After much confinement and trying to teach children at home during the Pandemic, most of my readers who are parents or have grandchildren, whom they rarely see, are excited about the possibility of getting back on track with school and education.
Some families are choosing to take things slowly with a “wait and see” attitude…continuing home schooling or online teaching…while others will be relieved to see the big, yellow bus come their way. We ask prayers for any bus driver who will have to enforce “distancing” and “mask wearing!” Everyone, however, is eager to get back to “normal”…or whatever “normal” may be!
As parents gives last minute instructions, they may be saying things like “Be sure to wear your mask and don’t get too close to anyone!” Good luck on that happening. No, it hasn’t been easy all these months and the problems that will arise will be new and varied. I can only imagine the stress parents have been under because my children are all grown and out on their own…trying to make a living, like everyone else. Parenting is a new challenge. God bless them everyone!!
Having been surrogate teachers, Moms and Dads might make this comment: “At least, the teacher, who is educated in higher math, science and history will be able to do a far better job than those of us who never intended to teach these subjects. After all, I work in the restaurant business, drive a truck, stock shelves… or work as a bank teller for a living. My child just didn’t know how to interact me or with a teacher on a screen…especially my little kindergarten child.”
Well, Dear Reader, if you are looking for relief, this blog post may not give you very much because we are going to consider the new concepts of learning that your child will encounter when you wave “goodbye and have a nice day!” You will find that there is a bias that runs deep within most school systems.
If you want your child to have the best learning experience possible and you can’t afford a private or Christian school that has a fantastic reputation for learning, what are you to do? What exactly are most schools around the country deciding for you what is the correct approach to teaching your beautiful child? Here are some big questions that might have never crossed your mind.
How will they learn?
What will their minds be filled with that you may not agree with?
How will you counter those things as a parent?
Let’s talk curriculum and learning!
The curriculum established in a school is the heart of what is to be learned in the classroom, along with social interaction. I speak as an educator, who knows quite a lot on this subject because of my many years of teaching students and supervising other teachers. CREATIVITY in teaching was my strength. It is what I believe to be the joy of teaching for most excellent teachers. This freedom is fading away…and in some cases…COMPLETELY GONE.
It appears that the changes in “how and what to teach” that is being forced upon teachers in education today are laced with ulterior motives. Through teacher in-service training, the fast- changing rules and regulations are taking place… and they WILL effect your child.
Each year there are teachers who leave the profession because they are not being allowed to creatively teach…as one more rule and regulation is added to how they are to teach the student’s curriculum. They know if they are to keep their jobs, their hands are tied and they worry about what the student is actually learning or being indoctrinated academically. The ability for a student to find solutions to problems, looking at both sides of an issue and in general…learning about critical thinking is not being stressed. How much debate is allowed in the High Schools or Middle Schools is “debatable.” Students are also concerned about being called names if they don’t take the popular positions espoused by news media and more. Every teen wants to fit in…and it takes real courage to oppose the norm. Ask Jonathan Isaac, the young man who was highlighted in one of my previous blogs. He is an adult now, but somewhere in his youth, he had to learn to decide what was right for himself. He choose to stand during the National Anthem…even if he had to do it alone.
If you want your child to actually learn the major parts of our U.S. history, science and literature… and be well-rounded in the basic areas of learning, you may want to read Paula Enck’s interview with a teacher. She is writing this article to give parents and others in the world a heads up to what is happening in our American world of education.
Here, in part, are some of her eye-opening statements from the 4th grade teacher about her experience and what is being expected of other teachers:
A world without textbooks or homework and where getting the wrong answer is celebrated may sound like an elementary student’s dream, but if such a fantasy becomes a reality, it would damage a generation of young minds. That is, however, exactly what is happening in many public elementary schools.
Recently, I spoke with a fourth-grade teacher from the midwest, who shared her experience witnessing the shifting of curriculum from history and science towards overt political indoctrination, all to the detriment of students’ learning. To protect this person’s privacy, she will remain nameless.
In supervising fourth grade, she teaches a little bit of everything: math, reading, language arts, social studies, and science. Recently, her school district, like many others, switched to an “integrated curriculum.” On paper, an integrated curriculum sounds like a fair idea. Students learn subjects by exploring their intersections to deepen understanding. In practice, however, the curriculum all but eradicates history while working to push politics on impressionable children.
As the teacher reports, “It says ‘integrated curriculum,’ and some of its science, and some of its social studies but it really isn’t. It’s more of a push for the progressive movement.” Indeed, it’s a movement that has fundamentally altered her curriculum. As the school district’s new curricula are online, outsiders have the ability to dictate curriculum to teachers. The result? This teacher’s science and history classes were gutted...
History Deemed Expendable
(the interview continues) “I used to do a whole unit an Abraham Lincoln, and for some reason, it’s just all of that is gone, based on an integrated curriculum. When you look at our curriculum, they’ve removed everything that was in the textbook. They say, ‘Don’t use the textbook, and you don’t need to teach that anymore.’
Throwing Out Textbooks
This teacher’s district, like many others, has not just done away with history and science, but also textbooks in general. The frustrating part of being a teacher in elementary grades is that they have no foundational skills. The textbooks that were used went through the different states and regions, the government, Abraham Lincoln… As far as studying history, we kind of lost all of that because I was told, ‘Please discard all of your textbooks.’ … I asked why over and over and over again and was told that we now have an integrated curriculum, so do not use textbooks.
Ditching all books for computers teaches students to disregard the information that can be found in books, the teacher noted. Instead, they are being taught that everything can and should be learned online. Despite this push towards the internet, the students are not taught how to evaluate online sources for accuracy. In youth and inexperience, it can be easy to mistake a valid source of historical or scientific facts with a poor alternative. This is a recipe for ill-prepared children armed with a legion of bad facts.
Values in teaching history
The kids are missing out on learning why there was a civil war in the first place. They don’t learn the true meaning of slavery and how it got resolved because it’s just disappeared from the curriculum.
The only thing I can teach in social studies was a little bit of government. There wasn’t anything anymore about the Civil War; that was completely gone...I spoke to a friend, who’s a fifth-grade teacher, and her Revolutionary War unit was gone. She used to do a great job on the colonists of America.
Science Replaced With Propaganda
Before the integrated curriculum began, this teacher engaged her students in an array of scientific studies. In the new curriculum, however: My last unit of teaching was just a long unit on petroleum and how bad it was. It would talk about oil spills. We’d have an experiment that kids have to mix tempera paint and oil to simulate an oil spill, so when that happened, the kids would see how awful it was on plants and animals. In reality, these are few and far between, where we have oil spills and causing great damage. But they take something that was awful happened back in history, we’ll take that and say, ‘This is why no one should ever use oil or gas.’ They’re trying to tell the kids that you are bad if you think that you should drive a car or a school bus without it being with renewable energy.
I’m teaching renewable energy in the 4th grade and feeling that is there should be a debate on it, and it should be taught both ways. Instead, it’s video after video after video how we killed animals, how it’s bad for the environment. It’s one-sided education instead of the time for debate.
That is what it’s really changed in the elementary school year. It’s a one-sided script. Science class under this curriculum mandate is not science, but political propaganda. Students have lost out on foundational skills that would benefit them greatly in middle and high school...
They’re not looking at the different levels of electricity. They’re not looking at anything about the water cycle. It’s all in the electronics area or it’s always on the Internet. Nothing is about reading a book and learning about following directions anymore… Science is taught in a very progressive manner. No longer the kids ever going to see a textbook in schools. It’s called ’21st-century learning’ so therefore without a textbook now...
Beloved Projects on the Chopping Block
It was so much fun doing state reports. Now, sadly to say, I’m told not to, because there’s no time for it. That it would be a waste of time. It was probably the best thing about 4th grade. They say, ‘What are you doing, teaching states? Why are you letting the kids do a state report?’ I said, ‘It’s reading, it’s writing, it’s research.’ There is so much to learn, and now I’m not allowed to do that because of the integrated curriculum.
These state projects were not just social studies. They taught kids valuable research and communication skills. The cross-section of skills that coalesced into a beloved annual tradition is how an integrated curriculum should function. Now it’s gone, and so is the teacher’s ability to be creative in working with her students.
(Boyer Writes note: As an educator, before my retirement, I taught a number of grades in both elementary and middle school. 5th grade was my favorite where I was able to do exciting things to enhance the curriculum required. We learned in Social Studies about the Constitution, History of American wars fought, the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves, and had one on one interviews with World War II veterans and Holocaust Survivors. The students took notes, wrote a report about their conversations and presented them, as a public speaking exercise, to the class. A teacher friend told me…”No more planting a Victory Garden or doing those things for we must be on the same page and chapter in every classroom. There is no time.”)
Parents None the Wiser
With the removal of important foundational skills and basic subjects, one would think the school district parents would be up-in-arms about the schools’ curriculum shift. Conservative parents especially should be fighting the school’s attempted indoctrination of their children. However, they are unable to have opinions on their children’s education, because they have no idea what’s happening.
The parents don’t know what’s going on because it’s all at school. We hardly give homework anymore…. I just disagree with a lot of things, but they keep it in school so that the parents don’t have to worry. The parents question very little and they just assume the teacher knows what they’re doing.
With limited homework, parents lack a window into what is being taught to their children. Likewise, the students are losing an important aspect of early education — drilling foundational subjects, like basic math, in order to better understand in the future.
Getting the Wrong Answer…and Growth Mindset
The in-school application of a so-called “growth mindset” actually keeps students from learning and growing. The way of teaching is to get them to get the answer first, and then some of the kids won’t know how they got there because they’re always in a group setting. We have to work together. We’re always talking about cooperative learning. I feel that too much cooperative learning now. We don’t have the skill base anymore.
We test them, but by the time we’ve tested them, they really have never learned anything in the first place. We know they’re at the bottom and they stay at the bottom because nobody sitting there saying, ‘Well let’s just skill and drill.’ They’ve left out all the basic skills. They left out drills. No longer can a teacher do things like math flashcards, because that’s not acceptable. Some principals think that that would belittle the children if they see that they’re not getting their math facts fast.
… ‘We can’t identify the kids that are low achievers.’ So they try to pretend that that’s why we need cooperative learning. Just give the answer. Don’t let them say the wrong answer and feel bad about it.
They come up with this new math, and just say, ‘Getting the wrong answer is good because that helps your brain grow.’ So we’ve got this growth mindset, which is fine but we’re really allowing kids to get wrong answers and not be curious about how do we get to this right. The fear of belittling or saddening students is directly keeping them from learning and thriving academically.”
School should be a happy experience for all students. The greatest complement to a teacher is when a parent says, “My child just can’t wait to get to school.” It is then that a teacher knows she or he is doing something right. Learning is taking place because the child loves coming to school to be able to learn.
There could be some sad days at school. It is going to be part of human kind that some students will try to bully other children. Perhaps they also experience this in their own home. In these situations, the teacher must have a close connection with all students and be on top of any concerns that keeps a student from enjoying school, learning or being a target of any other student. Real learning can only be achieved in this atmosphere. There has to be proper discipline for learning to take place. It is the beginning of the child’s understanding about the real world.
Teaching values to children should also be a part of every grade-level curriculum. This does not mean religious training, unless in a religious school, but simple every-day living values of honesty, sportsmanship, caring, empathy and more. A parent should know that this is also part of the curriculum. After all, social interaction is part of going to school…everything from being polite to a classmate to the janitor who cleans the building.
As has been mentioned, Teachers should be able to be as creative as possible while achieving with their students the curriculum goals. This will mean juggling the curriculum to help those who don’t have as strong foundation as other children. The children who are accelerated in their learning should not be held back with those unable to keep up. This will lead to boredom and a slow-down in what they are able to achieve. To think that all children learn equally is a complete falsehood. No shoe fits all. To try to make the curriculum one way is not only foolish, but totally irresponsible. Only an excellent teacher, who is unbridled by the authorities in her teaching abilities, will be able to accomplish the best achievement for all students. If they are not able to do this, they should find a job elsewhere. Keeping poor teachers on year after year is a disgrace to the educational system. The Teacher’s Union should not stand in the way of a dismissal when it is in the best interest of the child.
Principals and Academic supervisors play a great part in choosing the correct curriculum within their schools. A good Principal is worth his or her weight in gold if they give the teachers the opportunity to express their individual teaching style. One wonders how people, with great authority in decision making for students, get into these positions. It has a simple answer… Often IT IS POLITICAL.
Sometimes it is the supervisors, unions, or national or state educational groups who want to plant their seeds in the schools to fit their agenda. We must not forget that training the young minds for the future can be the downfall of a country. One example of political power is the push to rid the system of charter schools, which are making a contribution to the specific education needs of our children. Much of this is assertion of power or personal ladder climbing at the expense of our children. Should I say more?
During new regulations concerning the virus, parents may not have as much leeway to enter classrooms in order to observe the kind of atmosphere and learning that is taking place in the classroom. Regular conversations, however, between a parent and child about what is being taught in the classroom is essential. In doing so, a parent will get a sense if their child is experiencing a joy for learning. They will know if he or she is learning to think on their own and are gaining an understanding of the history that has made America strong and other countries collapse. It is essential that they learn the difference between Democracy and ideologies such as Communism. This will be a crucial life-skill needed in the their future.
Those agreeing with “Cancel-Culture” wants to change the date of the Founding of our nation from 1776 to 1619 to reflect the timeline that slaves were brought to America instead of the time the Declaration of Independence was signed. This is called the 1619 Project (Jake Silverstein of the New York Times) In reaction to this is what Cabot Phillips wrote in his article:
“…We must not stand idly by while our education system is hijacked, and our children misled and brainwashed to hate our nation instead of loving it.Last month, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill that would prevent federal funds from being used to teach the 1619 Project in public schools. Bold steps like this must be taken, and Americans must demand a say in what’s being taught in our schools. Without action, our education system will continue to indoctrinate students with anti-American propaganda, and future generations will think our culture and way of life is nothing worth preserving.”
As mentioned previously, the proposals for changing the curriculum of K-12 and College is changing faster that anyone can imagine. Be alert, parents, and do your best to protect your children. Remember, YOU are the greatest teacher that your child will ever have. Most will emulate your thoughts and beliefs. Let them know what you believe is right for them to know and understand. It will not be enough to leave their education and their future in someone else’s hands.
Blessings for this new school year. It may be different, but may it a great one! Boyer Writes