Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Link to Saul Alinsky Type Community Organizing Part of New High School Course

Change is a word we heard often when President Obama was campaigning for President. Change is the goal of the Rules for Radicals/Saul Alinsky type community organizing. Now, Change is the key word used in the components of Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The West Bend School District recently adopted a new high school course for credit that is part of this Partnership for 21st Century Skills. It might sound benign to some. I would like to shed some light on what this is all about.
Through a Google search on Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I discovered that those promoting this talk a lot about skills for success in the "global world". They discount curriculum and desire to transform learning. That should be obvious due to the fact that the WBSD will give 1 of 22 needed high school credits for something other than curriculum. The goal does not seem to be education, but re-education.
They talk about the 4C's: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity

Flexibility, adaptability are two of their key terms. It sounds like they have little use for anyone with a different standard.
Media is a component they desire students to command. Media, after all, is used for propaganda...
They desire this new teaching system to be intentionally and purposefully integrated into an educational system. President Obama is all over it.

And Ted Neitzke and Al Pauli told us it was just about "volunteer credit". Oh, it is so much more! The Board of Education was duped. The re-education of our children via the West Bend School District is well on its way. Rules for Radicals is now reality for our children, paid for by us.

Recent guest editorial by School Board member Dave Weigand:

There will be a new course at the high school this fall.

Those of you with academic expectations for a new course may be waiting in anticipation. Some might say, with all the emphasis on ACT scores in reading, math or science, this new course must be chosen to expand learning in those areas. Perhaps it would be about studying classical literature, or teaching more history, or a course that focuses on the Constitution and our Founding Fathers, or the importance of the free market capitalistic society with an emphasis on liberty and personal responsibility.

No, if that was your expectation, you would be sadly disappointed. Apparently what we need most is a course in service and global citizenship.

Am I kidding? I wish I was.

As one school board member, charged by the state of Wisconsin to advise teachers and administrators regarding instruction, I believe this new course offering is unwise. I go on record in the community that I did not approve it during the Board Instruction meeting Monday night.

This past summer I gave up a partial day of work to help develop the district's strategic plan. Not once was this idea mentioned in the discussions.

At the Board Instruction meetings regarding this new course proposal, scant questions were asked by those who approved it, and no information given on the curriculum of this course.

To be clear, this was approved by 2 of 3 committee members and will be implemented without full Board approval. High school principals will, at their discretion, grant permission regarding which activities are acceptable. It is completely arbitrary. The Board will have no input.

I shared these concerns with Administration and other Board Instruction members:

  1. The Board and Administration spend many hours developing a strategic plan for the district. This is not part of that plan.

  2. This creates a dumbing-down of curriculum when comparing educational rigor. Students can earn 1 of 22 graduation credits through this volunteer course.

  3. The school district has a course, ISICS, which allows students to volunteer in a classroom or other similar activity. ISICS is part of approved curriculum and happens during the school day. This new course offering is simply redundant in purpose.

  4. When credit is given to what was previously voluntary service, by definition, that service is no longer volunteer. Students would not be honest to list their hours for this coursework as volunteer on a resume or portfolio because credit was received. The reward would be the graduation credit.

  5. This is a reversal of the purpose of school clubs, which exist to enhance existing school courses, i.e. the French Club exists to enhance the French Class. The Service and Citizenship course was created, as stated by Administration, in an attempt to create a curricular tie to the Key and Rotary International Clubs.

  6. Rotary and Key Clubs are currently non-sponsored school clubs. There is no need to invent a new course in order for these clubs to exist.

  7. Creating this course sets the District up for possible litigation if another non-sponsored club wishes to push to have a course created for them. If we are going to teach community organizing and give credit for it, others would make similar arguments for inclusion as being treated the same. The law of unintended consequences.

  8. This sets up a course which includes activities that are outside of school and thus not available to all students, nor under the supervision of the school board or school administration. Who is to say what is an acceptable service? It sets a dangerous precedent of being inconsistent with other electives offered.

  9. This course was endorsed by administration, referencing a similar course offered in Burlington, and districts in Illinois. As many of us know, Illinois is known for their community organizers. Why would we following their example?

Contrary to comments by my colleague Mr. Beaver, there will be a cost to the district. No course can be offered without cost, either through staff or incidentals. Currently, three staff members will be needed, plus the cost for paid advisors when the clubs change status after this course is implemented.

This isn't about the value of teenagers volunteering. My own children accumulated hundreds of volunteer hours. This is about expectations of high school courses and the legal responsibility of the Board of Education.

Dave Weigand


  1. We live in a big world filled with people we've never had to cope with before -- different cultures, different expectations, different values -- and ALL of them know how to cope with us. We have to be sure we're ahead of that game in order to remain competitive, not socially or politically or ideologically, but economically. Isn't this really just about your fear that the America you knew is changing?

    That's a reasonable fear -- but has America ever not changed? We're better at it than anyone in the world. We should keep that advantage... even in the West Bend school district.

  2. Hey Mark,
    So, you admit this course is about changing the America we grew up in. My question is, "What right does the public school system have to try and "change" our children? I for one do not send my children to public school to have them indoctrinated.
    Let's talk about change. If I live in Communist China or Cuba, or in Iran, I would desire change.
    Those who live in Godless societies would certainly desire change. Read on:
    "During the first eighty-eight years of this century [20th Century], " says historian R.J. Rummel, "almost 170 million men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not germs."[3]
    America has historically been a refuge from such horrors.
    If America "changes", what are we changing toward?

    Change can be good, change can be bad. It depends on where we begin.