Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Speaking of education books that mention Nebraskans, you really need to read Education for the New World Order by B.K. "Bev" Eakman, someone I've met and like:


That book came out in 1991, a few years after the late Nebraska Sen. Ed Zorinsky's sudden heart attack and death after a performance in the annual Omaha Press Club show. I always was mildly suspicious of that death, since the former Omaha mayor was so vibrant and able to handle stress so well.

But I digress:

The book mentions Zorinsky several times because the Nebraska senator had caught on to the dumbing down of books in school and had testified before a joint hearing of House and Senate education subcommittees. He understood how the education system's Whole Language "innovation" -- teaching reading by NOT teaching reading -- was actually CAUSING illiteracy in children.

Zorinsky was beginning to speak out against the ever-expanding reading remediation and special education systems that were sucking up more and more tax dollars to no avail, since they weren't making kids more literate any more than the regular classroom was. In fact, what was going on was educational malpractice -- the schools mistaught reading and created disability in students, who then needed to go to these expensive, and ineffective remedial and special ed programs, at higher and higher costs to the taxpayer and lower and lower results for each child's learning curve.

Zorinsky tried to start a commission to investigate teacher education, since no teachers knew how to teach reading with phonics, the obviously best method. But Zorinsky was so strongly opposed by the education cartel that his attempt was dead in the water.

According to the book, the senator was hearing a lot of complaints about poor reading instruction from his constituents, and saw parallels all around the country. In April 1985, he began introducing legislation about illiteracy, including starting a national commission to figure out why illiteracy and reading disability were growing so fast. He got 30 co-sponsors, so it should have been a breeze to pass. But again, his fellow politicians, who received huge campaign contributions from the education cartel, fought him off.

Zorinsky testified at a hearing on Oct. 1, 1985, that top reading professionals in the U.S. all agreed that teaching phonics to young children was the key to reading, but that most schools didn't teach with phonics because almost no teachers' colleges taught future teachers how to teach reading with phonics-ONLY methods.

At another hearing, on March 20, 1986, organized in large part by Zorinsky, a New Hampshire school superintendent from one of the poorest school districts in the country testified that when his district switched from Whole Language reading methods to phonics, the per-pupil cost for reading supplies dropped from $16 a year to $2.25. Meanwhile, the reading scores in that district "dramatically increased" and were consistently above state and national averages.

Numerous other witnesses presented proof of the superiority of phonics. Still, nothing was done because the other members of Congress blocked it.

In 1986, a year before he died, Zorinsky did get an amendment passed which directed the U.S. Department of Education to compile a list of beginning reading instruction programs and methods, including the average cost per pupil, and whether or not these programs aligned with the recommendations in a 1985 federal report, Becoming a Nation of Readers. Reportedly, this list has never been published.

You really have to get this book, and read about the valiant, five-year battle by Nebraska's senator.

Even more important would be to read Chapter 20, which details how Nebraska was pretty much tricked into participating into what would become the national assessment that is effectively nationalizing our schools -- the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP.

A Nebraska state senator, his aide, and apparently some other Nebraskans, insisted on seeing a copy of the test questions before allowing the NAEP to be given to schoolchildren in the Cornhusker State. They finally saw that the questions did not, indeed, measure reading comprehension, but were weird, trick questions designed to expose the child's values, attitudes and beliefs.

The chapter also shows that the Buros Institute for Mental Measurement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln apparently figured in the creation of the nation's data trafficking system for collecting and storing privacy-invading information on children and their families in the guise of reporting "school data" on each child. The system was called ESIDS -- the Elementary and Secondary Integrated Data System.

Don't know if it's still called that, but know it exists, know that Nebraska has Red Chinese-style electronic portfolios on each student, know that government agencies and perhaps even multinational corporations can data-mine in that system, and know that UNL had a big role in the development of this gigantic, federally-funded data-mining proposition.

The book alleges that the assessments would first be "soft-sold" to Nebraskans as achievement testing until everybody was used to the idea of statewide assessments, the system was in place, and the individuals who would squawk at this wide-scale privacy invasion would come forward so that their opposition could be neutralized, usually by mild or overt threats to the people's own children and their academic fortunes.

Then the questions would morph over to those that would disclose each student's (and thus each family's) attitudes, values and beliefs.

Do you see this same step-by-step system in place with Nebraska's new truancy law?

EW! EW! EWWW!!! But get this book, and see what you think.

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