This blog is a tribute and memorial to the life of my dear friend, O. Jerome (Jed) Brown. The writings posted here are the articles that he published in his newsletter, The Traditional Educator. His theme was the art of teaching versus psychological conditioning, the nobility of the former and the wanton destructiveness of the latter.

Jed campaigned for the office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction in the State of Washington in 1992 and 1996. His platform was to return public education back to the traditional knowledge-based disciplines of learning; to save our school system, teachers, children, families and scociety from the disaster of the "education reform" mandated by HB 1209, our state's version of outcome based education.

In 1993 Jed led a group of concerned parents and teachers in an effort to repeal HB 1209. Had Referendum 47 succeeded, the disastrous WASL test requirement would never have seen the light of day.

In 1995 Jed researched, wrote and co-produced a 4-part video series, "The People vs The Educational Confederacy: Educational Restructuring on Trial" with Katie Levans of Tacoma, WA. If you want to know who is responsible for "education reform," this 2-hour video production lays it all out.

On September 6, 2009 Jed Brown passed away.

Please join me in "Remembering Jed."

1994 Maltby Meeting

Cursor down to the bottom of the page for six video clips of Jed's remarks addressing Education Reform legislation, Outcome-based Education, Behavioral Conditioning and Curriculum.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


By O. Jerome (Jed) Brown
April, 1995

Do you not know? Have you not heard? There is a paradigm shift going on in our schools. Even if people have heard about the shift in paradigms, it would seem that very few understand what it is -- or what it means-- or why it has so many parents and teachers upset. Yet, this very paradigm shift has caused more divisiveness and derision in education than has been seen since the Scopes Monkey Trials. Battle lines have been drawn and reason has disintegrated to argument and name calling.
It is time to put away the labels of liberal and conservative, of change agent and critics of change. These labels do nothing but polarize society the the Marxist Dialectic so that people can be easily manipulated to accept some predetermined consensus. As the lives of children are at stake, there is no time for such stupidity. We must come to an understanding of the paradigm shift of educational restructuring, that we might reason together for the good of society – for the good of education – for the good of children.

The discussion must begin with the word “paradigm.” What is a paradigm? If we are shifting paradigms, then there must be a traditional one and yet another one being proposed. What are they? How do they differ? If people are to support one over the other, what is the result that can be expected of each paradigm in terms of what is best for children and society. Let us begin.

As it is used in education, the word “paradigm” comes from the language of science. A paradigm is a basic conceptual structure, a structure built with ideas or concepts. Therefore, according to the sciences of education, an education paradigm is a description of haw and education system should be built, based on ideas or concepts about what education should be how it should be practiced. In other words, a paradigm for education describes someone's ideas about the purpose of schooling and how schooling should be a structured for the best benefit of children and society.

The current paradigm shift radically restructures our schools, based on a whole new set of ideas that actually change the purpose of education. By way of explanation, it may be helpful to think in terms of the physical structure of a building. Depending on the size and purpose of a proposed building, an architect must decide what its structural elements should be – will it be a wood-frame structure one built with steel posts and girders? Just like different physical structures are built with different materials and methods, different kinds of educational systems are build with different ideas and purposes. The paradigm shift is the demolition of traditional education and the construction of a completely different system.

The traditional paradigm for educational is the DISCIPLINED KNOWLEDGE Paradigm. Since the time of Aristotle, the purpose of education has been the training of the mind through the acquisition and the application of knowledge. Thus, traditionally, schools have been structured to discipline the minds of students through the effective and efficient instruction of the the knowledge considered imperative for each student to understand, manage, and expand his world. Therefore, knowledge is the focus of the traditional paradigm.

Knowledge is disciplined, ie., organized in major fields of study like Science, Mathematics, and Language. Thus, these major fields are called disciplines. Beyond a general overview of the knowledge contained therein, each discipline is further organized into subject divisions. The discipline of Science includes subjects like Biology, Chemistry, and Physics; the disciplines of Mathematics is divided into subjects like Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. Each subject contains a specified terminology, along with facts, theories, and principles arranged in an orderly fashion. It is this ordered subject content that forms the foundation of the traditional paradigm.

The DISCIPLINED KNOWLEDGE Paradigm is therefore knowledge-based and subject-driven. With the traditional paradigm, teaching is the instruction of the disciplines and their applications; learning is the acquisition of knowledge and the training of the mind. It is through the organized study of knowledge and its applications, under the direction of a teacher, that the student acquires not only a reasonable knowledge of the world, but also a trained, or disciplined, mind that is capable of both independent thinking throughout life. Thus, the result of an education within the traditional DISCIPLINED KNOWLEDGE Paradigm is indeed a well-educated person.

The new paradigm, that of educational restructuring, is LIFE-LONG EDUCATION. The Life-Long Education Paradigm was designed under the direction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by psychologists and sociologists rather than traditional educators. The paradigm is predominantly based upon the theories of Behavioral Psychology. With the behaviorist orientation, the Life-Long Education Paradigm changes not only the purpose of education but also the consequent structure of schooling.

Two assumptions of Behavioral Psychology join to form the cornerstone of the Life-long Education Paradigm by redefining learning. First, it is assumed that the actual mental process of learning (thinking) cannot be objectively observed and measured. Second, it is assumed that only by observing a change in behavior can learning be said to have occurred. Thus, learning, with the Life-long Education Paradigm, is defined as a change in behavior rather than the acquisition of knowledge.

A third belief of Behavioral Psychology completes the foundation of the Life-long Education Paradigm. To the behaviorist, the ultimate purposes of Psychology are the prediction and control of human behavior. Added to the redefinition above, that learning equals changing of behavior, these purposes totally alter the definition of education. Given the Life-long Education Paradigm, education becomes the process of predicting and controlling human behavior through a system that is role-based and behavior-driven rather than knowledge-based and subject-driven.

In the role-based behavior-driven system, not only does learning become the changing of behavior, but teaching becomes the facilitation of behavior change through behavioral conditioning techniques. No longer based on knowledge, the result of the Life-long Education Paradigm is an ignorant person with a pre-determined set of behavior patterns who can be easily manipulated and controlled.

Given the new psychological definition of learning and purpose of education, the Life-long Education Paradigm radically changes the structure of the schooling system. With this paradigm, schooling is no longer just for those currently considered of school age, ie., children and adolescents, it is indeed a “cradle-to-grave” process, a process that actually begins in the womb and ends only in death. Consequently, the name Life-long Education is quite apropos. The paradigm establishes a formal process for controlling a person's behavior throughout life.

If the object of education becomes the controlling of behavior rather than the acquisition of knowledge, then that control must begin as early as possible – before unacceptable behavior patterns can develop. Using the idea that children are “at risk,” the Life-long Education Paradigm establishes a behavioral control mechanism at birth. Although other countries are actually establishing Infant Care Centers (government-controlled day care), legislatures across the United States are enacting programs like Parents as Teachers (PAT) to control the behavioral development of infants. Many of these programs begin before the birth of the child. (These programs re the beginning of mandated parent participation.)

It is important to remember the Behavioral Psychology definition of learning when confronted with the phrase “ready to learn.” To secure the proper behavioral characteristics, the Life-long Education Paradigm requires children to be moved from the home as early as possible. Therefore, the formal conditioning process begins in the Head Start/preschool programs of age 3. The prediction and control of behavior is continued through the school years with surveys, programs, and Outcome-based Education, none of which have anything to do with the acquisition of knowledge. To negate any improper influence of the home environment, programs like the Utah Family Plan, designed by the Knowledge Network, establish controls beyond the school doors.

Beyond the behavioral conditioning carried out during infancy, childhood and adolescence, the Life-long Education Paradigm makes provision for the reinforcement of conditioned behaviors throughout life. The paradigm calls for formal curricula for adults to be delivered through adult education centers. In the United States those required re-education programs will be carried out through existing community colleges. These formal curricula will extend even into the advanced years of life to ensure that the elderly do no become, as one UNESCO document puts it, “culturally obsolete.”

Knowledge-based and subject-driven or role-based and behavior-driven – education or social engineering -- DISCIPLINED KNOWLEDGE or LIFE-LONG EDUCATION PARADIGM
which is best for children and society? The choice is yours.

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