CIVILIZATION’S CENTRAL PROBLEM

Friday, June 10th, 2011

We received several responses to articles from a particular gentleman this week. He asked not to be published, and I have respected his wishes. He stated that he was “impressed” with a lot of my thinking, but was dismayed by my attacks on public and institutionalized education. He hoped that I would stop those attacks so that he might “keep reading” my blogs.

He was quite polite, so I will politely make a suggestion to him here and now. Sir – stop reading my blogs. Right now. Stop at this period. You’ve been warned.

He did not like the fact that I can be contentious. Well, I am and will continue to be contentious when it comes to our children, their well-being and their future. And I will certainly remain contentious when it comes to “educators” and, like the gentleman who I am responding to, shills for the educational “system” and the disastrous status quo. I’m sure this man is an educator, or connected to schools in some way. I am equally certain he fears for his livelihood, and well he should. Honestly, he threatened to stop reading me! I haven’t stopped laughing.

First, to get it quickly dispensed with, teachers and teachers unions ATTACK HOMESCHOOLING RELENTLESSLY. If you homeschool, then you, mom and dad and student, are smack center in the teacher and teachers union’s target. Their lobbyists at the state and national levels, some of the highest paid lobbyists in the country, work tirelessly to SHUT DOWN HOMESCHOOLING.

And why? Um…you know, don’t you? Why, it’s all about money, of course! Teachers and schools are paid by head count, as I’ve discussed in many articles. The more students they have – whether they are in any way serviced or educated – the more money the schools make and teachers can demand. And homeschool is THE most important threat to an obese educational system that takes and takes, pays its members lavishly, and which is doing a thorough job of sinking our country in a sea of ignorance and failure.

So if a blog steadily attacks teachers and schools, well that’s just too bad. Hey, teachers, you’ve certainly had your say! You’ve convinced far too many people that you’re “overworked and underpaid” in your nine month a year jobs! Teacher, please, don’t read! Run for the hills!

You’ve been found out.

If I could hire lobbyists and pay them the way teachers unions do, I certainly would. And I’d set them to work closing schools everywhere. I can’t. I just don’t have the $$$ that schools and teachers have. I do, however, have a mind, a command of words, the ability to observe, and an opinion I’m willing to voice and support with collateral information. I will continue to use them to demand that schools close. I sort of love it when this upsets teachers and “educators”. Lord knows, someone needs to upset these people and their institutions.

I have thought and worked long and hard, and for around four decades, attempting to understand where our civilization went wrong and trying to do something about it. The problems seem overwhelming. There seems to be so many, and they appear so large and systemic. They include a litany of woes; A failed economy and sky-high unemployment; lousy jobs when there are jobs available; the well-planned elimination of the backbone of America, families and the middle class; a lack of support for programs which would improve our uses of science and technology; art that is destructive, unethical and counter-survival; politicians who seem to rarely mean what they say or say what they mean; a serious decline in functional literacy; a tunnel-vision sponsored militant hatred, and inability to accept those “not us”, including other nations, other belief systems, other politics and the like; a reliance on “media” such as television to supply “news” which is invariably skewed and fear-enduing…and on and on and on.

I have come to certain hard-won conclusions. The most important problem from my perspective – that there is a single, core problem. Yes, one source problem that enables and empowers all these other problems. This one problem, if solved, could make life into something resembling a paradise. Unsolved, we are doomed to descend into some unknown depth perhaps only matched by what we so grimly call “the Dark Ages”.

The problem is education. Education is a problem. In fact, education is THE problem.

A lack of education, the failure of education so prevalent today leads invariably to mediocrity, followed by systemic failure. A lack of education leads to a lack of vision. One cannot understand without comparison points, frames of reference, related data, or in short – education. So without education, one cannot understand the world. One cannot understand other people whose ideas do not match those limited ideas we have been carefully taught.

I am not talking about “schooling”, you understand? Please differentiate between education and schooling. What happens in most schools, most classrooms has little or nothing to do with education, but everything to do with “schooling”. Schools don’t even “babysit” well. Schools have become minefields for children, places where they are regularly degraded and demeaned, often threatened, forced to parrot materials for tests that have no meaning in the student’s life, and on and on and on. Children are beat up in school, as we discovered just this week my own nephew has been, regularly and for years. I’ve authored a book and a hundred articles about schools and where they have gone wrong. The short of it – classrooms don’t work, schools are a disgusting failure, and a critical approach (testing, evaluations, grading, etc) to education can only create a child demeaned and filled with fear.

We can no longer afford schools. Schools that offer little that might improve the survival chances of our children. Schools that act as a wedge between the student and his own interests and skills, force feeding control mechanisms down the student’s throat like homework, and “standardized” curricula. Schools that eat all of the student’s time with such control mechanisms, separating him from his family. Schools that further deteriorate the family by making parents distrust and disrespect their own children through report cards and evaluations that in no way represent your children’s actual potentials! Schools structured to train children to learn to live on a schedule and to do menial and pointless work (like study for tests) on command – eventually making them into perfect employees and little else.

What we DO need to solve the problems of civilization is education, not schooling. We need to provide each child a chance to understand and experience the world in ways that allow him to use what he has learned. We need to guarantee that his education is wide and deep enough that he has a chance to understand others, to understand the forces at work around him. Only in this way can a person control or improve the world around him. We need to support the student as he discovers his own interests, skills, strengths, dreams. We need to treat each student as an individual, one worthy of respect and deserving individual attention, understanding and support.

We do not need classroom with 30-40 students, where each student is nameless, faceless, a part of a machine that in no way recognizes or respects the student’s individuality or potential – and schools can do little else, as a rule.

I will continue to attack schools until they completely alter their approach to education. When they dump testing of any kind, evaluations, classrooms, grades, grade levels, homework, teachers trained in the critical system, and the other disgusting control mechanisms they use, and when schools move toward a genuine effort to build powerful, self-actuated individuals that they do not “control”, but rather support, then I will stop.

In the meantime, we desperately need homeschool.
_____

As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.

CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.

Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.

Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.

Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.

Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.

For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.

We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!

9 comments on “CIVILIZATION’S CENTRAL PROBLEM”

  1. Thanks for another good post. As a long-time homeschooling family, we never cease to be amazed at the fear and recklessness shown by government school teachers, their unions, and their legislative minions as they attack home schools. If public education is so good, why are those who support it so afraid of the “lower quality” alternatives?

    I was glad to tweet this to my followers @WitStopBlog.

    Onward and Upward!

  2. Steven,

    I have thought about this a lot this past year as we have moved into the homeschooling arena, and I would love to read an articulate, thoughtful post written by you about exactly what creative possible solutions you envision. I understand that not every family can homeschool, nor should they. Parents who can not read, write or calculate well themselves are ill equipped to handle the task. What do you envision for the future for families such as this? What would an education look like for them? Or families whose income levels do not allow for a parent to remain home?

    Are you thinking of small educational centers with individualized curriculum and tutors available? Larger drop off co-ops with some teachers on hand for specific subjects (we have something new being tried in our town somewhat like this)? Would education still be government funded or solely at the expense of the family?

    I’m curious being on your side of the fence of what sort of solutions I am not imagining myself!

    Warmly,
    Cindy

  3. First, Guy;
    THANKS FOR TWEETING THIS TO OTHERS! I surely wish that would happen more often! It’s appreciated. And “they” know that public education stinks, the numbers are undeniable. That’s why they’re so afraid of any alternative. Thanks for the kind words!

    Cindy,
    Good questions! I’ll write some posts in answer, shortly. The brief answer is yes, all the solutions you described, and a few more besides, and I covered much of it in my book, Poor Cheated Little Johnny, as well as in our Parent/Teacher courses, available at http://www.stepsed.com. I’ll write some posts here in the next few weeks and get into it. Thanks for some good thinking on this important subject! Clearly, we must get into some creative and effective solutions along these lines. I think, pretty soon, homeschooling will be the first “alternative”, as it always should have been, and that schools will be in their proper place, in decline and on their way to extinction.

    Steven

  4. As part of the growing Home Education community, I agree with you about public education (really government directed classroom indoctrination). Classrooms can be effective if groups are limited to about 12 with a common purpose: passing on the knowledge, beliefs, etc. of one generation to the next. With this definition, my favorite classroom is the kitchen where I do Chemistry and Math every day. My son’s favorite classroom is a RC race track; he has learned quite a bit more than I imagined he would.

    I haven’t read your book yet, but have you ever read, A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille? I also recommend Logic by Gordon H. Clark (0-940931-97-4) although his other philosophy books look intriguing.

    Molly

  5. Hi Molly,

    I haven’t read the Jefferson book, but I’ve read a lot of Jefferson’s actual writings. And I’m not surprised about the race track – lots of science and math, there! A student can learn almost anywhere and from almost anything – if he’s interested. One wonders, though, what he’d learn at a good museum, natural history museum, aquarium or zoo! Thanks for writing!

  6. Shalom Our Blessed Friend(s):
    Although you’re definition of the problem as being education, you’re close but it WAS man’s exile, as has NOW ended. ONLY in this context do we next begin to comprehend the problem of education and that it BEGINS with recognizing, learning and comprehending “first” WHO we are, as a function of authentic IDENTITY, as herein we’re ready for EDUCATION that will work and sustain us ALL our life. This applies even for children, who are often much smarter than adults, particularly intuitively.
    TODAY I’m a recognized world class “EDUCATED” scientist and spiritual leader, living in Jerusalem though thank G-d still UNSCHOOLED. Having dropped out of High School, in 10th grade, social pressure coerced me, until I was admitted to College years later, in California; and AGAIN it was absolutely a waste of time, and so AGAIN I left, and never returned. And TODAY it’s obvious to ALL that I’m an extremely EDUCATED individual with a COGNITIVELY deposed authentic identity, from faith in G-d, and also from WHO I authentically am. No degree(s), though many have been offered, inclusing teaching positions, even as a Professor of economics; same answer each time… “no thank you.” Hundreds of millions of LINKS in the SEs to my worl exist, while in SCHOOLED Israel I’m ignored and ATTACKED for not accepting the communist schooling socialist underpinning. Blessings, Yehoshua Ya’acov
    I support your policies and principles, while I do NOT support parties that promote state sponsored schooling, particularly in Israel, as it is a police state that CONTROLS education for purposes of indoctrination, of the masses, beginning with the children and particularly in the Army/IDF. Blessings, yy

  7. Shalom, Yehoshua,

    Well, we do agree on some points, certainly. Children are often brighter than adults – they have not yet been entirely corrupted by rotten educational practices. I also do not support anyone who believe that state-run and controlled education is a good idea, and fort reasons similar to those you mention. I do not believe that degrees and such recognitions indicate education or accomplishment, as well. Congratulations on your successes!


  8. Staci Tapia says:

    I appreciate your article. It’s nice to know there are more & more families realizing that the govt system of ‘schooling’ is simply indoctrination in secular humanism. We have homschooled our children for many years because we recognized then that public school was/is a farce.
    I look forward to your next post.

  9. Hi Staci,

    Thanks, but I have to say that ANYONE using ANY form of indoctrination and calling it education is equally at fault. That includes homeschoolers or others who use education to foist upon a child their designated views of the world. ALL views should be communicated to the child, honestly and fairly, ALL the ideas, ALL the info. I think a child treated with respect in that manner will decide for themselves what they will and will not believe in, as they grow old enough to add it all up. But yes, public school IS a farce – and a very dangerous one, at that, for many, many reasons and in many ways. And Staci – humanism is a very good word, representing a belief in mankind and its potential. I am a humanist. I believe in your children.

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