"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, October 19, 2009

Positive Psychology, Green Dot, and Barbara Ehrenreich

Last week, Barbara Ehrenreich appear on Democracy Now! to discuss her new book, Bright Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.  The positive psychology movement, spearheaded by Martin Seligman and massive funding from the Templeton Foundation, is also favored by "no excuses" education reformers and fast-track teacher preparation programs claiming "all children will succeed" (with both camps fully supported by corporate hucksters and hedge fund managers).  Here is a ten minute segment of Barbara's interview:

The inspirational speakers Barbara refers to are not limited to the corporate world; they're also interested in the (potentially) lucrative field of education.  The NED Show, which supposedly teaches kids to be champions, is a prime example of the positive psychology profit machine in action.  Check out their video here, and their pricing section here (even the free show requires the school to sell NED yo-yos for five days).
Students in California - including those at Green Dot (he's on their Preferred Vendors list - might be lucky enough to see Jerome Carter at their school.  Jerome is the creator of Inspiration 52.  Mr. Carter offers "the pledge," which reads as follows:
I will recognize and live like I know and believe
That I am gifted, talented, and unique beyond anything I can imagine
As a result, I must be accountable to those in authority
And take full responsibility for my actions
I will always work hard, because this is how my dreams will come true
I understand that my choices will determine my ultimate destiny in life
I understand that I can persevere through pain and tough situations
I will make a sincere effort to get along with others because I recognize no one succeeds alone
I will learn from my mistakes and participate in events that will move me forward in life
I am a leader
I am Inspiration 52
And a full video of "the pledge:"

Of course, the very same children that are "gifted, talented, and unique" are provided a standards-based education with a rigid focus on standardized testing, which, of course, negates the whole uniqueness idea (not to mention nullifying talent, unless we're talking about the ability to use a #2 pencil to fill in a bubble).
You can see another video of the program in action.  You can see the lives of these young people "changed right before your eyes":

[The program deserves a half ounce of credit for actually encouraging students to write about their own lives, but that can be done by any teacher willing to break away from the prepackaged curricula and top-down reforms favored by education reformers.]

1 comment:

  1. "As a result, I must be accountable to those in authority" -- because those in authority, like AIG, Goldman Sachs, BofA, and Countrywide, have shown us a paradigm of accountability.

    "I will always work hard, because this is how my dreams will come true" -- therefore, I and anyone else who doesn't succeed is lazy and/or stupid. We all know how hard AIG bailout recipient Eli Broad, convicted insider trader Michael Milkin, convicted predatory monopolist William Gates, and the Walton children worked to amass their fortunes. That's why their attempts to reform eduction is a "gift." Each and everyone of us could be billionaires if we just internalized the phrase "my choices will determine my ultimate destiny in life!"

    At least the ruling class has made an attempt to mask their ideology and propaganda with a hip, urban veneer. Public education advocates, social justice activists, and the left have a lot of work to do in order to counter this outrageous propaganda and indoctrination!