Why Progressives Have Abandoned Academics as Crucial to Student Success.
by Jan Greenhawk, Editor/Author, Radio Free Oxford
I remember the first time our education system abandoned academics. We were sitting around a big table in the Board Office. There were supervisors, principals, and the Superintendent. There were several subjects on the chopping block: cursive handwriting, teaching multiplication tables, and teaching grammar. One at a time, each of these disciplines was dismissed as “too hard, too restrictive, or irrelevant” by a central office staffer. After all, students had computers with spell and grammar check to type work on and calculators to do math for them. Why put kids through all the stress of actually learning these things? It was around the year 1999. It was the beginning of a long line of academic content being removed from school curricula. Soon history, classic literature, vocabulary and spelling followed.
This time once devoted to content was filled with other activities like class meetings, sharing circles, whole class counseling sessions, and other early forms of something now called SEL.
Fast forward to today.
A recent story out of Virginia along with educators downplaying plummeting national standardized test scores are indicators of something strange going on in our public schools.
It seems schools no longer care about academics and individual student achievement.
In Virginia, parents were shocked to learn that seven public schools in the Loudon County School District failed to tell students about their eligibility for millions of dollars of scholarship awards for achievement on the Preliminary SAT tests. The tests are mainly given to tenth and eleventh grade students each year and those who score in the top nationally are called National Merit Scholars and can get college scholarships.
But, in Loudon County officials decided that announcing the names of these scholars and allowing them to claim their scholarship money would hurt the feelings of other students. So, they didn’t let anyone know, even the students who earned the distinction. (1)
In the progressive war of valuing achievement or collective feelings, feelings won.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone since it seems that Progressives have decided that test scores and other objective data regarding the learning of our students are NOT important in determining the success of our children.
They have a different yardstick to measure with, and that yardstick is called “Social Emotional Learning” or “SEL.”
Social Emotional Learning is just one of educational initiatives created and promoted by globalists that will assure that humans will have just enough skills and knowledge to keep them on the electronic grid and government dole. Created by a long line of psychologists beginning in the 1950’s, SEL began as a way to help students who had suffered emotional trauma do better in school. Since then, it has morphed into something that must be implemented with all students, whether they need it or not. It has also become the basic foundation for divisive mantras contained in Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology. Here is a definition of SEL from CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) a group associated with the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation and Chan Zuckerburg Foundation and other Progressive groups.
It doesn’t look too bad to many. After all, shouldn’t we address the emotional needs of children? If it was just a matter of making sure kids feel comfortable and confident, the answer would be yes. But every day we see different stories and videos showing how schools are using SEL to teach our children to be activists instead of scholars, practice racial animosity and division instead of acceptance, believe in group think instead of individuality, accept mental illness as the norm versus the exception, and support gender confusion instead of clarity. It’s a huge trash pile of bad ideas and corruption.
In March 2019, the Boston-based Pioneer Institute published the study, “Social-Emotional Learning: K-12 Education as New-Age Nanny State,” asserting that SEL had become the latest panacea in a long line of progressive “education reforms” that have only served to distract from the fact that American public-school children are failing academically. (3)
The Pioneer study’s authors, pediatrician Karen Effrem and attorney Jane Robbins, wrote:
“As student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, or the “nation’s report card”) paint a gloomy picture of students’ accomplishments in reading and mathematics (especially since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI)), education decision-makers look toward probing students’ psyches rather than instilling academic knowledge.”
In February, Robbins wrote at the Federalist that SEL champions such as the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) are now “brazenly trumpeting an even more troubling aspect of SEL: the opportunity to turn impressionable students into leftist activists.”
She observed that CASEL CEO Karen Niemi announced in December her company “has revised its definition of and framework for ‘socio-emotional learning’ to highlight the value of SEL as a weapon for social justice.” (3)
The exclusive focus on SEL in schools will turn our children into barely educated, vulnerable adults who will rally for any cause, right or wrong, good or bad, if told to.
Students do “sharing circles,” “community building” and “interdependent learning” in class during time that should be spent on academics. Getting the right answer is less important than getting an answer one feels good about. And being top of your class is barely whispered in school hallways lest other students get their feelings hurt. Under the phrase “generative themes,” SEL is hidden in lessons in math, reading, science, etc. like unhealthy icing on a very thin barely healthy carrot cake. While content is briefly covered, the generative themes like racism, activism, and gender ideology are firmly entrenched. Our kids don’t learn much math, but they become very good at social activism and racial division.
What’s the end game?
It’s not like Progressives haven’t made it clear to us what they value. Here is a statement from a 2016 abstract published by the World Economic Forum that is an indicator of where they believe the human race will evolve:
The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last decade and the speed and exponential growth of robotics, is forcing the shift towards a new form of global society where AI shares working space with humans and helps to shape a new culture and economy based in the implementation of creative ideas. We understand AI as computers and machines (robotics) which “has been given the sophistication needed to act intelligently” (Nilsson, 2014: p. 1) and therefore being able to perform as humans, even sometimes surpassing human capacities (Niewiadomski & Anderson, 2017) . Humans won’t be able to compete with AI regarding the process of information and data (Niewiadomski & Anderson, 2017).
Bill Gates, who is one of the listed partners of CASEL and a key participant and sponsor in the WEF states: “AI (artificial intelligence) is the big one…AI is quite revolutionary.” At the same time as the Gates Foundation has committed over $15 million to groups developing artificial intelligence for medical and educational purposes, he states that AI is like nuclear weapons, promising and dangerous.
It may not be clear immediately, but the emphasis is on the fact that machines and AI will take over for humans and people just need to learn what the WEF calls “soft skills.” Here’s a WEF chart showing skills in demand from 2018-2022 with an emphasis on what is trending and what is declining.
Did you notice something in the “declining list?” It lists reading, writing, math and active learning. This may be a shock to most of us since these skills are the ones that have been taught in schools for hundreds of years. It also lists memory, verbal, auditory, and spatial abilities. Those of us in the education field can tell you that those skills were traditionally on the tests we gave young children to determine their development and intelligence. Suddenly, these skills are replaced by emotional intelligence, social influence, leadership, and a variety of other “soft skills.”
Many people may ask, “What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we teach our children to work with others?”
Perhaps. But the result of this all-encompassing focus on SEL instead of academics is human beings who can’t use their brains to solve complex problems, read complicated passages, or recall basic knowledge. As those of us in our later years know, if you don’t use your mental faculties, you lose them. Imagine not having to use your brain to solve difficult equations or interpret what you have read ever in your life. You would be a person relying on others, or machines, to do that for you. That makes for a very controllable population at a very young age and for a very long time.
Ask any current business owner about recent, young hires and you will hear how these employees lack the basic skills and content knowledge to do their job. They also tell us that many young employees have no social skills either. Something is not working. And there are the state and national test scores which have regressed drastically in the past three years.
The focus on soft skills over actual knowledge and skills assures that future adults will give themselves over to the commands of their AI and/or human masters and will not have the mental or spiritual capacity for independence or, even worse, to have a conscience and believe in God. Man, and machines will become gods.
Some say that the WEF is merely going along with trends and riding the wave of unstoppable progress. But then we hear statements like this from Kathleen Phillips, WEF Agenda, 2022: ” Technology will become more intertwined with the body in the form of implants,” we realize something bigger is the point.
And, in a scarier quote, Xiao Liu of the WEF says, ” It’s now time for the Internet of Bodies. This means collecting our physical data via devices that can be implanted, swallowed or simply worn, generating huge amounts of health-related information.” (2)
The WEF is fully behind these implants being used to monitor, analyze and even modify human bodies and behavior.
Remember, Yuval Noah Harari ,WEF, told us in 2020, ” We are no longer mysterious souls; we are now hackable animals.” This means humans not only lose free will but their ability to be spiritual.
Any person who cherishes liberty and Christianity has to wonder what will happen to the human race. Most of us will pray to God that it doesn’t happen. But, the WEF’s Kathleen Phillips says not to pray, not to worry, because ” ethics will advise us.” Not God, morals, or long held religious beliefs, but situational ethics that humans devise. The same humans that not only can’t define man or woman but want to prescribe for three-year-old children drastic surgery and hormone treatments to fulfill a childish folly. The same humans who try to normalize pedophilia by describing its perpetrators as “minor attracted persons.” Man and machines as gods determining what is right and wrong.
Does the connection sound crazy to you? Can a program we teach in our public schools REALLY be part of a global campaign to promote transhumanism, abuse of children and a collectivist one world authoritarian government? Look at this from the World Economic Forum’s page about education and what they call, “Strategic Intelligence.”
To see the full extent of this graphic, go to the above link and click on any of the circles.
What’s more enlightening about this description of “quality education” is that it centers on practically everything BUT academic and “hard” skills. You’ll also notice that there is nothing about the importance of faith, religious beliefs, or even basic morals.
In fairness the people actually working in our schools don’t have those objectives at all. Most are convinced that what they are doing is good for children even when the test data show otherwise. And, incidents of violence, which SEL is supposed to reduce, are rising at an alarming rate. Honest educators think if they just work harder to implement SEL, if they just have more money, it will make things better.
What they don’t know is that the powerful elite, including those who run the Teachers’ Unions don’t care about student learning, competency or mental well-being. They want a population of uneducated, compliant drones so they have to creating exactly that.
No, they don’t care about declining test scores. In fact, I think many of them at the state, national, and international level are quite pleased at the result they created by focusing exclusively on Social Emotional Learning and all of the nonsense that comes with it. They can’t wait to throw competence and a belief in God out the window.
They want subjects with one very strong ability, how to be drones and go along with the “man/machines as gods collective.”
Those of us who know better can’t let that happen.
We need to:
- Build Community Support-Churches, groups, etc.
- Educate the Community on the Truth
- Attend School Board meetings/County and State Government meetings
- Monitor Grants/Contracts in your local school systems, etc.
- Speak up with Facts!
- Do not give the labels they use POWER!
Most important, pray. And teach your children about God and prayer.
From Zechariah 10: “For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.”
We can’t let that happen to our children and grandchildren
Jan Greenhawk can be reached at Jan417@radiofreeoxford.com
Jan is a retired educator and current chapter chair for Moms for Liberty, Talbot, Md.
© Janet L. Greenhawk and Radio Free Oxford, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet L. Greenhawk and Radio Free Oxford with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.