An Open Letter to Teachers in Alpine School District

Update 10/23/10: for those of you looking for the most relevant information on the elections I recommend you visit for candidates that will act as the public watchdogs we need, instead of acting as apologists for district policies.


Original post:

An open letter to the teachers of Alpine School District (ASD) – I encourage all parents to forward this email to their children’s teachers and principals, and then to your friends elsewhere so they can be aware of the transformation taking place in our schools.

Dear Teacher or Principal,

Thank you for becoming teachers and engaging in the challenging and rewarding work of inspiring the rising generation. Thousands of families hope for your success in reaching their children to help them achieve all they can. I write you to express my concern over a dangerous agenda which is filtering into schools around our country and even into our own school district to an extent. My hope is to simply raise your awareness so that you are not drawn into these philosophies unaware of their intent.

Last year I started the website after reading the history standards for the state of Utah. I discovered that the word Republic did not appear one time in the K-12 standards. Article 4, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution guarantees us a republican form of government but it seems that all we ever hear about is that we are a Democracy. The short video at this link clearly explains the difference between a republic and a democracy.

The name John Goodlad is well known in the field of education.  His book, “The Moral Dimensions of Teaching” is the source of the statement in the Alpine School District Professional Development Center which says, “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy.” When I first encountered that phrase about 6 years ago, I didn’t realize the full ramifications of what it was saying. Only during the past year, with the help of others, were we able to understand what Goodlad meant.

John Goodlad is a follower of John Dewey. Dewey was one of the original signatories on the Humanist Manifesto in the 1930’s. A humanist is one who replaces the worship of God with the worship of man and his “genius.” With no God, there are no absolute truths so all knowledge and morals are relative or as Goodlad says, democratic. This moral relativism is based on evolving majority public opinion and is the core of Goodlad’s belief system. This is why he favors and promotes a constructivist philosophy. It is centered in the notion that the process is more important than the result which he believes may change over time.

Among Goodlad’s beliefs are: (references below)

  • Most youth still hold the same values of their parents… if we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.” (1)
  • Parents do not own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education fully.” (2)
  • “The curriculum of the future ‘will be what one might call the humanistic curriculum.’” (3)
  • Enlightened social engineering is required to face situations that demand global action now.” (4)
  • “…the state we should strive for is better described in Deweyan terms as a social democracy.” (5)
  • “…educators must resist the quest for certainty.  If there were certainty there would be no scientific advancement. So it is with morals and patriotism.” (6)
  • Education is a task for both parents and state. The state, parents, and children all have interests that must be protected.” (7)

Do these statements surprise you as much as they did me?

A “social democracy” is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as a democratic welfare state or the gradual transition from capitalism to socialism. Goodlad seeks to accomplish this transition by his “enlightened social engineering.” Charlotte Iserbyt (worked in the Department of Education under Reagan) in her book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” wrote that Goodlad is this nations “premier change agent” to take us toward socialism. ( In her book she quotes Goodlad as saying:

The most controversial issues of the twenty-first century will pertain to the ends and means of modifying human behavior and who shall determine them. The first educational question will not be ‘what knowledge is of the most worth?’ but ‘what kinds of human beings do we wish to produce?’ The possibilities virtually defy our imagination.” (pg. 56)

Goodlad espouses centrally planned indoctrination for the modification of human behavior. There is no agency or liberty in Goodlad’s formula for success.

In 1983 John Goodlad came to BYU’s McKay School of Education (MSE) and set up the Public School Partnerships (PSP) which ASD joined (along with Provo, Wasatch, Nebo, and Jordan school districts). In 1986 he established the NNER (National Network for Educational Renewal) and the MSE became a founding member in the hopes of improving education for our children.

In June 2006, during an NNER Executive Board meeting at which Vern Henshaw (ASD Superintendent) was present, Ada Beth Cutler raised concerns that BYU fired an adjunct faculty member for writing an Op-Ed in support of homosexual marriage. Ms. Cutler then shared “her grave concern about BYU’s action and policies that discriminate against homosexuals, given the principles of the Agenda for Education in a Democracy.” You can read more about this and the NNER here:

As this information spread the last few months, worried parents were happy to hear BYU’s MSE announce at the end of June 2010 that they were dropping their association with the NNER for financial reasons.

The story became even more troubling when we discovered the connection between John Goodlad and Bill Ayers. Would you be comfortable with an avowed Marxist revolutionary terrorist teaching your children? Bill Ayers was a founding member of the terrorist group “The Weather Underground” and was involved in activities like bombing the Pentagon and New York Police Department between 1968 and 1975. In 2001 he lamented to a NY Times reporter that he regretted he couldn’t have done more. Ayers realized after the terrorist days that you can’t gain a big following by bombing things. The way to attract followers is to indoctrinate the young into your philosophy. To learn more about his radical philosophy and how he promotes it through teaching democracy to children, please read this page:

Bill Ayers and John Goodlad are birds-of-a-feather. They have the same fundamental beliefs except Goodlad didn’t blow stuff up. He went straight into education and skipped the violence. If you read the comparison at the link below you will see how similar their philosophies are. Then ask yourself: why has Bill Ayers been invited by John Goodlad to be the KEYNOTE SPEAKER at the 2010 NNER conference this October?

Both Goodlad and Ayers teach that our form of government is a democracy and push to have it taught in the classroom in order to revolutionize our society. I strongly suggest you read the 2nd link above which lays bare their agenda in their own words. You can read snippets or download the entire Weather Underground manifesto co-written by Ayers. Their Agenda is all laid out just like it is on the NNER website in one of the links above.

I believe Bill Ayers and John Goodlad both to be dangerous men. Goodlad is well respected in education circles and that allows him to promote his philosophy in friendly environments making it difficult for people to separate the good educational practices from the bad social philosophies. I believe that someone who is an atheist/socialist/humanist has no place in our school system, attempting to indoctrinate teachers how and what to teach our children.

I pass this on in the hopes that as you become aware of what is happening here and around our country you can find ways to resist this agenda.  If you would like further information or to join with us in opposing this socialist movement, please contact me through the website.


Oak Norton

Quote References

1) John Goodlad, “Report of Task Force C: Strategies for Change,” Schooling for the Future, a report to the President’s Commission on Schools Finance, Issue #9, 1971
2) John Goodlad, Roger Soder & Timothy McMannon, “Developing Democratic Character in the Young”, pg. 164
3) John Goodlad, “Directions of Curriculum Change”, The NEA Journal, March 1966
4) John Goodlad, “Schooling for a Global Age,” pg. xiii
5) John Goodlad, “Developing Democratic Character in the Young”, 2001, pg. 153
6) John Goodlad, Corinne Mantle-Bromley, Stephen John Goodlad, “Education for Everyone: Agenda for Education in a Democracy”, Woods Learning Center, pg. 6
7) John Goodlad, “Developing Democratic Character in the Young”, 2001, pg. 164

4 Responses to “An Open Letter to Teachers in Alpine School District”

  • L Anderson:

    I have followed this issue since March of this year. I do appreciate those that have contributed time and information on this matter.
    I will forward this to my family members and friends in hope they too will become aware of the progressive movement that is challenging our children and all people in America today.
    We must stand up and speak with boldness, kindness and concern on this most important issue.
    Thank you, Oak for your time and efforts as well as many others associated with you.
    Linda Anderson
    Saratoga Springs, UT

  • Melissa :

    Well done. Thanks for helping parents to be informed.

  • Barbara Petty:

    8/17/2010 You are awesome Oak for all your research & aid to properly inform parents & families of this negative & false indoctrination. I will forward this to my family, who may not already be receiving your emails. Thank you for ALL your time & efforts. I am glad to count you as my friend.
    Barbara Petty
    Orem, UT

  • Lewis B:

    Oak, I agree that you have a compelling case in connecting Goodlad to Ayers and their devious ways, but at the end of the day, it is how ASD interprets and implements Goodlad that is of paramount importance, and it seems that their interpretation of Goodlad is different from your interpretation (even though your interpretation may be correct). ASD has offered its rationale on their motto many times, but you refuse to accept it in lieu of a belief that ASD is part of the conspiracy. Why not accept ASD's explanation of the motto and then search for evidence to the contrary rather than assign guilt in the matter through a “guilt by association” process.

    I'm of the belief that BYU/ASD wasn't aware of the background of Goodlad and friends, and interpreted his works in their own way. While BYU/ASD may be guilty of not “connecting” the dots, they are not guilty of promoting direct democracy, socialism, or communism in the classroom. In fact, it appears they are interpreting the word “democracy” as a general term to mean “a form of government whose power is vested in the people.” That is the modern definition of democracy as used by just about every 20th century U.S. President, news reporter, and politician. Maybe Goodlad views “Democracy” as direct democracy, but that doesn't mean ASD interpreted it that way. The only evidence I see of ASD being an active participant in “Democracy” is the bond elections, but that isn't their fault since state law requires bond elections to be voted on by the people rather than by elected representatives such as the school board. Perhaps we could get that changed and go to a more “Republic” form of government in our local bond elections and allow the school board to decide the matter. They are elected to represent us, right? Better yet, we could have the kind of Republic where voters choose from a slate of candidates that were hand-picked by someone. Through this rubber stamp voting, (a process used in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the People's Republic of China, then Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Venezuela, the former Union of Soviet Socialists Republics, and in Utah for state school board elections), we would have perfect harmony and agreement in our district and our “elected officials” would have allegiance to those who selected them instead of the people. To put it simply, I don't trust the people who are promoting “Republic” either, because I'm not sure how far they are willing to go in destroying some “democratic” institutions in order to gain power and control. While being a pure democracy is bad, so is being a pure Republic.

    Utah can be quite confusing. Many of our state legislators have vocalized their angst against citizen initiatives and referendums similar to the “democracy” argument that you make, Oak. Our elected legislators believe that only they have the right to create laws (vouchers and ethics), not citizens; yet ironically they champion Proposition 8 in California. So, what are teachers to teach the kids? That citizen involvement is okay in creating laws as long as the political establishment agrees with them? This is what scares me, Oak. Indoctrinating can work both ways. It can come from the far left, and it can come from the far right, and both are dangerous to our freedom. For instance, some of the new Texas standards are downright frightening and revisionist. This is a quote from the new Texas Standards:

    “describe how Cold War tensions were intensified by the arms race, the space race, McCarthyism, and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the findings of which were confirmed by the Venona Papers.”

    This is inaccurate and is a blatant, irresponsible attempt by those on the right to vindicate the misbehavior of one of their own. The HUAC findings were not “confirmed” by the Venona Papers. Of the 159 people accused of being communist by Sen. McCarthy, only 9 of those names were confirmed in the Venona list. That is a 5% accuracy rate when compared to McCarthy's lists. What the Venona list confirms is the extent to which our government was infiltrated by communist agents, but that language was removed from the Texas Standards in order to twist it around and make McCarthy (a Republican) look like a saint. Most of the names on the Venona list were either those who were caught before McCarthy came on the scene (Hiss, Rosenbergs, etc) or over the remainder of the Cold War since the Venona list was released after the Cold War. No where in the Texas standards does it instruct the teacher to initiate a debate about whether a government such as ours engage in drag net activities where the lives and reputations of innocent people are purposely destroyed in order to expose criminal activity. That is the point of studying history and these standards totally miss the point. That is why it is not good to have people on the far left or far right in control of education. That is why I'm concerned about you Oak, and your faithful followers because who is to say that you are not just as dangerous as those you oppose.