Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Missing Academics

Please do not dismiss the following  as the musings of an educator of minor importance.  Donald Thomas is an important American change agent whose policies are presently being implemented nationwide and internationally.  He has also been in close touch with Soviet educators in  the restructuring of education, and has on several occasions in public expressed his appreciation of the Soviet education system.

AN ARTICLE ENTITLED “THE DECADE OF THE NINETIES” BY DONALD THOMAS, EXECUTIVE director, Network for Effective Schools, was published in The Effective School Report for August 1989. Under the subtitle “Educational Implications” Thomas says:
Operate schools on a year-round basis; train citizens and students in skills and processes of effective participation in government; develop public policy toward private education....
Desirable future conditions: The economy will be more of an equilibrium economy with
less dependence upon money, and more dependence upon the production and exchange of goods and services. There will be an increased movement toward cooperation and responsibility for the well-being of others. The civil rights of all individuals will be respected and taught in homes and schools; a value system will emerge that will give basic human values—i.e., liberal arts, caring for others, etc.—their proper place. There will be fewer single family dwellings. Industry will take more responsibility for education, particularly for job training....
…[D]evelop curricula to involve students in anticipating and planning how to welcome
newcomers; use community education to help citizens anticipate and prepare for newcomers; design and implement statewide parent education and education for responsible parenthood; institute widespread, effective public education programs on family life; ensure that human caring will become the focus of curriculum at all levels; develop courses in futuring with future centers in high schools; involve schools with water commissions, air quality commissions, city councils, county commissions, legislatures and governmental agencies, focusing on economics, ecology, environment and culture as an integral part of the learning; teach and practice a win-win philosophy in schools [Deming’s TQM] in the place of the present win-lose philosophy....
Necessary Quality: Protecting each other from distractive forces.... These are qualities that can best be learned through practice and experience. Our schools must, therefore, give young people the opportunities for service to others, practice in public service, and adherence to personal responsibilities. The basic values of a good and free nation can be learned by young people when appropriate conditions exist as schools form partnerships with community agencies for public service projects to be a part of schooling; rewards are provided for encouraging young people to perform community service; community service is recognized asa necessary learning option....
The year 2000 is very near. The sooner we begin the task of improving student achievement and citizenship, the sooner we will achieve the national objective for adequately preparing our young people to live in the 21st century; to be broadly literate in a world community; to be highly skilled in an ever-changing work environment; to be human in a society of individuals striving for personal satisfaction and security. To achieve this goal we will need to think differently about schools, about children and about education. We, as a nation, must see education as a lifelong process, as occurring in the total community, and as being the responsibility of everyone.... Our national survival depends on it; the world expects it, and the children of the world require it.
[Ed. Note: Leaving aside the focus on political correctness, one should be concerned over the
total lack of emphasis on—or even mention of—academics. It would be a grave mistake to dismiss
this article as the totalitarian ravings of a lesser-known change agent spoken to his closest
change-agent associates. Dr. Thomas, a close friend of the late former Secretary of Education
T.H. Bell and present Secretary Richard Riley, is one of the most important change agents in the
world. He has been responsible for controversial restructuring in several states and has been
involved in exchanges with the former Soviet Union and Eastern European nations which are
implementing Effective School Research. Again, it was he who recommended a $50.00 fine for
parents who refused to volunteer in schools—both in South Carolina and in Utah.]

Excerpted from my book the deliberate dumbing down of america, pages 256-257. Check the Index to my 3D book for many entries for Donald Thomas and The Effective School Report.