||Last Updated: Oct 16th, 2007 - 01:59:42
This article is about negative changes in education that
cannot be explained by any competent, professional justification. Although
reasons are being given to rationalize them, a quick summary of these changes,
shown in a larger political context, is alarming. The fact that all of
them started after the collapse of the Soviet Union and all point in one
direction indicates deliberate sabotage.
The ideological competition is over
The Second World War did not end in 1945. It continued until
the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The term "Cold War"
referred not only to the arms race but also to the ideological competition
between communism and capitalism in which political propaganda played a major
role. In response to the Warsaw Pact, the West created NATO. In response to the
Workers' Rights, the West promoted Human Rights. In response to communist
social programs, the West established its own social support networks.
Those who grew up on this continent may not understand my
conclusions. While living in Poland from 1950s till mid 1980s, I regularly
listened to Polish language broadcasts of Radio Free Europe and Voice of
America. These propaganda tubes, funded under the umbrella of the U.S.
Congress, consistently painted a picture of America as a paradise in which
freedom, democracy, human rights, job security, high standard of living and
excellent social programs allowed people to live with dignity. 'Happy American Families'
was the most appealing theme.
On the other side of the Iron Curtain, communism was run by
the "representatives of the working class" and the working families
were supposed to have it better there. By investing in people, by creating
higher standard of living and decent social conditions in the West, western
elites stirred an ideological conflict in the Soviet Block and inspired revolts
in Eastern Europe that contributed to the collapse of communism.
In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, the West won the war,
and the ideological competition was over. "Restructuring" was
implemented promptly and our 46-year-old magic carpet began to roll back. And
so did job security, high standard of living, decent social programs, full-time
jobs, paid holidays, job security, benefits, democracy and the focus on human
rights and human dignity in general. It seems that all the goodies we enjoyed
in the 1970s and 1980s were not given to us out of a genuine support for decent
life of working families. It seems that they were not "won" in a
struggle between the workers and the capitalists. Rather, they were temporarily
used by the elites as weapons in the ideological war between the West and the
East. The war is now over and so is "capitalism with human face."
"Body and soul make up man and all
that is human and bears any kind of relation to man; all this possesses form
and content, an internal and an external side. Fullness of life requires both,
for the failure of one leads to dislocation of the whole. To the internal,
spiritual side of life belong the concepts of Good (morality) and Truth; to the
bodily, health and prosperity; in addition there exists the category of Beauty
common to body and soul. There is no manifestation of life which does not bear
some relation to one of these categories, often to two or more. Here every fact
and every opinion belongs." -- Prof. Feliks Koneczny, Plurality of
At the beginning of the 20th century, a new science was born
in Europe. It was allowed to grow for three decades before being classified and
contained in secret institutions. It was called "Historiosophy" or
Philosophy of History. One of the leading representatives of Historiosophy was
Prof. Feliks Koneczny of the University of Vilno.
Koneczny believed that civilizations were formed by people
sharing common priorities and common cultural values. He argued that historical
changes have always been enabled by dynamically changing values and priorities.
His work concentrated on these values and on five domains of human activities
in which all these values originated and existed. Following is a short summary
of his core theory.
All human activities can be contained in five existential
domains. Koneczny called them the Domain of Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Health,
and Prosperity. In this summary, we will use more modern terms:
Domain - includes purely intellectual activities. In this domain people
try to recognize the Truth and distinguish between True and False.
Activities that fall into this domain include education, research,
sciences, and all other sources of information based on facts, logic, and
rational, realistic approach.
and Legal Domain - includes moral values and legal regulations. In this
domain people distinguish between Good and Bad, and also between Right and
Wrong. Fields in this category include religion, traditional customs and
moral values, as well as the whole cluster of legal sciences and
and Spiritual Domain - includes emotions and spiritual experiences. In
this domain people distinguish between their likes and dislikes based on
their feelings, and experience happiness, sadness, anger, fear, love,
hate, jealousy, pride, shame, and spiritual fulfilment. Art, Music,
supernatural beliefs, good taste, fashion, religion, fanaticism, sad
times, happy times, and many other emotionally loaded activities can be
found in this domain.
Domain - includes all activities that promote and protect healthy living.
Examples include food production, healthy diet, active life style,
hygiene, and clean environment, as well as all medical and pharmaceutical
Domain - represents all activities that provide material security and
Using concrete examples, taken from historical sources,
Koneczny showed that many of the basic cultural values contained in each of
these five domains are common between different civilizations. For example,
most civilizations recognize killing, stealing, lying, and cheating as Bad and
Wrong. However, many other values may be interpreted differently. What is
deemed true in one culture, may be deemed false in another. For example, the
story of Creation in different religious traditions differ from each other and
differ from the theory of evolution. Another example is the old Indian
tradition of (male) public masturbation, as an expression of religious ecstasy,
which could hardly be recognized as "Beautiful" by any Western
cultural or religious standards.
According to Koneczny, differences within specific domains
have a minor impact on the culture as a whole. What is more important is the
hierarchy of the domains themselves. To understand it better, write down the
five existential domains in order of your priorities, from the most important
in your life, to the least important. Note that the first, the top domain is
especially important, as it is the one for which you will sacrifice all other
values, whenever you make your choices. Even though different people will come
up with different priorities, and consequently will make different choices in
their lives, culture on a scale of a nation can be defined as a prevailing
system of existential domains, usually supported by local religions or
ideologies, and accompanied by the Triple Law governing the organization of
clans: Family Law, Property Law, and Inheritance Law. Using this
classification, Koneczny concluded that there were only between 20 and 30
different civilizations in all human history. Seven of them still exist today.
How important is culture? Nations that have been wiped off
the map know that preserving cultural values, when all other means of
resistance fail, is the only way to stay strong and united. People in Quebec
have preserved their national identity for hundreds of years. Poland has
regained independence after 10 generations of foreign occupation. Culture is a
backbone of a nation. This is why the burning of libraries and pauperization of
culture always accompany occupation and assimilation efforts. Resistance and
patriotism are proportional to the degree of national and cultural
I have a strong feeling that we are experiencing the same
phenomena today. It is better camouflaged but I can see many examples of a
deliberate destruction of traditional Western culture that is being sacrificed
on the altar of the New World Order. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in
1991, we witness an unprecedented attack on nationalism, family, religion,
education, human rights, labour movement, and every institution promoting
patriotism, critical thinking and social solidarity. This also explains why
"the system" supports "multiculturalism", and other modern
"trends" opposite to traditional customs and values. The big push to
derail the young generation into the virtual culture and virtual world of
computer and video games completes the picture.
The role of the state
Political systems become "official" and
"binding" through an organization called state. States, with their
legislative, executive and judiciary branches, provide the elites with means of
control that keep in check the rest of the society. Manipulation of public
opinion through "embedded" media and powerful lobbies, through which
the elite ensures the support of the "representatives of the people",
complete the picture. This role of a state is universal and applies equally to
kingdoms, to most of the so-called western democracies, to communist or other
totalitarian dictatorships and to states run by religious fundamentalists. The
name is not important; what counts is the mechanism, the way it works.
In an ideal world, the state would promote and protect the
cultural values historically developed and traditionally accepted in a given
society. Such a state would act as an "a posteriori" stamp guarding
and reflecting the popular values, traditions, and aspirations of the majority.
In most cases, however, the situation is opposite. The state becomes an "a
priori" tool used to implement policies that serve the best interest of an
outside forces (a foreign power or an occupant), or the best interest of an
inside minority (the elite). These policies are forced upon the majority
without any regard to their historical and cultural background and often,
without any regard to the official democratic obligations of the state itself.
The New World Order
According to many progressive thinkers, the New World Order
is an attempt, by international elites, to monopolize our political and
economical reality on a global scale. It is also said to include demographic
modifications, especially the depopulation policy aimed at reducing the
overgrown world's population. Successful implementation of the New World Order
would mark the end of democracy, the end of national self-determination, the
end of human rights, and the end of many publicly run services (including health
care and education.)
An open announcement of these changes would most certainly
cause massive and violent protests worldwide. This is why they are being
introduced gradually, secretly, and with a great degree of disinformation. The
use of powerful lobbies and financial incentives to corrupt politicians, the
use of a network of strategically located enablers, and the use of corporate
media to cover up the truth and to spread propaganda, prove that preparations
for the entire operation took a lot of time and planning. The lack of
substantial opposition within the system also proves the presence of an
organized web of willing collaborators who infiltrated the system and are doing
the "dirty work" for the elites. It is often hard to believe that the
elites managed to extend their power over so many control posts across the
combined economical, political, and social spectrum of our life. Perhaps this
is where the scepticism and the term "conspiracy theory" originate
from. Unfortunately, the fact that all changes point in one direction, excludes
the possibility of a coincidence. Opportunism and conformism are wide spread in
a society that continues to liberate itself from any restrictions, moral values
As part of the New World Order agenda, all sources of
independent cultural values have been placed under attack. This includes the
institutions of family and church, the organizations of human rights, labour,
and international law, as well as many traditional means of promoting moral
values (for example in literature, art, and media.) We are witnessing
unprecedented attempts to "deregulate" the traditional family model,
to weaken parental authority, and to reduce the quality time families spend
together. We see under-funding, overloading, and confusing of public education
and public health care in an attempt to destroy their effectiveness and prepare
grounds for privatization. We see the closing of affordable, out-of-town,
recreational opportunities for working families in an attempt to contain lower class
masses in city ghettos. We witness efforts to reduce various survival and
'handyman' skills, resulting in increased public dependency on state and
corporate services. We see the cost of living growing to unreasonable levels.
Consequently, we see decreasing standard of living and increasing poverty, a
trend that makes it impossible for most working families to achieve financial
independence, a trend that traps people in mortgages and credit loans for a
lifetime, a trend that enslaves people. We see increasing support for
multiculturalism and deregulation of most cultural, moral, and national
standards. Considering that all these "restructuring" changes started
to take effect immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this,
too, can hardly be seen as a coincidence.
In a rich country people should be rich. A system that
increases the wealth of the elites at the expense of the masses is a colonial
system focused on exploitation. Since the end of the Cold War, people became
Family has always been the basic unit of society, one in
which values and culture were created and preserved independently of political
and economical influence. If you destroy the traditional model of family and
dissolve culture in communities, creative cultural abilities of the
population will collapse and the society will become dependent on political
and corporate overseers.
Much has been done in the last 16 years to achieve this
goal, relaxed family laws and "liberating" media campaigns included.
Perhaps the most serious damage to the traditional model of family came with
the new employment policies. Fewer full-time jobs, reduction of benefits and
paid holidays, and lower employment security resulted in overloads and stress.
Parents work longer and often irregular hours, quality family time is
shrinking. Children are brought up by TV cartoons and video games, in a
completely unrealistic virtual world controlled by corporations. Schools are
taking over the parental role and introducing various virtues/values/character
traits programs, which further reduces instructional time to teach academic
subjects and to meet curriculum requirements.
In the atmosphere of constant uncertainty, opportunism and
conformism replace integrity and traditional values. The model of the family
that used to preserve these values is quickly disappearing.
"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,
Shortly after the 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 government of Ontario Premier 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 and outsourcing, a 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
Here is what transpired in public elementary schools in
Ontario, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991:
Biegalski is a former "Solidarity" activist, currently living in
Ontario, Canada. For nearly 30 years, he has taught grade 7 and 8 classes in
two different political systems (communist and capitalist), and in three
different school systems (private, Catholic, and public). He has coached
teams that placed 5th and 2nd in the provincial finals of the Ontario
Mathematics Olympics and initiated the annual Intermediate Math Olympiad
sponsored by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. He publishes
Watch website, where this article first appeared, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis email address is being protected from
School Council system was empowered during Bob Ray and Dave Cooke's reign.
Officially 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.
- 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 be 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 the classroom. The new 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 provincial government of
Dalton McGuinty. It seems that the policy does not depend on which
political party is in power.
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.
Family Studies program has been eliminated. Students do not learn basic
home-related skills, with the same results as above.
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
In many 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.
of the "core" model forces teachers 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 (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 by attending 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 at once.
Every single 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.
workload and responsibilities assigned to the teachers 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
regular 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 assessment procedures.
In each class, students are expected to work in groups reflecting their
levels of 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."
The hypocrisy of this otherwise attractive model originates in the fact
that teachers are not given any time to prepare all these wonderful
programs on a daily basis and this alone renders the model useless. Since
the expectation is unrealistic, the whole model will not work, providing
further ammunition for those who want to privatize the system.
The 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 testing used to update the
achievement levels of all students (called the DPR) further reduces 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 tempers.
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 80 percent of the students who want to
learn. Nobody cares about the level of stress in this unhealthy working
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
paralyzed, 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, firsthand.
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. Recently, 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.
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 is decreasing. 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
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-eight students went to high school
"undereducated" because our school's priority was to pay for a
new computer lab 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 the Soviet Union (16 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
that was unthinkable. This is now and here, 21st century, Canada, New
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 parents 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 subjects, and most of the
younger educators don't remember the old textbooks. Nevertheless, the
difference between the old and the new textbooks is noticeable and
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 the 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.
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
Actually, I don't believe that they are incompetent. Welcome to the New
World Order in education.
number of administrative duties and other bureaucratic requirements, which
result in less time available to teachers for preparation of academic
materials and lessons, and for evaluation of students' achievement.
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