Note: This letter was not originally meant for a huge audience so it is personal in nature. It was my response sent to only Rhonda Bromley, Superintendent Henshaw, and all of the board members after Ms. Bromley personally sent me a copy of her letter on November 10, 2010. I only published it here after the district mass emailed her emotional opinion piece with no relevant facts to 6300 district members, legislators and political leaders across the state and had it published it in the Daily Herald. I decided new readers needed both sides of the story if they were to gain an accurate picture of this controversy.
Thank you for sending a copy of your email to me and others who have concerns with the Progressive Education which is taking place at Alpine School District.
I initially wrote up a reply which handled many of the points of your email. However, I decided not to send it. As positive as it was in addressing each point you brought up, I sense that it would just continue a back and forth argument. If you would like me to send or post that to address specific concerns, I have saved my draft.
I believe you and many others in the district are very good people who honestly think you are doing the right thing for our children. Progressive Education is how you were trained and this is what you surround yourself with by working in the government-run public sector and by surrounding yourselves with secular national educators, philosophers and national unions. Though there are many good things that happen in public education which you outline well, there are also many far-reaching worldly philosophies that are either openly in opposition to parental and religious rights or are quietly interwoven into the theories taught at major universities, unrealized by many well-meaning professionals.
I believe that you and others at ASD, although working hard to do your best, have been innocently caught up in the ‘philosophies of men’ mingled with positive educational theories. Many of these prominent national secular leaders have ulterior motives which oppose our Christian American heritage. I am not saying that the public schools need to be Christian. What I’m saying is that by continuing to follow such well-spoken and popular atheists and humanists and by using so many of their socialist-leaning philosophies, it will ultimately produce a generation of children who question their own family, religious and political beliefs. I’ve seen it many times with students in California and I’m now seeing it here in Utah as these same philosophies are making their way into our schools.
I tried to explain these concerns to you and Vern Henshaw privately by phone a few times with much detail, but instead of understanding that I am only trying to help, you both seem to view me as your enemy. I am truly sorry for that. Because you are both Christian and members of the LDS church, my heart sank when you both agreed that although you know John Goodlad believes in socialism, humanism and atheism, you will continue to follow his educational philosophies 100%. Of course he probably has some good educational theories, but please realize he interweaves all of these other dangerous concepts throughout his work. Please think about what he would like his end goal to look like. His quotes on education are loaded with moral relativism, humanism, and the complete change of our economic and political structure. Rarely is academics even brought up unless it has to do with how to implement his Democracy Agenda in every class. This should be appalling to a good educator, but not to a social engineer who believes this is the purpose for public education.
I have heard you and Vern say that you don’t have to like everything Goodlad preaches, but you firmly believe in his educational theories and will continue to follow them. May I remind you that you are not hiring him to fix your car or install windows. His philosophies are guiding our children so it is only wise to examine them closely. He pushes the teaching of morals and values yet believes that morals change with the times and are not absolute. He speaks of the purpose of political and social engineering in schools so it is relevant to examine his politics and beliefs about the basic unit of society, the family. He is a socialist and believes that capitalism cannot coexist with democracy. He believes that the state should own the children and that parents have ‘no natural right’ to control their children’s education. Look on http://220.127.116.11/~saveasd/john-goodlad/john-goodlad-quotes/ to learn more about his beliefs and to find the exact quotes and references.
We have read about these dangers for years by our Founding Fathers, Christian leaders, prophets, even David O. McKay and Brigham Young and in scriptures. We’ve been warned repeatedly about the dangers of false educational ideas present in our educational institutions and the flattery of prominent men. We are constantly warned about the dangers of humanism, in times past and in the present. If not these socialists, humanists and atheists that you currently follow, then who are the dangerous educational leaders we have been warned about and what do they teach that is different than the experts you follow? Our good leaders have specifically warned us of John Dewey because of his anti-God teachings and his belief that there are no moral absolutes. Dewey was one of the original signers of the Humanist Manifesto and started the Progressive Education movement back in 1916 with the publishing of his book Democracy in Education. Because John Goodlad is an honored student of Dewey’s and shares the same belief system, it naturally falls that we should be careful of his teachings also.
We cannot pick good fruit off of a bad tree and we cannot hand pick what we think is ‘acceptable’ from a tree which bears so much bad fruit. There are hidden worms even in fruit that looks delicious. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’ve eaten the worm with the fruit until it’s too late. There is a reason this ‘beguiling’ analogy is pertinent to this discussion. The great deceiver typically disguises his intentions with delicious fruit. If it were nasty tasting, we’d never even consider it.
I hope you take the time to read Boyd K. Packer’s The Snow-White Birds, a talk he gave to BYU administrators and staff in 1995. He warns instructors to be careful of these deceptive worldly philosophies because they harm the students greatly, even eternally.http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=10919
Something that we hope you also consider is this: please keep replies to our writings to the referenced facts we present. Many times there are emotional responses which have nothing to do with the concerns we bring up. Purely emotional responses without any facts have no place in true critical thinking or adult civil discourse about such important topics. This does not solve anything, but seems like a tactic to pull at the heartstrings of employees and citizens instead of actually replying to the facts presented. This tactic is used repeatedly by those who don’t want to address actual facts. I’m sure you are not intending to do this, but how will we know the difference when this same emotional approach is used by others? If you sincerely believe something is nonfactual, please address it specifically. So far, we haven’t seen any honest rebuttal of any facts given, although we’ve read and heard publicly that you say we lie, misrepresent you, hate teachers, and just try to get attention. In your email, you even accuse us of having the need to ‘save’ our janitors. A response is not even required for some of the silly emotional things brought up in these public discourses. I’m sure you realize these are not our real concerns.
We’ve done careful research to produce these very real and disturbing facts. And to clarify on the attention getting comment you’ve made publicly and privately, you will remember it was you who said to me on the phone that you thought we were only doing this to get attention. Those were your words, not mine. Please don’t tell people privately or publicly that I said I was only doing this to get attention. I explained plainly to you that I saw many very disturbing things on your website, as well as those organizations and people with which ASD has aligned itself. People deserve to know the not-so-good things that are happening in the Alpine School District along with the good things so they see the big picture of what our children are learning and how the district is being run.
Progressive Education has taken the place of traditional academic education in this district. What will wake you up to the dangers of this philosophy? The district linking itself to a socialist Green party nut case who believes that our Founding Fathers were predatory elitists out for wealth and gain and the Constitution was a big mistake? Or that this same author writes that Christ is a real vampire? What about terrorist and radical socialist-turned-educator Bill Ayers keynoting at John Goodlad’s NNER Conference where you attend every year? What about last year’s keynote speaker on ‘A Nurturing Pedagogy” who spoke on the importance of redefining evil in a modern world because the ‘chauvinist’ Biblical authors only presented women as evil? When will you see the light about where this will take our children as you continue to pick and choose the fruit of this dangerous philosophy and change a few words which you deem are not ‘reader friendly’? Parents and citizens need to know what is going on. By the time I saw these things it was well-entrenched in the district.
I am not getting paid nor receiving awards for speaking against Progressive Education. Some administrators of ASD, however, are being well paid and nationally praised for following this agenda. They have much to lose in the short term by breaking away from it without the support of the district and community. In the long term, however, we believe the damage done to our children will be much greater by continuing to follow this social democracy agenda. These things need to be addressed by not only the district, but the public who primarily pays for the local education of our children and the salaries of all involved. I certainly do not do this for attention and that was a terrible and false accusation. I only do this because I believe deeply in the successful future of all our children, our community and our nation.
You might believe that you remain safe by changing some of Goodlad’s wording to ‘fit’ within our community, but Goodlad is clear about his intentions and you do follow most of his philosophies as evidenced by implementing his 4 moral dimensions, mission statement, Democracy Agenda and trainings. Since both our Superintendent and Curriculum Administrator have received national awards for implementing Goodlad’s Agenda, we know they are striving hard to please Mr. Goodlad. Changing a few words so the public doesn’t get ‘concerned’ doesn’t change the fact that ASD is still following Goodlad’s teachings. It is evident to us that you must know something is wrong when the Enculturating sign came down after many years and the wording on the district website was dramatically changed to disconnect with anything about Goodlad or his agenda. However, there has been no actual disconnect with Goodlad. Switching out some words to make it sound more palatable to parents isn’t enough. Also, attributing the mission statement to Thomas Jefferson was something new to us since neither you nor the board has ever mentioned this in the entire nine months since this controversy began. More interesting is the fact that Goodlad uses almost these exact words “Educating All Students to Ensure the Future of our Democracy” in his writings. And as far as President Monson’s reference to Horace Mann, a one-time quote by someone who went to Horace Mann Junior High when he was 12 is not the same thing as aligning an entire belief system after a socialist, atheist and humanist. We’re not concerned about a single quote used once in the district and I’m sure you know this by now.
You either believe in Goodlad or you don’t. You either believe in Progressive Education or you believe in traditional academic education which encompasses good principles, including good citizenship. Our hope is that the district and the board can be educated about these two opposing philosophies and then can be honest with parents and the community about which approach they’d like to take. You will not go far by trying to appease both sides which are in direct opposition to each other. Goodlad knew this when he wrote that parents and communities have to be taught to go along with this new purpose of public education or they will be in opposition to it. He was right. I for one will always follow my religious leaders and inspired Founding Fathers before I will ever succumb to a popular humanist educational change agent who gives praise to men when they follow his worldly philosophies. He might be brilliant, sociable and kind, but my description of him here is accurate.
Rhonda, we hope that you, the Alpine School District, the School Board and the public will sincerely do their own research to understand these concerns and to determine the local community’s idea for the purpose of public schooling, not that of Progressive national educators. Many are doing their own research and have come to the same realization as we have and therefore join us in speaking against these dangerous philosophies. I hope that all parties remain civil and stick to facts instead of ’emotional engineering’. We hope this becomes an ongoing discussion through all outlets, including www.SaveASD.com so as a public body we can determine the best future for our children in preserving this great nation and in helping our students to be successful citizens of this inspired Constitutional Republic.