Issues and Answers

The History Of Education & A Need For Reform

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Randy J. Siebold


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000425

00:01 In 1983, then President Ronald Reagan commissioned a group of
00:06 people to do a report on the assessment of basically what is
00:11 going on in the American educational system.
00:14 I want to read an excerpt from the National Commission On
00:17 Excellence in Education. How did they hand the report to him?
00:22 I'm sure he was shocked. It says If an unfriendly foreign power
00:27 had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational
00:31 performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as
00:36 an act of war. Stay tuned. We're going to be talking about some
00:41 changes that need to be made in our educational system.
00:45 Music being played.
01:09 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome to Issues and Answers.
01:12 I'm so glad that you tuned in. No matter where you're watching
01:15 from around the world. We're going to be talking about a very
01:19 serious problem and probing some answers to the issue of the
01:22 direction of public education. Although we will be focusing on
01:26 what's going on in the United States, much will overlap and
01:30 apply to the school systems in your areas as well I'm sure.
01:33 Let me introduce to you our returning guest
01:37 Dr. Randy Siebold and Randy you have a Ph. D. in education and
01:41 you are the Vice-president of Education for Weimar Center of
01:46 Health and Education. Tell us just a little bit about Weimar.
01:51 Weimar Center for Health and Education is now working with a
01:55 partnership with Amazing Facts Ministry, another media ministry
02:00 and the three big entities on campus are an academy, a high
02:06 school, boarding high school, a college, a small college of
02:10 which I am overseeing those. Then we also have a Lifestyle
02:15 Center on Campus where residents come in and learn to eat in a
02:19 vegan kitchen and learn all sorts of different approaches
02:23 about health and how to live life better and longer and
02:27 happier. So it's good
02:29 Well it's kind of exciting to see what you're doing in the
02:33 development of your college. We know that our focus today is
02:37 not going to be on Weimar, but I just wanted to bring that up.
02:41 You have been in education for nearly 20 years now and today
02:46 let's go back and look at a little bit of the history of the
02:51 school system, if you will. When did common education come
02:56 onto the scene. In other words, when did people just quit
03:00 just teaching their children at home and decide to send them to
03:04 a common school room?
03:06 Well, I think it's an important question because the history of
03:09 education is one that most people don't think about.
03:12 They just go to school and it's always been this way.
03:16 But as you think back in history it has not really been that way
03:21 for very long. We go back to the mid 1800's, we start to look
03:27 back at when the most common method of education was the one
03:33 room school house. So they were in school and...
03:36 And that began about when?
03:38 Well that was up until the mid 1800's when what's called the
03:42 common school movement in the United States developed.
03:45 We had people coming from all different nations and coming
03:52 together in America. The idea of the leaders was to bring
03:55 together what we call this melting pot bringing people all
04:00 together and we want them to be Americans.
04:05 So the idea of a common school then was a lot about
04:10 socialization then, is that what you're saying?
04:12 Yes, yes, bringing that commonality and making sure
04:15 everyone had a basic education. That was the big focus in the
04:20 mid 1800's is when it got started heavily.
04:23 When you think about this then the old school system of the
04:28 blackboards and chalk and the teachers there, what happened
04:34 that began to distinguish one school from another? Explain to
04:40 us just a little bit about the whole history.
04:42 What's interesting is when the idea of public school became
04:48 more common and more popular, the focus was on whatever the
04:53 educators in the area felt was important. So some who were
04:58 trained classically would focus on the classics. Those with a
05:02 more basic manual training would do manual labor and they would
05:06 show them how to do manual labor So the schools were all over the
05:11 place. They were doing all kinds of different things and it
05:14 wasn't until a group got together called the Committee
05:18 of Ten and when this group got together it was led by the chair
05:25 of Harvard University and they brought all these people
05:29 together and their big study was what do we need to be doing
05:33 in high schools to prepare them to come to colleges because
05:37 think about this. Think about everyone doing their own thing
05:42 right, and then all of these colleges getting incoming
05:44 freshmen, one coming from a classically trained school, one
05:48 coming from a manual labor school, so the students were all
05:53 over the place. It was a challenge.
05:55 Yes. Their big goal was let's get a standard.
05:58 So now this is already into the industrial age then because
06:02 you've gone from an agrarian society of farmers and now with
06:07 the industrial age Harvard was the first college in the United
06:11 States and they're saying, Hey where do we even begin to teach
06:15 these children a college education when they don't have
06:18 an equivalent of basically your academics from school to school.
06:25 Is that right? Well and they didn't even know
06:27 what academics was. We take it now that term is just every
06:31 one knows math, science, English you know. But 150 years ago that
06:36 wasn't such a common knowledge. Well, what does that mean?
06:40 What does academics mean? That we're doing math but is that
06:43 taught just in grade school or do we teach it in high school as
06:48 well? Or do we teach it? So the Committee of Ten really tried to
06:54 establish what the curriculum is. That was the group primarily
07:00 responsible for taking that task and really making it real.
07:04 For coming up with out 3R's, reading, writing and 'rithmetic.
07:09 Well, you mentioned also the industrial age. We have a slide
07:14 that I'd like to show on this time line of what happens here.
07:18 Take a look at this. You see the agrarian age and this common
07:23 school movement comes in just about the same time that the
07:27 industrial age is coming.
07:28 Now, Randy, before you go forward, let's define what the
07:33 agrarian society was because I'm not sure everyone is catching
07:36 that. Yes, good point. It comes from
07:38 the word agriculture; so the idea of farming or tending sheep
07:43 or livestock. This is where most people earned their living and
07:47 it's what made the commerce go round.
07:50 So the agrarian age and the switch from the agrarian society
07:54 to the industrial society took place in the early 1800's?
07:57 Yes, early/mid 1800's. So what we had in America, this
08:01 industrial age was characterized by these large industries coming
08:07 in and obviously because of the name.
08:09 So essentially what was going on during the agrarian society is
08:12 that folks taught their young ones at home and that was
08:18 basically... That was the most common.
08:19 That was it, you learned with daddy on the farm.
08:22 Okay, and then at the beginning of the industrial age some years
08:26 into this... When was Harvard founded?
08:29 Well it was in the 1600's. Actually it was before we ever
08:32 became a nation that Harvard was over here.
08:35 I had no idea. I though it came up during the industrial age.
08:39 But Harvard then comes out with this Committee of Ten to...
08:42 Well, yes, it was actually the National Education Association
08:46 that was a commission. It was chaired by the president of
08:50 Harvard and so this group... and that's right in the
08:54 beginning of this industrial age if we can look at the time line
08:58 again really quick you can see how the Committee of Ten...
09:00 This common school movement, remember we talked about all
09:04 disparate school and they were looking for this common group
09:10 here and so the industrial age then really characterized this
09:15 whole approach. So then during the industrial
09:17 age is when the common school system really became important.
09:21 Now the quote that I opened the program with from the report
09:26 from the commission in 1983, that would still be considered
09:31 the industrial age wouldn't it?
09:32 Yes, that was right around the transition depending on who you
09:36 are, where you were at, whether you were in the information age
09:39 yet but that report was essentially measuring and
09:44 assessing education up to that point.
09:46 All right, so let's look at that quote again because what strikes
09:49 me is that this quote made during the information age was
09:53 basically the school system that the Committee of Ten had put in
09:57 place for the common bringing together of students and let's
10:01 look at that and see what that...
10:03 Yes, check this out. If an unfriendly foreign power had
10:07 attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational
10:11 performance that exists today we might well have viewed it as an
10:15 act of war. And this is the National
10:17 Commission on the Excellence in Education. When they gave Reagan
10:22 this report, were there any major school reforms? We've
10:27 gone from agrarian to industrial age. Here comes this report
10:32 that says, Hey this is a really bad situation. Were there major
10:37 reforms made? Well let's put it this way, the
10:40 repercussions were huge. It was a big splash in the educational
10:46 market. I mean, it was a big shock essentially. What they had
10:52 done in this report was taken a look at education in America as
10:57 well as in other countries and did comparisons. They were
11:03 thinking that things were not being done well. It was a shock
11:08 to a lot of people and the different reforms that have come
11:13 out of that, well not directly as a result of that, but just
11:18 in effect the whole reform idea has happened since the Committee
11:23 of Ten met. When they met, there were groups saying we need to
11:28 change it; this isn't right. School reform isn't anything new
11:34 it just changes and molds shape at least in the last 150 years.
11:39 So then if we look at the graphic from before where we
11:45 had the agrarian into the industrial age, now coming into
11:52 the early information age schools basically we're saying
11:58 there just hasn't been a whole lot that has changed yet, is
12:01 that correct? Correct. You can see in here
12:04 where the Nation at Risk falls. It's fascinating and very timely
12:09 and we have another graphic I'd like to put up also talking
12:14 about these three waves of commerce or these three areas
12:19 of society. You can see the transportation and
12:23 I hope this is large enough
12:24 so people can read it, transportation and how the
12:27 agrarian, industrial and information ages show how
12:31 transportation has changed, how families have changed through
12:35 these different times. Let me do this because we will
12:38 have a lot of people listening to this by radio so
12:41 transportation during the agrarian age was horse and buggy
12:45 and then it went to the industrial age the train and now
12:49 we have planes and cars during the information age.
12:51 Now the family once in the agrarian it was extended family.
12:55 Everyone living together. You got married and you built onto
12:59 the house and everyone was living together, it was all the
13:02 extended family. Then in the industrial age it
13:04 became more the nuclear family because people began to...
13:08 Mom and dad and the kids. When the kids grew up they went and
13:11 got a house of their own.
13:12 All right and now in the information age sadly it is...
13:16 Yes, well single parent, blended families are more common than
13:20 what we might call traditional, the husband/wife being married
13:24 with their children. So business during the agrarian
13:27 age was mostly family business, then it went to bureaucracies
13:30 and then information we're working with teams.
13:33 Now let's fill in the blank on education.
13:38 This is what's fascinating. You look at the agrarian age and the
13:42 one room school house idea or learning at the farm and in the
13:47 industrial age really, our current system of education was
13:51 built during the industrial age and so a lot of public educators
13:56 are saying, Wait a minute. We're in a new category, we're in a
14:01 new life. What does education look like in the 21st century?
14:05 What should it look like in an information age? We have this
14:11 school system designed and very clearly much of it was very much
14:16 designed to help produce what they needed. They needed a lot
14:20 of factory workers; people who would take directions, who would
14:24 do what they were told, who had a basic skill set, but they
14:28 didn't need a lot of problem solvers. That's not what they
14:31 really needed. They didn't need a lot of creative thinkers.
14:35 That's not what they needed.
14:36 So where is public education heading today. You hear a lot of
14:42 conversation about choice of schools. Do you think we are
14:47 going to do what like Germany and some other countries have
14:50 done where we are tracking students either to go into
14:55 vocational school or college. I mean, what do you see?
14:59 I guess I don't see America heading that way although
15:03 testing is absolutely huge. You know, we have in America No
15:09 Child Left Behind and that is and accountability movement to
15:14 try to help each child. The intent is that each child will
15:18 be held accountable for some test score growth. That's the
15:22 way they're going to measure whether teachers are doing a
15:25 good job. So they hold teachers and schools accountable for that
15:28 growth. That's the plan.
15:32 I personally believe part of the problem with that is that then
15:37 people begin to teach how to take tests.
15:40 To the test, yes. And that's not something
15:43 necessarily that's going to have any lasting effect on the mind.
15:47 Well and as teachers know there's some students...
15:50 What's interesting, as a teacher you work with the young person
15:53 every day and you're seeing they're starting to get it and
15:57 they ask questions in class and Oh, they're starting to get it,
16:00 Oh yeah, it's coming. Oh this is great and you give them a test
16:04 and they bomb, you know, what is the problem? Then you have
16:07 someone else who doesn't show up and they come and take a
16:10 test and they get it and you're like how do they do this?
16:16 There is actually a thing called test-taking skills that can be
16:22 taught that allows you to do better on tests.
16:27 So what do you see today that makes you even think that there
16:31 is going to be educational reform? What's going on?
16:35 Well, we talked in our last episode or segment about the
16:44 broadening of what it is we're trying to educate. There was a
16:49 book that came out called Emotional Intelligence
16:54 Daniel Goldman was the author. It wasn't written directly for
16:59 education, but his point, and we have a slide with a quote here,
17:04 centrally emotional intelligence has a higher correlation with
17:14 success than with IQ has with success. In other words we're
17:21 spending so much time trying to help our young people be
17:24 successful and we're trying to help them build their intellect
17:27 but we're not helping them build their EQ, their emotional
17:31 quotient. Okay, so explain emotional
17:32 quotient. Well, it's separated in some
17:36 fields into interpersonal relationships,...
17:40 We call them people skills.
17:42 People skills between you and me and how do we relate to each
17:45 other and then there is the intrapersonal skills, how you
17:47 relate to yourself when it's all quiet; what you're thinking, you
17:51 know, how you relate to yourself. That's the emotional
17:55 intelligence. You know, since we used Ronald
17:57 Reagan I will make this comment because I remember hearing
18:00 someone talk about him on the television. It was a historian
18:08 who said that Ronald Reagan had the highest EQ, emotional
18:12 quotient, of any president that we've ever had. He knew how
18:15 to get people to work together. He certainly didn't have the
18:18 highest IQ. I think they say President Nixon had a very high
18:22 IQ, but Nixon had a very low EQ. So I can see where the quote
18:27 that was just on the screen, EQ or emotional quotient, that
18:32 ability to have those interpersonal skills really
18:36 is probably, that was just right on. It is closely related to
18:44 success. Well, and so what this does for
18:46 me is... Think about this. So now, emotional quotient,
18:49 think about this, emotional intelligence, how is that being
18:54 taught in our schools? So the quick reaction of many educators
19:00 is to do this: Well let's have a class in emotional
19:04 intelligence. So we add another class. To think about this, I
19:08 was talking with an elderly gentleman recently and he said,
19:12 Oh, the school system is so different. And I thought to
19:15 myself, what. I mean, it's basically the same thing.
19:18 Well what he did was shared with me about all of these added
19:22 things that have been added on since he was in school. It was
19:27 the basics and then they went and worked. But now we just
19:32 seem to be adding another class. We find a problem, we
19:35 add another class, we find a problem, we add another class.
19:37 And then you have a quote I believe about that kind of
19:42 coverage, don't you? Yes, absolutely. That's what I
19:44 was thinking. This is from Howard Gardner.
19:48 The greatest enemy of understanding is coverage.
19:53 This is the difficulty of the teacher. Now think about this...
19:58 No Child Left Behind... Okay you're a teacher and so you're
20:03 being held accountable for student learning and how well
20:07 they score on the test. What are you trying to do? You have to
20:12 cover things, you have to cover that.
20:15 And you can ruin understanding. I see this.
20:19 You see, this so intertwined and... Howard Gardner, by the
20:26 way, the one who wrote that quote, a professor at Harvard,
20:30 was in a group called Project Zero and they developed a
20:35 strategy or a way of thinking about intelligence that actually
20:41 divided it up into many different facets rather than
20:45 just... so rather than saying intelligence and thinking about
20:50 something that, you ask anyone about intelligence, oh they
20:53 know what that is, that's the mind. Well what he did in their
20:57 group was they studied different brain functions of different
21:01 areas of the brain and said what is the intelligence that's
21:05 brought to the human experience from this portion of the brain?
21:09 So they studied people who were brain damaged with different
21:13 areas and what were the functions they were losing and
21:16 it was really fascinating. So we had logical mathematical, okay,
21:22 linguistic; those were two that we all knew and in fact if you
21:26 do well in those you do typically well in school and
21:30 that's what our schools are primarily focused on. Musical
21:33 intelligence, spacial and we now people like that who get
21:39 directions, they just know where they're at, you know. So there's
21:42 all of these different intelligences that we don't
21:46 recognize in school. You know I've talked before about the
21:49 curriculum cloud. What is it that we're trying to learn,
21:53 what's the goal? But what we've done is we've focused on just
21:59 logic, logical mathematical, the linguistic and getting it
22:03 covered. Focusing on the content rather than watching the
22:07 understanding of the children being developed. It's difficult.
22:09 So essentially what you're saying is that our high schools
22:13 we've got a lot of good people out here who are trying their
22:17 best to make certain the teens get a good education, but what
22:24 they're doing is falling back into that system of, well you
22:28 don't understand emotional quotient then we will give you
22:32 a class to cover emotional quotient. You had a quote from
22:37 Bill Gates and I'd love to put that on the screen right now.
22:41 It's right along this same line. This is an amazing quote.
22:45 Now you'll notice at the top of the screen it says Change in
22:50 Outcomes. The point of that is there are business leaders who
22:56 are saying we can't keep doing things the way we are doing them
23:01 now. We've got to change. Our high schools, he says, were
23:06 designed to meet the needs of another age. He's talking this
23:10 same conversation. Bill Gates understands what's happening
23:15 with our education system in the sense of this is an industrial
23:19 age design coming to an information age.
23:22 And if anybody understands the information age, Bill Gates
23:27 does, because he has become a multibillionaire. I'm sure where
23:31 his great understanding of this is coming in is just to see how
23:34 do we find workers who are coming out of this high school
23:40 curriculum system that was meant to train factory workers,
23:45 how do we find workers that are qualified for the
23:49 information age? Exactly. I was looking recently
23:52 at a report from an eastern state, New Hampshire, I believe.
23:59 They've taken a whole systemic relook at their high school
24:04 process saying that rather than just covering content in their
24:10 classes, they wanted their students to develop
24:13 competencies. Do you see the difference?
24:16 Yes I do. So now you're held accountable
24:19 not for the teacher covering it, but for the students actually
24:23 being able to develop the skills and the competencies. So they're
24:27 talking about a redesign in that report. That's interesting in
24:31 and of itself. In that report, there was a little graph, I
24:34 thought about oh maybe I should bring it here. What it did was
24:40 it showed in 1900 the percentage of manual labor jobs versus the
24:46 percentage of brain worker jobs. Then in 1950 it more equaled out
24:52 but still there were more manual labor jobs. Then in 2000 now
24:57 it's the other way around. So we have an educational system that
25:02 was actually designed for this group...
25:04 Now that's all being outsourced. All those type of jobs are being
25:09 outsourced. Yes that's part of the challenge
25:12 So is this a true statement? I'm think I'm seeing why reform
25:17 might be so difficult because we've got 100s of years of
25:22 education, a couple hundred years of education anyway, of
25:27 going with a certain system and it is an academic system, the
25:32 reading, writing, 'rithmetic and all of a sudden now if my
25:36 children are in school and you're telling me you're going
25:39 to change the whole way, I'm going to look at it and say
25:43 I don't like this system. That's not what I grew up with. So is
25:46 that... Sure absolutely.
25:48 And even from an educator's viewpoint was it hard for you
25:50 to make a mind shift?
25:51 Well in my Ph. D. program we studied how people learn and
25:57 then we took a look at how the education system ran and that's
26:02 when it because crystal apparent to me. It's not designed to
26:06 optimize learning; that's not what it's designed for.
26:09 Now wait a minute. Are you talking about the four different
26:12 learning preferences like auditory learning styles.
26:16 You did once tell me though that those are really preferences;
26:21 that we all learn in every way. Is that correct?
26:23 Yes, yes. In fact, learning styles, the research on learning
26:25 styles, the last time I looked at the literature about five
26:29 years ago, and there's been a lot of stuff done on learning
26:32 styles. What happens in learning styles is that people have
26:37 preferences of the way they like to learn, but the problem is
26:42 when we try to design a class that's specifically for auditory
26:47 learners and give them a lot of auditory everyone needs every
26:51 kind and so the best way is to make sure that we have lots of
26:56 variety. For teachers, learning styles is a nice way to help us
26:59 understand something, but the best thing that learning styles
27:04 tells is that we need lots of variety. We have one more quote
27:09 that I'd like to come to before we're getting close here.
27:13 Schools are Damaging. Look at this:
27:16 The present day educational system... look at the words he
27:19 uses... is damaging to young people. Evidence of this harm
27:22 is being presented from psychological, neurological,
27:25 sociological, statistical and common-sense perspectives.
27:28 That's amazing. So we can see there is a great need for reform
27:31 and reform is beginning, but we're not going to have time
27:35 to talk about it in this program so we're going to just invite
27:38 you to come back and we'll talk about that reform when you do.
27:42 Thank you so much for joining us. You know we are so glad that
27:47 you joined us today and I hope that this is... we're not trying
27:51 to be critical in the sense that we're pointing fingers or being
27:55 judgmental. What we are trying to do is do critical thinking
27:59 and get everyone to thinking about what can we do to have
28:03 the kind of educational reform we need.
28:05 May God bless abundantly. Join us next time.


Revised 2014-12-17