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More than red, white and blue

Apr 28, 2013 - By Randy Tucker

There are lots of ways -- incuding bad ones -- to assess human intelligence.

In a lecture on linguistics, Dr. John McWhorter of Dartmouth University referred to a study conducted in 1938 as part of the Depression-era WPA under President Roosevelt.

The study was conducted with children of the Zuni and Hopi tribes, along with white children from small rural Ohio towns and black children from inner city Baltimore. It was intended to observe the innate intelligence levels of all three groups of children.

In the study, three geometric shapes -- a cube, a four-sided pyramid and a ball -- were painted either red, white or blue. The shapes came in small, medium and large sizes. Each object then was painted one of the three colors. For example, the large sphere was white, the medium sphere blue and the small sphere red. The other two shapes were painted in similar style.

The children were asked to group the objects in similar patterns

The Ohio children sorted them all by shape.

The Baltimore children sorted them all by size.

The American Indian children sorted them all by color.

The researchers determined that the children from Ohio (white) had the highest level of intelligence because the researchers themselves would have sorted them by shape.

The Baltimore children (black) were deemed to have the second-highest level of intelligence because it could be argued that shape was involved with the size measurement.

The Hopi and Zuni were deemed inferior because color has nothing to do with size or shape.

If you look carefully at the results it is easy to see the inherent bias in the study.

The Baltimore children were very poor and equated size with greater value. The Ohio children had better math education and had already been instructed in how to sort objects earlier in the school year.

If you view Hopi and Zuni art you see vibrant color patterns in clothing, pottery and jewelry, Colorful art is an important part of their culture, but it was deemed inferior since it didn't fit the norm of white, academic society at the time.

In the words of Chief Lone Waddie in the film "The Outlaw Josie Wales, "the white man has been sneaking up on us for a long time."

History is an academic area in general decline at all grade levels of American education. The overwhelming drive to raise math and reading scores trumps all other areas of the curriculum and leaves the social sciences, art, music and literature out of the academic preparation of an entire generation.

In its stead, Hollywood has filled the void with wildly popular films that bear a thin shred of reality amidst the special effects and revisionist views of bygone eras. Perhaps no single group of people has been more falsely epitomized than the Americans Indians.

But Hollywood sells in our insane, celebrity driven culture.

Hollywood and Washington, D.C., are separated by the vast expanse of America but intellectually they may as well share the same ZIP code.

Federal education experts have infused the curriculum at your local school with social engineering in its basest form, the same type of clever manipulation that deemed an entire culture intellectually inferior three generations ago.

One of my many part-time jobs is to help undergraduate and graduate students with difficult college assignments in math, history, computer science and education. While the first two are always straightforward assignments, the history section often is a bit revisionist for my taste and the education portion is simply ludicrous.

A process that actually helps children to learn is never presented. The use of manipulatives in an elementary math class, the tie-in of historical events with current trends or any literary reference at all is devoid from the process.

In its place you find insipid reference to fairness, self-esteem and constant references to what I call "men bad, (fill in the blank) good" I bet you didn't realize that half of the population is inherently evil, did you?

Schools buy this stuff because it always comes attached to federal dollars. It doesn't play well in serious classrooms, but the bean counters need the bucks, and the bucks come with strings.

You can add a big string of this to your children and grandchildren's future education here in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Legislature created the new CEO position at the Wyoming Department of Education as part of an unending assault on education.

The first act of new education CEO Jim Rose was to request a federal waiver on the use of the ACT rather than following the federal law in creating our own test.

No big deal, right? Except that the waiver comes with full federal intrusion into the local curriculum. That's right, if the waiver is approved Washington will call the shots, not your local school board.

If you appreciate this latest loss of local control please thank the following Fremont County legislators at the ballot box next year for their support of SF0104 back in February: State Sen. Eli Bebout and State Reps. Patrick Goggles, Rita Campbell and Lloyd Larsen.

Maybe we can put the blocks back together in a coherent pattern, beginning with a change at the top.

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