Quote of the Day

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GW Trustees: Repudiate Life Experience Degrees

Okay, I'm going to come out and ask for it. I call on the trustees of the George Wythe Foundation to publicly repudiate the "degrees" awarded in the past for "life experience."

As has been noted in the comment sections, these "degrees" are having real consequences for real people in the real world.

I'm talking about degrees like the "doctorate"* awarded to Ann Blake Tracy** (see here) for self-publishing a book on anti-depressants that the Deseret News pointed out "contains spelling and punctuation errors and incomplete sentences." Tracy took this degree and attempted to serve as an expert witness for the defense in a child rape trial in Arkansas. Luckily, her testimony was thrown out. (David Eric WOOD v. STATE of Arkansas, Opinion delivered September 5, 2001)

How many similar cases are there that we just haven't heard about, concerning this individual or some other recipient of a George Wythe "life experience" degree?

Therefore, as the board seeks to legitimize this school, a crucial step in that process will be to stand up and divorce itself from the seamy practices of the past.

Publish an honest history. And repudiate these "degrees."

*According to this website, a "Doctorate in Health Sciences with the emphasis on Psychology"

**According to Tracy, "the Ph.D. was awarded for 'lifetime experience,' specifically for the writing of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? which she says she has been told is the equivalent of, or 'far beyond,' a dissertation." (Source:
Deseret News, "Depressed over Prozac", Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004)

UPDATE: According to Tracy's website, "Since 1992 she has testified as an expert witness in Prozac and other SSRI related court cases around the world." So it wasn't just that one case after all. Real consequences people.

UPDATE: Following is a list (with links) to degrees no longer granted by George Wythe. These may or may not have been awarded for life experience. But given the broad range of "majors," they certainly beg the question.

(On some of these you'll have to search for the term "wythe" to find the referenced statement.)

* B.A. in Finance

* B.A. in Biblical Studies

* M.A. in Youth and Family Counseling

* Ph.D. in Family Counseling

* Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies

* Ph.D. in International Business

* Ph.D. in Education

* Ph.D. in Health Sciences with emphasis on Psychology

* Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (previously at http://greatvoicesofdestiny.net/; now taken down)

* Ph.D. in Musicology (previously at http://greatvoicesofdestiny.net/; now taken down)

Here is a video of "Dr." Tracy:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ethics Emphasis

In an encouraging move, George Wythe has announced it will begin infusing ethics training into its courses.

"'We’ve actually had a lot of discussion about the principles of ethics on the board over the last year,' said Curriculum Committee Chair Vicki Jo Anderson."


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Great Comment

The following comment was posted at whyidontdotjed.blogspot.com, a blog maintained by a homeschooling father:

Thank you for this blog! I was involved with TJEd from 2003 - 2006. It's VERY popular where I am, although most people I've spoken to feel quite lost on how to actually *do* it (despite the seminars, books, and articles they have purchased). Trying to do TJEd with my family was a very frustrating and unproductive experience. I nearly quit homeschooling because of TJEd! I know an alarming number of TJEd families whose older children attend schools rather than continuing to homeschool until graduation because the children were not getting what they needed at home. If TJEd works as an educational philosophy, I'm concerned as to why so many older TJEd children end up back at school or have gaping holes in their education (math, anyone?).

I am still upset over the lost years (and money!) we spent trying to make TJEd work. I know several other families who abandoned TJEd because it didn't work for them, either. I didn't read this blog until about six months ago (years after I stopped doing TJEd). Most of what you say here is spot on with the reasons I left TJEd. In some ways TJEd feels like a religion. I felt like I was renouncing a faith when I switched to something else (which really concerns me as I look back). I felt weird about telling anyone that we were doing *gasp* structured time and content, math textbooks, and history programs, etc. I got over the sense of failure and guilt left over from eschewing TJEd principles because my children and I were FINALLY loving to learn! My husband and I chose homeschooling because we want our children to love learning *and* have a solid foundation in academics. TJEd was supremely unsuited to help our family come anywhere near those goals. I'm glad we realized this before it was too late. I hope this blog prevents other families from wasted time and money as well.

Reading The Well-Trained Mind in late 2006 was like a breath of fresh air. It very clearly outlined *how* to give a classical education to my children. We have tweaked The Well-Trained Mind to suit our family. The authors, in fact, encourage this. They give more information and suggestions than anyone can really use because that allows parents to tailor the program to meet the needs of their family. I greatly appreciate having "too much" in TWTM rather than the too little included in TJEd's publications. With TJEd I always felt lost and my children were begging for more structure. I have met the DeMilles and many others at George Wythe and I have attended many lectures as well as their annual conferences (“forums”). They are nice people, even though I have misgivings about their methodology and business practices. My family's education has greatly improved since we stopped doing TJEd in late 2006 and started following TWTM in early 2007.

The Well-Trained Mind's approach to chronological history, reading the classics (love the book lists for each grade/time period), and studying Latin are things my family especially enjoys. Jessie Wise homschooled her children decades ago. Susan Wise Bauer (Jessie's daughter and co-author) currently homeschools her children (I think her oldest has graduated). Susan has a PhD from the College of William and Mary (2nd oldest university in the country), where she has taught writing and literature since 1994. My kids and I love her history program (The Story of the World). I think Susan Wise Bauer is great and her methodology is sound. She *also* happens to have excellent, legitimate credentials as well as real-life experience both as a homeschooled student and homeschooling mother. I hope other parents do more research than I did when I first started homeschooling and that they find an approach that actually works to educate their children. :-)