School violence strikes again

September 30, 2003

Another school shooting happened on September 22, 2003. This time at Lewis and Clark High School, District 81, Spokane, Washington.

This is the third or fourth school shooting to happen in Washington state, the other notable being the first highly publicized shooting at Frontier Junior High in Moses Lake, Washington, in 1996. The shooter, Barry Loukaitas, killed a teacher and two students and wounded another student.

A little known fact regarding that shooting is that a year after that shooting, the cousin of one of the student victims of that shooting killed his mother and his sister, then turned the gun on himself. He also died. A minister in Moses Lake stated that there was this black cloud hanging over Moses Lake.

Another little known fact concerning the Moses Lake School District is that it was one of the pilot schools for education reform, both in the state of Washington and nation-wide. The program for which Moses Lake School District was a pilot was called the Schools for the 21st Century program. The legislation establishing the program, SB 5479, was passed in 1987. In total, the program affected 111 schools, 27 school districts and over 50,000 students (SBE, 1995). The program commenced in 1988 and sunset in 1994; the schools and school districts participating then falling under laws passed in 1992 and 1993 bringing the pilot program to every school in Washington State.

By any objective standard, the program was an abysmal failure, not even meeting the requirements of the law governing it. Such, however, was never addressed by the Washington Legislature even though the failure of the program was the subject of a Senate Education Committee hearing in February 1998. Although the members of both the House and Senate were invited to the hearing, the meeting was largely boycotted by members of both houses and both parties.

In support of legislative approval of the program, then Governor Booth Gardner brought in his friend, Marc Tucker, to address the Washington Legislature in February 1987.

Marc Tucker would become an individual known to many researching education reform, not only in Washington State but in many other states as well. A former employee of Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) in Portland, Oregon, Tucker went on to establish the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy (CFEE), funded by the Carnegie Foundation of New York. CFEE would become the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) with Marc Tucker as president. In that capacity, NCEE established a design team that would become a major player in the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC) established during the Bush (Sr) Administration to oversee the thoroughgoing transformation of American education. Tucker's design team was called the National Alliance for Restructuring Education (NARE). It was later renamed America's Choice™.

Tucker was also a major player in the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (CSAW) another program of NCEE. It was under the guidance of the CSAW commission that, America's Choice: high skills or low wages! was written.

Two people on the CSAW commission then went on to sit on the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, or the SCANS commission, established during the reign of Elizabeth Dole as Secretary of Labor in the Bush (Sr) Administration. The work of the SCANS commission was the precursor to establishing the National Skills Standards Board (NSSB) determining what every individual should know and be able to do as a result of his/her educational experience. The work of the commission effectively coalesced the change of the focus of education from educating children for intelligence to using the schools to produce a workforce.

Other members of the CSAW commission also sat on the board of the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC) determining which design teams would be funded.

Marc Tucker is an avid supporter of and advocate for systems education, known also by a plethora of names, the most notable being outcome-based education. Other names include performance-based education (PBE), competency-based education (CBE), outcomes driven developmental model (ODDM), and outcomes-driven education (ODE).

Washington State was an early partner of Tucker's design team, NARE, such accomplished via a contract signed by then Governor Booth Gardner and then Superintendent of Public Instruction Judith Billings representing Washington State and Marc Tucker representing NCEE/NARE.

Following the signing of this contract, the Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS) was formed, comprising five school districts along the I-5 corridor in western Washington: Seattle, Edmonds, North Shore, Shoreline and Everett.

In June 1995 a Memorandum of Understanding was formed between the NASDC, WASB, and NCEE/NARE. Signing this Memorandum of Understanding for the Everett School District was one Jane Hammond. Some will recall that she was the superintendent of the Littleton schools in April 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire on teachers and students at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and 1 teacher, and injuring 23 other students before taking their own lives.

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding for the Edmonds School District was one Brian Benzel. Coincidentally, Benzel is now the superintendent of District 81 in Spokane, the scene of the most recent shooting.

Benzel is well-known to researchers of education reform in Washington State. It seems his hand has been in almost every pie. It was Benzel whose comments were published in the Community Action Toolkit, published by the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (NWREL) under contract to the U. S. Department of Education, saying that if the powers-that-be are meeting resistance from the local people in implementing education reform in a school district, that the powers-that-be should look around through the community and recruit prominent pastors to the cause.

Benzel's presence at many of the meetings that brought education reform to Washington State, and his involvement in committees, task forces, councils, commissions, etc, established for the same purpose is known. He was also a special advisor to the Governor's Council on Education Reform and Funding (GCERF) established by Washington Governor Booth Gardner.

Benzel has sat on national commissions concerning education reform. His association with the "heavy-hitters" of education reform, like Marc Tucker, is also known.

Benzel's name also shows up on the board of a group known to be heavily involved in education reform in Washington State: New Horizons for Learning. This group promotes New Age concepts in the classroom, publishing articles by such New Age gurus as Beverly Galyean and Jean Houston. This comes as no surprise considering that education reform itself is heavily infused with the New Age world view. Terry Bergeson, current Superintendent of Public Instruction, has also been on the board of New Horizons for Learning as has Dr Shirley McCune who stated, in 1989, that schools were no longer in the schooling business but into human resource development, a fancy way to say that the purpose of schools would be to produce workers as is the purpose of poly-technical education in communist nations.

When Barry Loukaitas went off the deep end in Moses Lake in February 1996, the media focused on family problems as the cause. While there is no doubt that the family had problems, it is doubtful that those problems were the primary or only cause of young Barry's violent outburst.

To quote David T Conley in his book, Roadmap to Restructuring, 1993:

"...education, as now conceived, leads to demonstrable changes in student behaviors, changes that can be assessed using agreed-upon standards." (p 124)

Conley, of the University of Oregon, is also an avid supporter of and advocate for systems education.

Then there is Dr Benjamin Bloom, who stated (1964):

"In fact, a large part of what we call 'good teaching' is the teacher's ability to attain affective objectives through challenging the students' fixed beliefs and getting them to discuss issues."

Further on, Dr Bloom states,

"In all instances it is understood that the objective is to describe the student behavior to be attained."

And yet further on, Dr Bloom states,

"If affective objectives can be defined with appropriate precision, we believe it may be no more difficult to produce changes in students in this domain [affective] than it has been in the cognitive domain."

Bloom was a colleague of the humanist world view and socialist philosophy of the likes of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Theodore Adorno, Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, Erich Fromm, B F Skinner, and Ralph Tyler.

Education reform isn't about teaching for intelligence, education reform is about changing student behaviors ... psychological manipulation ... psycho-education. The goal is to produce a world class workforce; children who have demonstrated "mastery of the new basic skills — teamwork, critical thinking, making decisions, communication, adapting to change and understanding whole systems." (WTECB, 1995)

Education reform is based upon the Humanist world view ... the idea that "no deity will save us, we must save ourselves" (1973). Humanism seeks to mold a society devoid of spirituality and self-determinism — two aspects of human nature that are inherent. Humanism is a man-made world view, subject to the frailties, fallacies, and falsehoods of the human mind. It has been the world view of despots and despotic governments the world over.

In all of this, the larger question is — Are teachers licensed to practice psychology in the classroom? No, they aren't. Doesn't that make the psychological manipulation of children in the classroom tantamount to medical malpractice? Yes, it is. Is practicing psychology without a license dangerous? Considering to become a psychologist requires training and licensure, the answer seems obvious — the practice of psychology is just as dangerous as a physician wielding a scalpel in a surgical unit.

Following the massacre at Columbine High, states nationwide held youth safety summits. In Washington State, researchers followed the process employed to accomplish the summit. They then filed a report with the Washington State Legislature outlining how the summit was brought about and how the participants were manipulated to achieve a predetermined outcome. Those supporting the work of the researchers requested the Legislature disregard the supposed outcomes of the summit and any outreach of the summit. Their request was ignored.

Education reform came to the United States officially in 1994 with the passing of Goals 2000 and the School to Work Opportunities Act. Since then there have been a plethora of school shootings. People shake their heads and ask why? Why, indeed.

Resources:—

Humanist Manifesto II; 1973.

Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce; America's Choice: High Skills or Low Wages!; New York: National Center on Education and the Economy; 1990.

Conley, David; Roadmap to Restructuring; Eugene: University of Oregon, OERI; 1993.

Krathwohl, David R, Benjamin S Bloom, Bertram B Masia; Taxonomy of Education Objectives, Book 2: Affective Domain; New York: Longman, 1964.

Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board; High Skills, High Wages; Olympia: Washington State; 1995.

State Board of Education; Final Report on the Schools for the 21st Century Program; Olympia: Washington State; 1995.

U. S. Department of Labor; Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills; Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office; 1991.

© 2003 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved