schools, the "Carnegie Units" required for graduation are abandoned. Instead of completing the traditional four units of English, three units each of math and science, two units of American history, etc., students are required to demonstrate ambiguous and subjective "learning outcomes" that cannot be objectively measured.
• Government schools are expanded to provide full day care, clinical health care, psychological counseling, employment service, etc.
• The schools become much more closely linked with the home, as teachers, day-care providers, and social workers become "partners" with parents, and parents are required to take "effective parenting" classes.
• Schools become "lifelong learning centers," providing continuous job training and career counseling for adults.
• "Community service" is required for both children and parents.
• Training for "global citizenship" is established as the primary purpose of all education.
The totalitarian implications of this system should be obvious and should be cause for public outrage and a massive public outcry that will shake from office the political powers' responsible for this abominable plan. As we have noted, it is progressing at the local, state, federal, and global levels. As with most of the pernicious educational programs of the past, however, outcome-based education has been largely the creation of the federal government, the large tax-exempt foundations such as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT), and the United Nations.
The federal government's role in promoting this Orwellian scheme over the past two decades (at least) is plain from the millions of dollars devoted to funding numerous studies and conferences, and publishing myriads of volumes on the subject. There are also document trails such as the letter from Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction G. Leland Burningham to U.S. Secretary of Education Terrell H. Bell, dated July 27, 1984, which states: "I am forwarding this letter to accompany the proposal which you recommended Bill Spady and I prepare in connection with Outcome-Based Education." "This [proposal} will make it possible to put outcome-based education in place, not only in Utah but in all schools of the nation," Burningham wrote. The proposal which Burningham submitted, together with Dr. Spady and the Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development in San Francisco, was entitled "Excellence in Instructional Delivery Systems: Research and Dissemination of Exemplary Outcome-Based Programs." The program was launched with $152,530 in federal funds.
The big push for OBE on the national and global scale came with the election of George "the Education President" Bush in 1988. Soon after settling in at the Oval Office, Mr. Bush convened the first-ever "Education Summit" with the nation's governors. Out of that confabulation came the National Education Goals Panel, which produced six National Education Goals. The goals seem laudable, and harmless enough. Goal one, for example, states simply: "All children in America will start school ready to learn." No problem, right? You obviously are unfamiliar with OBE behaviorist objectives. In achieving that stated goal, federal, state, and local OBE programs are sounding increasingly dictatorial.
The Modern Red Schoolhouse, one of the federally contracted "design teams" involved in redesigning education, for instance, states as one of its objectives: "Parents will consult with their child's teacher/advisor on a regular basis to follow and assist with the child's progress."
Roots and Wings, another "design team," states: "All persons, agencies, and institutions with whom 0-6 year-old children interact should be held responsible for enhancing their development, thus contributing to their preparedness for school. This requires collaboration with representatives from the health and medical, child care/education ... communities to identify the scope of each agency, institution or provider's responsibility and accountability with regard to preparing children for school."
Moreover, says Roots and Wings, its program "will be one in which the school, parents, community agents and others work in a coordinated, comprehensive and relentless way from the birth of the child onward to see that children receive whatever they need to become competent, confident, and caring learners ... no matter what it takes" [emphasis added]. "Relentless"? "No matter what it takes"?
The Bush "Revolution"
In April 1991, President Bush brought forward his master plan, AMERICA 2000: An Education Strategy. "The strategy," according to the report's introduction, "anticipates major change in our public and private schools, change in every American community, change in every American home, change in our attitudes about learning." President Bush called for a "revolution" in education and for Americans to become "revolutionaries." What he proposed was indeed revolutionary. Even though the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to intervene in education matters in any way, President Bush called for "national goals," "national standards," "national tests," and national efforts "to reinvent American education." And he introduced a flood of federal programs to start the "revolution."
One of his revolutionary creations is the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC), set up to award contracts to "design teams" that will "help communities create schools that will reach the national education goals." NASDC's board of directors reads like a Who's Who of the globalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). CFR members include chairman and CEO of NASDC, David T. Kearns, who left his post as CEO at Xerox Corporation to become George Bush's deputy secretary of education; John L. Clendenin, chairman and CEO of BellSouth; Robert E. Allen, CEO at AT&T; Joan Ganz Cooney, chairman of Children's Television Workshop; Louis V. Gerstner Jr., chairman and CEO of IBM; James R. Jones, chairman and CEO of American Stock Exchange; Thomas H. Kean, president of Drew University and former governor of New Jersey; Lee R. Raymond, president of Exxon Corporation; and William A. Schreyer, chairman of Merrill Lynch.
NASDC selected 11 design teams to create model OBE programs. Those teams include the following outfits: ATLAS Communities at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; the Odyssey Project of Gastonia, North Carolina; the Modern Red Schoolhouse at the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis; Roots and Wings at Johns Hopkins University; and the Los Angeles Learning Centers. All are busily working -- with your tax dollars -- to impose on you and your children the totalitarian program we have outlined.
It should come as no surprise then to learn that virtually identical OBE plans are popping up in communities in every state of the union. And Mr. Bush's defeat at the polls in 1992 has not slowed the process. President Clinton, like President Bush, is a member of the same CFR globalist clique. He and his education secretary, Richard Riley, have both praised NASDC and have brought out their own GOALS 2000 program to continue the OBE advances initiated by their GOP predecessor. The Clinton plan is now marching forward in the U.S. Senate as S. 1150 and in the House as H.R. 1804. If that education package passes, OBE will be pushed a giant step farther toward a nationally imposed curriculum.
But it does not stop there. After all, we are now a "global community," and if centralizing educational control at the national level is a good thing, then a world OBE plan must be even better. And, yes, it is well under way. On March 5, 1990, representatives from more than 150 countries met in Jomtien, Thailand for a five-day World Conference on Education for All (WCEFA). Sponsored by UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP (United Nations Development Program), the World Bank, other UN agencies, and one-world Non-Governmental Organizations, it qualified as a major agenda-setting palaver. Out of that gathering came two documents: The World Declaration on Education for All, and The Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs. The Framework sets forth six education goals, and (surprise, surprise!) they are almost identical to those set out by President Bush and the governors in AMERICA 2000.
In order to facilitate coordination of U.S. OBE policies with those of the UN globocrats, a U.S. Coalition for Education for All (USCEFA) was launched at a meeting held on October 31-November 1, 1991 in Alexandria, Virginia. Gathering under the banner of "Learning for All: Bridging Domestic and International Education" were movers and shakers from the government and private sector. Conference cosponsors included Apple Computer, IBM, the National School Board Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the U.S. Department of Education, the College Board, and USAID. Heading up the USCEFA as president is Janet Whitla, director of the Education Development Center, Inc., infamous for its pro-homosexual, pornographic, promiscuity-promoting sex education programs and globalist curricula.
Spearheading the WCEFA effort is UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization), an organization so blatantly bent to a tyrannical, communist agenda that the United States withdrew membership in 1984. In pushing for a New World Information Order that would have given the UN total accreditation authority over all news media, the UNESCO tyros had exceeded the tolerance of even their usual sycophantic internationalists in the prostitute fourth estate.
What the Marxist mind controllers at UNESCO have in mind is not difficult to imagine. Back in 1977 UNESCO brought out a study entitled Development of Educational Technology in Central and Eastern Europe. It was a survey of the uses of educational technology (computers, software, communications, curricula, teaching methods and techniques, etc.) employed in communist countries such as the USSR, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and East Germany.
"The factors exercising a decisive influence on the present standards of the application of educational technology and the strategies and rate of its further spread in the countries listed," the report stated, are that "the overwhelming majority of the countries represented -- 8 out of 10 -- are socialist states...."
The UNESCO authors didn't bother to conceal their Marxist bias:
It follows from the essence of the socialist structure of the state in the countries concerned ... that their educational system is centralized. This creates an extremely favorable situation for central state measures designed to modernize education. The socialist state possesses the means necessary for education .... From the point of view of the development of educational technology the socialist countries are also in a favorable position because of the fact that television, school television, radio and school radio are operated centrally ....
"The socialist countries also have a substantial advantage," the report continued, in that "the training and in-service training of teachers rest on a uniform basis." "In addition," the UN educrats wrote approvingly, "curricula are also uniform in the individual countries and for the different types of schools and harmony between the curricular activities and the development of educational technology can be therefore established comparatively easily."
UNESCO has not shed its commitment to socialist (read communist) totalitarian mind control and a global, one-world government. Indeed, it is pushing for the same more furiously than ever. And leading American figures are collaborating in this perfidy.
Back in 1991, when President Bush launched his AMERICA 2000 strategy, we wrote: "That the American government school system is in dire straits is no secret. But further centralization in the name of 'free market education' is not only ludicrous, but patently fraudulent. Can anyone truly believe that the same government that has given us our colossal national debt, trillion dollar budgets, massive deficits, skyrocketing taxes, the savings and loan crisis, the HUD fiasco, the federal welfare disgrace, our foreign aid scandal, the federal farm debacle, etc., can offer any real solutions for the public school disaster?"
Looking to the federal government for guidance on education policy now is more suicidal than ever. It is the federal government that has funded the profusion of educational monstrosities -- including ML-OBE -- that have produced our present education nightmare. Hooking up our education system with the would-be dictators at UNESCO and other UN agencies is downright treasonous. Transformational outcome-based education, by wedding behavioral psychology with socialist central planning, offers the totalitarian-minded an unprecedented opportunity to create the kind of absolutist, all-pervasive, mind- and soul-destroying, Big Brother dictatorship depicted with such horrifying force in George Orwell's 1984.
In case your memory of that nightmarish world has dimmed, it may help to recall commissar O'Brien's hideous colloquy with the tortured protagonist, Winston Smith. "Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing...," O'Brien explained to the helpless and supine Smith. "We have cut the links between child and parent .... If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever."