Achieva Credit Union Box Car Rally

On Saturday, September 17th, a group of Delphi Dragons competed in the 2nd Annual Achieva Credit Union Box Car Rally on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. Our talented dragons, Xane Taufer, Connor Steward, Mason Damanti, Megan Spencer, Nick Koenig and Devin McDaniel spent two weeks building the car under the direction of Greg Scott and Colin Taufer. Delphi's car, piloted by Connor Steward, raced down Cleveland Street head to head against cars from all over Tampa Bay. With the races complete and the final race scores tallied, the Dragons were declared the 2011 Pee Wee Division Champions! Our huge trophy sits proudly in the office!

Censorship and Reason, by Colin Taufer, Headmaster

March 10, 2010

                                                 Censorship and Reason

  In 1807, Dr. Thomas Bowdler published his edition of the Family Shakespeare. This edition was his attempt at “purifying” the work of Shakespeare, removing whole lines and sections that he deemed obscene. While it served the noble purpose of making Shakespeare’s work “family friendly”, it also became one of the best-known examples of censorship of classic literature. In fact, the term ‘bowdlerize’ is now found in modern
dictionaries.

  In 1925, the Scopes Trial, sometimes known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, captivated the nation. It was a legal test of the Butler Act which made it unlawful "to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals". At the heart of this case was who determined what got taught to the children of our nation’s schools.

  Today the question of who is deciding what your child is learning is as relevant as ever. In her 2003 book, The Language Police, author and historian of education, Diane Ravitch exposes the carefully planned and executed bowdlerization of the modern American textbook. School boards and bias and sensitivity committees review, abridge, and modify texts to delete potentially offensive words, topics, and imagery. Publishers practice self-censorship to sell books in big states. Are we sanitizing our curriculum and avoiding controversy at the expense of literary quality and historical accuracy?

  This is an important question as we head down the path of standardizing the nation’s curriculum standards. Currently President Obama’s campaign to raise academic standards is gaining momentum. On March 10th, the nation’s governors and state school chiefs proposed nationwide standards for what students should learn in English and math, from kindergarten through high school. (You can see these standards here www.corestandards.org.)

  Unfortunately, one consequence of a single set of academic standards is that it will further reduce the availability of diversified textbooks as publishers aim to sell their sanitized texts not just to the biggest states but to the entire country.

  It is safe to say that the debate of what gets included and excluded in American school curriculum may never go away. Curriculum content is ever-evolving and will continue to be influenced by pressure groups pushing their interpretation of what is and isn’t important upon the students of America.

  So the problem of what the student studies becomes secondary to how the student studies, and more importantly, how the student learns to weigh and draw conclusions from his studies.
As L. Ron Hubbard put it, “There is a difference between memorizing and rationalizing. Knowledge is more than data; it is also the ability to draw conclusions.” (‘Basic Reason – Basic Principles’ The Educator’s Course.)

  The student of today lives in an age where he is immersed in unimaginable amounts of information that is accessible more easily than ever. There is no shortage of information resources. And for every subject one can study, it’s not hard to find contrary facts. Couple this with his textbooks being sanitized by forces unseen and the student’s ability to reason becomes the most important thing we can teach him.

  From a very early age the child must be taught to reason. When a young student asks a question that he himself is capable of answering, he can be encouraged to reason out the answer. From sounding out a word to figuring out how to build a windmill, the student must be pushed to discover his own knowledge, to draw his own conclusions. The reasoning powers the young child uses to fix a flat bicycle tire or work out the spelling of a difficult word are no different than those used to decide whether to vote Republican or Democrat.

  The parent and teacher must take every opportunity to build the child’s logical reasoning skills. They must understand the senior importance of the conclusions drawn from the data by the student, not the data itself.

    Colin Taufer
    Headmaster

Article by Founding Headmaster, “How did the Education Scene Get in This Condition?”

 

HOW DID THE EDUCATION SCENE GET IN THIS CONDITION?

 
      I am often asked what it is that is so wrong with education today and, as you probably have much opportunity in you own community to notice the effects of today’s education, I thought that I would address this subject a bit in this letter. 
 

      Although it may be obvious to all of you that the level of literacy and knowledge in your environment is becoming abysmal, I don’t know how many of you are certain that this represents an actually plummeting statistic—that the educational level (especially in the United States) used to be very high indeed. As an example, I can tell you that Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, at the time of its original publication (January 1776), was a best seller in the colonies with over half a million copies sold amongst a population of 600,000 white families. I would encourage you to personally read a few pages so that you can see for yourself the level of literacy possessed by the men who stood and fought in order to make of this country a free republic. 
 

HISTORY 
 

      Throughout approximately this first 100 years of this nation, education progressed along the lines generally influenced by the values the Founding Fathers placed on education. Undoubtedly, the expansion of the school systems was slower than it might have been but, generally speaking, the industrial, economic, agricultural and cultural growth experienced by the U.S. during this period was a tribute to these values and the educational networks they inspired. American schools were demanding and the level of skills in language and mathematics required of a high school graduate were sufficient to awe the average college graduate of today. 
 
 

PSYCHOLOGY 
 

      The nation’s second 100 years saw the great changes that have culminated in our present scene. These changes were forged from three new social ingredients: Fabian Socialism, the great corporation foundations, and Wundtian psychology. You can get quite an illuminating perspective on the evolution of this change by reading the book The Leipzig Connection (copies can be obtained here at the school) but I thought I’d fill you in a bit on where these changes have taken U.S. education and what seems to lie ahead. 
 

      It must be said at the outset, the psychology’s hold on education is presently complete, and that, with very few exceptions, there is in the nation no education which is not psychology.  This is regardless of whether the school be public or private. The production statistics are impressive: 42% of our high school graduates today are “functionally illiterate” which is an encoded way of saying that they can’t (or won’t) read or write; in one year, recently, 72,000 American teachers were physically assaulted by students; 10% of U.S. school children are currently on Ritalin, a prescribed central nervous system stimulant—this is given to keep them quiet; according to one survey, 80% of central Los Angeles teachers are on Valium. Impressive. 
 
 

      Three types of psychology emerged from the ferment of the early years and these are brands you will find on sale in your local schools: behavioral, developmental, and humanistic. Behavioral psychology is a tool for modifying behavior to socially desirable patterns. It is the type of psychology that does its homework with white mice and monkeys and now advocates mood-altering drugs and brain implants. This is some hard core stuff. Developmental psychology is largely traceable to the Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, who “discovered” that a baby’s intelligence develops in physiologically determined stages and that the baby is the only animal who doesn’t inherit all his survival traits (finding food, etc.) so these have to be drilled into him at these different stages. Humanistic psychology is the most insidious and perhaps the most evil of the three. Here are some typical statements by humanistic educators: 
 

    “Some changes are desperately needed. Schools can no longer be permitted to carry out such a horrendously effective program for drying up students’ sense of their own sexual identity. The schools must not be allowed to continue fostering the immorality of morality. An entirely different set of values must be nourished.”1 
     

    “…the concept of learning a particular amount of content as a preparation for life is obsolete, and must be abandoned…Emphasis on content is outdated…”2 
     

    “…how a person feels is more important that what he knows.”3

      (Emphasis added.) 
 

      All psychology postulates the individual as being impacted by his environment and views its own job as one of helping the individual find and accept a “behavior pattern” that will allow him to adapt to the environment. And that’s where “education” comes in. In fact, that’s what “education” is nowadays. It is the “science” of training people to “receive” their environments rather than training people to be able to causatively and effectively deal with their environments. Among the results, we have disco zombies, conditioned by advertising and media to live out their lifetimes preoccupied with sensory gratification, rather than exercising their spiritual strengths. This is the current scene—politically, economically and culturally. 
 

THE CURRENT SCENE AND THE FUTURE 
 

      Symptomatic of the national condition is the created and well-publicized shift in the popular attitude to drugs. The situation is rapidly deteriorating and our children must be educated to be able to deal with the world they will confront as adults. By “deal with it,” I mean they must be able to really take it on as its core and turn it around, either at our sides or where we leave off. And so we must build up our schools—we must invest in them with our time, with our goals, with our best methods and with our money. If we do this, we will have a future to talk about. It’s not a small project and I believe all educators will welcome your help. I can tell you right now that what I want are the best, most able, most responsible and ambitious students you know and can help get here. We must educate our future leaders. 
 
 
Alan Larson
Founding Headmaster of the Delphian School
 

                                

A Message on “Exploring Education” From the Headmaster

                                               January 4, 2010 
 

Exploring Education 
 

Ours is a technology driven society. Every day newer, better, faster, smaller, more powerful micro-gadgets hit the street, pushing yesterday’s older, slower, less powerful, not-so-micro-gadgets aside. The advance is swift. Technology marches on.  
 

As a child, one of my most treasured micro-gadgets was a Sony Walkman. I could listen to an album’s worth of my favorite music on a compact cassette tape; it was my own personal concert. The sound quality was fair. The music would speed or slow according to battery strength. But it was cutting edge technology and it was fantastic.  
 

Comparing the technology of the Walkman to today’s is laughable. With no moving parts, today’s digital music device can hold 40,000 songs and is a fraction of the size of the Walkman. And if that’s not enough, it’ll also store and display 200 hours of video. Incredible! 
 

So what happened to yesterday’s micro-gadget maker? 
 

The answer lies in this famous quote by educator Dr. Laurence Peter: “Everyone rises to their level of incompetence.” 
 

Unfortunately, yesterday’s micro-gadget maker, the expert in the technology of compact cassettes, is a master of a dying technology. We can hope his expertise advanced apace with the technology and he is today gainfully employed in a related field. If this is the case, and we hope it is, we can correctly assume his core competencies, his ability to study, to read, to mathematically compute and to reason, were fully achieved in his schooling as a child.  
 

But what of the micro-gadget maker lacking these solid academic basics? Without these components of competence in place, like yesterday’s discarded micro-gadget, his ability to make his way in today’s world has vanished. He has gone from king to pauper.  
 

How does the educator of the present prepare today’s students to be competent with the unknown technologies of tomorrow?  
 

The answer lies in the teaching of the basic academics, the traditional core competencies: reading, writing and arithmetic. Beyond that the teacher must add still more competencies: the ability to study, to communicate, to research and to reason.  
 

All of these abilities, fully taught to a very high standard, give the young student a firm foundation upon which all future education can be built. And from there he can build his own kingdom no matter where the tides of technology and change carry him. 
 

For, as the Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle said, “The king is the man who can.” 
 

Colin Taufer

Headmaster