By: Lech Biegalski
(Originally published in 2007)
“There is a campaign under way to essentially destroy the public education system along with every aspect of human life and attitudes and thought that involve social solidarity. It’s being done in all sorts of ways. One is simply by underfunding. So, if you can make the public schools really rotten, people will look for an alternative. Any service that’s going to be privatized, the first thing you do is make it malfunction so people can say, “We want to get rid of it. It’s not running. Let’s give it to Lockheed.” — Noam Chomsky, The Progressive Magazine, September 1999, p.37 –
Shortly after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the Canadian Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) televised a speech delivered to the Toronto business leaders by a president of one of the major Canadian banks. Addressing the necessity of restructuring, he also mentioned education. He said, “Our education has outgrown the capacity of our economy in terms of employment.” The meaning of this statement was clear: we had too many educated people, our economy did not need them, we should not over-invest in education. In other words: our education was too good.
The following conservative government of Mike Harris understood this message and took steps to “fix” the school system by cutting funds and by implementing changes that permanently decreased its effectiveness. Coincidence? I don’t think so. For the elites, the education system is nothing more than a factory producing workforce. In the age of computerization, outsourcing, and offshoring, well educated workforce is no longer required, and neither is the middle class. Education for a better quality of life is not supported. People who know more and understand better are harder to manipulate and more difficult to satisfy. They may even know how to challenge the system.
Here is what transpired in public elementary schools in Ontario, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991:
1. The School Council system was empowered during the Bob Ray and Dave Cooke’s reign. Officially advertised as intended to give parents more extensive decision-making powers, the role of parents in School Councils was quickly derailed and limited to various fund raising initiatives. These hidden “user fees” allowed the Ministry to cut funds to schools under the umbrella of the “Social Contract” and the consequent policies.
2. A high school dropout in Mike Harris’s government became a minister of education. By his own admission, John Snobelen tried to create conflict in education. This conflict was then used to justify changes that people would otherwise oppose. In order to “fix” the alleged problems in education, the government cut more funds and implemented a number of changes that had a negative impact on the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process in thenew curriculum, new evaluation and reporting, business-like management and organization, commercialization, and bureaucratization, the cutting of programs and Special Education services, additional responsibilities and requirements downloaded on teachers, and many other “inventions” overloaded, dehumanized, and pauperized the whole system. These changes continue to be supported and new changes are being implemented under the consequent Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty. It seems that the policy does not depend on which political party is in power.
3. Industrial Arts program has been eliminated. As a result, students do not learn how to use simple tools and machines anymore. This decreases independent life skills and increases future dependence of the society on corporate services and on the state.
4. Family Studies program has been eliminated. Students do not learn basic home-related skills, with the same results as above.
5. Science and Technology program has been stripped of Scientific Method and Science Fairs, the most important components of the old curriculum that provided students with understanding how science works. The remaining material lacks theory and mostly consists of descriptions of often unrelated facts and examples. Some of the explanations are wrong.
6. Human Geography textbooks present one-sided point of view focusing on the globalization agenda.
7. Special Education classes are being closed and Special Education services limited. Only 12 years ago, we had many different Special Education services in Ontario. There were self-contained classes for Slow Learners, for Trainable Retarded (later renamed to Developmentally Delayed), services for students with Learning Disabilities, classes for students with Behavioural problems, self-contained classes for Gifted Learners, 1-on-1 assistance and in-class support, scheduled replacement programs on withdrawal basis. Students with special needs received programs and assistance at their level of abilities 100 percent of the time. Regular students had their programs and instruction 100 percent of the time.
Gradually, Special Education services were “reorganized” and students with special needs were moved to regular classes without any extramany cases, regular classroom teachers receive directions from Special Education teachers on how to modify the program, the teaching strategies, and the assessment techniques but the regular replacement programs and support by the Special Education staff are no longer there. Teachers have to divide their time between the regular students and the students with special needs. Since this often means two (or more) different programs and two (or more) different assessment/evaluation procedures, all students receive only half (or less) of the teacher’s time and attention. Teachers’ ability to prepare good learning materials for students is also reduced due to increased workload and reduced preparation time.
8. Introduction of the “core” model forces teachers to teach all subjects by grade level rather than teaching by subject (specialization). In most European countries, teaching by subject begins in grade 4. In Japan, specialization starts in grade 2.
It is understandable that primary children (K-3) benefit from the stability and emotional comfort of being taught by one teacher. The same explanation applied to Intermediate classes (Gr. 7-8) is preposterous and proves incompetence or deliberate sabotage of the system. Until now, I have not heard one convincing reason why students in grade 7 or 8 could not benefit from programs run by teachers specializing in their subject areas, by teachers who understand better the subjects they teach and show special interest in them. Drawing on strengths of individual teachers would also be a good preparation for the transition to high school environment, in which teaching by subject and working with different teachers are a norm. It is clear, beyond any doubt, that teachers specializing in one or two subjects have more time to prepare better programs, better materials for students, and better assessment tools, especially if they teach the same subject for a few consecutive years. It surely is more efficient than having to prepare six different lessons in many subject areas every day.
Teaching by subject also allows teachers to improve their knowledge and skills better by attending targeted workshops and taking courses in selected subject areas, and therefore, developing a better understanding of the subjects taught. Due to insufficient time, such effective professional development is not possible in all subject areas atsingle year during my last four years of teaching, I was assigned a different grade level and different subjects. Even though my specialty is Mathematics, Geography, Science and Technology, and Computers, this year I am teaching English, History, Geography, Drama, and Dance. As it is obvious that this situation cannot benefit students, I wonder what is the priority here. Why would the Boards and the schools avoid using teachers’ strengths? What sense does it make? I know more similar cases and it really looks like a pattern when you see it right across the city.
9. Increased workload and responsibilities assigned to the teachers in Ontario under the new differentiated model of instruction create a crisis practically impossible to overcome. As a result of the core-oriented model and the elimination of many Special Education programs, regular classroom teachers have to prepare six different lessons per day, each further multiplied by the number of modifications necessary to meet the needs of special education students. This also means multiple evaluation and assessmenteach class, students are expected to work in groups reflecting their levels of development/achievement and individual programs need to be adjusted to these levels. As one principal put it in his letter to parents,
“Staff work diligently to organize our classes to provide the best program for each child. It is important to note that within each classroom there are students working at a variety of grade levels in each subject area based on each student’s individual strengths, needs, and interests.”
It is relatively easy to adjust student assignments in subjects such as mathematics where the same contents (curriculum strands) are repeated in consecutive grades at increasing levels of difficulty. Teachers can use the existing textbooks and activities from lower grades to assign the work to underachieving students. The age-appropriate vocabulary and interest requirements can usually be ignored in teaching mathematical skills as in most cases underachievement in math is caused by difficulties in processing language and grasping complex concepts.Differentiated instruction in Language Arts, History, Geography, and Science presents a real problem.
Teachers are no longer allowed to implement traditional novel study activities. Instead, hundreds of short stories at different reading levels are being shipped to schools with the view of being used by different students in the same classroom. Due to the fact that it is impossible for teachers to read all these stories and prepare meaningful follow-up activities, and in the absence of ready-to-use materials for each story, the whole exercise is reduced to technical skills and generic assignments that lack meaning and connection with the real world. Using “generic” activities across the wide range of reading materials is often recommended by the board-level instructors who make their careers on pushing this new concept of differentiated instruction.
Grade 8 students, who function at lower grade levels, should still learn the grade 8 curriculum strands in History, Geography, and Science which differ from the strands at lower grade levels. They should learn:
– Human Geography (grade 8 curriculum) as opposed to Canada’s Provinces, Territories and Regions (grade 4 curriculum)
– Late Canadian History (grade 8 curriculum) as opposed to Medieval Times (grade 4 curriculum)
– Cells, Systems in Action, Fluids, and Water Systems (grade 8 curriculum) as opposed to Habitats and Communities, Pulleys and Gears, Light and Sound, and Rocks and Minerals (grade 4 curriculum)
Therefore, in these subjects lower grade textbooks and activities cannot be used, as they focus on entirely different themes that the students had already studied in previous years. A different equipment and lab setup would also be required for Science and Technology activities. No wonder textbooks and lab equipment are on their way to be eliminated from schools altogether.
Although the administration forces teachers to implement differentiated instruction and produce “evidence in the classroom” to that effect, no academic materials, texts or activities are provided to support the process. In subject such as Language Arts, Social Studies, History, Geography, and Science, teachers are expected to produce such materials and activities on daily basis, which amounts to re-writing the assignments x times, where x is the number of differentiated groups in the classroom.
The hypocrisy of this theoretically attractive model originates in the fact that teachers are not given any time to prepare all these wonderful programs on daily basis and this alone renders the model useless. Teachers have already been spending large portions of their private time correcting and marking students’ assignments, writing Report Cards, and preparing lessons. Their “preparation time” at school has been cut down and a growing number of supervision duties has been added to their schedules. By adding and enforcing new expectations that are impossible to meet, the administration frustrates the teachers and creates a conflict that sabotages the teaching and learning process in the classroom. Since the expectations are unrealistic, the whole model will not work, providing further ammunition for those who want to privatize the system.
Differentiated model of instruction also reduces the instructional time per student. The teacher’s time to teach a lesson, explain the tasks, and help students do their work is now divided between two, and often three different groups of students. The differentiated model is sometimes being used to justify a refusal to purchase full class sets of textbooks. Also, the formalized and lengthy diagnostic reading assessment (the DRA) further reduces the instructional time. Too much testing creates a situation in which there is not enough time for teaching and learning.
10. The elimination of Special Education behavioural classes dramatically reduced the remaining instructional time. In the past, students with severe behavioural problems were placed in self-contained classes at the ratio of up to 10 students to one teacher, one assistant, and often one social worker. Many of these students were on medication to help them stay on task and control their temper. Nowadays, students clearly displaying behavioural characteristics are placed in regular classrooms of 20 to 30, with one teacher. Following the regular placement, many parents conclude that their children do not need medication anymore. Consequently, in some schools and in some classrooms, teachers spend 80 percent of their time on hopeless crowd control and the remaining 20 percent on attempting to teach (which is not always possible.)
Nobody seems to care about the students who want to learn. Nobody cares about the level of stress in this unhealthy working environment. Boards of Education and most principals are afraid to confront the parents and to execute parental responsibility for children’s behaviour and attitude. Due to a lack of support by the system, teachers are paralized, as any intervention may result in false accusations and disciplinary action against them. Nobody is prepared to enforce the school rules effectively. During my teaching career, I have personally experienced many variations of this situation, first hand.
11. Computer Labs and computer programs are being eliminated. Just a few years ago, schools were running fund raising campaigns in the communities to purchase computers for computer labs. Computer teachers and Computer Lab programs were widely advertised, as most future jobs would require computer skills. Then, computer teachers were dropped and teacher librarians were used to supervise the lab activities on a part time basis. Currently, computer lab programs and schedules are being eliminated all together. Classroom teachers, many of whom are not computer experts, will randomly take their classes to the computer lab, when needed. Progress is being achieved, progress in the New World Order, but not in education.
12. School libraries and library programs are being reduced and, in some cases, eliminated. The number of full time teacher librarians is decreasing. The number and quality of books in school libraries are decreasing. At my school, I cannot find any class sets of books for novel study. Some teachers privately buy class sets of books at different reading levels for their students, but they should not be expected to do so. This is not right.
13. Unprecedented and unheard of before, there is an insufficient number of textbooks in schools. Last year, I taught Grade 8 Science and Technology at a school that had 10 textbooks for four classes, divided between two different teachers. One hundred and eight students went to high school “undereducated” because our school’s priority was to pay for new computers and because new textbooks were to be published soon. New textbooks were never published and the computer lab program is being chopped across the board, as we speak. In my present school, there is a shortage of Geography and History textbooks, students use Atlases that still show Soviet Union (17 years later), and teachers don’t have enough teaching manuals or blackline masters. When I was a student in a small and poor country of communist Poland 50 years ago, a situation like this was unthinkable. This is now and here, 21st century, Canada, New World Order.
14. A pilot project on replacing textbooks with whiteboards and projectors was being implemented in my last school. It was brutally supported by the principal (a former gym teacher). Teachers were given some old laptops and encouraged to produce “lessons” on their computers. Some of the old textbooks were confiscated and removed from the classrooms, the use of textbooks was generally discouraged. The problem was – no software for the new system was ever delivered to the teachers in order to replace the textbooks. It was like giving soldiers guns but not giving them the bullets. Completely idiotic and useless exercise that could only be explained by a deliberate attempt to destroy the quality of education in our schools. It was simply undoable, considering that teachers did not have time to write textbooks for all of the subjects they taught in addition to teaching and taking care of their families. And teachers are not specialists in all subject areas. The idea that each teacher would create complete programs, replacing the textbooks for all subject they were teaching in a each school year, was professionally incompetent and realistically ignorant.
When the superintendent was coming to our school to see how the new system was working, the principal has arranged with one teacher to prepare a few “projector” lessons ahead of time, and the superintendent was then “randomly invited” to observe this teacher’s classroom. A preposterous farce at its best. This is what the taxpayers were paying the fat salaries of the education officials for.
15. Good old textbooks are being replaced with new and not-so-good textbooks. While older textbooks included relevant information, logically organized and competently presented, the newer textbooks are often confusing, include disconnected pieces of information, ineffective methodology, and a lot of colourful pictures. They look good, especially to people who don’t know any better, but their quality and educational usefulness are unacceptable. It is often difficult to argue this case, as teachers and administrators are not required to specialize in specific academic subjects, and most of the younger educators are a product of the “new and improved” teacher training that accompanies the school reforms. Nevertheless, the difference between the old and the new textbooks is noticeable and alarming.
Probably the best example of a sabotaged program is Mathematics. The old textbooks were well organized and the material was presented in a simple, easy to understand way. New concepts and skills were logically derived from concepts and skills learned earlier, each section included the explanation of the concept, related definitions and formulas, algorithms and exercises to practice skills, and problem solving assignments to apply new knowledge in real life situations. The new Mathematics textbooks present material using the “reversed pyramid” technique, where complex problems are first introduced and then students are expected to discover the underlying concepts and skills. Definitions and formulas are usually missing, and so are exercises to practice basic skills.
New, unknown to parents and unnecessarily complicated algorithms are being taught. Information is not logically and sequentially organized, irrelevant or less important information is presented while more important elements are missing. Many examples are discussed but concepts and skills are not introduced clearly.
Material presented in such a way leads to incidental learning and to learning by memorization of isolated skills instead of learning by understanding and connecting the dots. Material learned in such a way is quickly forgotten. Only a small percentage of exceptionally talented students can actually benefit from the modern, up-side-down textbooks, providing that extra help in learning the concepts and practicing the skills is given. I can understand why publishers, who compete with the old textbooks, develop “different” approaches and “different” methodologies. However, different does not mean better. It would be better, if publishers focused their efforts on a sound understanding of the subject of mathematics instead. It would also be better, if ministry officials, who order and select the textbooks for our schools, were more competent. Actually, I don’t believe that they are incompetent. Welcome to the New World Order in education.
The problems presented in this article seem to be rooted deeper than just in the political system alone. They begin to mold our consciousness as professional education workers.
Since the mid 1990s, the focus of staff meetings at our schools has dramatically changed. In the old days, the main theme of staff meetings revolved around students and their academic achievement. Slowly but consistently, the focus has shifted to administrative issues, ever increasing number of non-academic components of the schools’ mission in the community, fundraising initiatives, entertaining events, and the teachers’ training in “new and improved” strategies. At many occasions, I was taking a risk of being decalared a rebel, when during a discussion on the annual school improvement plan, I insisted on adding academic objectives to the list of our goals and priorities.
Clearly, academic excellence is not a priority in the New World Order schools.
This is a part of an article originally posted in 2007 on http://canadawatch.ca (this site does not exist anymore). It was then reposted by over 20 websites in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Below, I am copying a few relevant comments that the article received from the readers at that time.
— Warning! Strong language is used in this video —
George Carlin on “the American Dream”
I read the ‘NWO and education’ article in the ‘Online Journal’. Thank you for that.
I have been teaching in the UK since 1971. I can bear it no longer. Three weeks ago I just walked away from the job (thousands do this every year in the UK). It had become a nightmare and worse than that, I had become convinced that the powers that delivered our policies and management systems to us were deliberately working to destroy what good remained of the system.
The situation is truly diabolical and I mean that quite literally. The family and everything else that has created social cohesion is being systematically trashed. Religion too. Are the NWO satanists? Going by the writings of Albert Pike and the activities at Bohemian Grove it is difficult not to believe so.
Speaking out in public against this barbarism upsets the ‘conformists and opportunists’ who are determined to thrive, however witlessly, in this brave new world.
This particularly struck a chord with me…quote:
“….Consequently, in some schools and in some classrooms, teachers spend 80 percent of their time on hopeless crowd control and the remaining 20 percent on attempting to teach (which is not always possible.) Nobody seems to care about the 80 percent of the students who want to learn. Nobody cares about the level of stress in this unhealthy working environment.”
Absolutely. A perfect description of a typical one of my lessons (and I used to be considered good at the job). I thought the stress of this kind of rubbish was going to kill me…..but I couldn’t blame the children. I blame the fiends who have deliberately created this appalling situation.
As depressing as the current reality is, it gives hope that there are increasing numbers of people (like yourself) prepared to step forward and tell it like it is.
Thanks again and best wishes,
Kevin Boyle (Croydon, UK)
Thank you for the excellent article on New World Order tactics.
I was aware that society was encouraging people to waste their time watching “reality TV” and gameshows. I also suspected that the “No Child Left Behind” program was designed to bring the smarter kids down to the level of the slower children. But, I had no idea that the problem was so severe in the school system of the province that I live in.
Thanks for helping me realize how prevalent the New World Order has become in our everyday life.
I want to start by saying I rarely send emails to authors related to articles I read, which are many on a wide variety of subjects. After reading your article on the education system and the new world order i must say I felt compelled to write you and let you know I found it moving.
I have read much on the new world order now for possibly 5 years and try to find out much more when articles are close to home. This worries me as I am sure it does you, specially since I have 2 children of school age and torn between not wanting to send them to public schools but with little option, I will assist with home schooling as well. It is a sad day when so much can be seen, but most do not look, or care.
I have added your website to my list of sites to visit daily and look forward to reading more informative articles. I only wish there was more ways in which I could help.
Keep up the great work.
Amazing article. Very scary. I just wrote a paper on a similar topic and will include references to your article in my future papers.
Best, Richard Wilcox in Tokyo
João Paulo Fernandes Teixeira
I am tempted to agree with you on the issue of debasing of culture and education in the West. It is happening here too, pushed by European Union integration.
Under the latest reform of university studies (the Bologna agreement) the Mathematics curricula was cut across the board. Other fundamental sciences, like Physics and Chemistry lost Lab classes in critical elementary courses, making it much harder to teach how science actually works and produces knowledge.
Under the blanket of “encouraging students to study independently”, curricula has been crippled in such insidious ways. The average Bologna graduate in engineering may lack the necessary skills to understand research and development, let alone be capable of doing any of it themselves.
João Paulo Fernandes Teixeira, Teacher of Mathematics, Technology Institute, Portugal
A really fine article. Very enlightening to me.Things that I sensed going on but couldn’t put my finger on.
Maybe you saw my Moral Relativism series in Online Journal that touches on one part of your article.
I am back in Italy after four months in Argentina.
Gaither Stewart, Italy
The Public is blind. They are also deaf. They are far too immersed in their daily undertakings to stop and think.