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Testing, Assessments, Standards, Teaching Machines…The Science of Creating Obedient Citizens. Behavioral Science. Part 1

In this multi-part series, Dr. Dawn Kazmierzak reminds us of how and why Behavioral Science is applied in the education of the public. This series of posts also explains why Dawn and her husband have chosen privately-funded, parent-directed education for their daughter.

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has long been forgotten.” ~ B.F. Skinner, father of Operant Conditioning.

  1. Behavior modifies the Neural System.

The human brain is neuroplastic. It changes all the time. The mere act of seeing something, reading something, doing something, thinking about something or being emotionally engaged in something changes the brain itself. “The behavior modifies the neural system no less than the neural system directs the behavior.” *

Behavioral Science is the branch of psychology that specializes in studying behaviors and means of influencing, modifying, and controlling those behaviors. Behavioral Science is known to ply its trade on and through living things such as: animals, humans, communities, markets, cultures, herds, etc. as well as computers and artificial intelligence.

Behavioral Sciences utilizes tests, assessments, embedded formative assessments, computers, artificial intelligence, peer relations, group dynamics, ethical training, digital media, digital learning, public relations media, polls, social media, advertising etc. to ply its trade on its subjects. Behaviors are largely modified without subject consent.

Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) is noted for his Classical Conditioning of dogs, often called Pavlovian Conditioning. Pavlov trained, (conditioned), dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by associating the ringing of a bell each time the dogs were presented with food. The dogs associated the stimulus, the ringing bell, with the food so well, that eventually, they would salivate with only the ringing of the bell and no food presented. Their habit became reflexive, formed and embedded. The association of two stimuli to elicit a behavior is called “classical conditioning.” Classical conditioning is a form of learning. Cell phones are conditioning users ad nauseum these days. The general public resembles Alessandro Volta’s electrified frogs with each buzz, beep, jingle, flash or vibration of the conditioning cell phone.

American psychologist, Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner (1904-1990) took Pavlov’s work further. Skinner is known as the father of Operant Conditioning, the branch of Behaviorism that seeks to reinforce the desired behavior, action, or ideology, via the use of positive or negative consequences. Skinner designed tests, assessments, teaching machines, operant conditioning chambers, etc. using rewards for desired responses and punishment, “aversive stimulus,” for undesirable responses. (Or resistance to the desired behavior criteria: the logic or standards of the training experiment – the test.)

Skinner advanced the use of testing, assessment, “teaching machines” that would train human beings to the desired behaviors of his utopian society, which he wrote about in his novel entitled “Walden Two.” The methods espoused in Skinner’s novel are now known and employed as applied behavior **analysis (ABA). **Note the misleading word “analysis” which is, in fact, shaping the neural system, behaviors, attitudes, values and framework upon which future stimuli will be integrated and acted upon. Any test, assessment, media that stimulates any of the receptive sensory systems (auditory, visual, proprioceptive, olfactory, tactile, chemical, thermal, pain, vestibular) or engages cognition, thought, of the participant changes the subject himself.

   2. Rewards, Testing, Stickers, Grades, Degrees and Positive Reinforcement, Operant conditioning in the Brain – Yours, your child’s, your culture’s.

Learning happens every moment whether we are cognizant of it or not. We can experience active learning in which we are intentional about building brain pathways, encoding new information with previous experiences and organizing this input for future reference, rumination, pruning or reflexive reactions. Learning also happens passively, even when we are not focused, engaged and perceiving accurately nor being organized wisely.

Learning happens whether the information is true, accurate, beneficial, novel, interesting or in agreement with our personal convictions and faith. This is why education was to be administered by parents. Genesis 18:19 provides explicit details and intentions in establishing parents with the transmission of knowledge, beliefs and values to their children.

“For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised.” ~ Genesis 18:19

This decree contains the four essentials for successful transmission of culture. The Source is God; the content is that which is right and just; the transmitter is the parent and the target is the child, and heirs.

Behavioral science has long yoked with political science to remove the parents from the education and transmission of culture to their heirs and to instead create a dependency on the government as being the “paternal state.”

When the education of the child became a taxpayer funded, government administrated entity, compulsory, and universal,- it removed the parents as being the transmitters of knowledge, values, and beliefs. It also sought to remove the responsibility of the parents to answer to God for successful transmission of what is right and just. The responsibility remains.

In the statist model, the parents were replaced with a Third-party payer system that had millions of payers, taxpayers, who demanded accountability for their assumed interests and returns on their third party payer investments.

Thus, enters the Operant Conditioning system of tests, assessments, teaching machines, social-emotional rewards and punishment based not upon the parents’ assigned content, but upon those of the administration, governors, planners, peer review, group consensus, investors, vendors, employees, and future employers of the infrastructure upon which the paternal government builds its power; and shapes public opinion.

So, in order to convince:

Parents- that junior is learning;

Taxpayers- that teachers are laboring;

Administrators- that teachers are intimidated and teaching to the test;

Employers- that workers (human capital) will be produced and productive;

Government- that taxes will be harvested;

Colleges and Universities- that academia will still produce proselytes;

and Politicians – that folks will be easily led …the Operant Conditioning reward system is employed on all levels. (How many reward cards do you have? How many regulated tax-deferred ‘savings’ accounts…ESA, FSA, HSA, 401 K, 529, IRA, SIMPLE, Roth etc. ….or non-profit tax deductible affiliations? How many degrees? Certifications? Guild memberships? Accreditations?)

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3. Tests used to Sort, Lane, verify conformity of proselytes, to assign stickers of state to wards of state.

Each time the politically “correct” answer is regurgitated in the class, on the quiz, on the test, on the “assessment,” on the computer…. the student gets a “good boy!” This desired response is positively reinforced via a hit of dopamine in the reward center of the brain, the nucleus accumbens. Consistently regurgitating the “correct” response results in more approbation: “You memorize well, Johnny….You are so smart! ….. We need to advance you to the Alpha class. …..You will go to college and manage other people. You may even run testing machines like I do.” Or “Johnny, you may be a scientist…or even a planner! Planners are above us managers. Keep giving the “right” answer, the one the planners want or you may just be a ‘worker.’”

Tests are used for embedding ideas, conformity, shaping predictable behaviors and for student sorting. Laning and sifting out which students perform well, meaning conform well and take orders well. These will be good for administrators in civil servant, bureaucracy positions. The use of digital media, computers with artificial intelligence with self-adapting algorithms makes Skinner’s dreams of “teaching machines” to upload Utopian mindsets a very present reality. The logic uploaded is not that of the Source, God, nor that of the parent, but rather the logic of the software. The software programmer embeds the logic of the governing authorities over him; whoever pays his wage dictates what is deemed as “correct,” politically correct.

Most of Socialist Europe employs classical education methods whose content is reinforced via high-pressure testing, sorting and laning for assigned positions within the socialist frameworks often called “republics.”

See the educational methods and mindset of Germany, Hungary, Austria, United Kingdom, Romania, Italy, Russia, Ukraine and China. Access, Placement, Advancement, lifework and societal rank are determined by test performance and evaluations at specific ages. These systems remove the need for the individual to think and self-direct. They are conditioned to only “do” as told, to fulfill their assigned role in the state. Germans know this as “Gleichschaltung,” the integration of man into the State. [ 7]

In the early to mid 20th century, parents from Europe and Asia sent their children to America for education. But, as American education duplicates the socialist mindset of these socialist nations, her education system is no longer one of excellence nor is it fit for those seeking to prepare their heirs for constitutional self-governance.

See articles from academics on the failure of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Programme of International Student Assessment known as PISA exams, which entails over 60 countries and by Bruce G. Hammond on Chinese test takers– China and Testing Great Test Scores, Bad Schools: A Cautionary Tale From China .

If the student regurgitates the desired responses flawlessly they will get many “A’s,” the teacher will get good evaluations, the school will get its funding for successful operant conditioning, the student will get scholarships, Advanced Placement (AP) credits, approval from parents and family. The student will be called a ‘scholar’ and advance to the next round of testing and assessments conditioning him to do whatever it takes to pass the test, get the grade, get the neurochemical fix and sense of self-worth that is reinforced in these operations. Students learn to “give the system, the test, the teacher, what they want,” advance past “GO” collect the rewards and keep collecting the stickers, the currency, the prestige and the position – the ‘reward’.

[7] Milton Mayer in They Thought They Were Free, The Germans 1933-1945 https://dawnkazmierzak.net/2016/07/13/they-thought-they-were-free-the-germans-1933-1945/comment-page-1/#comment-97

To be continued.

Dr. Dawn Kazmierzak has over twenty years in private practice Optometry. Academic stickers include majors in biology, neurobiology, neuroscience, visual science, doctorate of Optometry; post-graduate work for SUNY and West Point (USMC) in developmental and hospital-based Optometry; cognitive science Feuerstein trained in Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) and FIE (Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment). Having been transmitted a love of learning and commitment to discerning the truth from her parents, she and her husband labor to model this transmission to their daughter.

It was (and is), the anchors of faith in Christ and Biblical study that shielded Dawn from the operant conditioning that accompanies academic “successes.” These studies and stickers (degrees, certifications) were chosen in preparation for participation in third-world medical missions. If individuals lack the abilities to see, it is very difficult to teach themselves, grow in their faith, or provide for their families. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 This applies to physical, cognitive(mental) and spiritual ‘sight.’

You, as a homeschool parent, do not need all these stickers to transmit truth to and equip your child for their future; but, in her opinion, one does need a relationship with The Author, who defines what is true, right and just. Genesis 18:19. This relationship will provide all you need.

Blessings on your transmissions of your culture!

Maintaining the Integrity of Home Education

Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) and IAHE Action protect Hoosier parents’ autonomy to direct the education and upbringing of their children.  We know one of the biggest threats to our liberty is entanglement with government funding. When we hear of the government trying to “help” homeschoolers, we are very cautious as not to jeopardize our liberty. We remember the wise words of our second president, John Adams, “Liberty once lost is lost forever.”


Common Schools

Although Common Schools are mentioned in the Indiana Constitution, we wonder if the State remembers the history of Common Schools? According to E.G. West author of, Education and the State, the Common Schools were only for those families who did not desire to take responsibility to educate their children privately.

Before these government schools began in America, most families were privately educating their children in brick and mortar schools or at home. The Common Schools were first formed in the rural areas for those who did not have access to private brick and mortar schools. Common Schools were not universal, compulsory, or free. Parents had to pay to send their child to a Common School.

Those who benefitted economically from the Common Schools were the ones who advocated that schools become universal, compulsory, and free. Of course, human nature being what it is, people soon flocked to the “free/taxpayer funded” schools and the private options eventually withered. Today, most do not even realize that at one point in our nation’s history most everyone was privately educated, and public schools were basically non-existent. The United States had a very high literacy rate prior to the advent of Common Schools.

We have come full circle. Today, some advocate for the government to have control or “accountability” for all forms of private education through “school choice.” The state of Indiana has accountability requirements for private voucher-accepting schools that require the students to take ISTEP and to collect intrusive student data. Vouchers were originally “sold” to the public as having little to no regulation. Now some private school families whose school accepts voucher students feel like it was a “bait and switch.”  Their private school feels compelled to follow the state standards that resemble Common Core in order to do well on the state test to protect their school rating.

This is a valuable lesson for us to remember.  Home educators must fight hard to maintain our liberty for our families and our posterity.

 

Universal ESAs and Liberty

Should universal ESAs concern homeschoolers? Yes, according to attorney Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project.  In her July 19, 2016, article, “New GOP Platform: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Concerning” she writes, “Now for the troubling parts. The platform focuses a great deal on choice in education and endorses the concept of “portability” of education funding to be used for many different types of schooling (private or parochial schools, homeschooling, etc.) and with many different funding mechanisms (tax credits, vouchers, etc.). While efforts to shatter the government monopoly on education are laudable, extreme caution must be exercised to ensure—if this is even possible—that when government money follows the child, government regulations don’t follow as well. For example, a state that grants vouchers (such as Indiana) may require the private schools that accept voucher students to give the state Common Core-aligned test, which means the private schools will pretty much have to teach Common Core.  

“Choice” that results in all schools’, whether public or private, having to teach the same thing is no choice at all. The platform would have done well to acknowledge this danger.”

Ms. Robbins reminds us that “school choice” has the potential to trample on individual liberty. Universal government programs do not take into account the liberties of the individual even when they assure us that they will.

Nevada Homeschool Network learned this first-hand with Nevada’s ESA bill. There was an attempt to use their homeschool statute as the vehicle for the ESA bill. They were told they didn’t have to accept the ESA money if they didn’t want it. They fought too hard to gain their homeschool freedom after many years of bad homeschool regulations to take a chance on it. As we have recently seen in Indiana, confusion between virtual charter school students and home educated students has resulted in a threat of increased regulations for the homeschoolers. ESAs would cause increased confusion.

Homeschoolers always need to be concerned about guarding liberty and parental rights when dealing with elected officials and bureaucrats who think they are responsible for the education of all children and for determining how that education should present itself. IAHE has spent 33+ years protecting our rights.  Whenever a government “freebie” is accepted, there is ALWAYS a risk to liberty.


Indiana is a Leader in Home Education Freedom

We have excellent laws in Indiana that protect a parent’s right to educate their children.  The Indiana Constitution provides for schools that are open to all, but it does not say that all must be educated in a Common School under government control.

Homeschoolers do not accept state funding and do not have to register with the State; although, we may report enrollment.  We have the freedom to direct our children’s education and are not forced to submit test results to the State. As homeschool parents understand, we do not need to have a standardized test to inform us of our child’s progress. Teaching our children on a daily basis enables us to know how they are progressing. The Superintendent has the ability to check on students by requesting attendance records. Indiana also has educational neglect and truancy laws to deal with any issues that may arise.

When we are not entangled with the State, we have the ability to do what is the best for our children. We have the freedom to teach in the manner that best suits their needs.  As Dr. Karen Effrem of Education Liberty Watch shares, Indiana is rated an “F” on the Private School Choice Freedom Grading Scale due to the regulations associated with vouchers in the Hoosier state.  The schools that take vouchers must administer ISTEP; therefore, many schools feel obligated to teach Indiana’s version of Common Core in order to do well on the test.  

In order to be reimbursed for ESA expenses, families must submit receipts for expenses. Would homeschool families eventually be at risk for using faith-based or non-Common Core curriculum? Would the State decide we are not providing an equivalent education since they would have the ability to evaluate our curriculum?  The State ultimately decides which “choices” are acceptable. The State in charge of deciding which curriculum or providers are acceptable is a very troubling proposition. Homeschoolers currently have a real choice that is not limited by the State.

Home education works! Hoosier homeschoolers have proven that families of all income levels can successfully homeschool apart from government involvement. Leave us alone! The fact that families take this responsibility without State involvement should be encouraged. It increases self-respect and self-sufficiency.  The IAHE Testimonial page is a source of encouraging stories of Hoosier families who have educated their children without government assistance.

Over the course of the past three decades, Hoosier home educators have proven it does not take a lot of money to educate a child. Many have had the experience of eventually having children who end up being better educated than their parents. It takes a dedicated parent and not an exorbitant amount of money to educate a child.

Note: There are a variety of types of ESAs.  IAHE Action will assess each one and alert homeschoolers about required strings.