Who's Who in Outcome Based Education?

The Players:


Describing the character, theories and objectives of Outcome Based Education provides a basic understanding of the system that the government and its schools are foisting upon our children and families, like it or not. To obtain a deeper insight into OBE, however, it is necessary to learn something about the agents of change who are bringing OBE to you and your children. For that, we begin at the beginning with:

B. F. Skinner, a psychologist and learning theorist who gained prominence at mid-century. He developed the techniques of learning (operant conditioning) based on conditioning phenomena first analyzed scientifically by Pavlov. Skinner called his technique his "teaching machine." Like any machine, it can be used for good or bad, for meeting the goals of traditional education or for the goals espoused by OBE. Skinner thus developed the principles on which "Mastery Learning" was developed by:

Benjamin Bloom. Mastery Learning was the original name for the process known lately as Outcome Based Education, also known as Performance Based Education, or Restructuring. Educational theories used in OBE are based on Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. A curriculum, according to Bloom, "...may be thought of as a plan for changing student behavior." (p 14 of Ron Sunseri's book OBE: Understanding the Truth about Education Reform, Questar Publishers, P.O. Box 1720, Sisters, OR 97759) Bloom called it "Mastery Learning." Techniques for his new style of education are based on Skinnerian behavioral psychology. It focuses on stimulus-response conditioning, which lends itself neatly to indoctrination. It is an approach which comes out of Pavlov's experiments with a dog, which he conditioned to salivate when he rang a bell. He said the mission of education is to change the thoughts, actions and feelings of students. Bloom held that the desired outcome is "...formulating subjective judgment as the end product resulting in personal values/opinions with no real right or wrong answer." Bloom's theory thus denies that there are absolute truths and it makes everything relative. One idea is as good as another. With no absolutes, then the goal of good teaching is to modify the "thoughts, feelings and actions" of the student to some replacement system supplied by the educational system. Since that system is controlled by the government, the change is specified by the government.

William Spady. Based in Colorado, Spady is Director of the High Success Network and Director of the International Center on Outcome-Based Restructuring. He is the "father" of OBE. He works with the federal government, foundations, states and school districts helping them implement OBE. He is a sociologist with theories of "socialization" on global terms. OBE is designed to prove his theories. When asked by an interviewer if the system would promote patriotism or teach loyalty and allegiance to one's own country, he replied, "I don't know what Patriotic means."

According to Spady, we are faced with "a fragile and vulnerable global environment that requires altering economic consumption patterns and quality of life standards, and taking collective responsibility for promoting health and wellness." The goal of education, Spady says, has to be to prepare students for that future. Learning results are what is important, and his premise is that all students can learn, and it is not important how long it takes, as long as the desired learning takes place. Since all will learn, grades are irrelevant in the new system. All get an "A". Competition in schools in his estimation is a negative influence impairing learning. He also believes that textbooks will be obsolete.

Spady's definition of an "outcome," found in the in-service training program for OBE teachers, is "The acceptable culminating demonstration of a significant learning behavior." Subject knowledge and concepts are not valid outcomes. In 1982 he observed that one of the four main goals of Mastery Learning is a "system of supervision and control which restrains behavior of kids. The outcome of the hidden agenda should be the fostering of social responsibility and compliance." These goals "transcend academics," and deal with attitudes and feelings. However, Spady rejected the term "Mastery Learning" because of its monumental failures, renaming it so that the system of OBE would not be rejected out of hand. He found that the elite in the educational establishment supported his ideas because they, like Spady, want education not to teach, but to revamp society.

Shirley McCune, then senior director of the Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory doing research for the U.S. Department of Education, was the keynote speaker at the Governor's Conference on Education called by the elder President Bush. She told the governors that: "What we're into is the total restructuring of society. What is happening in America today...is not simply a chance situation in the usual winds of change... (it is) a total transformation of society... You can't get away from it. You can't go into rural areas, you can't go into the churches, you can't go into government or into business and hide." p 15-16 "..Schools are no longer in the schooling business, but rather in the human resource development...we have an opportunity to develop the kind of society we want." p 62 (References are to Sunseri's highly recommended book.) She is currently working with the College of Education at Arizona State University providing technical assistance to the Arizona School to Work system.

The Mid-Continent Regional Education Laboratory is the organization that developed the key features of the OBE curriculum under the auspices of the U. S. Department of Education, which under the Reagan administration was headed by T. H. Bell who was a primary figure in OBE research and development. Proof: G. Leland Burningham, Utah's state Superintendent of Public Instruction, wrote to Bell in a cover letter when applying for Federal funds to implement OBE in Utah schools. He wrote: "I am forwarding this letter to accompany the proposal which you recommended Bill Spady and I prepare in connection with Outcome-Based Education." In other words, Bill Spady was hired by Utah, at the behest of Bell, to prepare the state's OBE proposal. Burningham goes on to say that his proposal "centers around the detailed process" which "will make it possible to put outcome-based education in place, not only Utah, but in all schools of the nation... We will stand ready for regional and national dissemination of the Outcome-Based Education program." p 53 In other words, Bell was the fairy godfather for Spady's work in development and implementation of OBE nationwide. He was responsible for getting the restructuring process moving on the highest levels of government.

The Federal Department of Education. Following the initiatives begun by Bell, and led by people installed in the bureaucracy by Bell, the department has continued funding Spady and various state activities with grants, and providing a panoply of services to the states and individual school districts. It sponsored development of "Educational Quality Assessment," which is a test which students describe as "weird." Basically the test determines the values a child has, and measures how easy it would be to change them in that child.

The Dept. of Education in its report, Developing Leaders for Restructuring Schools: New Habits of Mind and Heart, says "Restructuring (OBE) is the process of institutionalizing essential new beliefs and values in the school mission, structure and process. The aim of restructuring is educating all children for productive lives." It established "lead centers" in all states, the objective of which is to create "dissonance" and use it as the basis for justifying change. In other words: the plan is to get people so upset with education that they will accept OBE as a solution to the problems of education. Part of that plan is the No Child Left Behind law which is so structured that a school cannot, over a span of years, be deemed "successful." Key to that is the yearly progress standards which are impossible to meet year after year.

The National Education Association, whose Ten Cardinal Principles and staffers moved to the U.S. Department of Education to participate in drawing up Goals 2000 legislation. Among those participating in developing the Ten Cardinal Principles were Benjamin Bloom, David Rockefeller, George Bundy, and Michael Lerner, to name but a few. Among those participating in the work of the Carnegie Corporation, which supplied much of the impetus to the programs of the Department of Education, were the presidents of the NEA and the AFT (American Federation of Teachers). That brings us to:

The Carnegie Corporation. In 1986 it issued a report, Teaching as a Profession: Teachers for the 21st Century. It was basically the outline of a plan to nationalize education. Says Phyllis Schlafly, "The game plan is to define the problem so that it will point to a Carnegie-engineered 'solution,' establish a 'partnership' with prominent business leaders to give verisimilitude to Carnegie-written proposals, and then to persuade selected governors to push Carnegie's proposals through Congress and reluctant state legislatures." The plan was presented to Bush's Governor's Conference in South Carolina in 1986, where Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee took the lead. (Clinton became president and Alexander was appointed by Bush to head the Department of Education.) The report calls for national certification of teachers (to get rid of independent private and home schooling), restructuring of schools to meet performance goals, and have nationally based education policies. Moves towards all those goals have since been implemented.

Included in the task force that produced the report were the presidents of the two teachers' unions: Mary Futrell of the NEA and Albert Shanker of the American Federation of Teachers. The Carnegie Corporation also owns the Educational Testing Service, which collects, scores and analyzes results of the Educational Quality Assessment tests given to three grade levels in each OBE state. It is joint owner and operator of the National Assessment of Educational Progress data bank that stores the data produced nationally by OBE. These tests are mandatory in schools, not voluntary, although it would seem so by the literature. The Corporation is also a primary source of funding for the Parents as Teachers Program, which has developed family-intrusive policies and techniques that bring parents and children into the OBE system for control from the moment of birth.

The National Center on Education and the Economy, among whose directors were to be found Oregon's Vera Katz, plus David Rockefeller, Ira Magaziner and Hillary Clinton. This is an organization originally founded, funded and controlled by the Carnegie Corporation, and became a central funding agency for grant money supporting OBE programs and experimentation using funds from the Federal Government, Rockefeller Foundation and similar sources. Recently it became a private, for-profit company working with educators in implementation of the school reforms it designed.

John Goodlad of the University of Washington and head of the Institute for Educational Renewal, doing research on strategies for reaching OBE goals. He is a one-worlder and globalist, who wrote, "Parents and the general public must be reached... Otherwise, children and youth enrolled in globally-oriented programs may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home. And then the educational institution...comes under scrutiny..." p 17-18 Elsewhere Goodlad advises, ..."Most youth still hold the same values as their parents and if we don't resocialize, our system will decay." p18

Sharon Robinson, appointed Asst. Secretary of Education for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the Clinton administration. A long-time staffer of The National Education Association, who sat with Hillary at the NEA convention and helped facilitate OBE.

Hillary Clinton, who with David Rockefeller was a director of the National Center on Education and the Economy, a non-profit group formed by the Carnegie organization to study and implement school reform. A long time and prominent "children's advocate," she assisted the President in making sure the proper people were brought into the federal educational leadership.

Vera Katz, former Mayor of Portland, Oregon and former Speaker of the Oregon House, who introduced the Oregon Education Reform Bill and was its chief sponsor, who also is a director (1987) of the National Center on Education and the Economy, chairman of its Nominations Committee, and represents Oregon on the New Standards Project. She was on the Board of the Carnegie's National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (1987). She sponsored Carnegie-related legislation in Oregon: HB 2020 (1987), Education Retention and Professional Development; and HB 2001 (1989) 21st Century Schools; as well as the Katz reform bill, HB 3565, in 1991.

Norma Paulus, Oregon's former Superintendent of Public Instruction, who was a leader in bringing OBE to Oregon and then implementing it. In June 1992, in her foreword to Toward a National Standard, a series of briefing papers intended to "support the development of OBE in Oregon," she refers to Spady. In Sept. 1992 she was a featured speaker at the America 2000 Leadership Workshop in San Francisco. Her Department of Education participated in the national new standards project in collaboration with the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

Marc Tucker, sponsored 21st Century school reform in Washington State; was senior advisor to Bill Clinton; co-director, National Alliance for Restructuring Education; director of one of eleven New American School design teams tasked to "reinvent" America's schools, and president of the Board of Trustees of the National Center on Education and the Economy. He currently remains as head of the reinvented private version of the NCEE.

National Center on Education and the Economy. Its original mission was to develop policies on education and human resources. It developed out of the Carnegie organization. Its Board of Trustees in the early 1990s included Michael Tucker (president), Mario Cuomo, Ira Magaziner, David Rockefeller, Hillary Clinton and Very Katz. In 1990 this non-profit group published America's Choice: High skills or low wages. It described the workplace as one "managed by a small group of educated planners and supervisors (utilizing) ....administrative procedures (that) allow managers to keep control of a large number of workers. Most employees under this model need not be educated. It is far more important that they be reliable, steady and willing to follow directions." p 29-30 Why? Because, the report states, "More than 70 percent of the jobs in America will not require a college education by the year 2000." p 30 What is needed is "Workers who do what they are told, with a good attitude," says Ron Sunseri. How do you get them, Sunseri asks: "Start now teaching students, from the earliest grades, the attitudes and social behaviors that will please business and avoid a broad-based, high-quality, academic education."

In 1992 the group put out a confidential report, The National Alliance for Restructuring Education: Schools--and Systems--for the 21st Century. That report states (p 33), "Our objective is to make schools of the kind we have described as the norm, not the exception, first in the cities and states that are Alliance members, and later elsewhere. Getting there will require more than new policies and different practices. It will require a change in the prevailing culture---the attitudes, values, norms and accepted ways of doing things---that defines the environment that determines whether individual schools succeed or fail in the transformation process. We will know that we have succeeded when there are enough transformed schools in any one area, and enough districts designed and managed to support such schools, that their approach to education sets the norms, frames the attitudes and defines the accepted ways of doing things in that part of the world. There is no turning back. The question is how to bring about this kind of cultural transformation on the scale we have in mind....and to organize (resources) in such a way that the growth of the new culture is geometric."

Professor Anthony Oerringer of Harvard University contends: "Do we really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write...when they have a five-dollar hand-held calculator or a word processor? ...Do we really have to have everybody literate---writing and reading in the traditional sense?" p28

So what are these changes to be? As implemented by education, based on research conducted by the National Training Laboratory associated with the National Education Association, the technique is to supplant skill training with "sensitivity training." The goal, according to David Jenkins of the NTL, is "...to manipulate; (the teacher's) job is to plan and produce behavior in order to create changes in other people." Relative to your children, they may "appear to behave appropriately...(but) this appearance is deceptive... (They are) 'pseudo-healthy' persons who can benefit from sensitivity training." p 17 The NTL warned, however, not to be too up front about what is being done. Massel Smith of NTL advised educators: "Couch the language of change in the language of the status quo." p 17

Thomas Sticht, a member of the US Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, noted that many companies have moved their operations to places with cheap, poorly educated labor forces because "the dependability of a labor force and how well it can be managed and trained---not its general educational level" is what is important. He added, "Ending discrimination and changing values, are probably more important than reading and moving low-income families into the middle class." p 29

Sunseri Comments: "What Sticht is really saying is that we need more low-wage laborers in America. The only way to keep a pool of them available is to be sure that most students don't get educated. As long as the masses are poor and uneducated, the small cadre of highly educated, creative people can control them and have the kind of life they want."p 29 That this paved the way for public acquiesance to the outcomes of NAFTA and GATT in about the year 2000 is an interesting coincidence.

Bill Clinton in 1979 initiated the "restructuring" reform of Arkansas schools and chose the bureaucracy to run it. After fifteen years of the system, the schools are presently 45th in literacy and 44th in standard achievement tests. He also started the "Governor's School" as a model for statewide school reform. The school takes the best and brightest students in the state and send them to a special Summer school, six weeks long, with 350 to 400 students attending each year. Mark Lowry, former director of publicity for the school, says the goal is to identify the four or five exceptional students suited to future political careers.

Lowery reports that the school does not deal in traditional academic excellence, but political correctness. It uses thoroughly scripted "brainwashing" techniques, including isolation from the outside world, to instill moral relativity and disintegration of family values. Students reported that they were fed a curriculum that focused on gays and gay rights, radical homosexuality, "all the things my parents said were wrong." Others reported, "We were encouraged to do what we felt like doing, to be hostile to Western Civilization and culture."

Lowery stated, "The greatest influence of the Governor's School is to promote the thought with these students that to be considered an intellectual by your peers...you have to be a liberal thinker." The school, he said, "invokes not only philosophy, but political thought, and that is the underlying message that permeates the whole six weeks. This is not teaching or learning, but indoctrination."

A student reported that the main course at the school, two hours every day, was "Views of Man." It dealt with radical feminist, leftist ideology, and other radical thinking. The student said it was "warped," presenting one viewpoint only. Its goal was to "Convince students that they are the intellectual and cultural elite." It taught that it is OK to challenge authority because "you are part of the elite, and your parents wouldn't understand all this. As the elite, it doesn't matter what ordinary people believe or want. You know what is good for them."

Parents reported that their children came back from the school "terribly changed." One parent reported that it took two years of psychological deprogramming to restore their child to normal. Another said that her son committed suicide, and probably would not have but for the school. Another student reported his repeated fantasies of committing suicide, even to the point of writing a suicide note, because he loved the school so much he didn't want to be back in the real world.

Unfortunately, the "real world" of tomorrow is the world of OBE, courtesy of the Clintons and Katz, the Bushes and Bells, Paulus and Roberts, and most recently John Kitzhaber and Brady Adams, all loyal Democrats and Republicans, who cozied up to the elitists who understand better than you what you ought do with your life and how to raise your children.

For your children it will be a life of lowered expectations and diminished returns.

B. K. Eakman, in Educating for the New World Order, quotes William Bonner, Attorney for the Rutherford Institute: "While the public has assumed it retains its historic input into education on a local school district level, in fact education has been progressively federalized, with the bold new America 2000 as the ultimate expression of the consolidation of power over education directed from Washington. The revised Chapters 3, 5, and 6 respond to Washington's demand that the states effect strict compliance with federal regulation in exchange for federal dollars. Freedom, diversity and local control are being increasingly sacrificed in that exchange."

"Undergirding this federalization of education has been a massive invasion of the family and the rights of individual students through curricula utilizing psychological programming and experimentation, as well as a broad spectrum of behavior modification techniques. Data periodically gathered through invasive testing within the affective domain has then, through the illegal demand for students' social security numbers...been compiled on computer systems storing vast amounts of intimate and private information on our children and youth, in violation of their constitutional rights...

"The traditional interests and rights of parents have been trampled upon, as educators have proceeded on the proposition that professionals know better than parents how to raise children.... The results create a further attack upon the already weakened family units in our sachet. Both the assessment tests and the related curriculum increasingly reinforce the message that conformity to government-established values and attitudes is the key to future success in life...

"The public does not understand that the government is establishing criteria to assess attitudes, values and opinions, nor do they understand that a 'planned course' will be introduced to 'remediate' attitudes, values and opinions not meeting government standards." p258-9

This is our future, compliments of the elite class of government bureaucrats and multi-national corporate managers and bankers who have given us OBE for the sake of the "Brave New World" they have in mind.

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