“We Don’t Need No Thought Control” in Schools

Human beings have been trying to change each other’s minds since they first discovered they had them.

thought-controlBrainwashing is the ultimate invasion of privacy: it seeks to control not only how people act but what they think. It arouses our deepest fears, threatening the loss of freedom and even identity.

The intent is to change a mind radically so that its owner becomes a living puppet—a human robot—without the atrocity being visible from the outside. The aim is to create a mechanism in flesh and blood, with new beliefs and new thought processes inserted into a captive body. What that amounts to is the search for a slave race that, unlike the slaves of olden times, can be trusted never to revolt, always to be amenable to orders, like an insect to its instincts.

Coercion says: ‘You must change in the way we tell you, or else …’; it may involve death as an extreme penalty. Exhortation invokes a higher moral authority to argue: ‘You should change, in the way we suggest, to become a better person.’ Therapy says: ‘You can change, with our guidance, to become healthy and free of suffering.’ Finally, realization says: ‘You can change, and come to express your full potential, if you are willing to confront new ideas and approaches.’

Brainwashing is more ambitious, and more coercive, than simple persuasion, and unlike older cognates such as indoctrination, it has become closely associated with modern, mechanistic technology.10 It is a systematic processing of non-compliant human beings which, if successful, refashions their very identities.

==Brainwashing: The science of thought control (Kathleen Taylor)

[W]hat is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

==JAMES MADISON, in The Federalist No.5

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. —THOMAS JEFFERSON  

Do you trust scientists and government bureaucrats to have access to your children’s minds? The purpose of the government educational system, specifically now that it has been totally federalized is to create a compliant, robotized proletariat that is either content to live of the largess of the elites through the government dole or trudge through life serving the select few the prodigious number of cocktails normally consumed at their uptown restaurants with all of the appropriate stars on the wall plaques. The science that is the end result of this process is that of the neurosurgeon. Lobotomized youth are happy youth. Dissent is the enemy of the State.

A panel discussion at Center for American Progress called for brain research in the classroom and shared their remarks on mandating scientific research in the classroom.

22293-ChildrenOfTheCoreGiving a final exam-type test on the first day of class, Benedict Carey, science reporter for The New York Times and author of How We Learn, said, “[It] prepares the brain to receive the information subsequently” because “you see the topics that are coming” later in the semester. He admitted, “Pre-testing is very counterintuitive,” but claimed these pre-tests, which a majority of students fail, “help” students get higher grades on final exams.

Glenn Whitman, director of the St. Andrew’s School’s Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, agreed with Carey and said these pre-tests are good for students “as long as we’re taking the threat out of it.” By giving these made-to-fail exams first, “We’re priming the brain for what’s coming [next]” and it is a “nonthreatening, unforced amounts of academic recall.”

Carey continued his remarks, pushing for integrating brain research on student learning in the classroom: “I would teach it directly: Learning 101.” Carey said, “Start teaching directly to the kids what these techniques are. They’re not hard; they’re easy to study.” Also, these techniques should be “integrated into study hall” because they are “very simple changes…bottom up and you can give them right to the student,” Carey concluded, “Give kids the information” in order for them to succeed and adjust their learning immediately.

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“We Don’t Need No Thought Control” in Schools.

Over the course of a generation, what we know about the brain has grown exponentially. As a result of our improved understanding of our minds, we now have more insight into how children—and adults—learn best. Cognitive science has yielded some paradoxical findings, including that play may be the best way for children to learn the self-control needed for hard work; that rote memorization can be a stepping stone to using higher-order critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and that integrating arts into the curriculum can improve students’ long-term memory of what is taught.

Unfortunately, this research has often been slow to make its way into schools or is used in haphazard ways. Please join the Center for American Progress for this event, at which we will discuss ways in which findings from cognitive science can be applied in the classroom to improve teaching and learning. Implications for federal, state, and local policy will be discussed.

Benedict Carey, Science Reporter for The New York Times, author of How We Learn
Dr. Mariale Hardiman, Professor of Clinical Education at Johns Hopkins University and Co-founder and Director of the School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative
Maya Shankar, Senior Policy Advisor for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
Glenn Whitman, Director, Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

The Emergent Academic Proletariat and Its Shortchanged Students

The phrase “corporatization of the university” captures the reorientation of colleges away from a primarily educational mission and toward one that resembles the financial bottom line. The evidence of this shift is myriad: the growth of for-profit degree-granting institutions, rising tuition and student debt, the pursuit of elevated rankings, disproportionate resources spent on athletic programs and sports facilities, the identification of students as “customers,” assessment of accomplishment in the classroom as that which can be quantified, a small number of highly compensated academic “superstars,” and a swelling cadre of overpaid administrators. According to Stephen Trachtenberg, former president of George Washington University and an unapologetic pioneer of tuition inflation, success for colleges is measured by continuous new construction on campuses and substantial endowments. The achievement of this never-ending growth requires constantly greater revenue, which in turn, necessitates escalating tuition and fees. As Trachtenberg explained, “people equate price with the value of their education.”

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