Most parents of public school children are unaware that teachers all
across America are now practicing psychotherapy in the classroom without
a license. Not only do they not have a license, but they haven’t even
had adequate training. In fact, many teachers don’t even know that they
are practicing psychotherapy. They think that what they are doing has
something to do with education. For example, sex education, death
education, drug education, decision making, transcendental meditation,
sensitivity training, values clarification and other such programs are
now considered a legitimate and important part of education. But they
are not. They are forms of psychotherapy intended to affect the
emotions, beliefs, values, and behavior of the students.

All of this is very well explained in a booklet of 49 pages, which I
recently received from the Commonwealth Education Organization. The
booklet, written by Dr. Ann Landell, clinical psychologist, is entitled,
“Shifting Roles.” It deals with the heavy-handed intrusion of
psychotherapy into education, which has turned students, who supposedly
go to school to acquire certain academic skills, into patients whose
emotions and values become the school’s major concerns.

Dr. Landell asks three basic questions, which she answers in the
booklet: 1) How do the professions of psychology and education differ?
2) Do all children need therapy in the same way that all children need
reading, writing, science and math? 3) Does the practice of classroom
psychology always help children, or can it harm them?

There is no doubt that there is a big difference between education
and psychology. When I went to school back in the 1930s and ’40s,
teachers taught academic subject matter exclusively. My teachers were
not in the least interested in my feelings, or beliefs, or values. They
only wanted to know if I was learning what they were teaching. I was a
student, not a patient. As a result, those of us who attended school in
those years came out of the system pretty well educated. We fought in
World War II and won, and many of my colleagues went on to build the
foundations of what is today our high-tech economy. Tom Brokaw has
called us the best generation in American history, all because we knew
how to read and write, defended the U.S. Constitution, and adhered to
biblical moral principles.

Psychologists deal with mental and behavioral disorders. They deal
with deviants from the norm, and therefore require highly specialized
training. Teachers are supposedly trained to teach children academic
skills and a body of significant knowledge. The children they teach are
generally considered normal. But behavioral scientists have targeted
normal children as those requiring radical change. All you have to do
is read Prof. Benjamin Bloom’s definition of education in his “Taxonomy
of Educational Objectives” — the bible of progressive curriculum
developers published in 1956 — to understand where this intrusive
concept of psychology comes from.

Bloom wrote,

    By educational objectives, we mean explicit formulations of the
    ways in which students are expected to be changed by the educative
    process. That is, the ways in which they will change in their thinking,
    their feelings, and their actions. …

    (Psychologist Gordon) Allport (1954) emphasizes the basic
    reorganization that must take place in the individual if really new
    values and character traits are to be formed. …

    The evidence points out convincingly to the fact that age is a factor
    operating against attempts to effect a complete or thorough-going
    reorganization of attitudes and values. …

    The evidence collected thus far suggests that a single hour of
    classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major
    reorganization in cognitive as well as affective behaviors.

The behavioral psychologists divided education into two domains:
cognitive and effective. The cognitive domain supposedly dealt with
academic instruction, while the affective domain was the cover under
which psychotherapy was to be introduced into the classroom. Note that
the aim of effecting a “complete or thorough-going reorganization of
attitudes and values” implied that the attitudes and values of the
normal child had to be changed. These were values, often religious, that
the child had acquired at home from his parents.

Charlotte Iserbyt, author of “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of
America,” writes in her Preface,

    I have always found it interesting that the controversial school
    programs are the only ones that have the word “education” attached to
    them! I don’t recall — until recently — “math ed.,” “reading ed.,”
    “history ed.,” or “science ed.” A good rule of thumb … is to question
    any subject that has the word “education” attached to it.

To prove her point, Iserbyt quotes from The School Counselor of
May 1977, which dealt with the subject of death education:

    An underlying, but seldom spoken, assumption of much of the death
    education movement is that Americans handle death and dying poorly and
    that we ought to be doing better at it. As in the case of many other
    problems, many Americans believe that education can initiate change.
    Change is evident, and death education will play as important a part in
    changing attitudes toward death as sex education played in changing
    attitudes toward sex information and wider acceptance of various sexual

Which means that when they teach “sex education,” they are
really just teaching sex. When they teach “drug education,” they are
really teaching drugs. But even the so-called cognitive domain has been
contaminated with psychotherapy through the use of bibliotherapy. Dr.
Landell writes,

    Bibliotherapy, as the word implies, is a method of doing therapy
    through books. … (For example): Third graders studying slavery spend
    one day as master and one day as slave in the classroom. What did the
    children learn from this intense lesson? After “feeling the pain” of
    being a slave to classmates relishing their master role as only third
    graders can, one child said, “It’s really important to be top dog!”
    Creating committed overlords was not the intent of the lesson, but it
    was the result. If you spent a day as slave and a day as overlord,
    which would you choose? And choose with gusto, because of the
    emotionally manipulative teaching method.

Emotional manipulation is used throughout the curriculum to
produce politically correct young adults who may not know how to read,
but will know how to respond correctly to an assortment of stimuli. If
the young adult does not have the intellectual, psychological,
philosophical, or theological maturity to deal with the stimuli thrown
at him, he will respond emotionally, like any primitive, superstitious

On the matter of decision making, Dr. Landell writes,

    Decision making models used in sex education, drug and suicide
    prevention programs often lead children to list the pros and cons of
    these actions. Each pro listed whets the appetite for the action, stirs
    interest and creates motivation for the action. As one sixth grader
    said to her father, “Daddy, you better get me out of that DARE program.
    It makes drugs look interesting.” … Weighing the pros and cons of such
    behaviors changes them in students’ minds from “weirdness out there” to
    “things I could do.”

Dr. Landell also discusses the psychotherapeutic issues of
Self-Esteem Education, Higher-Order Thinking, Dual Roles, and
Confidentiality. If you have a child in a public school, you owe it to
yourself to get hold of this booklet. You can do so by writing:
Commonwealth Education Organization, 1330 Old Freeport Road, Suite 1A,
Pittsburgh, PA 15238-3112, or phone: 412-967-9691, fax: 412-967-9694.

Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education,
including “NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education,” “The Whole
Language/OBE Fraud,” and “Homeschooling: A Parents Guide to Teaching
Children.” He is also the author of a popular reading instruction
program, “Alpha-Phonics.” All of these books are available on

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