Fixing Education: The Deeply Embedded Problem of Behavioral Modification Techniques

Americans are awakening to a disturbing reality. The public-school systems which they have trusted to educate their children are nothing more than behavioral modification centers designed to condition their minds for global government. While parents are rightly standing against this indoctrination into liberalism, many attribute it to either the current administration or Obama’s Common Core standards. Obama certainly put the pedal to the metal in advancing ideas like social justice. Unfortunately, the poison of leftist thinking infected our schools decades ago. What we see today is the culmination of a system designed to socialize the student into a collective consciousness. To deprive him or her of the ideas of individual liberty and personal responsibility and train them to be good little global citizens. Showing up to local school board meetings may be a good start, but it will take more than one or two parents challenging the curriculum. The public schools are well-oiled machines, where teachers are trained in behavioral modification techniques, and the goal is to change the very values we associate with Americanism. The harsh reality that we must face, if we are to stand a chance of reversing course, is that the social engineers are decades ahead of us in their understanding of behaviorism and human psychology. They have been working on this since the early 1900s.

John Dewey, known to the left as the father of modern education, and author of Democracy and Education, was a Fabian Socialist. The Fabians believed that socialism could be implemented incrementally through voting. To accomplish this, society needed to be trained into adopting socialist values. At the height of the industrial revolution, Dewey saw the need to move away from traditional education where reading, writing, and arithmetic were the focus. He also believed the foundational institutions, which defined American values, like the family and church, were unable to fulfill the needs of the developing society. Science and nature learning would take precedent. Dewey advocated a free public education system where children were guided by trained teachers into accepting new values that would prompt them to advance an egalitarian society. In other words, over the past one hundred years, children have been incrementally trained to view socialism as a superior alternative to capitalism. Today’s students are inundated with political issues and trained to be advocates for left-wing solutions. Critical Race Theory is a good example, as it is an academic discipline that contains an activist element, training students to be advocates for social change.

“A being whose activities are associated with others has a social environment. What he does and what he can do depend upon the expectations, demands, approvals, and condemnations of others. A being connected with other beings cannot perform his own activities without taking the activities of others into account. For they are the indispensable conditions of the realization of his tendencies.” (Dewey, 1916)

What Dewy is arguing aligns so much with what we heard coming from the Obama administration, or leftists in general. Our accomplishments are not our own or even possible, without the collective cooperation of the whole society.

How do you train students to adopt a new system of values and beliefs that prompts them to accept, or push for, a system that historically has led to nothing but misery and despair? The answer is as disturbing as it is factual. The science of human behavior has been perfected and applied in the classroom to produce desirable behavioral changes for decades. What is the science of behavior? B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning works to manipulate the student’s environment to force them to behave in a specified manner. Based on the same basic principles as Pavlov’s classical conditioning, the difference lies in reinforcement. According to Skinner, attaching the reinforcement (reward for good behavior) to the desired response strengthens that response and increases the likelihood the response will be repeated. Pavlov’s experiments revolved around the reinforcement being attached to the stimulus itself. To put this into simpler terms, children are being brainwashed using rewards or praise when they adjust their behaviors or attitudes to align with liberal thinking, or isolated and ridiculed when they do not. Skinner said in Beyond Freedom and Dignity that the fear of approval/disapproval is a powerful motivator for producing desired behavior. The environment, Skinner states, is so effective in producing behavioral changes, it is hard to believe that we have any control over our own actions at all.

These are difficult concepts to swallow. The idea that people’s thoughts and actions can be controlled flies in the face of the traditional beliefs of free will and a higher power guiding human consciousness. Even Skinner acknowledges this. He also acknowledges that conditioning may not necessarily change deep-rooted beliefs, only behaviors. People who have deep convictions about human nature and God are unlikely to change these beliefs. They can be induced to keep quiet, however, and not take a stand for fear of being socially isolated. Children’s minds, on the other hand, especially in a social environment like the classroom, are very malleable and easily influenced by positive reinforcement techniques. Skinner believed that a science of behavior could be used to establish control over behavior and that it would be impossible to apply this type of science if the organism in question is assumed to be able to act on its own accord. In other words, a science of human behavior was developed with the pre-existing bias that men were not in control of their behavior, and behavior itself is controlled by environmental and evolutionary factors.

“If we are to use the methods of science in the field of human affairs, we must assume that behavior is lawful and determined. We must expect to discover that what a man does is the result to specifiable conditions and that once these conditions have been discovered, we can anticipate and to some extent determine his actions. This possibility is offensive to many people. It is opposed to a tradition of long-standing which regards man as a free agent, whose behavior is the product, not of specifiable antecedent conditions, but of spontaneous inner changes of course.” (Skinner, 1953)

B.F. Skinner, and others who believe in the necessity of developing a science of behavior, are so opposed to the idea of God and free will that they claim men’s actions that defy their ideas do not necessarily prove the concept of free will, only that behavior may be beyond the realm of science.

How long has this been going on? Democracy and Education was written in 1916, Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior, 1953. In 1969, the U.S. Government office of Health, Education, and Welfare released the document Reducing Behavioral Problems: An Operant Conditioning Guide for Teachers. This document began the process of training teachers in the use of positive reinforcement to produce desirable behaviors. It acknowledges that “the laws of operant behavior are generalizations drawn from the experimental analysis of behavior.” The government, under the Republican administration of Richard Nixon, argued that a child’s behavior will be shaped by their environmental circumstances regardless, and because of this, teachers can justifiably use reinforcement techniques to produce optimal results.

“The teacher does not have a choice in the question of whether her children will be influenced by reinforcing and punishing events. The only choices the teacher has are (1) to use reinforcement principles systematically to optimally help her children develop, (2) to blindly and haphazardly approach the training of her children, or (3) to leave the training to less competent sources of reinforcement and punishment, such as other children.” (Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1969)

According to the book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, a paper entitled “People Control Blueprint” was published in the 1972 edition of the journal, The National Educator. While a thorough search for this paper online has produced zero results beyond a literal copy and paste from the book, the author, Charlotte Iserbyt, is a highly credible source of information. Other sources she has used have been found by this writer. This document discusses the use of Skinner’s operant conditioning as a means of controlling behavior and imposing the type of controls that would be necessary to save our species from “rising populations, depletion of natural resources and rising pollution levels.” Sound familiar? Interestingly, the authors of this paper allegedly state they are concerned “with controlling upheavals and anarchic behavior associated with social change and discontent,” and that because of operant conditioning, society is ready to abandon their old ideas and accept government control “in response to their own fears.” Some truths just speak for themselves. We see people in America literally demanding the elimination of freedom in response to Covid-19, terrorism, crime, and any other media-hyped stimulus which may frighten them.

Behavioral modification then has been applied in education before the parents who are now awakening to it were even born. This writer was born in 1973, four years after the introduction of Reducing Behavioral Problems: An Operant Conditioning Guide for Teachers. By the time he was in the first grade, operant conditioning has been a part of public schooling for a decade. Where does this leave us now? In a recent document released by the U.K. Institute of Government entitled Mindspace, which is a discussion on using public policy initiatives to control people and behavior, the lessons learned after fifty years of using operant conditioning in the classroom are being applied to the shaping of public policy. Models of behavioral change like the Context Model, seek to change behavior by manipulating the environment in which people make decisions.

“The contrasting model of behavior change focuses on the more automatic processes of judgment and influence – what Robert Cialdini calls the click and whirr processes of the mind. This shifts the focus of attention away from facts and information, and towards altering the context within which people act. We might call this the context model of behavior change. The context model recognizes that people are sometimes seemingly irrational and inconsistent in their choices, often because they are influenced by surrounding factors. Therefore, it focuses more on changing behavior without changing minds.”

While it is certainly encouraging to see parents take a stand for their children’s education, it must be realized at the same time, that they are fighting something that is firmly entrenched in the system. A refined science of behavioral control, which reinforces desired behaviors and beliefs through systems of rewards and punishments takes advantage of a very well-known fact about human beings. We have a need to belong, and a fear of being isolated and alone. If teachers can present socialist beliefs as the norm, and create an environment where these beliefs are unacceptable, they can prevent, at the very least, students with different ideas from acting on them. The sciences of control have been perfected to the point that society itself is influenced by stimulus-response programming. Covid-19 and the fear of getting sick have proven this as people across the world have demonstrated a simple concept to be true. “People are sometimes seemingly irrational and inconsistent in their choices, often because they are influenced by surrounding factors.” The solution to this is understanding that a science of behavior revolves around the idea that we cannot make rational decisions for ourselves, we do not have free will, but the environment determines our behavior. This type of thinking is Darwinian in origin and suggests that we are nothing but a higher form of animal. We cannot expect to fix this without developing a thorough understanding of how we got here and how embedded this thinking is in driving educational processes, curriculums and agendas. Challenging the local school boards, however, is a good start.


To learn more about this topic and others, check out my book Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion.



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