Monday, January 19, 2009

Arizona: Traditional schools thriving in Valley

Traditional academies relying on age-old curriculum methods paired with a structured learning environment are thriving in school districts Valley-wide. Laveen Elementary School District opened a traditional elementary school, and the Madison Traditional Academy in Phoenix is in its second year. The majority of schools with traditional curriculums are elementary schools, but next year Chandler junior-high students will be able to benefit from the education style when a new traditional school opens in the Chandler Unified School District. Parents asked for the junior high to bridge the gap between the district's four traditional elementary schools and high schools.

At most traditional schools, students are taught as a whole group with the teacher in front of class giving direct instruction. Desks are in neat rows facing the front, not in clusters that some public schools use. Students wear uniforms, and homework relating to the day's lessons is given usually every night. "I'm a firm believer in the traditional philosophy," said Casey George, principal of the Madison school. "It creates a solid foundation and leads to a higher level of critical thinking."

The curriculum at several of the schools is also accelerated. At Chandler's traditional elementary schools, students work about a year ahead in math. Expectations are high, and teachers push beyond state standards, said Don Shelley, the brainchild behind Chandler's traditional schools. He'll also serve as the junior high's principal. "Kids can do more than they are currently doing if they are given the chance and are expected to do it," Shelley said.

Traditional schools throughout the Valley post high scores on AIMS. At Alhambra Traditional School in Phoenix all the school's third-graders passed the math and reading portions of the state standardized test in 2008. The state average for the grade was 71 percent passing in math and 69 percent in reading. Traditional schools, tied to public school districts, offer parents a choice in how their children are educated. A traditional school opened in Mesa Public Schools 31 years ago. Now the Benjamin Franklin Elementary Schools has four campuses.

Parents grew concerned of decisions public schools were making that strayed from long-held practices such as phonics and self-contained classrooms, said Gayle Householder, principal of Franklin East Elementary School in Mesa. Most traditional academies in Phoenix use the Spalding Method, an integrated language-arts approach based on phonics that's used to teach reading comprehension, spelling and penmanship. At Alhambra, students aren't called out of class, and assemblies and field trips are limited. "We use every possible moment of the day dedicated to teaching and learning for teaching and learning," said Tracey Lopeman, the school's principal. "We see state standards as our floor. Not the stopping point but the beginning."

When Chandler Traditional Junior High opens next year, it will serve sixth- and seventh-graders. Grade 8 will be added during the 2010-2011 school year, and when school enrollment reaches a certain point, Grade 6, already offered in the district's traditional elementary schools, will be phased out. The school, to be located at the Pathways Learning Center near Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, fulfills a longtime need for parents. When the district's first traditional elementary school opened several years ago, parents were already asking for a junior high. "Some parents see this as a great opportunity to carry on with what they've grown to love," said Shelley at a Chandler Governing Board meeting in December.



Deep down, most Americans once thought they were immune from blatant propaganda, government-sanctioned media-bias and psychiatric hospitals-cum-prisons - hallmarks of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and Josef Stalin's Communism. Such confidence is shifting as folks increasingly fear speaking their mind - on schools campuses, on the job, in houses of worship and public places. Worse, a metastasizing mental health industry has convinced government leaders that "nonprofessionals" - especially parents - are unqualified to make decisions on behalf of children. Average Americans find themselves intimidated by bureaucracies ranging from Child Protective Services to universities to the Environmental Protection Agency. These are just three agencies steeped in a deep-rooted presumption of citizen incompetence - precisely opposite the view of American Founders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Today's national leaders, agency heads and mainstream reporters are mostly hostile to American idealism, Christian morality and Western culture, which have taken the hardest hits under the banner of political correctness.

TV sitcoms, women's magazines, and much of what passes for news daily prove that traditional notions of integrity and decency are in their death throes, while psychology (despite its dismal track record) is promoted as being firmly anchored in "science," just as it was under Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. The difference today - thanks to exponential advances in computer cross-matching, identification and tracking - is that politically incorrect "troublemakers" can be identified and marginalized before they secure careers involving leadership, status or influence. That, of course, is always the end-game of campaigns in political correctness.

The Forty-Five Year "Leap Forward"

Just as in Mao Tse-tung's "Great Leap Forward" (a.k.a. "cultural revolution"), during which millions were murdered, the current state of affairs in America did not emerge suddenly. There were abundant warnings. Many writers, myself included, penned well-read works signaling a multitude of subtle twists and turns which our government, together with special interests, had undertaken since World War II in pursuit of, first, a socialist America, and then a totalitarian Superstate.

For some reason, Americans resist ominous signs. Perhaps it is because this nation was founded upon optimism, not created out of desperation. The earliest immigrants to our shores left everything familiar to institutionalize a different sort of governing style, one in which individuals were important instead of being servants of the State. This was a huge departure from prior ideas about the relationship of government to the governed. Modern citizens have pretty much lost touch with the radical nature of that single step.

The "Mouse" That Morphed

Today's schools, of course, barely touch on anything about the early values, philosophies or ideals that formed the "America" of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This is not surprising. Every "wannabe" tyrant that ever existed has always tried to wipe out knowledge about a nation's past, or recast it to reflect "new" thinking. Today's elites and special interests are no different - except for one thing: the computer. Sophisticated mathematical models and data-collection techniques make it possible, with the click of a "mouse," to know which people are "buying in" to the incessant flow of disinformation and which citizens are not. Those who are not "buying" are "resisters." Those who do "buy" are accepted into the better colleges, obtain the influential jobs and enjoy "status."

Within the space of 30 years, computer giants had perfected software and hardware packages that gave the public - and, more importantly, its overseers - "what they wanted." (For step-by-step details of data-collection and tracking, see Educating for the New World Order, 1991 and its sequel, Microchipped, 1994, Halcyon House Publishers). Meanwhile, a silent revolution was taking place in the media. The so-called "mainstream" sources - and both major political parties - started engaging in turf battles, which meant, basically, ignoring any "competitor" who might be saying something a little different. Nobody wanted to lose funding to somebody else. This resulted in fewer forums for real whistleblowers, and less dissemination of ideas. Despite the conveniences of the Internet, average people found it necessary to become proactive in obtaining their news. They couldn't rely on any of the old standbys. Even libraries and bookstores displayed "preferred" books and magazines prominently (for money, of course) and relegated everything else to the back wall or to "special order." Consequently, one had to know beforehand what to ask for. Americans had to sleuth around in a way they never did previously. Most people thought they had more pressing priorities.

Schools: The Primary Aggressor in the War Against America

The National Education Association (NEA) became a primary aggressor in the war against parents, religion and national sovereignty during the post-war period, beginning with its landmark publication, Toward World Understanding and its co-founding of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, co-founded in 1947 with a grant from the NEA and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). Passing itself off as a "professional teacher's organization," the NEA's leftist leadership lured educators by offering incentives like insurance and retirement benefits, then proceeded to create proxies to infiltrate teachers' colleges and dictate weird accreditation standards. The orthodoxy of parental incompetence began pervading teacher-preparation programs. Politicians were neutralized as they came to fear loss of NEA support more than loss of American principles. Other institutions and corporations soon fell into step. The new supercomputers introduced features most people had ever heard of in a pre-personal-computer world. In 25 years, the era of psychological dossier-building was a done deed (see Chapter 3, "Taking a Ride on the SPEEDE-ExPRESS," in my 1998, award-winning book, Cloning of the American Mind, available from the bookstore. Note: Book out of print, supply is limited). Analysts with concurrent degrees in psychology and statistics sealed the deal.

Today, children are "empowered" - blatantly encouraged to circumvent their parents and defy traditional values. Unfortunately, their "empowerment" had more to do with creating chaos and a vigorous data-collection effort than with self-determination.

Applying Marxist Terminologies to Psychological Profiling Programs

The 1995 Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), inaugurated in Texas (and funded by the leftist Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) under then-Governor George W. Bush, morphed into a congressionally funded universal mental-health screening program and psychotropic drug-treatment plan encompassing some 25 federal agencies by 2004. This would enable a future administration (incoming President Barack Obama?) to enforce psychological profiling (and mandatory drugging, if "necessary") on every man, woman and toddler under an umbrella of "security." Today, TMAP goes by the Marxist-like moniker "New Freedom Initiative" and is linked directly to political correctness. A quiet campaign of coercion, hidden amongst computerized records collected over two decades was launched. Today, the Powers That Be can access and merge information about you, "flag" anything that might prove damaging to you down the road (should you become a "refusenik"), while simultaneously editing out anything positive, and relegating it, in effect, to the cutting-room floor. How would anyone know, after all?

Among the first hints that such atrocities were under construction occurred in 1973. Parents in Pennsylvania got wind of intimate questions being included on a standardized achievement test. The "test" supposedly required parental consent and voluntary participation, but complied with neither directive. These parents called in the American Civil Liberties Union. The case was settled out of court in favor of the complainants. The Chief of Pennsylvania's Department of Testing was told that if he henceforth would agree to adhere to a policy of voluntary participation and provide notification, then charges would be dropped.

But a decade later, the old U.S. Office of Education took on cabinet-level status as the U.S. Department of Education. Its state clones, called "state education agencies," decided that such admonitions could be safely ignored. An avalanche of what-would-you-do-if queries and word-association games passed off as legitimate test items were disseminated to 120,000 students in the 5th, 8th and 11th grades through Pennsylvania's Educational Quality Assessment (EQA). Irate parents were shuffled between the local, state and federal bureaucracies, each of which blamed the other. When Pennsylvania's Division of Testing took the fall (again) - this time for linking curriculum directly to the tests, renamed "assessments," as well as for failing to give notice - politicians dithered. It turned out that the money trail for both the assessments and the "remediating" curriculums (bearing the EQA logo right on the covers) led back to the federal government, through salaries and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

The whistleblowers were already too late.

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