Several years ago, a friend of mine in Kentucky, who had been keeping me abreast of how Outcome Education was being implemented in the public schools of that state, sent me a description of Cooperative Learning, written by a high school student who had experienced it in his classroom. Here is what the student wrote, uncorrected by this writer:
I am a freshman in Highschool and recently in Spanish class our teacher introduced us to a teaching method called “cooperative learning.” In cooperating learning the teacher divides you into group[s] of four or five. He holds each and every student personally responsible for their group’s learning. Anytime we do work he takes one of the students assignments for each group and gives each person in that group the same grade as the person’s he took up.
When we take a quiz he gives each student the average grade for their group, therefore this could easily lower the “excelled” student’s grade and improve the student’s who slack off. My teacher believes that we should be responsible for teaching our fellow classmates in our group. My classmates and I feel as if this is unjust, and now we have spoken with our principal about this. As of now, we have not made any more progress toward finding a solution.
An example of this would be on a Spanish quiz out of 16 possible points. I scored a 15 and the other three grades were 13, 9, and 5. This lowered my 15 to a 10.5, which is a 66%. Cooperative learning lowered my 15 (94%) to a 10.5 (66%).
For years, Charlotte Iserbyt has been warning us that public education has been taken over by communists (small “c”). As a senior staff member of the U.S. Department of Education, she had access to the correspondence and grant proposals of America’s top educational operatives. She put all of that documentation in her remarkable book The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, published in 1991.
Cooperative learning, as described by the student, is indeed a good example of communism in the classroom. The student is not judged by his individual effort but as a member of a group. According to Wikipedia, progressive social theorists such as Allport, Watson, Shaw, and Mead began advancing the idea that students working in a group was a more effective form of education than students working individually. But in actuality, group learning did not improve the work of the low achiever.
As the student pointed out, his score was 15 and the worst student’s score was five. The scores were then averaged so that everyone in the group earned the same score of 10.5! If everyone is given the same grade, how can we know who is the highest achiever and who is the lowest? Why did the lowest achiever get only five points originally? If cooperative learning is valid shouldn’t all the students in the group have achieved about the same score? The fact that the scores continued to vary so greatly is proof that cooperative learning didn’t improve the learning of the low achievers. The average score simply camouflaged the reality of the disparate scores.
In the traditional classroom, each student is an individual responsible for his own achievement. And since each student is different in their learning abilities and the amount of effort they put into their work, the outcomes for each student would be different. But according to the socialists, individualism creates a competitive spirit which is opposed to a collectivist spirit, which is needed in a socialist society. Competition, of course, is the hallmark of a capitalist, individualistic society. Wikipedia states:
Philosophers and psychologists in the 1930s and 40s such as John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Morton Deutsh [all socialists] also influenced the cooperative learning theory practiced today. Dewey believed it was important that students develop knowledge and social skills that could be used outside of the classroom, and in the democratic society. This theory portrayed students as active recipients of knowledge by discussing information and answers in groups, engaging in the learning process together rather than being passive receivers of information (e.g. teacher talking, students listening). Lewin’s contributions to cooperative learning were based on the ideas of establishing relationships between group members in order to successfully carry out and achieve the learning goal.
Is it any wonder that socialist societies lose their economic vitality and creativity because the individual is negated in favor of the group? When we look at the 75 years of communist rule in Russia, what did the Soviet Union contribute to world economic progress? Nothing. On the other hand, capitalist America produced an endless array of goods and products that made life better for everyone. Communist Russia had to borrow from America’s achievements in order to maintain a semblance of modern progress.
Or look at Cuba, which once had the third highest standard of living in the Western hemisphere. Fifty-four years of communism has turned it into an economic basket case, reducing everyone to poverty. And Obama’s socialist policies are calculated to lower the American standard of living as he tries to change America from a capitalist to a socialist society. And he is succeeding because most Americans don’t know the difference between socialism and capitalism, and are easily seduced by such concepts as “fairness” in income distribution, as if wealth is not earned by individuals, but distributed from the poor to the rich — as if the poor have anything to give the rich. The absurd notion that we ought to give back to the poor what they never had is a form of socialist nonsense. It is totally irrational. But who among the left cares?
Obama, the community organizer, will spend the next four years of his presidency convincing enough Americans that “millionaires and billionaires” must pay their fair share in taxes, even though they already pay over 40 percent of the taxes collected by the federal government. By transferring money from the productive class to the nonproductive federal government, business investment will decline, but Obama will have more money to give the “have nots.” The only obstacle standing in his way is the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, which has the constitutional duty to manage the nation’s money matters.
Meanwhile, our communist-controlled education system will continue to penalize the high achievers in favor of the low achievers through collectivist Cooperative Learning. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines collectivism as “the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people collectively: socialism.”
That pure, unadulterated communist practice can be slipped into an American public school classroom with hardly a ripple from parents or anybody else is an indication of the depth of the public’s ignorance. Many books have already been written by critics of the public schools, but the only people who read them are conservatives who are smart enough to get their kids out. The rest of the public simply accepts the schools as they are — atheist, collectivist, and totally incompetent — but are not motivated to do anything about the kind of educational malpractice that turns millions of their children into academic failures.
As the Bible tells us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” But what about the teachers? Don’t they know what’s going on? As one teacher at the Hancock County High School in Kentucky wrote in The Hancock Clarion of 12/30/93:
For a “dissident,” teaching in the public schools today is similar to living under a Stalinist “Reign of Terror.” Many teachers submit their horror stories and misgivings to anonymous publications or ask legislators not to quote them — for fear of repercussions.
All across America, more and more parents are opposed to what is going on in the public schools. But the education establishment has the liberal media on its side, and activist parents are labeled extremists, censors, religious bigots, fanatics, fascists, etc. This is done to neutralize the vast majority of parents who don’t want to get involved, who don’t like controversy, who go along to get along.
We are finding that Americans are really no different from the Germans or Russians or Cubans who permitted tyrants to take over their nations. They simply bury their heads in the sand during the transitional battles for power and batten down the hatches, preparing themselves to live through any evil imposed on them rather than fight it while there is still a chance of defeating it.
But one of the strategies the educators use to fend off the opposition is to propose educational “reform,” which requires billions of dollars to implement but never solves any of the problems that parents complain about. The teachers’ unions make sure that the legislators toe the line of phony “reform.” Indeed, in the name of “reform” the teachers’ unions have been able to get billions of dollars out of the pockets of the taxpayer, while delivering dross. The dross is celebrated as “improvements.”
The good news is that the homeschool movement continues to grow. Homeschooling is no longer considered an unusual and anti-social practice. It is now accepted as a legitimate and highly effective way of educating children. But lurking in the wings are those socialist educators who would like to outlaw homeschooling. They argue that the state has the right, if not the duty, to control the education of “its” children. Indeed, the socialists believe that the state owns the children and that parents are mere caretakers.
But we are still in the early stages of the socialist takeover of America. While the nanny state has been in the making since President Johnson’s ultra-liberal administration in 1965, it has reached the point where socialists in power can use it to swing Americans into a fully socialist system. ObamaCare, which barely squeezed through Congress without a single Republican vote, is the lever being used to overturn capitalism and set us firmly into socialist governance.
Meanwhile, the Achilles' heel of the Democrats is the dysfunctional public schools. That’s an arena of battle which conservatives must make the most of. For most parents — African Americans, Latinos, and Asians — still want their children to be taught to read, write, and do math, which the public schools are doing very poorly, if at all. These anxious parents should be reached by conservatives who wish to help all parents get a good education for their children in whatever form it may take. Will conservatives rise to the challenge? We’ll see.