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The Humanist Curriculum
by Samuel L. Blumenfeld

This is taken from Samuel's book, NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education.

The Humanist Curriculum (chapter 20)

Easily the most important of the NEA's strategies is that concerning the content of education, for the socialist revolution wanted by the Progressives will have to be carried out by a younger generation indoctrinated in progressive, humanist values. The road to a humanist curriculum began in 1918 with the NEA's Seven Cardinal Principles which stressed humanist ethical values to replace those of traditional religion. The expulsion of the Bible from the public school did not occur all at once. This writer, who attended the public schools of New York City in the 1930s, remembers hearing the school principal open each weekly assembly with a short passage from the Bible, usually a Psalm. When that practice stopped, is not known.

But the undermining of the Judeo-Christian tradition was well underway when in 1933 John Dewey and 33 other liberal humanists drew up and signed that extraordinary document known as the Humanist Manifesto. It reflected all of the influences of science, evolution, and the new psychology which were reshaping American education. It called for the abandonment of traditional religion and replacing it with a new secular religion better able to accommodate the new moral relativism inherent in a man-centered, godless world. That secular humanism is a religion is easily proven by the Manifesto's own words:

The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modem world.... In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.

There is great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century.

... While this age does owe a vast debt to traditional religions, it is none the less obvious than any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age.'

Thus, the purpose of the Manifesto was to announce the creation of a new secular religion to "meet the needs of this age." The Manifesto then goes on to enumerate the tenets or doctrines of this new religion:
First: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
Thus, we see in the very first tenet of secular humanism a denial of creationism. And in the NEA's resolutions we find: "The Association . . . believes that legislation and regulations that mandate the teaching of religious doctrines, such as so-called 'creation science,' violate both student and teacher rights. The Association urges its affiliates to seek repeal of such mandates where they exist.

The Manifesto then affirms its faith in the theory of evolution by stating that "Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process." It also denies the existence of the soul: "Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected." The Manifesto then affirms its belief in environmentalism: "The individual born into a particular culture is largely molded to that culture."

The rejection of traditional religion is strongly made in the fifth tenet: "Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modem science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values."
Then what is religion? The seventh tenet provides the answer: "Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant. Nothing human is alien to the religious.... The distinction between the sacred and the secular can no longer be maintained."

But if there is no God, then what is the purpose of life? The eighth tenet gives the answer: "Religious humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man's life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now. This is the explanation of the humanist's social passion."

Thus, for the humanist, social action is synonymous with religious action. What kind of social action? The Fourteenth tenet addresses that question in unequivocal terms:

The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good.
Thus, a socialist society is the goal toward which humanists must strive. The Manifesto ends with this declaration of self-sufficiency for the human race: "Man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its achievement."

The NEA has remained remarkably faithful to the Humanist Manifesto since 1933. For all practical purposes, the public school has become the parochial school for secular humanism. Its doctrines pervade the curriculum from top to bottom. Among the signers of the Humanist Manifesto in 1933 was R. Lester Mondale, Unitarian minister, a relative of Walter Mondale whom the NEA endorsed as Democratic presidential nominee in 1984.

In 1973, humanists reaffirmed their faith in secular humanism by issuing Humanist Manifesto II. It states:

As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival....

The next century can be and should be the humanistic century.
... Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers....

We affirm a set of common principles that can serve as a basis for united action .... They are a design for a secular society on a planetary scale.

There it is in a nutshell, the goal of secular humanism: world government based on the humanist worldview. Concerning God, Humanist Manifesto II states: "No deity will save us; we must save ourselves." Concerning ethics, the document states that "Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction." Concerning sex, the humanists state: "We believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized."

The NEA's resolution on sex education reads:

The Association recognizes that sensitive sex education can be a positive force in promoting physical, mental, and social health and that the public school must assume an increasingly important role in providing the instruction. Teachers must be qualified to teach in this area and must be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits....

The Association urges its affiliates and members to support appropriately established sex education programs, including information on birth control and family planning, parenting skills, sexually transmitted diseases, incest and sexual abuse, the effects of substance abuse during pregnancy, and problems associated with and resulting from preteen and teenage pregnancies.

And in order to prevent interference by parents, the NEA passed a resolution on "privileged communications" which reads:
The National Education Association believes that communications between certificated personnel and students must be legally privileged. It urges its affiliates to aid in seeking legislation that provides this privilege and protects both educators and students.
The major difference between Humanist Manifesto I and Humanist Manifesto II is that the latter puts more stress on individual freedom and democratic rights, and says that economic systems should be judged on their "responsiveness to human needs." Thus, it does not give a blank check to socialism. In this case, the NEA, with its benign attitude toward Marxist revolution in Central America is clearly closer to the radical left than the humanists.

However, the humanists advocate "the development of a system of world law and a world order based upon trans-national federal government." The NEA's advocacy of "global education" is in line with this idea. The NEA also echoes the humanist view of the "common humanity of all people."

In general, Humanist Manifesto II is more atheistic than socialistic. It wants the state to "encourage maximum freedom for different moral, political, religious, and social values in society." The state "should not favor any particular religious bodies through the use of public monies, nor espouse a single ideology." Yet, the humanist ideology itself has become the only ideology permitted in the public schools and has thereby become America's "establishment of religion."

The 103 original signers of Humanist Manifesto II assert that "These affirmations are not a final credo or dogma but an expression of a living and growing faith." So while their "faith" is permitted exclusive dominion in the public schools, the "faith" of Christians is excluded because it is "sectarian" and violates the separation of church and state. Is not secular humanism also sectarian?

Among the signers of Humanist Manifesto II are behaviorist psychologist B. F. Skinner; Betty Friedan, founder of N.O.W.; Alan F. Guttmacher, president of Planned Parenthood and advocate of abortion on demand; assorted professors, scientists, writers, and a host of Unitarian ministers and leaders in the Ethical Union, including Lester Mondale, former president of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists.

Progressive education is humanist education, and the NEA Journal has promoted progressive education from its earliest days. The most frequent writer on educational philosophy for the Journal was William H. Kilpatrick, Dewey's disciple at Teachers College. He was often called upon to answer the critics of progressive education. He was also good at explaining the difference between the old education, which was based on "a psychology that stressed acquisition, even drill, and minimized creative thinking," and the new education based on "the newer psychology which starts with life as the pursuit of ends or purpose."

In 1936 articles by Kilpatrick appeared in the Journal virtually every month. His article in April, "Objectives for Curriculum and Method," summed up the progressive philosophy quite neatly: "Let us not think ... in terms of specific facts or skills," he wrote, "but rather in terms of growing, that present activities shall lead on fruitfully to further, finer, and better activities.... The true unit of study is the organism-in-its-interaction-with-the-environment. Learning is the name we give to the twofold fact that the organism facing novelty may devise and create a new way of responding."

In November 1941, Kilpatrick did an article for the Journal entitled "The Case for Progressivism in Education." Parents and critics were forever urging educators to get back to the basics, and it was always necessary to answer them.

In 1948, the NEA became a sponsor of the National Training Laboratory in Group Development at Bethel, Maine. The NTL had been founded by Kurt Lewin, a German social psychologist who invented "sensitivity training" and "group dynamics," or the psychology of the collective. Lewin had come to the United States in 1933 as a refugee from Nazi Germany. His work was found to be particularly useful in devising group means to improve worker-management relations. It was only natural that his attention would in time be drawn to education. His biographer writes:

Students of progressive education also saw the need for studies of group behavior. This was stimulated by the educational philosophy of John Dewey. To carry out Dewey's theory of "learning by doing," teachers organized such group projects as student self-government and hobby-club activities. This called for the development of leadership skills and the collective setting of group goals .... The teacher could be seen as a group leader who affected his students' learning... by increasing their motivation, encouraging their active participation, and improving their "esprit de corps." Lewin's pioneering research in group behavior thus drew upon the experience of educators in deciding upon and developing topics for research and in establishing a strong interest among social psychologists and teachers.
Lewin's view was that, because of human interdependence, every individual belongs to a group and that "the group to which an individual belongs is the ground for his perceptions, his feelings, and his actions.... It is the ground of the social group that gives to the individual his figured character." To Lewin, a person was "a complex energy field in which all behavior could be conceived of as a change in some state of a field during a unit of time."

Gordon Allport, the Harvard psychologist, wrote of Lewin: "There is a striking kinship between the work of Kurt Lewin and the work of John Dewey. Both agree that democracy must be learned anew in each generation, and that it is a far more difficult form of social structure to attain and to maintain than is autocracy.... Dewey, we might say, is the outstanding philosophical exponent of democracy, Lewin its outstanding psychological exponent."

As a liberal humanist, however, Lewin could never understand the religious underpinnings of American individualism. A man's relationship to God was far more important to a Christian than his relationship to any human being or group. In fact, it provided a guide to one's relations with others - family, friends, teachers, employers, colleagues. It was also the basis of the American form of government - government based on laws, not men.

Yet, for Lewin, strong democratic leadership was the key to effective democracy. The weak German republic which had succumbed to Adolf Hitler was the political image that haunted him. He assumed that American democracy was susceptible to the same weaknesses. To him "laissez-faire" individualism was too anarchic and autocratic dictatorship too repressive. His ideal was some sort of secular democratic collectivism.

Lewin died in 1947, but his impact on American educators has been profound. His biographer writes:

He was one of the few psychologists who could transpose a life problem into controllable experimental form.... The Research Center for Group Dynamics, which Lewin founded at M.I.T., has moved to the University of Michigan, where it continues with many of the same people and remains one of the fountainheads of social research in the United States. The action-research studies, which he initiated, continue to illuminate and shape ongoing community experiments in integrated housing, equalization of opportunity for employment, the cause and cure of prejudice in children, the socialization of street gangs, and the better training of community leaders. Sensitivity training, which he helped to create, is considered by many people to be the most significant educational innovation of the century.
Lewin was particularly concerned with social change and how to make it happen. He found that it was difficult to change individuals who relied on their own independent judgment. But the group could change the individuals within it. Alfred Marrow, Lewin's associate, writes:
To effect any sort of change in the goals or outlook of a group, a change in its equilibrium is necessary. To try to do this by appealing to members individually is seldom effective .... Thus the behavior of a whole group may be more easily changed than that of a single member. This willingness to stick together (cohesiveness) is an essential characteristic of any group. Indeed, without it, it is doubtful that a group could be said to exist at all....

What renders a group cohesive is ... how dynamically interdependent they are. Out of reciprocal dependence for the achievement of goals there arises a readiness to share chores and challenges, and even to reconcile personality clashes.

It is obvious that the leadership of the NEA took advantage of the sensitivity training sessions held at the National Training Laboratories and applied their knowledge of group dynamics to the problems of the NEA. They learned a great deal from the techniques developed by Lewin. Marrow writes: "Of particular concern were the tasks of introducing change and of overcoming resistance to change.... The role of the leader was recognized by Lewin as vital in the process of introducing changes needed to improve group life. Lewin wrote:
Acceptance of the new set of values and beliefs cannot usually be brought about item by item.

The individual accepts the new system of values and beliefs by accepting belongingness to a group.

The chances for re-education seem to be increased whenever a strong we-feeling is created.

Thus, the transformation of the NEA itself into a militant politicized labor organization is a monument to Lewin's group dynamics. Lewin was sensitive to the charge that the purpose of his Research Center was to train experts in "brainwashing" or "group manipulation." But obviously the techniques developed by Lewin and his associates could be used for such purposes. This is particularly true in the application of group pressure. Marrow writes:
Belonging is signified by adherence to the group code. Those who belong "obey." Thus group pressures regulate the conduct of the would-be deviant member. He stays among those with whom he feels he "belongs" even if their conduct seems unfair and their pressure unfriendly. To change his conduct or point of view independently of the group would get him into trouble with his fellow group members.
In 1948, the NEA Journal began publishing articles on group dynamics and group leadership. In February 1949 "Some Skills for Improving Group Dynamics" was published, and in April appeared "Improving the Group Process: Group Dynamics and Local Associations." In January 1950 there was an article describing the purposes of the National Training Laboratory: "To carry on research in ... group decision-making and action planning, and induction of change, resistance to change, the ethics of leadership in inducing change."

In April 1950 the Journal published a case study in group dynamics entitled, "What Makes a Group Tick?" In May 1951 the Journal published its first article on "Teenage Drug Addicts." It reported that in New York state, arrests of youths 16-20 years old for violations of the narcotic law had risen from 74 in 1947 to 453 in 1950. In the December 1951 Journal, Dr. Lester A. Kirkendall, one of the future signers of Humanist Manifesto II, did an article on sex education for the schools. In the February 1952 issue, Hollis L. Caswell, dean of Teachers College, spoke out against the mounting criticism of progressive education. He wrote: "The disposition of laymen to invade the professional field of selection of instructional materials is a threat to sound curriculum development." A year later, Caswell wrote another article for the Journal decrying the fact that "Public education is currently encountering criticism of unusual intensity and scope." The April 1953 issue asserted that "Current attacks on textbooks must be met with calm, constructive, and courageous action."

In April 1954 appeared another article on group dynamics, "More Learning Takes Place When Teacher and Student Understand the Various Roles in the Classroom Group." The next month's Journal offered an article on "Group Therapy for Problem Parents," and the October 1955 issue carried an article on human behavior by Ralph W. Tyler, director of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science. In the following month's issue, the dean of Teachers College once more defended progressive education from its critics.

In the 1950s, the NEA began collecting information on its critics. An article in the December 1955 Journal, entitled "Defense of Teachers," stated:

A dramatic speech in 1950 by Harold Benjamin, then chairman of the Defense Commission, alerted the profession to a threatening new wave of deceitful and destructive criticism of public education.... His address, "Report on the Enemy," sought to awaken the public and the teaching profession....

The NEA Defense Commission has devoted a major portion of its efforts to helping prevent such organized attacks from having seriously damaging effects. It has collected information concerning the background, nature, and purposes of certain organizations engaged in spreading propaganda.

By 1984, the NEA's "enemies list" had grown into the size of a book and includes virtually every organization in favor of capitalism, fundamental Christianity, and conservatism.

The September 1960 Journal published another article promoting humanist psychology, "Behavioral Sciences Can Improve College Teaching," by Professor W. J. McKeachie of the University of Michigan. The February 1961 issue carried an article by Prof Howard Leavitt of the Department of Secondary Education, Boston University, "Social Force and the Curriculum," in which the professor wrote: "Secondary schools can introduce to students the new, expanding behavioral sciences - psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology and social psychology."

The Journal of January 1962 published an article that left no doubt as to how social psychology was already being applied in the classroom. Entitled "The Teacher - Agent of Change," the article explained:

National Training Laboratories of NEA initiated a program for classroom teachers ... at Bethel, Maine....

The training lab is an intensive learning experience... in which a staff of social scientists help translate research findings into classroom practice. Objectives include greater sensitivity in observing and interpreting social and psychological factors in learning groups....

The May 1963 Journal criticized the "Censorship of Textbooks," naming such "censors" as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the John Birch Society and America's Future. The latter-organization was described as "one of the nation's principal propagandists against textbooks," when in actuality all it does is simply have the textbooks reviewed by reputable scholars.

In October 1965, after 40 years of progressive education and. 15 years of Group Dynamics, the Journal reported that teenage syphilis was up 230 percent since 1956! The March 1966 issue carried a revealing article on the impact of psychology on education, entitled "Today's Innovations in Teaching." An article in the same issue by Dr. John I. Goodlad, professor and director of the University Elementary School at U.C.L.A. and director of research and development at the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, was even more explicit. Entitled "Directions of Curriculum Change," Professor Goodlad wrote that the curriculum of the future "will be what one might call the humanistic curriculum and that it may become significantly evident by 1990 or 2000." In defining the "humanistic curriculum," Goodlad explained: "Webster defines humanism as 'a way of life centered upon human interests and values.' Only within a humanistic conception of education and a humanistic conception and conduct of the whole of schooling can a humanistic curriculum center upon human interests and values."

The January 1967 issue carried an article, "Sensitivity Training in the Classroom," plus a piece by Dr. Mary S. Calderone, "Planning for Sex Education." The Journal also took "A New Look at the Seven Cardinal Principles of Education" and found that American teachers of 1966 "returned an overwhelming verdict in favor of the seven cardinal principles as formulated in 1918."

In October 1967 the Journal carried a major article, "Helping Children to Clarify Values," by Louis E. Raths, Merrill Harmen, and Sidney B. Simon. Values clarification is the humanist technique of developing a personal code of morals for one's own personal use, regardless of religious traditions and upbringing. It is the formula for moral relativism. The authors state:

The old approach seems to be to persuade the child to adopt the "right" values rather than to help him develop a valuing process.... Clarifying is an honest attempt to help a student look at his life and to encourage him to think about it in an atmosphere in which positive acceptance exists.... The teacher must work to eliminate his own tendencies to moralize.
The November 1967 Journal focused its attention on "The 'New' Social Studies." The article explained:
Probably the most obvious change occurring in the social studies curriculum is a breaking away from the traditional dominance of history, geography, and civics. Materials from the behavioral sciences - economics, anthropology, sociology, social psychology, and political science - are being incorporated into both elementary and secondary school programs....

Recent studies of political socialization suggest that attitudes toward political institutions and processes are formed at an early age. In the new curriculum, therefore, basic political concepts are introduced in the primary grades.

Another assault on the basics was written by Mario D. Fantini of the Ford Foundation and Gerald Weinstein of Teachers College and published in the January 1968 Journal. Entitled "Reducing the Behavior Gap," the article explained:
We are very much aware that what we suggest here is far from simple. To shift content emphasis from cognition to affect means that school people will have to search for new points of departure for subject matter approaches that have been hallowed by time and custom. But our swiftly changing society requires greater flexibility and dynamism of its educational system.
Our "swiftly changing society" is the usual pretext for getting rid of the basics and overthrowing traditional education. Yet the greatest changes in our society took place between 1800 and 1900, when America changed from an agricultural society to a highly industrialized society, all with the help of traditional educational values.

In 1970, Fantini and Weinstein authored a book, Toward Humanistic Education: A Curriculum of Affect. To indicate their affinity with John Dewey, the authors wrote:

Why does the cognitive orientation not affect behavior directly? [Because] cognition is removed from the real and disconnected from the feeling level of learning. Dewey described the experiential level of learning as follows: ". . . Experience is primarily an active-passive affair; it is not primarily cognitive.". . .

The pervasive emphasis on cognition and its separation from affect poses a threat to our society in that our educational institutions may produce cold, detached individuals, uncommitted to humanitarian goals. Certainly, a modern society cannot function without ever increasing orders of cognitive knowledge. Yet knowledge per se does not necessarily lead to desirable behavior.... Unless knowledge is related to an affective state in the learner, the likelihood that it will influence behavior is limited.

By now the reader must have gathered that "cognition" refers to traditional academic skills and "affect" refers to the emotions. The humanist shift from cognition to affect in education is in line with Dewey's downgrading of independent intelligence.

The March 1968 Journal carried an article, "Behavioral Science in the Classroom," with examples of classroom application. The January 1969 issue published an article on "Role Playing," describing it as "a forceful technique for helping children understand themselves and others and an excellent means of teaching interpersonal and group skills."

By 1969 opposition to the trends in public education began to alarm the NEA. It passed a resolution on "Extremism and the Schools," stating: "The growing opposition to certain curricula and to educational policies is recognized by the Association as a thinly veiled political attack on public education itself. The Association urges its affiliates to take concerted action and, if necessary, legal action, to defend against such irresponsible attacks." So much for freedom of speech!

If the attacks had any influence on the editorial content of the NEA's journal, now called Today's Education, they weren't noticeable. The November 1970 issue published an article on homosexuality by Dr. Martin Hoffman, author of The Gay World. The same issue discussed "Behavioral Objectives in the Affective Domain."

Was all of this humanistic behavioral psychology doing American children any good? The September-October 1977 issue reported on "The Student Suicide Epidemic." Add to that the devastating increase in student drug use and addiction, declining SAT scores, increased vandalism and violence, the venereal disease epidemic, preteen and teen-age pregnancies - and the picture one gets of American education is one of tragedy, despair, and ruin. Yet the NEA wants more control of education!

The simple truth is that the American classroom has become a place where intense psychological warfare is being
waged against all traditional values. A child in an American public school is little more than a guinea pig in a psych lab, manipulated by a trained "change-agent." All of this is being done with billions of federal dollars in the greatest scam in human history. If Americans put up with this much longer, they will deserve the ruin they are paying for.

Get The Book!

NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education by Samuel L. Blumenfeld - the story of the National Education Association, it's ties to socialism, progressive education and behavioral psychology. If it's a part of public education, the NEA approved it.

Suggested Reading List - the Demise of the Educational System - OBE (Outcome-Based Education), NEA (National Education Association), educational psychology, German psychology & influences, demise of public education, educational sabotage, Wundt, Pavlov, Dewey, Skinner, Watson.

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