New Illinois Dumb Down School Grading System | February 23, 2008

The following email was sent to Charlotte Iserbyt...

Dear Charlotte,

Thank you so much for all of your great efforts on behalf of American children and families.

I have an experience to share with you and if you have any contacts in my state of Illinois please alert them to what is going on and if they are teachers they should be able to verify what I am writing to you.

In October of 2007, I was at a park in a small town in central Illinois and I overheard two sisters talking. They were very upset. Both were teachers in two separate schools in a nearby bigger town.

I asked if it was all right if I joined them as I am very interested in what they were talking about: education. They were very agitated and frustrated about a new grading system that they were trained in that they knew would hurt the students and help dumb them down. If I recall correctly there would no longer be any letter grades at all, no ABCD or F or even S for satisfactory or U for unsatisfactory. The new mandated grading that they were told was ordered by the Governor was a number system of 1, 2, 3, or 4. One being the lowest and four being the highest. However, they were instructed that No one was to be given a 1 as that would 'hurt' the child and those who got ones would have to be put in a special class and the state did not want to pay for special ed teachers for those struggling in school. And you will have to fill out lots of paperwork and we don't like that, just give them a 2 no mater how badly that they do in class. They were also told do not give a 4 either. Everyone was to get a 2 or a 3. Even formerly straight A or B students would only be able to receive a 3. All others who would have been a C or D or F student were to receive a 2.

One of them asked the trainers what would a student have to do to earn a 4. They were told the only way for that to happen was if the child had gotten all of the questions or problems correct AND that they then had to spontaneously, without one suggestion from the teacher, turned their paper over and do extra credit on their own initiative.

Another Mom who joined us was there and said, I know my little cousin just got 100% on her paper and yet did not get a 4 but a 3 and she is really upset about it as she has been an A student since she began school and does not understand why she was denied a 4 on her paper.

The teachers hate this new system that has been forced upon them by the State school board most likely by having the federal funds held over their heads.

This is disgraceful, it is discouraging the bright students so that they may lose their desire to achieve and they are trying to 'averagize downward' those who may just need a little extra attention to help them advance. The grading system and those who put it in are attempting to make all the students of the state of Illinois mediocre.

I am very concerned. PLEASE can you do anything? My children are grown; however, I have a lot of family in the state and what they are doing to these precious children and their potential is criminal. This is why the Department of Education must go, the local school boards need to take back control and reestablish true education in our schools and be accountable to the parents.

Thank you,


From: Charlotte Iserbyt>
Date: February 23, 2008 8:01:29 AM PST
To: Patricia
Subject: Re: new dumb down grading system in Illinois


Thank you for your very interesting and important email.

It is always helpful to have information straight from the poor teachers' mouths.  They are the only ones who know exactly what is going on, even if, often, they do not know why it is being done to the children and to them.

The system is really a totally ungraded system, but "they" wouldn't want us to know that, would they? Someone might compare it to the Soviet system, and that would be a "no-no".  In a socialist/collectivist society all are equal.  No one is allowed to excel.  The basic reason for education is not learning but training.

Do you have my book "the deliberate dumbing down of america"?  If not, you can either read it free at my website or order it from me.  My little book "Back to Basics Reform Or...OBE...Skinnerian INternational Curriculum" written in 1985, which was boycotted by the neoconservative movement,  is also a pdf on my website.  It has some dynamite quotes related to your quandary, one of which. out of the mouth of a very important change agent ,  Professor James Block, follows:

Excerpt from Back to Basics:

"When you are told by educators that Outcomes Based Education/Mastery Learning is not a Skinnerian Dumbdown System of Education, focussing on behavioral change (collectivism vs. individualism), show them the following statement by Jim Block, William Spady's co-worker, which appeared in an article by him entitled:  MASTERY LEARNING:  THE CURRENT STATE OF THE CRAFT, Educational Leadership, November, 1979:

"One of the striking personal features of mastery learning, for example, is the degree to which it encourages cooperative individualism in student learning as opposed to selfish competition.  Just how much room is there left in the world for individualists who are more concerned with their own performance than the performance of others?  One of the striking societal features of mastery learning is the degree to which it presses for a society based on the excellence of all participants rather than one based on the excellence of a few.  Can any society afford universal excellence, or must all societies make most people incompetent so that a few can be competent?"

And don't forget hat the new phonics reading method DIRECT INSTRUCTION is based on Skinnerian mastery learning/outcomes based education research.  When the sheeple get upset they just change the labels.

I am forwarding your email to all my contacts.

Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
Former Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Department of Education

Former President of the Soviet Union Gorbachev said in 2000, in London: "The European Union is the New European Soviet. " Since the North American Union is modelled on the European Union, what would Gorbachev call the North American Union?