In the following article, Cathy Wells gives information about terms used in education today. Most of the terms are meant to confuse parents so they do not know what is going on.
Cathy describes how the new progressive/social constructivism education programs are experimenting with our children. Are your children being used as guinea pigs so that data can be collected about your child, your family, in fact everything about you? This is data mining and the Texas Schools are involved.
Progressivism and Social Constructivism
by Cathy Wells
[CSCOPE has a new name, TEKS Resource Managing System. But, it is the same old CSCOPE. Janice VanCleave]
Part I: Defining the Terms
As we discuss CSCOPE,the terms “progressivism” and “social constructivism” keep popping
up. Parents might be curious about these terms and want to know what, exactly, the big deal is
with them. One of the things that we find repeatedly in progressive semantics is a lack of
definition of terms. Progressive educators might talk about “thinking skills” or “education” or
“traditional” approaches but they rarely define their terms. In this way, they keep parents in the
dark and perpetuate ignorance. We don’t want to do that here. So let us begin by defining
“Progressivism” is a political ideology which arose out of traditional liberalism around the time
of the Industrial Revolution. It is a proponent of gradual reforms in economics, societal issues,
politics, and education. It is one variant of “the left.” Progressivism is differentiated from
radicalism because of its gradual, or progressive, nature of change.
“Social constructivism” is an educational term referring to Vygotsky’s work and exhibits itself
in much group work, using groups of people versus individuals alone to construct knowledge.
(This is why CSCOPE demands so much group work.)
So. What is the problem? Well, let’s begin with progressivism. Progressivism implies two
- Firstly, what exactly are we progressing away FROM? Clearly, in this
society, we are progressing away from absolute values, traditional morals, patriotism,
capitalism, traditional faith, and the like. For many parents, this is going to be an issue right off
the bat. For others, it will fit right into their own personal political agenda.
- The second issue with progressivism is: who determines what we should be moving away from
and moving toward? Who sets those standards? Is it the parent? The teacher? The principal?
The student? Who is the Wizard, so to speak? Who is making the determination which values
we should move to or from? It is no one in the classroom or even in the school, usually. In
most cases the setter of values, the assigner of datum, is an ideologue in a far-off locale. That
person might hold a degree in education but is probably more properly called a behavioral
psychological researcher and promoter. Those writing curricula like CSCOPE do have an
agenda. And that agenda involves testing their various theories and values on the likes of our
“education,” they envision something very traditional: the three Rs, standardized test
performance, college entrance, and excited teachers imparting knowledge to an engaged student
populace. Parents see education as highly individualistic because they understand that at SAT
time and ACT time, that child will be required to expound upon the knowledge that he or she
has internalized. Beware. When progressive, socialist constructivist educators speak of
“education,” they are not defining their terms. To them, education means something more of a
great social experiment where children form opinions about issues in groups, building their
ideas as a group. They may not be as concerned about individual factual knowledge as they are
about how well children do in groups, how many questions they ask, and how they behave
within that group setting.
With all of this in mind, we must be very careful to force pedagogical proponents and
experimenters to define their terms, to clarify what “this” or “that” means to them. Parents
should remember that, ultimately, they are footing the bill for the education of students and it is
THEIR idea of education that must be met. Not the grandiose social experimental musings of
ideologues who believe that they know what is best for other peoples’ children.