May 6, 2020 by Tunya Audain
Surely, if there were such an award, Bruce Deitrick Price would get the CALIE prize. Citizens Against Lies In Education (CALIE) is a movement long overdue, long overdue.
I first came across Bruce when I despaired for my grandchildren’s education. My own children had graduated and I had forgotten my earlier laments. His book “The Education Enigma”, 2009, was a treasure to read and confirmed my concerns. Even though I had long been involved as an advocate for parent involvement and was instrumental in promoting home education in its early years, Bruce’s book of essays really hit home. In the introduction to his book he said it was a “quick way to learn more about the many fierce debates collectively referred to as the Education Wars.”
As “fierce debates” continue, Bruce wrote his second book, “Saving K-12” in 2017. His new essays highlight the same problems — illiteracy, poor math, dumbing–down of knowledge, etc. — but with more information and from unique angles to fuel our dismay. As a result of “equity” priorities Bruce sees the schooling plan is “to level everyone to average; and to keep the bodies moving through K-12 to college. There is a lot of money in education if the bodies are there.”
He continues: “What can the children do to protect themselves? Very little. It’s up to the parents and community leaders to rescind these absurd fads. Otherwise, teach kids on the side, at home, and on weekends.” He said that in 2009!
Well, that was before COVID19. Despite all the insights of BDP and others, the “system” seems immune to criticism. Many in the “education establishment” see COVID — however tragic it is — as an opportunity to advance their pet ideas for a “new normal” when (if) schools start reopening. I’ve heard of efforts and webinars from “progressives”, “Marxists” and others gearing up to woo parents and public to their particular style. I’ve even heard that one such scheme says this must be “well orchestrated”!
An advocacy group in Michigan just wrote an opinion piece in the local paper: Basically, they announced that since “more than half of Michigan’s third-grade students were not reading at grade level”, even before COVID, that this must be the priority issue on school resumption. BUT, will this citizens’ proviso make a difference?
Even now we are hearing of promising and spontaneous home learning and self-directed learning experiences that are happening. Questions are arising about the “old normal”. A book that just came out in Feb, 2020, seems to speak to our present condition, even though I don’t think the author, Justin Spears (Failure: the history and results of America’s school system), suspected where we’d be today. He posed this enigma, which could be a starting point for any CALIE group to consider: “Since 1950, public school employees have grown at a rate four times faster than the student body.” Doesn’t that make some sort of monumental “curve”? It’s time to not only flatten THAT curve but also press for alternative ways to succeed in education.
Thanks, Bruce Deitrick Price, for being so persistent and thought-provoking. Hope we have the guts to challenge the lies that bind us to such absurdities in our school systems.