Behavioral Psychology and the Invasion of Your Child's Privacy
Blumenfeld's insightful article is a must read for parents who want to know what sort of data is being collected on their children. Sam begins with the statement:
If ever proof were needed to confirm that the New World Order would be totalitarian in its control of individual citizens, the U.S. Department of Education’s recent release of its handbooks on data-gathering on students and faculty should be enough to satisfy any freedom-loving citizen. The two publications are the Student Data Handbook for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (NCES 94–303) released in June 1994, comprised of 226 pages plus about 100 pages of appendices, and the Staff Data Handbook: Elementary, Secondary and Early Childhood Education (NCES 95–327) released in January 1995, comprised of 219 pages and about 70 pages of appendices. Both Handbooks were produced under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Chapter 1 also provides this revealing Overview:
"Accurate and comprehensive information is needed in order to make appropriate cost effective and timely decisions about students within both public and private schools. Teachers, school administrators, school district administrators, school board members, and state and federal education agency personnel must use information about students to plan and carry out programs of learning that meet the needs of children with different abilities and requirements, from divergent backgrounds, and of different ages. School health officials and other service providers also use information about individual students to ensure appropriate services are provided to them. These information needs are being met in an increasing number of instances by automated management information systems that allow data to be analyzed in a variety of ways to address the questions and needs of the decision-makers. A management information system is effective, however, only to the extent that data are consistently entered into the system according to established definitions, data are updated and maintained on a regular basis, and information relevant for ongoing decision-making can be added to the system. This handbook addresses the importance of consistency in how data are defined and maintained within the education system."Blumenfeld's article documents an diverse array of highly personal information on your child that is being collected by the government. Blumenfeld understands how this is tied all to the behavioral psychology of B.F. Skinner. He wrote:
What Can Be Done?
It is absolutely essential, if we are to remain a free people, that this entire data-collection system be stopped and dismantled. It has no place in a free society. The legislation that authorized it must be repealed or rescinded or defunded. This entire system is based on the need of behavioral scientists for a detailed, longitudinal accumulation of data to verify the [efficacy] of their programs to change human behavior. Benjamin Bloom, the godfather of Outcome-Based Education, wrote in his 1964 book Stability and Change in Human Characteristics:
"We can learn very little about human growth, development, or even about specific human characteristics unless we make full use of the time dimension. Efforts to control or change human behavior by therapy, by education, or by other means will be inadequate and poorly understood until we can follow behavior over a longer period." (p. 5)
That the behaviorist’s purpose of education is to change human behavior was spelled out in Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Goals dealing with the affective domain. He was greatly concerned with the need to get control of children as early as possible. He wrote:
"The evidence points out convincingly to the fact that age is a factor operating against attempts to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of attitudes and values." (p. 85)
"The evidence collected thus far suggests that a single hour of classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major reorganization in cognitive as well as affective behaviors. We are of the opinion that this will prove to be a most fruitful area of research in connection with the affective domain." (p. 88)
And in Stability and Change in Human Characteristics, Bloom wrote:
"We believe that the early environment is of crucial importance for three reasons. The first is based on the very rapid growth of selected characteristics in the early years and conceives of the variations in the early environment as so important because they shape these characteristics in their most rapid periods of formation.The data collection system outlined in the Student Handbook will give the behaviorists the vital tool they need to hone their ability to thoroughly reorganize the values, attitudes and behaviors of the American student. God help us if this system is implemented.
"Secondly, each characteristic is built on a base of that same characteristic at an earlier time or on the base of other characteristics which precede it in development….
"A third reason… stems from learning theory. It is much easier to learn something new than it is to stamp out one set of learned behaviors and replace them by a new set." (p. 215)
*from The Blumenfeld Education Newsletter, October 1995 (Vol. 10, No. 10, Letter #109). All bold and color emphasis in this post is added.