Cooperative Learning: Communism in America’s Classrooms
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | August 24, 2015 Education Views
Americans are in an uproar over Common Core. Ridding our schools of Common Core won’t solve the problem though. We have to go for the root cause of what’s wrong with public education. Since the problem began very long ago and requires much more editorial space, I’ll explore that another time. For now, let’s just unpack the jargon from the real intent of what goes on in your child’s classroom under the moniker of “cooperative learning.”
In a nutshell, cooperative learning is communist ideology that is found in every public school throughout America. Collaborative learning is another code name for this collectivist, group think teaching strategy. Cooperative learning is an instructional method for Outcome-Based Education, which was founded by Dr. Benjamin Bloom. In 1981 he wrote in All Our Children Learning (p.180)that, "the purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students."
Bloom confirms what Charlotte Iserbyt, former U.S. Department of Education whistleblower about the globalization of our schools, warned us decades ago in her excellent book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. Academics have been thrown out of our public – and some private -- institutions of learning.
Progressive teaching (the underlying philosophy of Common Core) and its group learning have replaced traditional teaching in public education. Students are evaluated as a group rather than on individual achievement. This is the socialist spirit – the collectivist spirit that all must work together for the good of society.
Under collectivism, equal outcome, and not equal opportunity, is promoted, regardless of differences in ability. Collectivism is the opposite of our capitalistic America and our individualistic spirit of competition. If socialism is to survive, then individualism and its creative spirit must be quashed.
The mission to do that was begun long ago by left wing zealots who understood that education is the vehicle for easily changing the American culture of traditional families and religious freedom.
Parents are told that cooperative learning is a method to prepare students to work together in a global society with people of different values. In reality, group think is to standardize values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The emphasis is on group conformity.
It is claimed that student-centered cooperative learning promotes deeper thinking because students learn the content more deeply by teaching their peers.
Now think about that irrational statement. Since Progressive teaching trashes factual learning, how can students teach their peers when they have little to no factual information about the topic in their brains to impart?
Students are duped into thinking that their value and knowledge is superior to that of the teacher who is merely a facilitator in a Progressive classroom. Translation: this teaches students to question traditional moral values.
That conjures up memories of a public rant by Al Gore that students need to educate their parents who are not as smart as they. He clearly intended to undermine parental authority and the family and promote conflict between kids and their parents.
Proponents of cooperative learning claim that students learn critical thinking – i.e. to think for themselves. This is a lie being perpetrated to hide the real purpose of criticizing traditional values and authority through group discussion and forced decision-making.
Advocates claim that cooperative learning teaches students consensus building or mutual agreement on a topic. The real purpose? To reach a preplanned outcome through isolation, silencing a dissonant voice, intimidation, or censuring. It’s safe to surmise that Communist/Marxist Saul Alinsky’s book, 12 Rules for Radicals, is in play here.
Volumes of research extolling the virtues of cooperative/collaborative learning have been published. Although the disadvantages are ignored by researchers, students have voiced complaints about cooperative learning.
People work at different speeds. “Heterogeneous” grouping pairs slower learners with faster ones. Faster learners do busy work or “peer tutoring” while waiting for slower learners to finish. Often faster learners give answers to slower learners with no explanation about how the conclusion was reached, just to move on.
One student sometimes tries to control the group
Some quiet students prefer individual work
Incompatibility of some members
Group grade is unfair. A group grade might be determined in various ways but for faster students, the problem is still the same. If grades are averaged, the lazy student can ride the coattails of the hard working students while the top students get a lower grade. There can also be grade inflation to keep everyone happy but does nothing to truly evaluate what the student has learned. Resentment and unwillingness to continue working hard also can result as top students watch slower or lazy students get the same grade as they.
Idle chatter. Time wasted with students chatting with friends about irrelevant topics when in groups
According to Dr. Spencer Kagan, “Collaborative techniques create a constructivist approach.” Constructivism is the altering of student values, beliefs, and attitudes. He notes that the grouping form most often used is heterogeneous grouping because it promotes diversity, peer teaching, and acceptance of homosexuality. He has created Kagan Structures as a teaching tool for the constructivism of cooperative learning.
Check out your schools. Are Kagan Structures being used there? If so, either demand that they be yanked or better yet, take your child out of public school and home school or private school him (yes, I know “him” is politically incorrect but “it was good for my [founding] fathers, so it’s good enough for me”).
Cooperative learning with its focus on changing values, beliefs, and attitudes poses serious threats for the future of America.
Until recent years public schools offered a well-rounded general education for the masses that has served our nation well with our mobile society and rapid changes in the economy.
Even though American students have not done well on international tests – I’ll save that tirade for another time -- our well-rounded education has produced creative students who are problem solvers, possessed with the cocky, self-confident American attitude.
Yet it is America that has been a global leader in creating a massive number of innovative products which have improved the quality of life for millions around the world…while making us a very wealthy nation!
Let’s look at how nations steeped in collectivism have fared -- both economically and in personal freedom.
During the nearly 75 years of communist rule in the Soviet Union, nothing was contributed to further world progress. In Cuba, just a little more than 50 years of communist rule have reduced to poverty a nation that once had the third highest standard of living in the Western hemisphere. Under communist rule in China, workers are complacent followers who are castigated if they think independently. Instead of being innovators, China simply copies what others have created and places their label on a cheap reproduction.
Asian education focuses on memorizing facts for standardized tests. Their students score at the top on international tests, yet they are not creative thinkers. Asian countries such as Japan have well-trained workforces but they are not innovative.
Asian countries understand the problem and are expanding their curriculum to include some components of a liberal education.
As nutty as it seems, America is moving in the opposite direction. The radical transformation of public education by left wing educrats is swiftly propelling America toward the same type of learning that has prevented innovation in those collectivist societies.
If we continue to allow our schools to psychologically manipulate and warp our children’s minds with this utopian fantasy that has never been successful, America will no longer have creative, independent thinkers to continually invent the dazzling array of products as in the past. This will have an immeasurable negative effect upon our economy and our quality of life.
How will living in a collectivist society affect our freedom?
A mind numbing accounting of this is found in The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, which is authored by a group of French scholars trying to document the human cost of communism in the 20th century. Number crunching in the introduction provides this breakdown of deaths.
U.S.S.R.: 20 million deaths; China: 65 million deaths; Vietnam: 1 million deaths; North Korea: 2 million deaths; Cambodia: 2 million deaths: Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths; Latin America: 150,000 deaths; Africa: 1.7 million deaths; Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths; The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000 deaths… The total approaches 100 million people killed.
The Black Book set out to address the “inability and -- for a great many -- the outright refusal to recognize the unmitigated evil that communism was and is.” It seems the authors created a firestorm. “Many were irked that the authors asserted ‘that Communism's freely expressed penchant for homicide was and is an integral trait. Communism's philosophy and practical politics, which promised to erase class distinctions, necessarily entailed erasing classes and the living humans that populated them.’”
In the U.S. many choose to ignore that communism is already engulfing almost every aspect of our lives. For those souls who exist in a world of fantasy, the promises of communism are quite appealing.
In the face of so much damning evidence, why are we allowing our schools to use a teaching philosophy that is indoctrinating our children to accept a life of slavery under communism? Destroying forever that which has made us great? Destroying forever our American experiment?
Why are American taxpayers falling hook line and sinker for the slick marketing ploys of education bureaucrats to rob them of billions in more taxes and debt, including bond issues, to pay for new and renovated schools “designed for 21st century learning” and cooperative learning space requirements.
Are Americans really that dumbed down?