Friday, January 30, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. Neighbour (1992) makes the generation of appropriate dissonance into a major feature of tutorial (and other) teaching: he shows how to drive this kind of intellectual wedge between learners' current beliefs and reality.

Beyond this benign if uncomfortable aspect, however, dissonance can go "over the top", leading to two interesting side-effects for learning:

* if someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognised this. Accommodation is more difficult than Assimilation, in Piaget's terms.

* and—counter-intuitively, perhaps—if learning something has been difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating enough, people are less likely to concede that the content of what has been learned is useless, pointless or valueless. To do so would be to admit that one has been "had", or "conned".

Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger and associates, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen. While fringe members were more inclined to recognise that they had made fools of themselves and to "put it down to experience", committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members).

HSL's Thoughts and Analysis
The textbook definition of Cognitive Dissonance above came from a website focused on how people learn and how to teach to the various styles of learners. I am sure most educators would agree that it is harder to teach people anything if they come at an issue with pre-conceived (or pre-programmed) ideas about how the world works that are at odds with reality. So where could pre-conceived and/or pre-programmed ideas about the reasons for and goodness of compulsory government education come from? How about:

* The Government and Their School System - The government is happy to teach you all about the legitimacy and desirability of government schools.

* The MainStreamMedia - Controlled by a handful of corporations (5-6) ultimately controlled by the same families, monied interests, and corporations that control the government.

I developed my understanding of the problems and issues of the government school system by studying what the education historians, whistle blowers, and School Sakharovs have thoroughly and painstakingly documented over the years.

Perhaps it's time you began to questions where and how you developed your understanding of the legitimacy and desirability of government schooling.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."
--Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stupid in America - A John Stossel Special on the Problems with Government Schools

John Stossel's Stupid in America -
How Lack of Choice Cheats our Kids Out of a Good Education

Read John Stossel's story that accompanies the program Here:

HSL's Comments: Even I will acknowledge that the government schools are not the only reason that kids in America are Stupid. You have to look at Fluoride in the water, mercury and aluminum in the vaccines, Aspartame poisoning, and television BUT the government schools are not teaching kids to avoid these toxins and in fact are pseudo-mandating vaccination, using television in the classroom, and only provide the kids water with Fluoride.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Public Schools" vs. "Government Schools" and more John Taylor Gatto

One of the terms that is used often by supporters of compulsory government indoctrination is the phrase "Public Schools". I believe this to be one of the most disingenuous and misleading labels ever applied. One of the primary tenants of ownership is that you get to do with your property whatever you choose. I own the computer that I am typing on. If I want to I can take it out in my front yard and crush it with a sledgehammer.

Who owns and controls the "public" school system? Obviously it is not "The Public" They are forced to pay for the schools even if they have no children attending the school but they have no control over the schools.

I am the public... I am a parent of a child in the school... but I have absolutely no control over the school.

I can't stop the school from giving the kids water with Fluoride which reduces IQ.

I can't stop the school from using the dehumanizing practices of Red/Yellow/Green or making kids raise their hands to get a spoon.

I can't stop the school from publicly shaming kids by making them sit at a separate table during lunch.

I can't stop the school from offering my kids foods that contains Genetically Modified Organisms or High Fructose Corn Syrup or refined sugar or Aspartame.

I can't stop the school from holding a mock election where no third party candidates are on the ballot.

I can't get rid of the surveillance cameras conditioning the kids to the surveillance society.

I can't get rid of the police officer in the school handing out little badges and conditioning the kids to accept government authority.

Even if 75% of the parents at Ashburn Elementary decided to quit drinking their Fluoridated water, turn off their teevee sets, and get active to make changes at Ashburn Elementary the school doesn't have to change anything. Why? Because the government controls the schools and not the public. So let's quit calling these indoctrination centers "Public Schools" and start calling them "Government Schools" because that is the reality of the situation.

Here is another clip of John Taylor Gatto discussing the history of "Government Schools" on the Alex Jones show. Here is a link to his well researched and well-referenced book "The Underground History of American Education" which you can read for free to verify for yourselves what he discusses in the interview.