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The Dangers Of Computer Curriculum

By Charlotte Iserbyt

From - Richard
Date: 05/26/2016 1:50 PM  

Just received a note from the trenches. A high school in the Northeast has been informed that they will begin to be an ONLINE school.

AP courses will be given there on Saturdays for CHARTERS. All in the building will be FACILITATORS.  A new grading system is being negotiated with the Union right now for Mastery Levels.

It has been learned that 'white privilege' is incorporated in the curriculum which is escalating tensions. District training sessions are using that term.

Complaints from students, such as ‘The French teacher is too white”,  are being considered important.

Minority advocacy groups are checking hiring practices and how many minorities are in AP classes.

The plan could be fully implemented within 5 years and nothing will be able to slow it down.


Please relate the above information to  the following text from a very old (1970s) National Education Association professional paper relating to the need for conscience when developing computer courseware.

This document prompted me to leak Project BEST (Better Education Skills through Technology) to the press (Human Events) in 1982 which resulted in my being relieved of my duties as Sr. Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Dept. of Education.

This 1970s document is more important NOW than ever since the results of this 1982 grant (Project BEST) are now being implemented.  Not only will this computerized "system" be used for controlling our children's attitudes, values, and beliefs via computer curriculum, the system itself will be used to control Americans in their towns as is spelled out in Project BEST's publicity brochure which includes a footnote on how the computerized system can be used in other areas such as community planning for health, transportation, housing, etc. (the lifelong community education/workforce training system under unelected school council) being implemented as I write.  

This old document was an attachment to an older AECT (Association for Educational Computing and Technology) proposal to develop Handbook X of the Educational Records and Reports Series for the National Center for Educational Statistics. AECT also received the Project BEST (Better Education Skills through Technology) contract from the U.S. Department of Education in 1982. The excerpts are very important as they relate to the [early, ed) concerns of leading educators in the field of technology regarding ethical and privacy issues surrounding the use of programmed learning (OBE/ML/DI) in conjunction with technology in the schools of the United States.

3D, Note at bottom of Project BEST 1982 entry:

Donald Ely (Editor and Chairman of the Definition and Terminology Committee, AECT and author of this document) was also involved in Project BEST in 1982. Also listed as members of BEST’s Advisory Board were Dr. Shirley McCune of the Midcontinental Regional Education Laboratory and William Spady of the American Association of School Administrators—both of whom are closely associated with outcome-based education/mastery learning, the purpose of which is to “restructure” not only the schools, but America itself through changing the attitudes, values, and beliefs of students to accept citizenship in a one-world socialist government. These excerpts should be brought to the attention of Ely, Spady, and McCune with the question: “Do you share the concerns of your associates who contributed to the writing of this paper?” If so, why do you have such a hard time understanding why parents and taxpayers are opposed to Skinnerian outcome-based education?]

the deliberate dumbing down of america, pages A35-38:  3D, now out of print, is a FREE download at  The updated/abridged version, 2011, is available at

BEGINNING OF QUOTE:  "Within the context of society, the purposes and means of the educational technologist create two value questions: are the means used by the educational technologist neutral, or do they have ends and values built in? Does a person concerned with the means of education also have to be concerned with the ends?… These questions and issues and their resolution by each person in the field is as much a part of the definition of the field as the functions the people in the field perform.

Is technology neutral?

Theoretically, technology in the “pure” state is neutral in its operation, simply the powerful and faithful servant of the society it serves but does not affect. But institutionalized technology in the real world is never that pure. Once embedded in socioeconomic systems, it tends to become self-justifying and self-perpetuating and does indeed affect the society it serves. Technology neatly separates ends from means, and attempts to become neutral by divorcing itself from value-laden ends. However, if technology is independent of means, then its worth must be measured by the degree of success and the efficiency with which it achieves the goals set before it. Thus, the technological thrust in modern society is to continually refine and strengthen the means whatever the goal. The net result, which has been pointed out by many scholars of technology, is that the means tend to become the ends. The means which sometimes serve as the end of technology are NOT neutral. As most critics of technology have pointed out, these means have effects—effects which are not neutral at all. Whether the effects are positive or negative is a question for debate, but neutrality is a choice which does not exist. For example, it is clear that technology has effects on man, but what are they? One position is that technology exerts a subtle force to reduce human beings to standardized components which can readily be assimilated to whatever system is being served. It absorbs them into man-machine systems by robbing them of their humanity and making them human machines.

The opposing position states that technology makes humaneness and difference possible. It creates the options we need for true freedom, and creates a world which allows divergent value systems.

The opposite of the neutral technician is what we might call the concerned professional. This person realizes that the means make the ends possible, and that cooperation or hindrance makes ends possible or impossible. The concerned professional has a point of view about the ends and then decides whether or not the work being done will make possible positive or negative ends.

If it is decided the work will bring about negative ends, the concerned professional refuses to perform it.

The scientist working on genetic selection and manipulation because “it can help eliminate disease from the human race” and those who have quit working on it because it will “lead to totalitarian domination by a master race” are examples of concerned professionals. Regardless of their position, they have considered the ends of their work and made a decision to work or not based on how they viewed those ends.

It should be clear that the concerned professional does not have to be a “liberal” or a “conservative.” The concerned professional must however, show moral sensitivity to the effect of what he or she does. [emphasis in original] It does not matter what position an individual comes to as long as it is not “I’ll do it because it can be done.” We believe that in the American society of the 1970s and beyond the educational technologist cannot afford to be a neutral technician. The field calls for concerned professionals. Some very hard questions must be raised about everything this person is called on to do. The concerned professional must ask how the resources produced or used affect all of society, as well as the scientist’s own life.

The concerned specialist must ask what to do if he/she disagrees with the messages of the resources. It is less important how an educational technologist answers these questions than it is that they are asked, and that there is concern with the real end of the means.... The educational technologist is not the only person making decisions about the facilitation of learning through the identification, development, organization, and utilization of learning resources. The teacher, curriculum specialist, administrator, content specialist, librarian and the student are involved in the process, too.... It is, therefore, important for the field of educational technology to recognize the “other people” context in which it operates.

Further, it is essential to ascertain what the relationship of the field of educational technology with these other fields will be. In a practical sense, the work relationship means “who will get to make the ultimate decisions about facilitating learning and how it is done?” There are at least five types of alternatives for the facilitation of learning. They differ along the dimension of formality, based on the compulsory nature of the institution, on the degree of authority of those in charge, and on the range of resources available.

The effects of technology cannot, therefore, be overlooked. They create serious concerns for society as a whole. They are particularly important to a person involved in a field like educational technology, since its effects help to shape human minds. What are the effects of packaged learning [OBE/ML/DI, ed.], etc., on a person for 18 years? Are we moving too fast technologically for people to cope with the changes?

How do feeling and spontaneity fit into a technologically-based system? Are we trying to program all connections between people?

The educational technologist, as a concerned professional, must study the philosophical, psychological and sociological implications of how the technologist can facilitate learning." END QUOTE.

Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
Former Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Department of Education

 To order the updated abridged 2011 version of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America  click this AMAZON ORDER LINK


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