Virtual School Meanderings

February 17, 2010

Questions About The School Of Tomorrow

I was contacted by an international colleague yesterday who had questions about the School of Tomorrow, which is run by Accelerated Christian Education.  I urgently need to know the program fo my project.

My colleague wrote:

According to the site, the program has 40 year history…. So, my questions are related to

  1. program quality
  2. reputation
  3. evidence of student success  (how many students entered universities, and they can easily get SAT scores, etc.)

Personally, I know nothing about this organization – in some quick Google searching, I came across the Wikipedia page about the organization (not the school), which included the following information:

Many aspects of the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum have come under criticism from educational researchers.

  • D. Flemming and T Hunt of the educational journal Phi Delta Kappa wrote in a 1987 article regarding the emphasis on rote learning.

“If parents want their children to obtain a very limited and sometimes inaccurate view of the world — one that ignores thinking above the level of rote recall — then the ACE materials do the job very well. The world of the ACE materials is quite a different one from that of scholarship and critical thinking”[14]

  • Former President of the Division of Educational Psychology for the American Psychology Association and former President of the American Educational Research Association, David Berliner cites a study by Speck and Prideaux (1993) which notes the wide use of association and recall activities in the ACE curriculum, as well as other workbook based curriculum. “[15]

Speck and Prideau (1993) state,”The work consists of low-level cognitive tasks that emphasize simple association and recall activities, as is typical of instruction from workbooks. Despite the reviling of B. F. Skinner by the Christian Right, the materials make heavy use of behavioral objectives, programmed learning, and rewards.[16]

  • Having researched comparative performance on the ACT between public school students from one school and ACE students from another, private school in the same geographic area, one college student wrote in her thesis in 2005,

“a significant difference was found between the public school graduates’ scores and the ACE graduates’ scores in all areas of the ACT (English, Math, Reading, and Composite Score), except the area of Science Reasoning. Overall, the ACT scores of the ACE graduates were consistently lower than those of the public school students.”[17]

  • In the past, ACE has included controversial material in its curriculum. For example, a section from a high school packet regarding Apartheid in South Africa states as follows:

“Although apartheid appears to allow the unfair treatment of blacks, the system has worked well in South Africa . . . . Although white businessmen and developers are guilty of some unfair treatment of blacks, they turned South Africa into a modern industrialized nation, which the poor, uneducated blacks couldn’t have accomplished in several more decades. If more blacks were suddenly given control of the nation, its economy and business, as Mandela wished, they could have destroyed what they have waited and worked so hard for.”[18]

But this was really all I was able to find in terms of independent evidence. Any one else out there have any additional leads or personal experience?

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190 Comments »

  1. I think Chritian and other religious schools should be banned in the future. Schools should be secular institutions. Sometimes parents try to stifle children’s creativity and thought process by forcing a special interest kind of education. Children who are curious would come to their own world view. We just have to trust them, they are intelligent people too.

    Comment by parentsunderground — February 17, 2010 @ 9:16 am | Reply

    • your opinion is irrelevant, you are definitely making a big mistake, children are damn just like you…you need training so you too must grow up!

      Comment by dan — July 22, 2011 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

      • I was waiting for the religious nuts to show up. Up until now, those that chose a religious schooling were quite reasonable in their comments and willing to try and engage with both sides of those discussion. Dan, your comment represents the reason why people rolls their eyes when religion is discussed. You are as closed minded as you are fundamentalist in your beliefs.

        Comment by mkbnl — July 22, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    • Should they? Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing, one upon which creativity and thought generally thrives. Does that mean that homeschooling and this particular curriculum necessarily promotes this? Not really (though in many cases, homeschooling does…it depends on the parents). With the lackluster results of the government-run education institutions are currently enjoying, I don’t see holding up that model as some kind of example or beacon of what things “ought to be” holding much water. Parents still have the right to have their children trained in whatever way they see fit, so long as certain criteria are met. I don’t think that’s a right they should be so willing to throw away (even if they’re not always sure as to what alternative would be better).

      I will agree with you on your last point though, children will come to their own world view…regardless of the educational system. I graduated from a Christian school that used the A.C.E. School of Tomorrow curriculum, and know quite well its strengths, limitations, oversights and frankly, blatant, omissions. It has its own stringent world view, as does any curriculum. All I’ll say is that individuals will eventually come to their own, sometimes because of their upbringing, and, all-too-often, despite it.

      Comment by Karyyk — January 2, 2013 @ 11:15 am | Reply

      • Karyyk, I think there are two issues at play here. The first is whether the program should have the right to exist and second whether it should receive public funding to do so. A school that has a fundamentalist, Christian curriculum (that contains numerous errors to stay consistent with that fundamentalist religious view) should not receive public funding. However, if a parent wants to educate their child in such a close-minded environment, they have the unfortunate right to do so.

        On your final point, I will disagree that any or every curriculum has a particular worldview. A good, public school curriculum should not have a worldview, but provide children with the tools and information to come to their own worldview.

        Comment by mkbnl — January 2, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  2. Well, I think we should make sure everyone has their facts straight. My understanding is that the School of Tomorrow, and all of the programs offered by Accelerated Christian Education are either private schools or programs targeting homeschoolers. As such, it is entirely up to the parents if they want to pay to educate their child or undertake the efforts to educate their child themselves – either way they ought to be able to do it as they see fit in these two circumstances.

    What I am interested in is this particular program, specifically if anyone has any information about the quality of the curriculum, its reputation in parts of the US where it is being used, or any independent evaluation of the success of its students.

    Comment by mkbnl — February 17, 2010 @ 9:21 am | Reply

  3. Saying that religious schools should be banned because there are examples of bad religous schools is like saying public education should be banned because there are examples of bad public schools.

    Comment by Matthew Wicks — February 17, 2010 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  4. I fully agree Matt – the kind of education parents wish to pay for or wish to provide themselves should be left up to them. I’m mainly interested in details about the quality of the curriculum and the success of their students.

    Comment by mkbnl — February 17, 2010 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  5. […] Questions About The School Of Tomorrow […]

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  6. I graduated from a high school that used this curriculum. I would not recommend going to a school that uses this curriculum because it does not prepare students well for college. When I went to college, I had to take remedial classes. At first, I had a low GPA. Eventually, my academic ability improved along with my GPA.

    The Accelerated Christian Education curriculum does not place an emphasis on critical thinking skills. The exams consist of mostly multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. The problem with these kinds of questions is that they do not assess one’s problem-solving or higher-order reasoning skills.

    My high school did not have a science lab. I had to do scientific experiments at home with the lab kit that my parents bought at an electronics store.

    The adult workers at my high school were not teachers. They only supervised the students.
    One of supervisors saw me working on a math problem that had to do with matrices and she said, “I have never seen that before.”

    Comment by A reader — April 20, 2010 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

    • Yeah they are not teachers and even don’t know how to answer questions about algebra

      Comment by sfsdf — August 1, 2012 @ 1:24 am | Reply

      • SFsdf, I’m sure that comment doesn’t reflect all of the teachers.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 1, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  7. Thanks for the comments “a reader” – your experiences are much appreciated.

    Comment by mkbnl — April 20, 2010 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  8. I am about to graduate from a school using the A.C.E Curriculum. I WOULD recommend it. I disagree with “mkbnl”.
    I have a 3.97 G.P.A. and I took concurrent enrollment classes with Texas A&M International University this year and got an “A”. I have received a NATIONAL scholarship and I feel more than ready to enter college. I already took all my exams and I will not need ANY remedial classes. Maybe your school was using the A>C>E Curriculum but it was not following regulations and suggestions… For example, My school is using the curriculum and is accredited under “Lighthouse Christian Academy” In Nashville, TN. In order to receive a diploma, the school must meet many requirements.

    I was also part of public school for the most part of my life and I can say that I have learned more in my 3 years here than I did my whole middle school life and freshmen year in public school. A.C.E has a official website you can get more information from with a link to Lighthouse Christian Academy..

    God Bless you,
    Hope I helped.

    Comment by Laura Renteria — May 24, 2010 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  9. Laura, thank you for the comments. I believe your personal experience is contrasted nicely with the one posted above from “a reader”.

    I’m not exactly sure on what point you disagree with me on, but based on what I discovered in researching this entry and what I have seen in the comments since posting it is that overall the program appears to be based on rote learning and that independent performance comparisons place it in the “not as effective” category.

    Of the two former students who have responded, one seemed to have a particular negative impression and you seemed to have a particularly positive impression. Based on what I have learned, it seems that like most programs it may provide opportunity and work for a select few (like yourself), but overall appears to offer an educational experience that is generally lacking in quality. But that is based on a bit of independent research and the perspectives of two former students. I’m always open to solid evidence to re-evaluate that position.

    Comment by mkbnl — May 24, 2010 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  10. Sorry, since your ocmment is so short, at a quick glance it looked like it was the signature for the comment posted above you. I meant: “I diasgree with reader”. :)
    In all honesty, I am a very intelligent student. When I was in public school, I had all A’s and one B.. so yes. Being here only pushed me a little further than what I already pushed myself and now I get straight A’s BUT I have to work to get them. In public school, in my experience, it was extremely easy to get an A by cheating or only studying 15 minutes before a test. Finals were so easy since they were exact copies of the reviews. The teachers were not exactly all that great.. well most of them. Since their job is to get everyone to pass, they lower their standards for those kids who are not as smart or just don’t want to do their work. I know teachers personally who get into trouble when their students don’t pass and the following year they don’t teach as much and lower the difficulty of their work. That is why it is so great that students are independent with A.C.E. because they don’t get held behind just because of another student who isn’t as smart or doesn’t want to learn

    Now, that is my experience. I can tell you other stories. There is a student here who was about to flunk(fail) her grade when she left public school. She entered with many “gaps” and has had a very hard time to catch up. The administration here is extremely qualified. My principal has a masters.. she could be a pubic school principal if she would like to do so. So in conclusion, this student is now on track and her progress is very evident.
    Sure, it is a system that may not work for everyone but in my experience it has helped every student who has entered this school.
    Another plus is that you work at your own pace. Example, you can’t get behind because the supervisor is always on your case, BUT you CAN get ahead. I am graduating a year early. Another student got ahead and took a month long trip to Italy.
    Sure there is some cons as there would be to any educational system but the good outweighs the bad by far.

    :) – Laura

    Comment by Laura Renteria — May 25, 2010 @ 10:19 am | Reply

    • I also graduated from an A.C.E school. I entered a university on several scholarships as I held a high GPA. I agree that it may not be for everyone, some people aren’t able to motivate themselves enough to excel in this program. Which I believe is the case in other programs as well. You will always have the kids who try hard not to work, or the ones that need special attention for whatever reason. However, our teachers were well qualified and I was more than ready for my college years. I became a pilot and graduated top of my class. I held a high GPA throughout my college years, I was VERY capable to problem-solve. I graduated college with honors and remained on the dean’s list throughout my college career. I would say that my HS prepared me for the challenges I would face in a large university. I even became thr only female to take the advanced engineering classes at the univeristy of Cincinnati. That was before I finished my Bachelor’s at the Embry-Riddle aeronautical University. Which is one of the most renowned schools for aviation. Now, I am not only a pilot, but a business owner. So I’d say that my experience with A.C.E schools was a positive one.

      Comment by Neaoma — February 10, 2012 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

      • Neaoma, as I’ve indicated a number of times in this thread. It seems that based on the comments of many of the former students and parents of current and/or former students, those that have had a positive experience with this curriculum were those students that were specifically looking for a more Christian fundamentalist schooling or those who would have done well in their education regardless of what kind of school they attended. It seems that you would fall into that latter category, as you seem to have had success at each level of your schooling.

        To date, no one on this thread has presented any independent research – beyond what I have cited in the original entry – that shows the School or Tomorrow or A.C.E. curriculum to be effective, particularly for higher order thinking.

        Comment by mkbnl — February 10, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

  11. Laura, I understand now – although I still think it confirms my belief “that like most programs it may provide opportunity and work for a select few (like yourself), but overall appears to offer an educational experience that is generally lacking in quality” based on the independent research that has been conducted.

    Comment by mkbnl — May 25, 2010 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  12. I work at an SOT franchise in Asia. I thought I was just coming here to be the English teacher at some after school program, but when I got here they told me that they are a Christian school and introduced me to the PACE curriculum. The school I work for is run by people with no background in education who are robbing children of a real education in the name of religion and money.

    Every now and then, I have a good laugh with some of my friends about the hogwash that is in the workbooks given to the students. The “science” books have most of the real knee slappers, some of which claim that most scientists are creationists and that it did not rain long ago. Rather, the earth breathed water, according to the PACE science curriculum. Moreover, the books constantly indoctrinate the students with the importance of the PACE curriculum and independent Christian education. The parts that do attempt to teach actual science between the indoctrination are also a joke. Instead of teaching kids the commonly used names of things (e.g. igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock in the lesson about rocks) it dumbs things down to a degree I’ve never heard used (e.g. fire rock, water rock, and [insert some other dumbed down name that I don’t remember] rock). Of course, all of the semi-educational parts of the books come between a bunch of bible verses and often in the form of a narrative extolling the virtues of Christianity.

    Most of my students want to go to school in the US one day at an Ivy League university and think that following the PACE curriculum is a great way to learn English while getting a great education. They have a TEFL book that they gave me, but I stopped using it a long time ago because it was too redundant. I find that my students are much more interested in learning to speak English if I don’t just blindly slop them the swill that SOT has compressed into book format. After a certain level of English proficiency, I believe that international students begin using the normal PACE books but at a lower level than what is appropriate for their ages to make up for the lack of understanding. I have students who are fourteen years old and completing PACEs that teach them that there are four seasons. Mind you, they don’t get real science lessons in their native language to make up for this. Meanwhile, the owner of my school has their parents convinced that they’re all going to get into Ivy League universities.

    As somebody else mentioned, maybe my school isn’t following official regulations and such. Still, I could never see education by SOT as anything less than indoctrination. Many of the lessons, especially with the lower level students, are just copying Bible verses mixed in with a few facts related to whatever the subject is. But hey, maybe the students can get a job writing textbooks for SOT after getting rejected from college.

    I feel like a pretty big hypocrite and charlatan working at this school. They don’t even pay me that well but I need the money badly enough to stick around. I’ve at least coaxed them into letting me never use PACE for any of my lessons, but they’d probably go out of business if I’d leave.

    Comment by Notmyrealname — June 7, 2010 @ 11:41 am | Reply

    • The system is teacher-proof, that’s why we students have no need of “teachers” but are able to learn by ourselves at our own pace. It’s true it is not a perfect system, none is. As far as I know, it works for those who want to do their best and are seriously taking responsibility for their studies. The system teaches the student to be responsible. We don’t have a teacher every day telling us what to do, reminding us to do our homework, and having to deal with all the things we ACE students do have to deal. Who teaches you to be responsible when you get to college and it all depends on you?
      To your rubbish about the science PACE’s I say:
      Yes. We believe in Creation. Evolution is still a mere theory.
      We believe in Biblical authority even in scientific subjects. Ex: the bible says the earth is round (it was already written several thousand years ago). Too bad we were ignorant, and it was not until Galileo Galilei proposed the earth was round (again) and that it was not the center of the universe. He was a Christian by the way. (Newton was also a Christian..)
      There’s no such things as “water rocks” in the PACEs… I give faith of that. We do learn what everyone else does. Maybe even more, cause yea, we have Bible verses, principles, teachings and stories based on the Bible all throughout the PACEs! “Nonsense!” you say? Well, our schools have no serious behavior problems, our students are not drunkards, our girls are pregnant before they’re 18, we don’t have bloody fights, and no, there are no killings. Recent news ring the bell?
      I’m an international student, and I fully understand my PACEs, if you’re students have trouble understand then give thanks they are in that system as are not treated as retarded for not going at the same pace everyone in the classroom does.
      We do not get rejected from college. ACE students are admitted at Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford etc… We don’t have any problems… My ACT scores are all over 29. If that’s still an issue then ACT org should be charged with giving good grades to students who are masters in writing text books AND differentiating rocks. ;)

      Comment by Villya — June 17, 2012 @ 1:35 am | Reply

      • Villya, thank you for your comment. I think it follows the general pattern we are seeing. For the most part, those students that would have had success in just about any environment do well. Those who have invested, interested and active parents do well. Most others do not do that well with what appears to be a ideologically based curriculum that is lacking in rigor.

        Comment by mkbnl — June 17, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  13. Notmyrealname, after hearing from a couple of students – one very favourable and one not so much – it is good to hear a teacher’s perspective on this program.

    Comment by mkbnl — June 7, 2010 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

  14. […] Questions About The School Of Tomorrow(93) […]

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  15. I graduated from an ACE school in 1989 and even though our school was not granted recognition by the Philippines education department at that time, they were amazed by the result of our college entrance examination (NCEE–a requirement by the government before we can enter college), because ALL six of us from the ACE who took that exam under the category of “out-of-school-youth” got remarkable scores of which I was the lowest among us at 93%.

    My schoolmate who took the same exam with me, he got i think, 97%.

    You can ask him and get his opinion about ACE where he also was a graduate. Here is his address:

    [address removed by blog owner]

    I myself has become a successful businessman, and I am sure I owe it to the training and discipline I got from Grace Baptist Academy, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines. Now we live in northern Philippines. I am glad my 5 kids can go to the ACE.

    Comment by Filipino_ACE_Graduate_1989 — July 3, 2010 @ 12:17 am | Reply

  16. Thanks for the comments Filipino_ACE_Graduate_1989 (and note that I removed the second party personal information from your comment). You’re the first overseas School of Tomorrow student who has responded. I wonder if the delivery model that is used has changed much in the 21 years since you graduated? As it appeared to be quite successful in preparing students for your national exams at the time.

    Comment by mkbnl — July 3, 2010 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  17. I have used ACE/School of Tomorrow since day 1 teaching my son (for 7 years). Like any other curriculum, there are pros and cons. It is not right for every student, just as a public education allows students to slip through the cracks. My son is highly intelligent and gifted (as named by former Sunday School teachers who also teach in public schools). These resources are perfect for us because I can keep him challenged (two grade levels ahead of his peers) and not frustrated by sitting in a classroom bored to tears (as I was throughout my public education). He is able to learn at his own pace (no pun intended). The absolute KEY is to still TEACH a child and explain concepts in a way they can understand whether in a school or home setting. No one curriculum is perfect and I believe that is the beauty of home-schooling (choice). I feel very sorry for the children who are being taught by Notmyrealname. You are cheating your employer, the children, and yourself.

    Comment by Homeschool Mom — July 6, 2010 @ 11:28 am | Reply

    • Hi Homeschool Mom. MY daugther is in a private school that use PACE books. She is very intelligent (IQ above 140) and our first language is spanish. I don’t know much english but I read the PACE’s at home,to see what she is learning. She is in fifth grade and have 10 years old. She is in this school sice last year but she took it too slow. She told me that she is bored in the classroom. I talk with the teacher and explain all about my daugther but I don’t see any improvment. My daugther told me that she does a one and a half page because she has to wait another children to score in line to have acess to the score key. In my house she is capable to almost finish the book in half an hour. Of course, I’m on her side to answer all of her questions. I want to teach her in my home but I dont know if I could because I have some years in college and I don’t feel capable to teach her well for her future success. I’m not a teacher, I’m just a mom who want’s the best for my intelligent daugther. What you think?

      Comment by Griselle — September 9, 2010 @ 10:07 am | Reply

      • Griselle, as this thread is quite dated I’m not sure that this reader is still following along. Having said that, I do hope that she – or someone else familiar with this program – responds with some advice.

        Comment by mkbnl — September 9, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    • Really “Homeschool Mom?” I cheated them? Nobody ever told me I would be working for a religious school with your joke creationist curriculum before I moved across the world. In fact, that was the first thing I wrote in my original diatribe! Were you also homeschooled through PACE? I ask because it looks like you’re having trouble with reading comprehension. I never wanted to work for them. I was tricked and could not easily change jobs because of my visa status in this country.

      Anyway, just to update you all, I quit my job brainwashing kids a few months ago because I discovered that my boss was cheating me out of health insurance and not paying taxes on me. Mostly though, I just got tired of my boss, the godfearing Christian pastor he is, lying to me so much. I also found out he ripped off the recruiting agency that he hired me through, so it happens that he is both a thief and a liar. It would be great if PACE had a lesson about hypocrisy among religious leaders, but I don’t think that bit would make the final draft.

      During my time there, I actually met a student whom had graduated from a SOT franchise and was trying to apply to colleges in the US. He was pretty smart and had decent SAT scores, as were some of my students, but he was having a really difficult time getting accepted into colleges in the US. Of course, the ones in his own country didn’t want him either because he graduated from SOT. He told me that Liberty would take him though, so SOT is perfect! Indoctrinate your children with it so that their chances of getting into a college that might allow them to be exposed to the outside world will be greatly diminished. Then you can continue to control their thinking into adulthood, even after they graduate from college, because people who graduate from Liberty can only work for other alumni since the normal world thinks they’re so crazy.

      Actually, I was wrong. The earth is 6,000 years old, most scientists are creationists, and the earth breathed water in Bible times. How else would Jesus water his pet dinosaur? I’m really happy that I don’t have to worry about these deep scientific inquiries anymore since I found another job teaching EFL that’s not ripping me off.

      Comment by Notmyrealname — October 11, 2010 @ 1:08 am | Reply

      • Notmyrealname, while I have allowed you comment to remain unedited, I will admit that it is the first time I have seriously considered removing specific content of a comment (beyond personal contact information or commercial advertisements). In fact, the only reason I have let your comment stand is because you have been careful not to include anything libelous. However, I would ask that you refrain from commenting on this thread anymore.

        Comment by mkbnl — October 11, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  18. Thanks for the comments Homeschool Mom… Based on your description of your son, it sounds like he is the kind of student who would have been successful regardless of what kind of curriculum or what kinds of supports were available to him. I mention this because I wonder how indicative your son’s experience reflects the curriculum, compared to it being a reflection of your son and his ability.

    However, I do agree that most online programs are more appropriate for certain types of students than others (as the brick-and-mortar environment is as well – which you note).

    Comment by mkbnl — July 6, 2010 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  19. […] Questions About The School Of Tomorrow […]

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  20. […] Questions About The School Of Tomorrow […]

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  21. […] opportunity to engaged in this kind of discussion. Similar, a few months ago I posted an entry on Questions About The School Of Tomorrow in order to find out information on the program for a colleague of mine (and former UGA doctoral […]

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  22. Hi,
    I have just finished my Master’s with a R&D project on Mastery Learning and the ACE system. Most criticism of the system is based on misunderstanding of the underlying educational philosophy of mastery learning and personalised instruction. Both of these have more than 40 years of proven educational success, and do not come from Christian authors (Benjamin Bloom & Fred Keller). I have worked in ACE schools for nearly 20 years and they produce great graduates, average graduates and poor graduates, just like other educational systems. However, the proportions in each of those categories are significantly better in ACE schools due to the efficiency of the system. Having said that, it is a system designed by humans and is not perfect. It continues to improve and new curriculum (for example in Maths) exceeds international requirements. Before discussing merits of the system it is important that one defines one’s religious perspective. If you are evolutionist, you will never like the system, even though it has great results for the majority of students with whom I have worked. If you are creationist, you may love the system, as long as you understand the philosophical background from which it comes. Criticism on the grounds of religious persuasion is irrelevant as it is subjective, biased, and not evidence based. Research based criticism and evidence is interesting and is to be encouraged for the sake of system improvement.

    Many of my graduates (3 continents) have gone on to university and to ‘success’ in life. (I am not sure the same can be said of those who hypocritically teach in the system for the sake of a visa. How do they define success? A good job and salary, or living by values and character?) Each school is independent and its management is responsible for the effective application of the curriculum which is simply a tool for learning. It does not replace the teacher and simply saying a school uses the system is no guarantee of the proper use of the programme. If I were to use a dictionary to teach rote learning I suspect my system would be criticised. In the same way, if you use the ACE curriculum badly, do not expect to have good results. It is a tool that must be used well. Schools that use the system usually would not do well to hire staff who do not understand or believe in individualised, mastery learning and who do not make character development a priority.

    I welcome evidence based criticism, as it helps us to improve. Bigoted and subjective criticism is a waste of time.

    Comment by ACE researcher — October 12, 2010 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  23. ACE Researcher, thanks for the comment. If you look at the work of John Hattie, who has been analyzing meta-analysis related to factors that affect student learning, you’ll see that many of the things that K-12 online learning programs claim to be good learning are not rated that highly in independent research. And I do believe the term independent research here is important, while mastery learning is rated quite highly by Hattie, as is Keller’s PIS, I have not seen any independent research from ACE that indicated anything beyond what I have reported in the original blog entry.

    It is one thing for internal (and some would say motivated) evaluators and researchers to claim success, it is quite another for it to be verified by external evaluators and researchers – or published in a peer reviewed publication where the validity and reliability of the research has been examined by a group of peer experts.

    You’ll excuse me if I wait for the independent or peer verification of the “success” of this online learning program.

    Comment by mkbnl — October 12, 2010 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  24. I would like to see the content of the curriculum as well as the qualifications of the specialists involved in compiling it.

    Comment by MdP — October 21, 2010 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  25. Unfortunately MdP, the vast majority of the independent and private programs – along with cyber charter programs, which are often run by for profit companies – do not open up their curriculum.

    Comment by mkbnl — October 21, 2010 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  26. Personally I think to get involved in something so secretive you need to be quite gullible. In SA private school curricula are open for scrutiny. How can you get involved in anything without knowing if the authors are even qualified? Without seeing a summary of the content?

    Comment by MdP — October 21, 2010 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

  27. Well, from their standpoint these are for profit business ventures. In the same way McDonald’s doesn’t open everything up to Burger King or Taco Bell, do you really expect these companies to do anything differently?

    Comment by mkbnl — October 21, 2010 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

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  29. Actually they have motel meetings where the cuuriculum is available to be looked at. As for the individual schools I believe they are intended to work in much the same way as a one room schoolhouse used to. I think for some this is beneficial. I know I am looking into it for my oldest. We homeschool and I can see areas he would benefit greatly if we do use ACE. I look forward to reading more research.

    Comment by Amanda — December 1, 2010 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  30. Amanda, from what I can tell based on the research cited in the main article and what people have said in the comments before you, the curriculum is basically focused on knowledge and comprehension level material (with a heavy religious slant). And I suspect that there won’t be much more in the way of research, as very few of these for profit ventures have opened their doors up for independent research to happen – particularly because when they haven’t controlled the research it has tended to make them look bad.

    Comment by mkbnl — December 1, 2010 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

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  32. Just found your site and have enjoyed reading the comments. But I too and still confused. I use and have used quite a bit of Ace curriculum, but I don’t use it exclusively. I am using high school math and science currently, and find it challenging for my kids. But I am also confused as to WHY Ace does not provide samples!!! This leaves me leery to continue using it—-because my other choice is Bob Jones Curriculum, which even though biased against Catholics (which we are) at least their curriculum is no secret! I am trying to make a final decision on high school homeschool science curriculum, and while I like Ace–I am not comfortable deciding when I can’t see the curriculum. And I also would like to hear more ‘success’ stories from Ace graduates—and I mean all encompassing success, not simply material and academic success.

    Comment by katieb — January 8, 2011 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

  33. KatieB, as I’ve mentioned before, it is quite common for these for profit entities to not be open about their curriculum (I used the example of McDonald’s and Burger King earlier). Now someone did mention above about “motel meetings” where parents were able to review the curriculum, so you might want to contact the company and see if there might be one of those meetings in your neck of the woods.

    Given that you are homeschooler, I would also suggest that you contact you local, regional or statewide homeschoolers association (depending on which is available in your area), and see if the organization has van opinion or if they could connect you with other parents that have used the curriculum.

    Either way, I hope this advice helps…

    Comment by mkbnl — January 9, 2011 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

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  35. I’m wondering the same as you’re asking, does ACE provide a good education? However, I’m wondering if you know that it is fully accredited and recognized in most states as an accepted curriculum.

    Lighthouse Christian Academy (LCA) is a full-service homeschool academy that utilizes the A.C.E. curriculum. We are pleased to inform you that LCA has received full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), an accredited division of AdvancED.

    Comment by debi — February 9, 2011 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  36. Debi, first of all, thanks for the comment. Hearing about the experiences and expertise of those out in the field is one of the reasons I invest so much time into this blog.

    On the curriculum aspect, I would have fully expected that it would be accredited. My question, as your first sentence indicates, was about the quality f that curriculum? I guess more specific the nature of it, what kinds of skills and thinking it supported/promoted, that nature of knowledge it imparted, that kind of thing.

    Comment by mkbnl — February 10, 2011 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  37. I came across this website because I was looking for what ACE used to call the “Character Objectives” (of which there are 60). I completed the ACE system back in 1995, and I finished the year 3 months early with what was then called a Year 12 “General” Certificate. The irony is that at the beginning of year 11 I left the school for a full term (3months) in the belief it may be “inferior” to my higher education after school. During this time my parents and I came to realisation that some things learned at school are NOT academic, and that not everything learned is of “academic” importance, so we came back to my original school and the ACE system.

    Apart from this, all my 12 years of schooling were at the one ACE school, and in no way was I held back or held up due to a method of schooling and education many parents viewed (and still view) as being insufficient for their child’s needs. On the other hand, my sibling finished school with an “Achievement Certificate” because he hated school and struggled with the ACE way of learning.

    Right now we are both completely focused on God, and much of our walks we attribute to the things we learned while completing PACE books and that’s why I’m searching for the 60 Character Traits. You can go to school anywhere. Almost anyone can be a teacher though even fewer can convey lessons. ACE brings God into everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t stop anyone from doing the ACE system, and for the parents who are afraid of how their kids will go with it, if things haven’t changed, the kids are able to do extra homework like I did and therefore “push ahead” and go further or finish earlier. It’s very much a motivational way of learning from that perspective.

    Right… Back to searching for those 60 traits… :)

    Comment by Taz. Australia — February 15, 2011 @ 5:11 am | Reply

  38. Thank you for your comments Taz. It seems from the former students, parents, and teachers that have commented we have a mixed review. Some think highly of the curriculum and some believe the curriculum to be of quite low quality. One of the themes I am noticing is that those who are looking for a specifically religious curriculum are generally those that have the positive feedback, which leads me to believe that these well meaning sentiments may have more to do with the moral fiber of the curriculum than the academic rigor. Anyway, thanks for your contribution!

    Comment by mkbnl — February 15, 2011 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  39. I started using ACE 2 years ago and I am very pleased. I want to address the “secrecy” issue. I was able to look at the entire curriculum from K-12 at the academy my kids are enrolled in. You are also able to attend their motel meetings or homeschool conventions. I do not agree that there is a deliberate effort to keep people from seing the curriculum.

    Comment by momof2 — February 16, 2011 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  40. Mom of 2, I think the issue was that ACE and the School of Tomorrow are online programs, yet you need to physically attend one of their motel sessions some conference in order to get a sense of their curriculum. As a distance program, one that services students in many different countries, you’d think the ability to kick the tires (so to speak) would also be provided using a distance medium.

    Comment by mkbnl — February 17, 2011 @ 11:02 am | Reply

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  44. hi! i was an employee of a school using the school of tomorrow system.. send me specific questions about the system, especially how a class runs, i have a first hand experience on it. Im pleased to help.,

    Comment by jac — May 14, 2011 @ 3:16 am | Reply

  45. Jac, I didn’t have specific questions in the first place. But the colleague for whom I posted this entry, she was interested in whether the school was a quality program (as measured by some independent standard)? What kind of reputation the school had? And if there was independent evidence of student success (e.g., how many students entered universities, and they can easily get SAT scores, etc.) as measured by some reliable and valid instrument?

    Comment by mkbnl — May 14, 2011 @ 8:03 am | Reply

    • mkbnl, I have three kids 9, 7 and 6. They all have different ways that they learn and all are very bright in my opinion. But each one of them learn at there own “pace” and that is one of the reasons this curriculum is so great. They learn at their own speed and no one can say they are too slow and that they need to catch up as one elementary school teacher tried to tell me about my once Preschool child. The other reason this curriculum is so great is that it is God centered and those who defend the quality of this curriculum are those who value this aspect of it. We care about what are kids are learning and how they are taught, the public school system (not all teachers)don’t give a hoot about how they learn but they do care about what we learn. Such as, sex education, how many lies they tell in the history books, the students education about gay rights and parenting, evolution which teaches that this world came about from an “organic soup” or “big bang” or that “Lucy” some put together bag of bones that suppose to be a monkey or ape, is our ancestor. Now that’s intelligent thinking! With this curriculum comes the advantage of choosing other tools of learning that are not in the paces and we as parents and supervisors have a responsibility as to what our kids are learning. If kids are stuck to just pace work than we are not doing our jobs. With that said, to each his own. Public school, ACE or any other curriculum, it’s up to the parent. Our values will help us decide what we ought to do about our children’s education. What do you value? That is the question.

      Comment by Shonell — May 26, 2011 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

      • Shonell, I’m not sure where to begin exactly. Do I comment on the doctrine of the separation of church and state in relation to education? Do I comment on the blanket condemnation of public school teachers (a favourite target of conservatves in the United States right now)? Or do I bother to waste my time talking about how the United States, or at least its more religiously influenced, are the only large segment of the population that question scientific theories such as evolution or the origins of the universe? I mean let’s face it the church doesn’t have a great track record of getting science right (earth being the centre of the universe comes to mind).

        Either way, I don’t think this helps much in my interest in finding out more about the School of Tomorrow’s program quality, reputation, or evidence of student success. Thanks for the comment all the same!

        Comment by mkbnl — May 27, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

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  47. Ivan, since you left three comments, I combined them into a single one.

    1. please send me info on how we can start a school in limpopo in south africa

    2. how do we start an ace school in polokwane? please send us info. we would like to start it in a rural area for children who struggle with schoolwork who have been negelected by the schools they attend.

    3. would we need to register the school with ace and the department of education? also how do we do both of these? what are the costs involved in starting a school like this? I am a teacher as well as my wife and we also have come from a pastoral ministry background and we would like to start something for the children of polokwane who are labelled as remedial children. please respond.

    Comment by Ivan Robert Lotter — June 23, 2011 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

    • Hello Ivan.

      If you go to http://www.aceministries.co.za will find all the information that you require to get everything done that you are asking about.

      Comment by ACEparent — August 25, 2011 @ 5:39 am | Reply

      • Thanks ACEparent. Ivan, this link is for the ACE school in South Africa. I mention that in case you needed one in a different part of the world.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 25, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  48. Ivan, I don’t know the answers to your questions. I would suggest that you contact the School of Tomorrow directly.

    Comment by mkbnl — June 23, 2011 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  49. Hi, I have a comment on this curriculum. I have 3 children and used a.c.e. exclusively for 5 yrs. Last year I decided to try a year of what is called “unschooling”. We did very little book work and lots of hands on and kid guided stuff. Well needless to say it really didn’t work for me, the kids liked it but I felt
    it was just to lax. Anyway each year the kids have to take a state test which is required by the state we
    live in. Each of my children scored a B on the (over all)state test and that was after a year of doing very little book work. A.C.E. is a great program for learning and I am going back.
    There were a couple of comments I wanted to address #1 there is no way a child could work an entire
    PACE in a half an hour (made by an earlier commentator). I try not to get to deep into peoples religions
    and or political views but I will say that the PACES are Bible based (in which I am a believer ). As far as Science and Math goes 2 of my 3 children scored above average in those parts of the tests.
    I believe that curriculum is what you make it , like unschooling is not for my family but works great for
    others. People who are not religious will most likely find A.C.E. not their cup of tea but we really like
    it and it works for us.

    Comment by LJ316 — July 14, 2011 @ 2:55 am | Reply

  50. LJ316, thank you for the comment. I would caution you against using state testing as the sole or main means of determining the effectiveness of a curriculum or educational program. I’m sure you want more from your children’s education than their ability to regurgitate rote knowledge on a bubble test, which is all the state testing really measures.

    This is at the crux of many of the negative comments above, the fact that the curriculum focuses solely on rote memorization and other knowledge and comprehension level material (if you’re familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy). The other main criticism of the curriculum from above seems to be the focus on religion over fact in many instances, or at least a focus on Christian morals above any other aspects of the children’s education and development.

    Personally, I have never seen the curriculum or interacted with anyone in any official capacity from the School of Tomorrow or Accelerated Christian Education. So I can only go on what I have learned from my own investigation online (which I detail in the original entry) and the interaction that I have had with those who have commented on that entry.

    Comment by mkbnl — July 14, 2011 @ 8:52 am | Reply

    • Hi, you very welcome. In our state (unlike some others) you are required to test by means of ACT ,BASI or SAT none of which decide or decipher my view of my childrens level of achievement. However almost every state uses some sort of testing tool to determine a students level of achievement. Fortunately most true home schooling families are not bound by those tests and for most the results do not mean much. Again how ever if I was to tell you that my children scored low on those tests the judgement would be against the A.C.E .curriculum (and me for using it) people would say “yep told ya so” but because I tell you that they scored above average on 4 of the 6 tests you say don’t put much faith in those tests. Considering that over 60% of all American high schools are not accredited and are failing miserably in those state tests, only tells me that at least they’re(my children) better off where they are at.
      You mention memorization, ALL education starts off with memorizing,remember beginning spelling.Until children are taught by the parent by example to have a love of learning children must memorize stuff.This curriculum is far from “rote memorization” and every lesson teaches not only facts but a moral verification as well.
      Religion over fact, in reference to Science I’m presuming, now there we find the real problem because most people who knock this curriculum are not Christians. Christianity vs. Atheism. You’ll never find a solution to this problem because there are two entirely different beliefs at work here. For instance take the famous atheist Dawkins for example on one hand he says their is no GOD but he also says that they (meaning himself and others like him) do not know how life on earth started but they THINK they know the kind of events that took place. Dawkins also has a hard time giving examples of genetic mutations for the sake of the evolutionary process of the genome. When Science becomes theory and not “fact” it becomes Pseudo-science. This is the Dilemma that most Christians are left with. Christian morals in my opinion is the main reason why I and others like me chose home schooling,education is secondary to a moral up bringing.
      Unfortunately , because you yourself have not seen or used this curriculum it makes it hard for you to truly understand it.
      On a personal note I believe that ALL people through their own beliefs will try to prove or disprove their beliefs and or the beliefs of others simply because they are comfortable in their belief pattern. Sometimes searching outside ourselves and what we think we know can be illuminating.
      Thank you for your time. Have a blessed day.

      Comment by LJ316 — July 14, 2011 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

      • LJ316, I’d actually argue the point that all education starts off with memorization. If you look at most of what a child learns prior to beginning their formal schooling, and even a lot – if not most – of their elementary school years is not memorization. It is discovery-based learning, it is project-based learning, it is constructionism at its best.

        On the religion over fact, I wasn’t referring strictly to science – as this has implications in English language arts and social studies too. However, to use your line of reasoning, gravity is still pseudo-science… as it has yet to be proven. The boiling and freezing points cannot be conclusively proven either. Neither can be disproven, but neither can be proven either. Should we throw these three things out with all of the other theories? If not, how do you decide which “theory” to include and which you don’t? There isn’t any way to do it other than through some arbitrary understanding of a 2000 year old book that has been revised thousands of times to ensure that the Catholic theology became the dominant view of Christianity during the first three-four centuries of the common era. I was raised a Christian, have regularly attended church in three different denominations during the first thirty years of my life. I’ve read my Bible from cover to cover, along with the Torah and the Qur’an. I’m also read a fair amount of the scholarship around the textual analysis of these third, fourth, fifth and six century documents (as the copies we have were largely written 400-500 years after the events they describe). It has been quite illuminating, so much so that I now identify myself as an agnostic (as opposed to an atheist).

        Comment by mkbnl — July 14, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

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  52. I am not religious and neither is my son, in fact he imagines himself to be an atheist and I suppose I could be called an agnostic (or the new flavour of the month, possibilian), so the reason I am considering/researching an ACE school is NOT because of any religious convictions. I will explain my reasons.

    My son is currently attending the last year of a public (government) primary school in South Africa and is failing miserably. By now he has lost all interest in even trying, due to constant failures and resulting criticisms and has just given up by disconnecting from everything that goes on in class. Although, my purpose here is not to criticize our public educational system, I should state for better understanding, that it’s an undisputed fact that the public school education system in South Africa is in a dismal place (outcomes based curriculum was declared a failure by the Minister of Education last year), and more so for a kid like my son who suffers ADD and Sensory Integration Dysfunction. And that the perception in SA is that ANY other form of education is preferable to public schools. The “normal” kids struggle to cope in overfull classes where there are 40+ learners, and for my son it’s just impossible. It has been unanimously agreed by both his teachers and psychologist that he should be removed from public schooling and be entered where possible into a private high school.

    This presents me with a dilemma, exclusive private schools are completely unaffordable to the average salary earner in SA; home schooling is out of the question for us; and I’m fully aware that by putting him in a public high school next year is deliberately setting him up for continued failure and misery. As his intelligence is above average, putting him in a “special” school for learning disabilities seem somewhat unnecessary and extreme. Schools specialising in kids with ADHD are just as expensive as other private schools. So where does this leave us?

    In SA, ACE schools are affordable and their philosophy of focusing on the individual needs of each child, seems hugely promising for a child such as mine, and the two reasons we started investigating the ACE curriculum. I had hoped this page (and comments) would produce answers to the 3 questions stated, as those are also my exact concerns, but as it always are with these things, opinions are varied and the outcome seem inconclusive (as concluded in point 38). And, now I have one more thing to consider – the criticism that came out regarding ACE’s focus on religion over fact, is a deep concern, and not something that I previously considered. It doesn’t help I choose a school because the price is right, the individual attention is there, but the education is not necessarily based on fact!

    I am wondering, have your questions been answered?

    Comment by Jacky Horn (@Jackyah333) — August 15, 2011 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  53. Jacky, to answer your question… My questions have been generally answered, in that both my own research and the interaction from this blog post. My all accounts, it appears that the ACE curriculum is quite focused on the lower order levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (i.e., knowledge and comprehension level). Now I don’t know what the national curriculum in South Africa is like, but this wouldn’t be a problem in the United States (as knowledge and comprehension level curriculum is all that is testing b the standardized testing, so it is all that is taught).

    In your case, I’d advise you to look at the options. Obviously you have some real concerns about the traditional school system for your son. As you note, private school is not within your economic means. If ACE offers a viable alternative for your child, I would advise you to seriously consider it. Knowing some of the concerns about the religious focus of the curriculum, and the appearance that the curriculum doesn’t include problem solving and critical thinking skills, if you did decide to use the ACE program for your son you could make sure that you compensated for these things.

    Comment by mkbnl — August 15, 2011 @ 10:00 am | Reply

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  55. Hi mkbnl,

    Due to time constraints, I have not been able to read through each comment posted here, but if I understand correctly, you are looking for information on “School of Tomorrow’s program quality, reputation, or evidence of student success.” I’m not sure if I can help much in this quest you have, but maybe my experience with the ACE curriculum can provide some answers. I attended a traditional school from Pre-Kinder all the way up to my sophomore year of high school. At that time, my parents decided to switch schools and I was transferred to a school that used the School of Tomorrow curriculum. Before starting, however, I was given a Diagnostic Test. According to this Test, I had many gaps in my learning so I had to start several years behind my expected school grade (e.g., for English, I had to start at fourth grade level). So I started working with PACE’s, filled in all my learning gaps, and graduated within 3 1/2 years of using the School of Tomorrow curriculum. I then took the ACT and thanks to the Lord, my score was in the 97th percentile. I have now obtained two BS degrees, graduated Summa Cum Laude in each, and I am currently working on a Master’s. Considering the embarrasing learning gaps I had when I first started attending an ACE school, it is evident that none of these achievements are due to my inherent ability, intelligence, and so forth. I can only thank God and the ACE curriculum for helping me “succeed” in the world of academia. Maybe this provides some answers in regards to School of Tomorrow’s program quality and a small piece of evidence in regards to the success it can provide for students.

    Comment by Kiehnle — August 31, 2011 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  56. Kiehnle, at the time I posted this I had been looking for independent, external research into the quality of the program. I haven’t received any of that information to date, so I suppose that question goes unanswered.

    What I have received are many comments about personal experiences, both positive and negative, from people who have either been a student in the program, the parent of a student in the program, or have taught in the program. While not what I was looking for, those have been interesting.

    Comment by mkbnl — September 1, 2011 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

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  62. I am currently in eighth grade taking the ACE program in a very small school, with very few people. I am very concerned with education, wanting only whats best. This year is my second year in the program. Last year I had been given the diagnostic test and was put in 5th grade english, I was on grade level for sci, ss, literature and word building. I had caught up in my english till I was ahead of my grade level, thankful that I went to summer school. I had gotten straight A’s throughout the whole year with very little difficulty, I had also received a trophy for the highest GPA. (97.8 average out of 68 paces) My concern now is which will give me the benefit? My goal is to graduate early, and to switch back to public schools would hinder it. I would also feel as if I did all that extra work in paces for no reason. But if public schools do offer a better education, a higher one, then should I go back? I was researching about it and came upon this website, and find it very criticizing to the program. I am a Biblical Christian only wanting to do Christs will for me, I love the morals and values the paces hold, but my greatest concern is the level its teaching. Is it beyond or below public schools teaching? If it was beyond then I would go to back to public schools for that very reason, but whats stopping me is: what will be better overall in life? Your morals, your relationship with Christ, your guidance through life? or your money in which results by the job you have, which then in turn results by your education, and everyone knows that money is what will bring you about in life! But it’s not, God is the one who provides all needs, He is the source of life. I’d rather be wise in life, wise in Christ then have all the knowledge in this world. I have not been brainwashed, the theory of evolution is just preposterous… considering that is what public schools find as the truth. If evolution can’t explain how matter got here, why let them explain anything else? My response, I believe won’t be much of a help, since I myself believe that public schools offer a better education, yet with no moral truth and foundation that will dictate my life. I have wandered off topic, but yes, my point is: Teaching the truth about life and what is after it is far more important, than having the knowledge of this temporary world. Ultimately Jesus will carry you through life, and I’m not sure whether or not He’d have me in a public school, but I am sure that whatever He wants me to do or wherever He wants me to go is what is best. My conclusion: ACE holds the real truth, the truth that I need to live, to really live. While Public schools do offer a better education, it does not meet my spiritual needs which is far more important than my physical needs. I’d rather feed on what is eternal than what is temporary.

    Comment by Madeline — January 17, 2012 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

    • Madeline, thank you for your comment and for providing the student perspective. I’ll be honest and say that in the original post I was looking to find empirical, independent evidence of the success of the program. You’ll note that it was many of the teachers and parents – former and present – that have left comments about their impressions of the rote nature and the Christian fundamentalist focus of the curriculum. Your ideological contribution I think is solid evidence of this concern.

      Comment by mkbnl — January 17, 2012 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

    • Madeline. i am a parent that did the home school thing for many years. your conclusion that ACE holds the truth is good and that the public school offer better education is also the truth. what i can tell you is this. the real world looks for education, and the bible holds the truth and what you need to live by. you will graduate and be in the worldly system. if your life is based in the bible you will do good. bottem line: the school is good for your soul, but you need the education to make a life for yourself and a life that God can use to benefit you and others.

      Comment by ellouise — August 29, 2012 @ 8:23 am | Reply

      • Ellouise, thank you for the comment. One of the things I struggle with when it comes to Christian education is the literal reading of the Bible as the basis for history or science. I may be wrong, but it appears that you’re coming down on the side of both Christian and public education – indicating that both have their place and that both have merit.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 29, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  63. Hi there!

    I live in Canada. My husband and 3 sisters all attended an ACE school for part of their childhood education (K-Gr.5). All four siblings have since attended and obtained post secondary education. My husband holds a B of Science, as well has his Masters. Two of his sisters have Graduated with Bachelor of Music Degrees and are classical trained musicians and teachers. The eldest sibling has 2 Bachelors of English Degrees and is pursuing her Masters. In addition, she teaches Gr.11/12 English at a public high school. Besides the solid teaching of Biblical creation, they all agree that ACE was influential in developing strong independent study skills. The curriculum material is thorough and comprehensive.

    For myself: I have used the ACE Kindergarten and Gr. 1 programs to teach 6 German speaking 5/6 yr. olds how to read and write. I have since used the same material to teach our two oldest children how to read and write. We chose this because it is a thorough program. Before we continue to use this program long term, I am researching the application requirements from various Canadian universities. I love the Biblical content of ACE and we will continue using it for as long as we can. I believe that I, the home educator, am responsible to make sure that our children are meeting the necessary outcomes for a graduate diploma. The ACE helps me facilitate that . Therefore, I have the advantage to include any necessary materials to cover those outcomes. It’s is interesting that some of the large universities in Canada such as McMaster and Trinity Western have recognized the ACE curriculum in their applications. From my understanding, ACE has been the longest standing accepted and accredited curriculum recognized by these Universities. Here are some results from my research…

    http://future.mcmaster.ca/admission/application-process/non-canadiannon-high-school-applicants/transcript-and-document-information/

    2/3rds down the page under the title Home School

    http://victorylifechristianschool.com/curriculum/

    http://ontariohomeschool.org/universityCanada.shtml

    http://www.twu.ca/academics/calendar/ac0304-admissions-registration-and-enrolment.pdf

    See page 11 under unaccredited High Schools

    Some other helpful information: there are many ACE private schools in Canada (esp. in the west). Home school families can enroll through those schools to ensure that they receive adequate education. If you enroll with a school you may use your own curriculum or theirs. I know that there are several ACE School of Tomorrow private schools that provide the necessary supplements to meet the learning outcomes of the province. In addition, the will receive the Dogwood Diploma

    Comment by CA mom — January 21, 2012 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment CA Mom. I was curious about your comment “they all agree that ACE was influential in developing strong independent study skills.” I’m wondering if these individuals were already disposed to these characteristics. One of the things the research into K-12 online learning has revealed thus far is that it isn’t the act of learning online that develops independent learning skills in its students, but that students that are naturally better independent learners already opt to learn online. As we’d say in research terms, while there may be a correlation, it isn’t indicative of causation.

      Comment by mkbnl — January 21, 2012 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  64. I enjoyed reading your comments, criticisms, and appreciations on ACE program. Actually, there’s no reason to argue with this because it still depends on how you grasp the lesson. No matter what methods, strategies, techniques, or style you would want the lesson be imparted, it’s still up to the teacher who handles the child or the students and how the child receives it. Yes, there were so many curriculum models created and all of these receive criticisms because nothing is perfect.

    As for me, being a mother of three children, I really appreciate ACE program. It did help my children especially reading and comprehension. If I would compare, they have learned a lot than when they were still in public school in our place. At ACE program, no time is wasted. They have spent quality time in reading and answering PACEs. Whereas in other school, if you would sum it all, they only had 3 hours quality lesson in one week and the rest was spent in extracurricular activities. It would be good if the rest of the time of extracurricular activities would be spent by the students, but it’s not. Because during those times that were wasted was that the teacher did not attend her class because she was busy completing paper works in school. More time is spent in paper works than teaching children. That’s why, students were left behind.

    I should say, we better not criticize what we don’t know. Everything still depends on you… how you have responded to the lesson, be it individualized or conventional. If you feel that it’s not for you, then go and look for what you think is best. Don’t leave a word that would make others be discouraged. Because you are responsible for whatever actions you make take. Remember, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. As simple as, “WHAT YOU SAY IS WHAT YOU ARE….” God bless you.

    Comment by Jocelyn Acosta — January 23, 2012 @ 5:46 am | Reply

    • Jocelyn, thanks for your reply. I have to be honest and say that this entry had taken an unexpected turn – at least from what I had wanted to do with it in the first place. Because of my background in the field of K-12 distance education, I had been asked by an international colleague if any research existed into the effectiveness of the School of Tomorrow curriculum. I was able to find some older pieces of research that indicated: 1) the curriculum was largely based on rote knowledge, with a heathly dose of religion (and even some more controversial content), and 2) that the one independent study found that ACE students did not perform as well as regular public school students in standardized testing. Given how long this program has been around, I figured that there had to be more research out there… So I posted this entry figuring that many some of my international colleagues knew of some non-North American publications that had articles about the program.

      What I received, in terms of responses can be grouped into the following categories: 1) teachers who have little good to say about their working conditions or the curriculum, 2) parents that have had students enrolled or students themselves that have done quite well or find the curriculum quite good (I’d place you in this category), 3) parents that have had students enrolled or students themselves that feel that they were ill prepared by the ACE curriculum, and 4) some religious fundamentalists who feel that my questions seeking independent research to verify the effectiveness of the curriculum is somehow an attack on their misguided, ideological beliefs.

      In your case, based on your response I suspect that you are fairly involved in the education (and lives in general) of your three children. While poverty may be the number one indicator of the potential success of a student, I firmly believe that parental involvement also plays a strong role (and yes I do acknowledge that parents in poverty will likely have less time to be involved simply because they are trying to make ends meet). In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that because of your involvement in your children’s education, I believe they would have or will succeed regardless of the type of educational environment that they are enrolled in. Anyway, I do thank you for the comment.

      Comment by mkbnl — January 23, 2012 @ 11:03 am | Reply

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  66. I did not go through and read all of the comments, however, I am proud to admit that I am an A.C.E. graduate. I started in the program at Kindergarten and went all the way through the program. I also taught the curriculum for nine years.

    The curriculum acts as a building block. Each year builds upon the previous one. While it is geared to individual learning there are a minimum of requirements for a student to stay on grade level if they have the mental capability to do so. In other words, a mentally handicapped child will only go so far in the curriculum, but will still have been afforded a solid educational foundation.

    Previously, the Math curriculum was rather weak, but they have made tremendous improvements. The English curriculum is excellent. It teaches grammer all through the grade levels. In my opinion, the Science and Social Studies could be improved upon, but it is not bad.

    How the students will do in this curriculum depend upon the teachers and the parents. If a teacher is lazy the students will find many ways to cheat. However, I have found this to be true of other schools and their curriculums, too.

    The students of an A.C.E. school are also taught to set daily goals. If they complete these goals in all of their subjects that day, they do not have to take any homework. Teachers are allowed and encouraged to use incentives in an A.C.E. school. Speaking from experience, both as a former student and teacher, it works.

    Because it is a Christian school that uses Christian curriculum, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Christian values and morals are taught at a Christian school. In the PACES are characters that the students “grow up” with. These characters teach them Christ-like characteristics to emulate in their own lives. The nice thing about Christian schools is school choice. If parents do not like their children learning these things they have the option (and usually the encouragement from administration) to pull their children and send them to the public schools.

    One of the criticisms I often heard from people who had never attended an A.C.E. school was that graduates of the program will struggle transitioning from an untraditional classroom setting to a traditional classroom in college. That the students would struggle in adjusting to taking notes. I did not find that to be the case, nor did I hear that from any of my friends or classmates. As a matter of fact, many of the graduates went on to tutor other students in college who had graduated from a public school system.

    No curriculum or school is perfect because it is organized and led by imperfect humans. There are good public school systems and then there are ones that rival nightmares. There are good Christian schools and there are bad ones. Some homeschooling parents do an excellent job and their children are top-notch students and contribute greatly to our society. Then there are homeschooling parents who handicap their children because they are not disciplined and knowledgeable. I personally have witnessed both. My heart aches for the child that does not receive a quality education regardless of what type of school they attend. I am a strong proponent for school choice.

    If I had children of my own, I would use the A.C.E. curriculum. While I am 100% sold on A.C.E….it isn’t the curriculum for everyone. Parents still need to do their own research, and when they find a school they like they still need to stay involved.

    Comment by Cynthia — February 15, 2012 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

    • Cynthia, as I’ve indicated a number of times in this thread. It seems that based on the comments of many of the former students and parents of current and/or former students, those that have had a positive experience with this curriculum were those students that were specifically looking for a more Christian fundamentalist schooling or those who would have done well in their education regardless of what kind of school they attended. It seems that you would fall into that latter category.

      To date, no one on this thread has presented any independent research – beyond what I have cited in the original entry – that shows the School or Tomorrow or A.C.E. curriculum to be effective, particularly for higher order thinking.

      Comment by mkbnl — February 15, 2012 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

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  68. I have graduated from an ACE School in South Africa. It all seems attractive because you ‘pass’ on 80% and above for easy multiple-choice questions. The reality only sets in once you have to think about university. The system has really screwed us over here in South Africa. Its so shit that universities put you on the reserve list if you just mention that you went to an ACE School. It’s full of propaganda and eroneous religious thinking being forced down your throat. I actually might have to re-do grade 12 in a public school, which I sought to escape because of how bad it is. I just want to phone the founders and tell them how bad they messed up. All Im good for now is an organ donor.

    Comment by organ donor — March 17, 2012 @ 11:01 am | Reply

    • This does appear to be the standard kind of feedback I have received from those who don’t have the religious views that are consistent with what the ACE Schools are proselytizing.

      Comment by mkbnl — March 17, 2012 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

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  70. The Paces might not work for everyone, but they work for us. We have 4 children in 4 different grades. The children working independently from each other and finishing their goals have helped them to achieve discipline and motivation to get the job done. I supplement the paces with other curriculum to help them maintain our “high standard” (the paces in Math don’t seem to be as advanced as the curriculum that Abeka offers, and it is quite redundant, which I don’t mind, math exercising it great!)
    Overall, I recomend it, but it definetly needs to be suplemented with other curriculum.

    Comment by HSMomOf4 — April 24, 2012 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

    • This seems to be one of the two dominant views – parents or students (or former parents and students) that either really like the curriculum or really hate the curriculum. Both have been active in this discussion.

      Comment by mkbnl — April 24, 2012 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  71. I’m curious if you found any independent research to answer your research. I am a graduate of an ACE program my parents ran schools using the program all across the USA.
    From my perspective the science and math are lacking. I will however say it did give me a love of learning and did provide a good moral compass. (I would not recommend this course if you are not a Christian). Now that being said, “brainwashed” is a little harsh to be throwing around about the system. I am a monothiest and believe God to be the cause of the universe. I find this no harder to have faith in than “bubbles” of “force” being the cause of the big bang. However I will say even if you are a Christian you need to supplement your child’s education with other courses for science and perhaps some advanced math (Trig and Calc at least) if using this course.
    Oh and just to throw it out there. I’m pre med and my brother who also graduated from ACE high school and their college now has an MBA and is the VP of marketing at a fortune 500 company.

    To the op those last few comments weren’t really to help your quest for independent research, rather to help those wanting an inside view of the ciriculum.

    Comment by ACE graduate — April 24, 2012 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

    • No independent research beyond what I cited in the original entry.

      As for the term brainwashed, looking above it appears to have been an accusation from a former teacher in the program. And it was used a second time by a student who claimed not to have been.

      Comment by mkbnl — April 24, 2012 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

    • I have a detailed memory of my learning (or lack their of) experience! I am far more interesting in finding research.

      Well if you are truly brainwashed, how could you admit? I wouldn’t call it brainwashing…more like not being equally exposed to alternative opinions. This is especially dangerous because authors back up their claims w/evidence or reasoning for their viewpoints but when mentioning opposing viewpoint there is no explanation for the logic behind why some people believe it to be true–unfortunately this is true for any fundamentalist religion. It can easily be argued–I am not sure if School of Tomorrow would oppose–that the primary purpose is not to educate academically but to educate religiously, I went to an ACE school from 4th-12th grade. Every so often I look for independent research. As a child through late adolescents I was exposed to ACE’s racist and political propaganda. The older I got the more unsettling it became. For example, I remember one Biology pace claiming that HIV/AIDS was caused by same genders having sex. I first read that in 2000.

      Learning primarily consisted of rote memory and learning sentence structure. I use to love diagramming a sentences! I was suited to this learning style and I imagine you and your brother was too. However, most people are not.

      I am glad you had a decent experience with the curriculum. The school of tomorrow merely sells the PACES, give models on how to make a learning center and conducts some staff training. However, the actual implementation of the curriculum is not their responsibility. The people who ran my school were not accountable to anyone. Once we got into high school there was no school employee that could assist us with our schoolwork, so if we needed help oh the f well. Many times we were just told to skip it. There was no one to grade our written assignment, so we simply never did them, The whole work at your own pace and set your own goals was an epic fail when it became time to graduate, so the PACES were cut down to a 1-2 page review sheet base on the test questions. If we failed it was alright because we were allowed to take the same test over and over again and over again until we passed–literally the same test not a new copy.

      The end result was me taking a college entrance exam at my local community college. When I discussed my results with one of their academic counselors she told me the only thing I barely passed was reading comprehension–big surprise there(sarcasm). I explained to her my previous academic experience. She told me that when people score as low as I did they are not recommend to pursue an academic degree, but try to get a certification doing something that procedurally based, but due to my history she recommended me take all the remedial course they offered. My first few semesters were horrible. Thankfully some professors saw my potential and taught me basic academic skills. Now I am in my second year of graduate school.

      Comment by Amelia — May 15, 2012 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

      • Amelia, no matter how good the curriculum, a student can fail if the teacher is not doing their job. I’ve seen horrible public schools (that teach anything but Christianity) allow young people to graduate who can’t even read! Not because of a learning disability, but because the parents and the teachers failed the child. Then I’ve seen where teachers in public schools really did care for the students and inspired kids to excel. I’ve seen the same things in the Christian schools that I either attended as a student or worked at as a teacher. No matter the school or the curriculum, it is sad when the adults fail the children. I am sorry that your experience was not a good one.

        Comment by cynthiaizon — May 15, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

      • “I’ve seen horrible public schools (that teach anything but Christianity) allow young people to graduate who can’t even read!”

        Cynthiaizon, I think we’ve seen evidence in this tread that the same thing can be said of some A.C.E. schools!

        Comment by mkbnl — August 29, 2012 @ 11:54 am

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  73. Amelia, I have seen cases where public schools allowed young people to graduate when they couldn’t even read! Not because they had a learning disability, but because the parents and teachers failed those young people. I’ve seen Christian school teachers allow their student to graduate when the student hadn’t completed all of the course requirements. Both were wrong to allow these things to happen. Both failed. But I’ve also seen teachers in public and A.C.E. schools inspire their students to excel. Those students had positive experiences, learned well, and continued on to successfully complete college or university. Obviously, a Christian school, such as an A.C.E. school, is going to teach Christianity. That should be considered a given. And since the atheists won by removing prayer and Scripture from the public schools, most of those schools teach anything BUT Christianity. And there are Muslim schools in America that teach the Koran. That’s the beauty of living in a free nation. I’m sorry that your experience in an A.C.E. school was a disappointment to you. I wish that every child could have a positive experience and a solid educational foundation.

    Comment by cynthiaizon — May 15, 2012 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

    • Cynthiaizon, I think the issue here is when the literal word of the scripture conflicts with what we know to be true based on science, the A.C.E. curriculum falls back on that literal reading (at least that is what I have gathered from the comments on this tread. I agree that if parents wish to send their children to a religious school – of any faith – they should be able to do so. However, at what point do we have to draw the line between educating through a faith-based lens and simply mis-educating?

      Comment by mkbnl — August 29, 2012 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  74. […] what Accelerated Christian Education is, and what evidence there is of student achievement (see Questions About The School Of Tomorrow). Accelerated Christian Education is a pre-packaged programmed learning curriculum, which teaches […]

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  78. We use the A.C.E. curriculum here at Ruby Christian School in Tucker, GA. First of all, I’ve done research on the internet, and like any curriculum you’ll find that there are both negatives and positives to the PACE system we use. That said, I can think of no other system that allows us such flexibility. For example, let me share what we recently encountered with our daughter’s Math PACE.
    Over the last few months, I’ve come to learn what she’s capable of in Mathematics, and what she’s not (big surprise, right?). Well, she had just finished up her most recent PACE, but when Mrs. Sonya and I pulled the next one out of the file, we found a lot of column addition, repeat 2-digit addition, and single-digit multiplication. Bottom line: my daughter knows how to do that. She’s still working on 9’s a little bit, far as multiplying goes, but for the most part all that is old hat. So I, as a 20 year Math teacher, decided that what we should (and would) do is to only take from this PACE the things she still needs to master and leave the rest alone. Same thing is true of any student entering RCS; we will evaluate the value of the material, and if it’s something your child no longer needs help / instruction in, hey – we’ll move them along too!
    The other amazing thing about it is how it truly teaches children to be independent and responsible. Sonya typically began the morning by helping our daughter set her goals; however, this morning she had yet to do so because of our stopping to talk about the Math PACE. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw our child go to her desk here at RCS and pick up a PACE. She took it back to the break room, and I didn’t mention it because I figured she was working on something. Well, at one point during our conversation Sonya left to help set the child’s goals….and found that our daughter was – as I suspected – already back there working on her Science PACE since she knew what she had do!
    If you want your child to learn to be self-motivated and engaged, the PACE system will certainly do it. I have seen it work not only for our child but for countless others during the last two years. As I said at the beginning, sure it may have flaws as no curriculum system is perfect. Working together as parents and teachers, however, there is the flexibility and freedom to ensure that your child receives a quality, high-level education, in a Christian setting. In this day and time nothing could be more valuable.

    Comment by Tim Phillips — July 13, 2012 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

    • Tim, in terms of the quality of the curriculum I think the guest blog entry that is trackedback as comment #74 is a useful one to follow, as it provides a very comprehensive review of the PACE curriculum

      Having said that, if you have a child that can be successful in an environment that requires them to be self-motivated and engaged, I suspect that kind of child will be success regardless – and, in some cases, in spit – of the curriculum used.

      Comment by mkbnl — July 13, 2012 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

      • I read most of guest post 74. With respect, mk, you assume too much. We also have hands-on active labs in the afternoon to supplement PACE learning. My wife is an extraordinary science teacher who knows the scientific method very well; I am a 20 year veteran of both public and private schools and habdle math, music, and tech la s. I still believe A.C.E to be one of the better curriculums out there. With a combination of the two, our students are not just memorizing, they are mastering subject material. You are correct, though… a self-motivated student is more in tune with A.C.E.

        Comment by Tim Phillips — July 13, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

      • So you have self-motivated and engaged children, along with active parents that have a background in education. Was there ever any doubt that children in that circumstance would succeed regardless of the curriculum used? You’ve just listed a series of factors that the vast majority of K-12 students, let alone those engaged in full-time online learning don’t possess or have access to!

        Comment by mkbnl — July 13, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  79. Man, some days I can’t proofread though…habdle=handle. Where’s the editor feature?

    Comment by Tim Phillips — July 13, 2012 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  80. To some degree, I believe I owe you an apology mkbnl; reading it again, I believe I misunderstood the focus of your question. Let me try again – I can tell you that at the school I taught at previously, the A.C.E. phonics based reading program was a true plus as I worked with students who weren’t able to read. It engaged and entertained them (the VideoPhonics program); they looked forward, I believe, to what new sight words they would encounter during that day’s session. Yes, part of it was teacher, part was student desire.. but part of it was also the program.

    Regarding our parents at RCS, and our students, you are right. Don’t kid yourself – I count the blessings at our school daily! They make my job a WHOLE lot easier!

    Comment by Tim Phillips — July 13, 2012 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

    • Tim, as best as I can see, there is no independent research to support the quality of the curriculum – and the more comprehensive reviews of the curriculum itself have tended to find it lacking in many respects (in particular the guest blog entry provides a detailed accounting of its shortcomings). Beyond that, the discussion on the topic seems to have taken on one of two dominant views – parents or students (or former parents and students) that either really like the curriculum or really hate the curriculum. Both have been active in this discussion. The general trend has been that the more fundamental or evangelic Christians have tended to side on the really like, while others on the really hate.

      Comment by mkbnl — July 13, 2012 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

      • Well, so far as much as this discussion is concerned, the said ‘research’ which have been cited at the beginning of this topic, unfortunately I can say they pose very weak arguments towards the generalisation that we see to be taken for granted by some in this discussion. A research that compares two schools, and the other one that condemns its quality simply because of its religious values, I think these cannot stand the level of criticality that is expected in scholarship. We need to be more fair when expect more thorough and rigorous research before we can be quoting things all over again and again as if it is an authority.

        I would rather therefore give an ear more to those who have experienced the curriculum and see the outcomes (the way I see it seems to be competence-based curriculum) rather than those who give their bitter views against it based on their biased religious views or disappointments of salaries.

        Comment by Kay Jones — October 20, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

      • Kay, that makes little sense. Independent research that has compared student performance of students in this program against other programs have found this program to be lacking. Independent evaluations of the curriculum have found it to be weak at best, or inaccurate, misleading and ideological at worse. And you think I should take the word of fundamentalist Christians about their perceptions of the high quality nature of the program?

        I guess I can fully understand why there is no getting through to this constituency or why most folks roll their eyes when this constituency speaks.

        Comment by mkbnl — October 20, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  81. If you are not fit in the ACE system,get out now go back to a conventional school,because you will not graduate.I have a classmate who is 22 this year is still on 3rd year high school,still didn’t graduate.Its ok for you to r
    epeat if you go back to a conventional school,rather than addressing your baclogs and can’t graduate.No offense,this is just for people who are not fit in this program like me,the suggestion is if you don’t want your life just answering PACES just go to a school fitted for you.

    Comment by YSNH — August 1, 2012 @ 1:20 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment YSNH. Your statement that students (and their parents) should select a program that is suitable to and that suits them is a good one.

      Comment by mkbnl — August 1, 2012 @ 9:58 am | Reply

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  85. To mkbnl….dude I don’t know How old you are..,but you have got some serious issues …your upset with somebody ..and it is not The cuuriculum of PACE system… it something internal in you …namely …your unbelief …..of whatever your definition. Is of The GOD you don’t believe..so LET us get down to brass tacts here ..The Bible that you so blatently discredit says to every one including you ….The fool has said in his heart there is no GOD. ,and your public school philosphy says and teaches that there is no GOD and i say and many say there is..,but not many GODs.. after ALL The reading of your rebuttles i have come to The conclusion that you have a problem with your Belief system..
    So you attack Christian education ….but there is but 1 GOD ….who is 3 persons..does your public school system teach that? Well The Answer to that question Is no …so The Bible says ( generally speaking ) your a fool ….look it up…now you may be angry with The GOD that says this ,but this is to everyone who says in his heart there is no GOD …but it is your choice ….we see The world different from you ..and we don’t make it our mission to discredit you or who you stand for …but your calling us and our GOD stupid in a Very cunning flavor …i don’t need to explain How not to be a fool you know since you have worked with The curriculum that you make Jokes about..but The truth that Very curriculum that you say is lacking has called you and you buddies a fool ….so is The GOD that we teach our students a fool, or are you and The fool? Satan wants you to remain a fool. But The GOD that you have decredited..does not. Those that Robbed you failed you ….but The GOD that teach will never…unless you CHOOSE …..IF you confess with your mouth (The lord jesus ) and believe in your heart that god raised him from The dead you will be saved. And you will no longer be a fool.

    Comment by Jerome — November 5, 2012 @ 12:43 am | Reply

    • Jerome, I’m not sure where to begin. The first is to wonder if your horrible sentence structure and train of thought was somehow the result of the education you received at the School of Tomorrow. The second is to wonder whether your inability to engage about the actual content of the question (i.e., a serious examination of the empirical evidence related to the quality of the curriculum offered by the School of Tomorrow) and your focus on my believe system is also due to the indoctrination embedded into the curriculum.

      Regardless, I can tell you that I am solid in my belief system. A belief system that I suspect is much more informed than your own. I can honestly say that I have read the Bible (twice in fact); along with the Qur’an and the Torah, as well the variety of books and gospels that were excluded from the official canon by a series of monarchs (for lack of a better word) during the third through sixth centuries. I’ve also read the scholarship that examines what the messages in the various texts meant in the language of the day – as opposed to the meaning imposed upon them by today’s misinterpretation of that language (the word Messiah being an excellent example of that). So I am comfortable with the belief system that I hold, and have no problem discussing or defending it with anyone.

      Having said all of that, it is irrelevant to this discussion. If you look at the independent empirical evidence that we have available related to this curriculum it points to the fact that it is focused largely on lower order skills and does not produce results (at least at the same level as the traditional brick-and-mortar environment). Based on the work of at least one researcher discussed above, we do have some evidence that the curriculum is also quite flawed (and in many instances racist and sexist). From the anecdotal evidence that we have throughout this thread, I think we can safely say that the curriculum is quite fundamental in its Christian orientation (which seems to be the main reason why those who support it like it) and also has not prepared a significant number of individuals for education after high school (which seems to be the main criticism of those who don’t support it).

      Comment by mkbnl — November 10, 2012 @ 10:40 am | Reply

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  89. I will not go into much detail, nor will I gloss over what I perceive as weaknesses of the system. Neither will I give a scathing review of how terrible I think it is, because, despite it’s faults, in some way, it did work for me.

    I graduated roughly a year early with a 4.0 GPA and could have easily graduated two years early, but opted not to because I didn’t feel I was “ready” for college at that young an age. I ended up receiving a 75% scholarship to a local private college (at that time, roughly $12,000 a year). I did have some areas that were lacking, particularly when it came to literature and upper-level science. I also had to take some lower level English courses (though not really remedial, just courses that were typically skipped by those with the particular scholarship that I had). Adjusting to college was a huge step from the very structured, rote learning offered by the School of Tomorrow curriculum, and I nearly lost my scholarship during my sophomore year due to my GPA dipping (though that probably had a lot to do with my parents’ divorce and working close to full time throughout college).

    Ultimately, I ended up graduating in the four years allotted to me with a 3.1 GPA and a BA in History. I generally accept the fact that I did not do as well as I could have, but it is what it is.

    If the success of a curriculum is based on what the students go on to do after graduation, then by that standard the School of Tomorrow is just as good or bad as the people who are educated with it. It definitely does not work for everyone. ‘ve seen some truly bright people go through there who were being held back by the “gaps” system and who ended up leaving toward the end of high school because they knew they wouldn’t graduate, only to get their diploma from a public high school and do fairly well for themselves. I’ve also seen some truly bright people go through the system and graduate, then have issues because whatever college or job they were applying for would not consider their diploma as valid due to the accreditation status (though that has never been an issue for me). That’s something that definitely should be considered.

    Comment by Karyyk — January 2, 2013 @ 11:38 am | Reply

    • Karyyk, the problem is that we don’t know if you are an exception or if you are the rule. There are a lot of things that account for student success – although most of them can be linked to socio-economic status in one way shape or form. Other high determining factors include parental involvement and the student’s own independent learning skills. You may possess some or all of these traits that would have likely made you successful because of the curriculum or even in spite of the curriculum. Unfortunately a Sample of one is useful to tell a story, but rarely covers the whole picture.

      Comment by mkbnl — January 2, 2013 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

      • I would say in spite of it, to be absolutely honest. When I said that the curriculum worked for me, that’s not to say that I more than likely wouldn’t have been better off with something else. It’s overused, but it truly just is what it is.

        I suppose the socio-economic status comment is there as a sideways remark towards the fact that most who attend private schools are white and well-off. How does Latino and decidedly working class strike you? Tuition for my brothers and I was $175 a month (the equivalent of almost $300, adjusted for inflation…hardly the $10,000 a year that some Christian high schools in this area currently charge for a single student, not that I know of any A.C.E. schools that charge that much). My parents were honestly too busy struggling to make ends meet to be as involved in our education as they would have liked (when I was all of 8 years old, I was basically told that if I wanted to go to college, I’d have to get a scholarship and work my way through, which is how the both of them did it).

        As for my post, I chimed in simply to add to what’s already been posted. I hardly intended it as a definitive statement, or even as a typical scenario (it is not). No single post paints a full picture, and even if I were to write an entire volume on the subject, it would be tainted by my biases and experiences. These are broad strokes…

        Comment by Karyyk — February 6, 2013 @ 12:00 am

      • And that has been one of the problems with most of the comments related to this entry. I went looking for evidence-based research, and received tons of stories from both sides of the equation like your’s. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that these anecdotal accounts have been really interesting – and I have learned a lot about the program from them. They just haven’t been what I went searching for initially.

        Comment by mkbnl — February 7, 2013 @ 4:54 am

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  98. HERE IS SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ACE CURRICULUM:

    If you contact http://www.aceministries.com they have standardized research illustrated in a chart in their catalog for private ACE schools which shows the California Achievement Test (CAT) scores of students at every grade level from 1st – 12th grade who use the ACE exclusively from 1st grade onward.through 12th grade. This chart shows that students who use ACE from 1st grade on will score a 12.9 on the CAT by grade 9! 12.9 means an academic achievement level of twelfth grade ninth month, in other words, a high school graduate level of academic knowledge and achievement. This is the highest score possible on the CAT/California Achievement test.

    This means that students who use ACE from 1st grade onward will score at the 12th grade 9th month/ high school graduate level on the California Achievement Test by the time they have completed 9th grade. And ACE students continue to *max out* on the California Achievement Test for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. That’s a very SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH result that strongly supports the quality of the ACE curriculum.

    I chose ACE for my children for that reason and also for the Mastery testing that occurs in every subject every 2.5 to 3 weeks, giving the degree of mastery in each curriculum subject in precise percentages. I also chose ACE for the focus on Godly character development and the integration of God’s word and principles throughout the curriculum.

    I also have read many of my kids’ literature books and selections and been moved to tears and inspired by the qualities illustrated by the true life characters in their books. I feel that using ACE has benefitted my kids’ character development as much as their academic development. They are good, kind, and compassionate human beings and I hear many unsolicited positive comments about them from others.

    Comment by Patti — August 15, 2013 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

    • Patti, “research” done by the program itself is not exactly the independent evidence I was asking for. When it comes to K-12 online learning, in many instances (and almost all instances when it comes to the private or for-profit programs) the research they conduct is fundamentally flawed and the reason it gets posted on their websites is because no respectable academic journal would ever publish the stuff!

      Comment by mkbnl — August 15, 2013 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

      • Hi!

        Thanks for your reply, mkbnl! Actually, if you would look into the lead I gave you, you would find out that the research was conducted by an impartial outside testing service through the administration of the California Achievement Test (CAT). ACE now uses the online Stanford 10 for annual achievement testing of students in ACE schools across the country administered through Pearson’s Testing Service. Thus, ACE has nothing to do with the testing results other than disseminating them.

        Just FYI, I am a retired public school teacher with teaching credentials in both regular K-12 education and Special Education, as well as a Master’s Degree. I also received heavily-funded all-day “gifted education” throughout my public school education from K – 12th. I am now a stay-at-home mother of two teens who have used ACE since first grade. They will be in 10th grade this fall (2013).

        My kids are getting a FAR BETTER education through using ACE, first in a private ACE school and then at home since 4th grade, than I ever did in my top-ranked public school education. For example, due to the rigorousness of ACE’s English paces, my children knew more about English grammar by the end of eighth grade than I knew by the end of my intensive “gifted” high school English studies. Or even after graduating from both college and graduate school.

        Another example would be my finding out through my kids’ ACE Social Studies paces that our country is actually a republic, not a “democracy”. Which is what I was taught in public school and also taught to teach as a teacher. Boy, was I stunned by that factoid. I double-checked it with Mirriam-Webster and some internet research and, sure enough, ACE was right.

        [NOTE: I will note that I also enrolled both of my children in the private Kumon math program a month after they turned 4 and Kumon reading three years later. They finished the Kumon reading program several years ago and are now at the second to last and last level of the Kumon math program. Which means they both are doing calculus level work and began doing so around 8th grade. So both of my kids are doing very well academically, thank you. In addition, due to using ACE, they have good Godly character and I receive many unsolicited compliments on how well they conduct themselves. END NOTE.]

        Let me make clear that I wasn’t a “weak” student, I have an IQ or over 140 and ranked in the top 98% on standardized testing from K – 12th grade. I scored very well on the SAT (and GRE) and received a generous college scholarship from a top private university in Southern California. I made mainly A’s with some B’s all the way through K-12 and college. I then made straight A’s in graduate school graduating “Summa Cum Laude” with a – wait for it – MS degree in Special Education. I was accepted into a very rigorous and selective experimental educational research PhD program at a University of California campus, but due to developing a neurological condition, I decided not to pursue it.

        Thus, I am a highly trained and skilled educator, with 20 years’ teaching experience before I retired to raise my kids, and I know quality education when I see it. As well as shoddy education. I began my teaching career working in the public schools. I saw plenty of shoddy education there. Mainly the result of low quality curriculum materials purchased by the school districts. I soon switched to working for private schools rather than public. Eventually I became a private Special Education Consultant and Therapist working intensively 1-on-1 with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. I also did 1-on-1 and group parent training, so that the parents of the children I worked with could carry through at home with the same instructional techniques I was using with their children. I loved my work. Students made significant progress in academics and communication skills under my tutelage, and the tutelage of their parents whom I trained, resulting in my having a waiting list for my services.

        So I am neither “ignorant”, nor uneducated, nor untrained in MANY different methods of educational instruction, as well as many different curriculum materials and instructional methods used in public schools as well as at the college and postgraduate levels. I also am highly familiar with the third and fourth edition versions of the ACE curriculum as well as the very early “Self Pacs” and “Self Texts”.

        I find that many critics of ACE usually are not actually familiar with the current 3rd and 4th edition versions of ACE nor have they ever actually used the ACE curriculum with children or teens for a sustained amount of time. Thus, they really are not qualified to pass judgment on it and do other home schooling parents a disservice when they do so. I have used ACE for many years and can speak from my own empirical experiences and the results my children have had with it. ACE *does* require training in how to use it effectively, which, unfortunately, many parents who use it never take the time to obtain before using it. I find that many critics of ACE, though not all, are merely passing on “hearsay”.

        I do recognize that some ACE critics have experienced ACE, either in a school or home setting, and speak from their own unfortunate experiences with it. They have my sympathy, they really do. I was bored to tears and endured YEARS of BORING instruction during my public school education. Not to mention teachers who enjoyed having absolute control over and making a captive audience suffer. They shall go unnamed. I probably could have gone to college by the time I was 12. However, my father “skipped” many grades in school,and went to college early and did not want that same experience for me.

        It appears to me that many posters to this specific thread have a strong hatred for God and Christian curriculum materials in general. They have my utmost sympathy for the kinds of experiences that usually produce that kind of feeling. It appears to me that the friend of the original poster of this thread, had this kind of unfortunate experiences with ACE and that those experiences are the basis for his alleged desire to “research” the ACE curriculum. However, it seems to me that he and many other posters to this thread are more interested in “vilifying” the ACE curriculum than in truly “researching” its effectiveness and results. At the end of this post is a lead to where those truly interested in more information about ACE can find it.

        Just to be clear, I myself embrace both Christianity and the Dharma. I actually am a rather eclectic person with a wide range of interests and a strong ability to synthesize various threads of information together. I inherited this ability from my father. This ability was further honed by my government-funded intensive “gifted education”.

        I would like to conclude this post by noting that the beauty of home schooling is the ability to choose the materials and methods you feel are best for your children and your family. For many Christian home schoolers, ACE is a good fit. For others, especially secular homeschoolers, it isn’t. The same can be said about any curriculum you choose, such as virtual schooling through K12 or Odyssey, unschooling, structured schooling, etc. In the final analysis, the choice of curriculum one uses for home schooling is a highly personal one usually based on several factors, rather than just “one”.

        For my 2 cents, ACE offers a K-12 curriculum with very effective results WHEN USED PROPERLY, CONSISTENTLY, AND SKILLFULLY. When ACE is used properly, school gets done every day. And you can “add” as much or as little to it as you want. For my two now teens, they are able to finish their pace work by lunch time or shortly afterwards and then spend the rest of their day pursuing music lessons, sports, drawing instruction, and their own personal interests. They both take computer programming and animation courses online. One is aiming toward a career in computer programming and IT and the other is also learning computer programming as a good “bread and butter” income option for those with mathematical minds, in addition to being quite a fiction writer. Any curriculum is what you make of it! Including K12 and other free public virtual school programs. Education is not meant to be just the regurgitation of memorized facts and theories, but the APPLICATION of what one has learned to real-life contexts. One should also learn “good character” and ethics that do not harm others as part of one’s education.

        I remember reading an article by Bennett when he was the Secretary of Education. He said that a teacher should first think about and identify the qualities of the kind of people s/he wanted his/her students to be. And THEN choose and structure their instruction accordingly. ACE has enabled me to do exactly as former Secretary of Education Bennett advised. ACE very effectively covers the basic core subjects as well as developing the quality of my children’s character, which is important to me, while also leaving time for me to add in other types of learning according to my values and my children’s interests. I value art, music, reading, nature walks, and the ability to speak a foreign language. ACE has enabled me to add those things in without my kids feeling “overloaded” or “overwhelmed”.

        ACE offers parent training through their Quick Start kit, a very wise investment of $19.95. ACE also offers a free download of their Parent Educator Training Manual at their website AND also very inexpensive (only $10!) “Supervisor Training” workshops throughout the country. Midwest Christian Academy has their own excellent and “free” online ACE Parent Training Manual at their website. So there really is no excuse for parents not to get training before they begin using ACE. Still many don’t, unless they are part of a long distance academy for ACE users which usually require such training before one can begin using ACE.

        For those interested in more information about ACE, they can peruse ACE’s corporate website as well as join the ACEhomeschooling support group, which is a Yahoo group, and lurk or ask questions. You don’t have to be currently using ACE to join, you just have to be kind and polite when you post.

        Hope this helps!

        Patti

        Comment by Patti — August 26, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

      • Patti, actually I followed the lead that you gave me, which took me to the company website and I could find no research there – independent or otherwise. Without seeing the source I can’t comment beyond to say that simply by using an independent measure it does not mean the research itself was independent. If I use the students’ results on statewide standardized test to do research on my own K-12 online learning program, that is not independent. Further, if the only place it is published is in a company catalogue, that raises all kinds of red flags in terms of the methodology (as there is no way for someone like myself to determine whether the research itself was reliable and valid). “Independent research” published in a company catalogue is basically advertizing, not research!

        As for how your kids are doing/have done, as I have indicated to several other parents earlier in this thread, it sounds like you are an active, engaged and involved parent. I suspect that your children would do well in any kind of schooling environment because they have a strong support system that you have created for them. The performance of your children has very little to do with ACE and a great deal to do with you and your efforts.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 27, 2013 @ 9:53 am

      • Hmm. As you well know, Michael, public schools routinely use standardized testing as a measure of their students’ achievement and, thus, their schools’ “success”. So I see nothing inherently not “legitimate” about ACE doing the same. Heck, many school districts and entire states use their own self-created “Achievement” tests to measure the success of their instruction methods. And then tailor their instruction to match their test! Lastly, many districts routinely list their students’ achievement results on their website. So I do not accept your line of argument here. Sorry.

        SECOND, I didn’t say you would find the standardized testing information at the ACE website. I said you could go to their website in order to contact ACE by phone or email and request such information.

        THIRD, regarding the Guest Blogger’s comments about the ACE curriculum being “racist”. I will check the Pace Subjects and Pace Numbers he referenced and respond to that after I have done so, as I actually have those paces in storage, as I save all of my children’s completed work and tests.

        I can however address one of the racist complaints of the Guest Blogger, whom I will call Mr Scaramanga from now on, right now. Mr. Scaramanga says that the ACE cartoon characters attend “racially segregated schools”. This has **NOT** been the case in the US 3rd and 4th edition ACE Paces my kids have used. There has always been a mix of ethnicities in the cartoon characters and they have ALWAYS all gone together to the SAME SCHOOL.. Perhaps South Africa had different style Paces in the past? I don’t know.

        FOURTH, I am truly sorry for the obviously very bad and traumatic experiences Mr. Scaramanga had with the ACE curriculum. I myself had a very unpleasant sustained *13* year experience, K-12th grade, with my US government-funded “gifted education”. My “gifted education” included training in several non-academic skills, the purpose of which was to train us for intelligence gathering and other military purposes as adults, and which employed hypnosis, drugs, and threats of physical harm and death. “Ours not to question why, ours but to do or die” and “Keep your mouth SHUT!” are two of the threats I remember most.

        However, I myself do not tend to follow the herd. I am not a “team player”. I may have learned to “obey” and keep my thoughts to myself but that was as far as I took to heart what they said. However, many of my fellow trainees, including my best childhood friend, as well as trainees in other states, suffered severe and permanent psychological harm from such experiences. Some developed autoimmune disorders from the stress of what they experienced, as well as the deleterious effects of the drugs they were given, and sadly DIED at an early age. So I completely understand Mr. Scaramanga’s suffering, sense of outrage, and his desire to prevent others from experiencing the same suffering as he did. I really do.

        Yet I also have “moved on”. I do not belong to online groups that focus on my past experiences nor do I usually post about them. I made an exception here to show that I do indeed understand where Mr. Scarmanga is coming from. I find that what we focus on (in our thoughts, words, and deeds) “increases” and what we do not focus on “decreases”. There’s also the so-called “Law of Attraction” to consider. Like attracts like.

        I trained to become a teacher and determined to become a far better skilled and more ethical one than many of the ones I experienced while going through my “gifted education”. I also determined to stick to the 3 R’s and only the 3 R’s! (smile) That was my way of dealing with the experiences I had.

        FIFTH, I do understand that some people’s experiences are indeed so searing to the psyche that those people find themselves “stuck” in those past experiences unable to move on. No matter how much they may want to move on and leave the past in the past. I understand and appreciate that, I really do. Being in a situation from which one cannot “escape”, especially if one is a child, tween, or teen, can result in one developing PTSD or Complex PTSD.

        Soldiers are not the only ones that can get PTSD. Anyone who experiences either a single severely traumatizing event or years of continuous abuse and trauma can develop PTSD. .Many people who are “depressed” actually are depressed as a result of having PTSD or Complex PTSD and don’t even know that they have PTSD or Complex PTSD. I have come to know about Complex PTSD because someone I love very much has it.

        The good news is that there are effective therapies for PTSD and Complex PTSD. Such as EMDR therapy or Intensive Psychotherapy. along with mindfulness, insight meditation, passage meditation, and Sensory Psychotherapy groups. Color Therapy, Colorpuncture, and Syntonics Therapy can also be very helpful in the hands of a skilled practitioner experienced in healing trauma.

        A good healing book here in the US is called “The Instinct to Heal” by by David Servan-Schreiber. In Europe is titled “Healing without Freud or Prozac”. This book lists 7 different methods one can use to heal themselves without having to “talk” about their past traumas, which often only causes “re-traumatization” in those with PTSD and Complex PTSD, or take medication. The author also created a website http://www.instincttoheal.org which has more information about healing.

        SIXTH, why am I talking about such things? Because I think what Mr. Scaramanga really is seeking is healing, inner peace, and preventing what happened to him from happening to others. I myself would love to prevent the non-academic parts of my “gifted education” from happening to any other children, and yet it is still going on. And will continue to go on. So I do understand Mr. Scaramanga’s line of thought and his blogging efforts

        That said, I have found that either I can engage in a quixotic quest to expose and avenge what happened to me, and several of my good friends, (as Mr. Scaramanga is attempting to expose and avenge his experience with ACE), which would cause me to continue to think about and to “re-experience” my suffering for the rest of my life OR I can choose to **move on** to better, happier, and more inner peace-producing uses of my time and energy. I choose to “move on” and to help my good friends, as much as I can, to do the same. If, as they say, “Success is the best revenge” then I propose that success in the form of “Happiness” and “Inner Peace” are also the best “revenge” or “response” to past traumatic experiences.

        SEVENTH AND LASTLY, regarding home schooling curricula and the ACE curriculum in particular, I will conclude by pointing out that the ACE curriculum is **NOT** a “virtual” curriculum. Thus, I question why the ACE curriculum is even being discussed here on Virtual Meanderings?

        I do wish Mr. Scaramanga only the best and hope he finds an effective path to his own healing from and closure for his experiences with ACE. However, I think it’s important to note that his experiences are FAR different than most children and teens who are **home schooled** with ACE. And “home schooling” is what this blog is about, yes?

        Comment by Patti — August 28, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

  99. PS – Just fyi, ACE does not post their students’ standardized testing results on their website. I saw that information in one of their catalogs about 25 years ago. You would need to speak with someone at corporate headquarters and ask if they might send you a copy of it. I vividly remember that students who use ACE from 1st onward, begin scoring at the 12th grade 9th month level academically by ninth grade.

    Anyone can get a free print copy of the current ACE catalog by just asking for one and then peruse for themself the content of the curriculum grade by grade from kindergarten through 12th grade. ACE also offers some junior college courses in math, Greek, and English listed after that, along with various electives.

    Lastly, the Parent Training Quick Start kit I mentioned in my previous post includes a curriculum Scope and Sequence, too. You can also see the US ACE Scope and Sequence at ACE’s corporate website as well as a more detailed pace-by-pace listing of the curriculum contents for K-12 at CENZA, which is Christian Education New Zealand. The ACEhomeschoolingsupport yahoo group, which I mentioned in my previous post, also has the CENZA scope and sequence in their files section.

    I am merely trying to provide some resources for those who would like to know more about the ACE curriculum and the experiences of some very satisfied home schoolers who use it. We are not all the “fundamentalists” which many members of this group seem to think we are. We are simply Christians who appreciate many aspects of ACE of which you are unaware. Joining the ACEhomeschoolingsupport yahoo group would help you to become more aware of those aspects.. Especially the “balance” it enables home schooling families to have, especially those home schooling multiple children across multiple grade levels. Many children and teens with ADD, ADHD, and Austism Spectrum Disorders find success for the first time in their life with the ACE curriculum. Many parents who otherwise might not be able to home school, for various reasons, are able to home school and do so effectively and successfully with ACE.

    That said, again I will note that not every curriculum works for every child or for every family. The beauty of home schooling is being able to explore and find what works for your child/children and your family. Also, using ACE in a home setting is very different from using it in a school setting. It’s more relaxed. Your kids do not need to sit at cubicles or raise flags for permission to score, get a drink, or use the bathroom. (!) They can just get up, get a drink, or use the bathroom whenever they want My two teens do their paces at the dining room table and score and grade at a kitchen island.

    Again, any home school curriculum is what you make of it. I actually discuss what my children are learning with them. I often read their Paces myself and discuss the parts that really stood out for me. Beginning in High School, ACE includes “Wisdom Inserts” in their English Paces which address common issues teens and young adults encounter in areas of morals, ethics, and sexual behaviors. They make great conversation starters for my kids and me. I read their literature books and always am inspired by them. I provide field trips, hands-on science labs and dissection labs to supplement and reinforce what they are learning in their paces.

    I HAVE NEVER ENCOUNTERED ANY RACISM IN MY KIDS’ PACES SO FAR. My kids are internationally adopted and one of the things I like about ACE is its multicultural focus. My kids have seen kids like themselves pictured in their Paces. They have also had many literature readers and Social Studies Paces that were set in the country of their birth. This really means a lot to my kid

    Okay, stepping off my ACE soapbox now! (smile)

    Patti

    Comment by Patti — August 26, 2013 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  100. TYPO CORECTION: In last paragraph, I meant to say “This really means a lot to my kids and me.”.

    This is what happens when one rushes as one needs to start dinner and doesn’t proof adequately. There’s a couple other typos, but I’m sure most readers can figure them out.

    Patti

    Comment by Patti — August 26, 2013 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

    • If you have never encountered racism in the curriculum, I suggest that you review this guest blog entry from a former ACE teacher.
      Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education
      I personally find it interesting (though I doubt it’ll have much of an impact on your opinions).

      Comment by mkbnl — August 27, 2013 @ 9:55 am | Reply

      • Hmm. As you well know, Michael, public schools routinely use standardized testing as a measure of their students’ achievement and, thus, their schools’ “success”. So I see nothing inherently not “legitimate” about ACE doing the same. Heck, many school districts and entire states use their own self-created “Achievement” tests to measure the success of their instruction methods. And then tailor their instruction to match their test! Lastly, many districts routinely list their students’ achievement results on their website. So I do not accept your line of argument here. Sorry.

        SECOND, I didn’t say you would find the standardized testing information at the ACE website. I said you could go to their website in order to contact ACE by phone or email and request such information.

        THIRD,, regrding the Guest Blogger’s comments about the ACE curriculum being “racist”. I will check the Pace Subjects and Pace Numbers he referenced, as I actually have those paces in storage, as I save all my children’s completed work and tests. The Guest Blogger, whom I will call Mr Scaramanga from now on, says that the ACE cartoon characters attend “racially segregated schools”. This has **NOT** been the case in the US 3rd and 4th edition ACE Paces my kids have used. There has always been a mix of ethnicities in the cartoon characters and they have ALWAYS all gone together to the SAME SCHOOL.. Perhaps South Africa had different style Paces in the past? I don’t know.

        FOURTH, I am truly sorry for the obviously very bad and traumatic experiences Mr. Scaramanga had with the ACE curriculum. I myself had a very unpleasant sustained *13* year experience, Kdgn -12th,, with my US government-funded “gifted education”. My “gifted education” included training in several non-academic skills, the purpose of which was to train us for intelligence gathering and other military purposes as adults, and which employed hypnosis, drugs, and threats of physical harm and death. “Ours not to question why, ours but to do or die” and “Keep your mouth SHUT!” are two of the threats I remember most.

        However, I myself do not tend to follow the herd. I am not a “team player”. I am a very independent and persistent person. I am only persuaded by facts, logic, or scripture/faith. Threats do not make me change my position and, in fact, often only confirm and “cement” my position or opinion. As those who know me would attest.

        However, many of my fellow trainees, including my best childhood friend, as well as trainees in other states, suffered severe and permanent psychological harm from such experiences. Some developed autoimmune disorders from the stress of what they experienced as well as the deleterious effects of the drugs and sadly DIED at an early age. So I completely understand Mr. Scaramanga’s own suffering and his desire to prevent others from experiencing the same suffering as he did. I really do.

        And yet I have “moved on”. I trained to become a teacher and determined to become a far better skilled and more ethical one than many of the ones I experienced while going through my “gifted education”. I also determined to stick to the 3 R’s and only the 3 R’s! (smile) That was and is my way of dealing with the experiences I had.

        FIFTH, I do understand that some people’s experiences are indeed so searing to the psyche that those people find themselves “stuck” in those past experiences unable to move on. No matter how much they may want to move on and leave the past in the past. I understand and appreciate that, I really do. Being in a situation from which one cannot “escape”, especially if one is a child, tween, or teen, can result in one developing PTSD or Complex PTSD. Soldiers are not the only ones that can get PTSD. Anyone who experiences either a single traumatizing event or years of continuous abuse and trauma can develop PTSD. .Many people who are “depressed” actually are depressed as a result of having PTSD or Complex PTSD and don’t even know that they have it.

        The good news is that there are effective therapies for PTSD and Complex PTSD. Such as EMDR therapy or Intensive Psychotherapy. along with mindfulness, insight meditation, passage meditation, and Sensory Psychotherapy groups. Color Therapy, Colorpuncture, and Syntonics Therapy can also be very helpful in the hands of a skilled practitioner experienced in healing trauma.

        A good healing book here in the US is called “The Instinct to Heal” by by David Servan-Schreiber. In Europe is titled “Healing without Freud or Prozac”. This book lists 7 different methods one can use to heal themselves without having to “talk” about their past traumas, which often only causes “re-traumatization” in those with PTSD and Complex PTSD, or take medication. The author also created a website http://www.instincttoheal.org which has more information about healing.

        SIXTH, why am I talking about such things? Because I think what Mr. Scaramanga really is seeking is healing, inner peace, and preventing what happened to him from happening to others. I myself would love to prevent the non-academic parts of my “gifted education” from happening to any other children, and yet it is still going on. And will continue to go on. So I do understand Mr. Scaramanga’s line of thought and his blogging efforts. As well as his anger at God and anything to do with God.

        That said, I have found that either I can engage in a quixotic quest to expose and avenge what happened to me, and several of my good friends, (as Mr. Scaramanga is attempting to expose and avenge his experience with ACE), which would cause me to continue to think about and to “re-experience” my suffering for the rest of my life OR I can choose to **move on** to better, happier, and more inner peace-producing uses of my time and energy. I choose to “move on” and to help my good friends, as much as I can, to do the same. If, as they say, “Success is the best revenge” then I propose that success in the form of “Happiness” and “Inner Peace” are also the best “revenge” or “response” to past traumatic experiences.

        SEVENTH AND LASTLY, regarding home schooling curricula and the ACE curriculum in particular, I will conclude by pointing out that the ACE curriculum is **NOT** a “virtual” curriculum. Thus, I question why the ACE curriculum is even being discussed here on Virtual Meanderings?

        I do wish Mr. Scaramanga only the best and hope he finds an effective path to his own healing from and closure for his experiences with ACE. However, I think it’s important to note that his experiences are FAR different than most children and teens who are **home schooled** with ACE. And “home schooling” is what this blog is about, yes?

        Comment by Patti — August 28, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

      • You need to read what I actually wrote. I didn’t say that standardized tests couldn’t be used as a measure of student achievement. I said that the presentation of standardized test results by a for-profit company didn’t constitute independent research that was reliable and valid. I should also note that standardized testing is a good measure of socio-economic status, and little else (as that is about the only thing that consistently correlates to standardized testing performance).

        No one was threatening you. I simply suggested that there was likely little in the way of evidence that could be presented to sway your own personal, non-scientific opinions of the company and its curriculum. Your lengthy diatribe is evidence of that fact.

        The reason this is being discussed on my blog is because, as the blog description notes, Virtual School Meanderings focuses on “distance education at the K-12 level”. The PACE program is offered in many jurisdictions – both inside and outside of the United States – as a distance education program. In fact, in some US jurisdictions (e.g., Louisiana) it is actually offered as a public distance education alternative. This entry in particular was written because a colleague of mine in South Korea asked what I knew or could find out about the company, as they wanted to offer public online/virtual distance education programs in that country.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 28, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

      • I did read your comments carefully. I simply disagree. Disagreeing does not constitute a “diatribe”. I’m sorry if you took it that way.

        I do not feel threatened by you or Mr. Scaramanga at all. Everyone is entitled to their views and opinions as well as to expressing them. I merely am expressing mine. Which happen to disagree with your and Mr. Scaramanga’s opinions. I enjoy discussing things with others and am not threatened by disagreement. I joined in this discussion to share our positive experience with ACE from 1st – 10th grade so far. With plans to continue using ACE through 12th. I thought readers might be interested in the other side of the story.

        It’s true I am very satisfied with ACE and so are my two children who are now teens. It was their choice to continue with ACE when we began home schooling, rather than use a different curriculum. I also have seen the effective results of using ACE with learning disabled, autistic, typical, and gifted kids and teens. Used in a home setting, ACE can be finished early enough for home schooled children and teens to pursue their own interests and various types of lessons: music, art, sports, etc.

        I am a credentialed regular and special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I am well-versed in what constitutes research and effective experimental design. I have read along as my children have gone through the ACE Paces from 4th to 10th grade. I simply haven’t had the kind of impressions or reactions to ACE which you and Mr. Scaramanga have had. As a member of an ethnic minority group, let me assure you that I do pick up on racism when it happens. However, so far, my children and I simply have not seen it. Quite the opposite.

        If your website covers all types of long distance education, not just online virtual homeschooling, then ACE indeed fits into the discussion. However, the tag in the upper right hand corner of your blog does state that “This blog and podcast focus on issues related to distance education at the K-12 level, SPECIFICALLY THE USE OF VIRTUAL AND CYBER SCHOOLS”. ACE is not a virtual or cyber school. It is a paper and pencil curriculum. Thus, my question about why ACE was a topic of discussion on this blog.

        If your friend Mr. Scaramanga is indeed interested in knowing more about various “online” curricula for the government of South Korea, then it’s important for him to know that ACE is not a virtual or online curriculum. And thus, save himself any further time and effort researching ACE, as it does not fit the criteria of being an “online” school. Furthermore, ACE also is an unabashedly “Christian” curriculum. One which most secular governments are not going to endorse or support, as they must consider the feelings and faith beliefs, or lack there of, of all their citizens, not just the Christian ones. Louisianna’s Governor Jindal’s recent move being a very rare exception. Which may or may not stand up should someone decide to contest it in the courts.

        If Mr. Scaramanga truly is seeking information about ACE, his best sources would be the yahoo support group at groups.yahoo.com/group/ACEhomeschoolingsupport and the ACE ministries website: http://www.aceministries.com For information about ACE in Korea, Mr. Scaramanga should go the ace ministries website, click on “Global Support” on the left, then on the next page click on “Asia/Pacific” at the top. This will enable him to contact ACE for the Asia/Pacific region. He can then request information specific to the Asia/Pacific area and ask all the questions he wants.

        However, having gone to Mr. Scaramanga’s website “Leaving fundamentalism” and having read his posts there, as well as on some other blogs, including yours, I do not believe that Mr. Scaramanga is interested in “knowing more about” ACE. He already has his mind quite made up about ACE, which is his right to do, and is seeking to warn others off of ACE, rather than to “research” it. Let us be honest with one another about that.

        I went into some detail about PTSD and Complex PTSD in my last post because I thought that information might be of interest and help to Mr. Scaramanga and others who feel they were traumatized by their ACE or other experiences. I did this due to the degree of trauma Mr. Scaramanga seems to have experienced from his ACE private schooling experiences. I like to help people and that was all I was endeavoring to do.

        None of which constitutes a “diatribe”. Consult your dictionary, be it paper or cyber. (smile)

        I think I have covered most of what I hoped to contribute regarding ACE. However, I remain open to answering any further questions anyone might have about the ACE curriculum, its content, and methodology. ACE gives equal weight to three objectives: academic learning, development of Godly character, and knowledge of God’s word and purpose for us. Obviously people who are not Christians might have some serious discomfort with ACE’s objectives and content.

        I myself, just for the record, am a Christian who also practices the Dharma. As a result, my children and I have a more broad view and, at times, a different view of certain things than the ACE curriculum does. No big problem. I simply discuss with my children when there is a difference between what ACE teaches and what we believe and practice. Or they bring it up with me. Which many other home school ACE users also do, as people from many different denominations use ACE, as well as some non-Christians. Not all ACE users are “fundamentalists”. (smile)

        I will close by noting again that the choice of a curriculum for homeschooling is a personal choice usually based on several factors. I am comfortable with and secure in my choice of ACE. Which is why I joined in this conversation. What others choose is their choice. Which I respect.

        Patti

        Comment by Patti — August 29, 2013 @ 12:16 am

      • No, a disagreement isn’t a diatribe. But “writing which bitterly denounces something” is the very definition of diatribe (and that kind of sums up your responses here). In terms of the remainder of your comments, I’m not sure where to begin because you are all over the place, making assumptions that simply aren’t accurate or have no real logic.

        For example, you write:

        If your website covers all types of long distance education, not just online virtual homeschooling, then ACE indeed fits into the discussion. However, the tag in the upper right hand corner of your blog does state that “This blog and podcast focus on issues related to distance education at the K-12 level, SPECIFICALLY THE USE OF VIRTUAL AND CYBER SCHOOLS”. ACE is not a virtual or cyber school. It is a paper and pencil curriculum. Thus, my question about why ACE was a topic of discussion on this blog.

        The word specifically does not mean exclusively. As the tag line reads “issues related to distance education at the K-12 level” (as I tried to indicate to you in my previous comment). ACE is a K-12 distance education program. My specific interest in virtual and cyber schools is because in this day and age, in most of the jurisdictions where I am involved as a researcher, distance education is done in an online format. In fact, as I noted earlier – and as you agreed – ACE is offered as an online program in some jurisdictions.

        As for on of your assumptions, Mr. Scaramanga is not from South Korea. My South Korea colleague has nothing to do with Mr. Scaramanga. My South Korea colleague was consulting for the Ministry of Education in South Korea and, as the original post notes, wanted independent research into the performance of the ACE program. I was able to find a small bit of information, but asked the readers of my blog – many of whom are researchers and many of whom are internationally-based and have access to literature that wouldn’t come across my desk – if they were aware of anything else. What I have received from that request is a slew of parents who have decided to tell me how great ACE is based on their personal experience (sound familiar?).

        The thing I find interesting about these “testimonials” is that in most instances, the parents seems to be actively engaged in their children’s education. Based on the research this is actually a key indicator of students’ potential for success – regardless of learning environment. I said as much about you. As you have said, you’re an individual with a strong background in the field of education. Your lengthy diatribes do tell us that you are obviously an active component in your children’s learning experience. Your children are likely having success because of you, not because of the ACE curriculum.

        Finally, I don’t think Mr. Scaramanga is suffering from PTSD – at least not from his experience with ACE. Having read a fair amount of his writing now, I do believe that he presents a reasonable, informed opinion about the program that isn’t jaded by their own theological beliefs (one of the issues with many of those who have commented on this thread – from both side of the argument).

        Comment by mkbnl — August 29, 2013 @ 6:40 am

      • I will try to stick to concrete FACTS in this reply to Mkbnl. And just “3” such facts in this reply. In hopes that mkbnl will be able to correct his misunderstandings of what I actually wrote in previous posts. As well as his misunderstanding of ACE being an “online” curriculum.

        FIRST, Mkbnl wrote: “In fact, as I noted earlier – and as you agreed – ACE is offered as an online program in some jurisdictions.”

        FACT #1: I never “agreed” that ACE was an online program nor that it was an online program in “some jurisdictions”. Please carefully read again below what I wrote in regards to ACE *not* being an online school:

        I wrote: “If your website covers all types of long distance education, not just online virtual homeschooling, then ACE indeed fits into the discussion. However, the tag in the upper right hand corner of your blog does state that “This blog and podcast focus on issues related to distance education at the K-12 level, SPECIFICALLY THE USE OF VIRTUAL AND CYBER SCHOOLS”. ACE is not a virtual or cyber school. It is a paper and pencil curriculum. Thus, my question about why ACE was a topic of discussion on this blog.”

        Please NOTE that I said that “ACE indeed fits into the discussion” IF your website “covers all types of long distance education, not just online virtual homeschooling”. Do you now understand what I said? I then concluded this paragraph by saying that “ACE in NOT a virtual or cyber school. It is a paper and pencil curriculum.” Do you see that now?

        ** There is no “agreement” in what I wrote with your misunderstanding of ACE being an “online” program. Quite the opposite really.

        As for my agreeing to ACE being an “online” curriculum in “some jurisdictions”. Here is what I actually wrote: “If your friend Mr. Scaramanga is indeed interested in knowing more about various “online” curricula for the government of South Korea, then it’s important for him to know that ACE is not a virtual or online curriculum. And thus, save himself any further time and effort researching ACE, as it does not fit the criteria of being an “online” school. Furthermore, ACE also is an unabashedly “Christian” curriculum. One which most secular governments are not going to endorse or support, as they must consider the feelings and faith beliefs, or lack there of, of all their citizens, not just the Christian ones. Louisianna’s Governor Jindal’s recent move being a very rare exception. Which may or may not stand up should someone decide to contest it in the courts.

        FACT #2: There is no agreement in what I wrote in the above paragraph to ACE being an “online” curriculum nor to it’s being an “online” curriculum in “some jurisdictions”. In fact, if you re-check your reading and understanding of what I wrote above I actually stated that ACE is NOT an online curriculum nor does it fit the criteria for being an online school.

        When I referenced Gov. Jindal of Louisiana’s decision to offer state funding for private Christian curricula, I questioned whether funding of Christian curricula was appropriate or would stand uncontested. I am aware that Christian private schools are indeed funded in Florida. Making Jindal’s move not the only exception to our government usually not funding Christian private education due to separation of church and state issues, but still a “rare” one. What i agreed to was the fact that some states have chosen to fund Christian private schools that use Christian curricula – period. I did not anywhere in what I wrote above agree to the ACE curriculum being an “online” curriculum nor one that is available in “some jurisdictions” as mkbnl asserts. That is mkbnl’s misinterpretation of what I wrote in order to support his own mistaken position that ACE is an online curriculum or program.

        FACT #3: ACE IS NOT AN “ONLINE” CURRICULUM.

        I contacted ACE this morning on mkbnl’s and his friend in Korea’s behalf and spoke with Heather in the Global Support for Korea department. She confirmed that ACE is NOT an “online” curriculum in Korea or anywhere else in the world. I strongly suggest that mkbnl call 972-315-1776 and confirm for himself the veracity, or lack there of, of what I have repeatedly tried to tell him. He could also confirm this by emailing global@aceministries.com or faxing the Global Support for Korea dept at ACE.

        Heather went on to suggest that mkbnl may be confusing the ACE paper and pencil (print) curriculum with the *ALPHA OMEGA* curriculum which is available in both a “print” version AND an “online” or virtual version. This is exactly the same thing I was thinking before I even spoke with Heather.

        Heather went on to suggest that perhaps mkbnl or his friend in Korea had been to the Bridgeway Academy website http://www.homeschoolacademy.com which offers both the ACE “print” curriculum and the ALPHA OMEGA “online” curriculum, as well several other print and online curriculums. Bridgeway does serve the Asia/Pacific area as well as the rest of the world. If one only does a cursory examination rather than an in-depth examination of the Bridgeway or other long distance academy websites which offer both the ACE print curriculum and the ALPHA OMEGA online curriculum, one could indeed come away with the misunderstanding that ACE is available in both a print and “online” format. When actually it is not.

        ** A more thorough examination of all such websites would reveal that any “online” curricula which appear or are presented as “similar” to ACE are, in fact, actually either the ALPHA OMEGA online curriculum or another different Christian online curriculum.

        This kind of misunderstanding of ACE being an online curriculum is perhaps further perpetuated by ALPHA OMEGA and ACE both starting with the letter “A” and also by ALPHA OMEGA offering both it’s own “print” curriculum for K-12 as well as an “online” curriculum for grades 3-12. HERE IS A GOOD TIP: Whenever a website offers an online Christian program which is for grades “3-12″, that is an indicator that, 9 times out of 10, the online curriculum they are offering the ALPHA OMEGA online program. 1 out of 10 times they will be offering another Christian online program. But NEVER will they be offering an “online” version of the ACE curriculum. BECAUSE an online version of ACE simply doesn’t exist.

        In addition, the worktext format of the ALPHA OMEGA print curriculum, which is called “Life Pacs”, is very similar in outward appearance to that of the ACE print curriculum, Which could indeed lead to someone “confusing” the ALPHA OMEGA print and online programs with ACE’s print program.

        I suggest that you have confused the ACE print program with being the ALPHA OMEGA print program. In addition, you have gone on to then confuse the ALPHA OMEGA online program with being an online version of the ACE print program.

        I will not hold my breath for you to finally confirm for yourself that ACE is not available as an “online” or “virtual” curriculum. Much less for you to acknowledge to me your finding that out. However, as I am an eternal optimist by nature, I choose to hold hold a slim hope that you are indeed a man of principle, and thus, will acknowledge when you discover that have been mistaken about ACE being an online program.

        In closing, it is surprising and disappointing to me that an educational researcher like yourself has not “fact-checked” his facts better before disseminating them to others. However, everyone makes mistakes.

        Patti

        Comment by Patti — August 29, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

  101. Patti, three and a half years ago when my colleague in South Korea contacted me, ACE had proposed creating an online school that combined their traditional correspondence-based curriculum with online support – both synchronous and asynchronous. This is what prompt my colleague to contact me. This was what prompted this entry.

    Having said that, as I have mentioned before the blog covers on all aspects of K-12 distance education. While there is a focus on online versions of K-12 distance education, I do discuss other types – as many jurisdictions still do use paper and pencil distance education.

    I do check my facts, but I also rely upon what people I trust tell me. Speaking of checking facts, it is good to see that ACE does the same thing with their curriculum.

    Guess Mr. Scaramanga wasn’t fair off when he questioned the accuracy of the ACE curriculum?

    Comment by mkbnl — August 29, 2013 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

    • Is this then an acknowledgement on your part that ACE currently is NOT available as an online program? If so, then thank you. I appreciate your reading my reply carefully and making that acknowledgement. Please correct what you share with others about ACE in the future accordingly, insofar as not referring to ACE as currently being an “online” curriculum.

      Also, thanks for some good chuckles.

      I suggest fact-checking some of your other conceptions about ACE. I will check your and Mr. Scaramanga’s other assertions about the Paces when I have the time to go through my kids’ completed paces. We recently moved and those past Paces are in a storage unit. I will be glad to respond to your and Mr. Scaramanga’s remaining assertions about “Nessie” and “racism” at that point in time. It may that, on certain points, we will simply have to “agree to disagree”, as gentlemen and genlewomen often do when discussing a topic for which they hold differing points of view.

      Changing topics, I did note and appreciate your clarifying that Mr. Scaramanga and your friend in Korea are two different people. .

      Just fyi, I do plan to post a reply soon to your earlier assertions about the relationship of “socio-economic status” and standardized testing scores. Which I do not agree with. I note that another poster also commented on those assertions as being “sideways”, as he put it. Which made me smile.

      Wishing you a good beginning to your school year, too,

      Patti

      Comment by Patti — August 29, 2013 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

      • I don’t know enough about the worldwide operations of ACE to state that they don’t have any online programs (as the definition of an online program will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction). I do know that in February 2010, when this entry was written, the kind of program they were hoping to open in South Korea was defined by their Ministry as an online school.

        The only thing I can say about the evidence that I have found is that the independent research indicates that students in the ACE program do not perform as well as their traditional brick-and-mortar counterparts. Further, those that do not have a vested interest in the program have consistently found “issues” with the curriculum ranging from scientific inaccuracies to racism to extreme fundamentalist beliefs – dating over a 25 year period.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 29, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

      • Plase do yourself a favor and read the reseatch paper “NO EXCUSES: LESSONS FROM 21 HIGH-PERFORMING HIGH-POVERTY SCHOOLS” at http://samuelcaseycarter.squarespace.com/storage/NoExcuses-SCC.pdf\ I believe your readers would enjoy this paper, too.

        Here is the opening statement of the 125 page “No Excuses” research paper, funded by the Heritage Foundation:

        The No Excuses campaign is a national effort organized by The Heritage Foundation to mobilize public pressure on behalf of better education for the poor. The No Excuses campaign brings together liberals, centrists, and conservatives who are committed to high academic achievement among children of all races, ethnic groups, and family incomes.

        Participants in the No Excuses campaign may hold differing views about vouchers, the federal role in education, and other policy issues. But we agree that there is no excuse for the academic failure of most public schools serving poor children. All children can learn. Hundreds of public, private, and religious schools serving low-income children have proved it. Help us to shine a spotlight on their success and join us in demanding that failing schools meet their standard.

        No Excuses.

        (end excerpt)

        This “No Excuses” paper also states exactly my own sentiments when it affirms that “CHILDREN OF ALL RACES AND INCOME LEVELS CAN MEET HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS”. And we, as teachers and researchers, should be helping them to do so, instead of using excuses and rationalizations for student failure.

        So go and READ the NO EXCUSES research paper and THEN come back and read my next post regarding your comments about socio-economic background and standardized testing scores.

        Comment by Patti — August 30, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

      • I am familiar with the report you mention. I’m also familiar with the Heritage Foundation, an organization that describes itself as “Conservative Policy and Research Analysis.” Further, I’m familiar with the review of this report by respected academics Bruce Biddle and Gerald W. Bracey (see http://epsl.asu.edu/epru/peer_reviews/cerai-00-19.htm).

        You see, conservative policy centers like to produced methodologically flawed and ideologically slanted documents that attempt to support their efforts to privatize public education. This report is an early version of something that has become quite common in the education arena today.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 30, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

  102. You frequently accuse the ACE curriculum of being “racist”. Do you realize that your own comments dismissing standardized testing results as being more indicative of “socio-economic background”. rather than the effectiveness of the academic instruction which certain students receive, are themselves racist, classist, and elitist?

    Such an assertion presupposes that “poor kids” in general, and kids of certain ethnicities or socio-economic backgrounds in particular, cannot learn. The problem with such a presupposition is that it is then used to justify and rationalize not expecting such students to do well and consequently, not providing them with the same quality of learning environment, materials, teacher expectations, and highly skilled instruction as other more “privileged” socio-economic students receive.

    FIRST CASE IN POINT: You can read the journal article about this highly effective high-performing high poverty school here:
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjournals.uic.edu%2Fojs%2Findex.php%2Fbsi%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F293%2F2918&ei=Lc8gUsQ6iciLAuzigLAJ&usg=AFQjCNFxkzaKzoAJrWbDgm2FQ1JJiRPH4w&bvm=bv.51495398,d.cGE This concerns: a public elementary school in Houston, TX where 84% of the students qualify for free lunches and the majority are African-American. Yet, due to the quality of academic instruction they were receiving, they outperformed all the other kids in the Houston Independent School District. Including the rich kids in River Oaks, a high socio-economic neighborhood in Houston. As a result, the principal, teachers, and students at this elementary school were accused, by principals and teachers of the schools they had out-performed, of “cheating”. (I once lived in Houston, but this school’s success and the charges of cheating were featured on a national network news magazine show.)

    Their argument being that such poor and disadvantaged black kids couldn’t possibly outperform their more privileged socio-ecomic “betters”. In addition, the school in which those kids learned was in an utterly shameful state of disrepair. In short, the district did everything possible year after year to make those kids score “lower”. Rather than seeking to learn what that school was doing so “well” that even kids from very difficult socio-economic backgrounds could outperform kids from the district’s “better” and “best” schools.

    An investigation was duly launched. Wait for it – the principal, his staff, and students were completely exonerated.

    What did that school do and do so well? They used effective curriculum and teachers highly trained to use and deliver that curriculum. In this school’s case, they used the DISTAR curriculum, which has curriculums and teaching methodologies for teaching reading, math, language, and thinking skills, developed by Dr. Siegfried Englemann. Dr. Englemann is also the author of the book “Give Your Child a Superior Mind”. Which basically show the effectiveness of really listening to and talking with your kids, along with providing effective skill instruction in reading, thinking, ;anguage, and math.

    To quote from the journal article link I gave you for this school: “Comparison studies show Wesley students greatly outperforming matched minority schools IN THE STATE, and outperforming state norms for ALL schools except in grade 5 math, where scores were equal to state norms. On standardized tests, Wesley scores at or above national norms.” (the caps are mine)

    SECOND CASE POINT: In another similar case, the curriculum used was “Open Court” back when it used a long-vowel approach to initial reading instruction. Again, the kids were poor and black. Again everyone thought the kids couldn’t possibly learn, much less “excel” in learning, due to their impoverished and difficult home situations.

    Yet again, with the use of an effective curriculum, staff with high expectations and high skills in the use of the Open Court curriculum, those students DID learn and they did excel. They excelled above and beyond not only the usual expectations for such students, but beyond the expectations for ANY students of their age and grade levels.

    THIRD CASE POINT: How about the hispanic teacher Jaime Escalante in California upon whom the movie “Stand and Deliver” was based? Whose students excelled so highly in math, despite their “low” socio-economic backgrounds? Who also, along with their teacher, were accused of cheating? And also exonerated of such charges. NOTE: Jaime Escalante created an AP Calculus class at Garfield High School in the barrios of East Los Angeles, CA which is one of the TOP 10 AP Calculus programs in our country.

    FOURTH CASE POINT: Dr. Feuerstein of Israel also proved that IQ can be changed even in learning disabled and mildly “retarded” teens and young adults with specific focused and highly effective intervention materials and methods. You can look it up for yourself. He discovered this through working with kids and teens whose learning ability had been damaged by not receiving enough nutrition during war. Before Dr. Feuerstein’s work, it was widely believed that the IQ and thinking abilities of students were “fixed” by the teen years. See: http://icelp.info/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuven_Feuerstein for further information.

    ANECDOTAL CASE POINT FIVE: In my own work with children and teens with autism, I have found that they, too, both fall and rise according to the level of the expectations and skill levels of the staff working with them.

    ANECDOTAL CASE POINT SIX: I am a lot more knowledgable about education, educational methodology, and instructional technology than you may think. I trained in advanced applied behavior analysis and experimental interventions with autistic children under world-renowned Dr. Lovaas at UCLA and also under one of his senior therapists, Dr. Gayle Goldstein. I also followed over many years a particular case handled by Dr. Lovaas’ colleague and research partner, Dr. Ron Leaf. In addition, I have researched and done extended observations of several different successful autism intervention programs, both public and private.

    I learned from Dr. Lovaas and also Dr. Englemann that IQ is not fixed, it can be increased. Significantly. If using the right kind of highly-effective interventions. Skilled use of curricula that teach thinking, language, reading, and math skills have been PROVEN by ** FEDERALLY-FUNDED RESEARCH** to raise IQ’s and academic achievement. In both children on the autism spectrum as well as with children from severely impoverished and difficult backgrounds.

    I shared the above case points to support the position that ALL students, REGARDLESS OF THEIR SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDS, rise and fall according to the level of expectations of their teachers, the effectiveness of the curricula their teachers use, and the skill level of their teachers in using those curricula. You must have all three: high expectations, effective curricula, and effective use of the curricula to have success in teaching. Regardless of your students’ backgrounds.

    So I say, shame on you for your racist, classist, and elistist statements about standardized testing results only being a measure of socio-economic level. That is an utterly false assertion. You are know better than that. Or you should. You can dismiss the ACE curriculum based on personal dislike of its instructional methods, it’s “Christian” content, or any other points you choose, and you surely do, but do not dismiss it on the basis of ACE students’ high achievement on standardized testing. ACE students who use the curriculum from 1st – 12th grade score at 12.9, which means the ninth month of twelfth grade, which is a high school graduate level, by the spring of their ninth grade in the curriculum. That is a FACT. And that is impressive. I wonder how students using K12 for the same amount of grades compare to that?

    By what other measures would you propose to measure educational effectiveness? Longitudinal studies of high school graduation rates, rates of going on to college, occupational outcomes and income outcomes? I’m all for those.

    However, is not a skilled, honest, and happy professional tradesman, such as a plumber or electrician, also a success? Or a stay-at-home mother (or dad) who does their best to make a good and happy home and raise happy children of good character? As you can tell, measures of success can become rather elusive, which is why most measures of academic success tend to stick to easy-to-measure outcomes. Which are also easy to compare across different curriculums and instructional methodologies.

    I am curious by what measures the K12 online curriculum measures its students outcomes? Perhaps you would care to share the measures K12 uses?

    I will close by noting that quality education that teaches good character and ethics as part and parcel of its academic instruction is vitally important to our country and the welfare of all its citizens. The recent financial scandal and collapse of our economy is strong evidence of the sad and disastrous results of generations of teaching academic and business skills and the value of “getting ahead” without teaching ethics or values that consider the consequences of our actions upon others. This is the result of only teaching “knowledge” without also teaching “wisdom”. “Knowledge” is what one “knows”, while “wisdom” is how one uses what one knows.

    Current public schools as well as many secular private schools rarely focus on wisdom. They just focus on facts, methods, and how to “get ahead”. Is “getting ahead”, regardless of the means employed, really what we want to or should be teaching our children, teens, and young college-age adults? It “getting ahead” really all there is to strive for in life? Is it really the measure we want to use in evaluating “success”? Is it really what leads to true “happiness” in life?

    SOME FINAL PHILOSPHICAL POINTS: I used to have on my business card and resume the statement that “I believe in the ability of every child to learn, and I believe in my ability to help them learn.” When a teacher doesn’t have that attitude, or has lost it over the years, they no longer belong in education. This is Bloom’s self-fulfilling prophecy, concept, as every teacher and teaching professor trained in the US is aware of. Or should be.

    Such teachers should seek another field of work. Unfortunately, many go into administrative positions training other teachers, and educational research instead. Sigh.

    I was very blessed and privileged to have had the outstanding educational instructors, trainers, and mentors I had. And to have had high-quality educational and psychological research opportunities. Poor teachers often have not had the same instructional and training opportunities as I had. You are only as good as the training you receive.

    However, it is also true that no amount of quality instruction or training can overcome a poor attitude or poor expectations for one’s students. Much less, attitudes of racism, classism, or elitism towards one’s students.

    Attitude is everything, both in education and in life. Everything else flows from one’s attitude. For good or for bad. Just as Former Secretary of Education Dr. William Bennet wrote, teachers need to think about the kind of people they want their students to become. They should then identify the qualities they desire to implant, and then create their lessons and courses to include those qualities in their teaching. No matter the subject matter. Of course the most important “teaching” is the way in a teacher him or herself *models” those qualities in their own conduct and teaching.

    A FINAL THOUGHT: A writer of a blog ought to also take Dr, Bennet’s advice to heart. That is, he or she ought to contemplate what kind of qualities of character and being does he or she want to model for and culture in his or her readers? This advice has nothing to do with the views one holds and wants to support, promote, and defend, but everything to do with the qualities of “how” one goes about “sharing”, supporting and “defending” those views.

    Comment by Patti — August 30, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

    • Based on the evidence, it does seem that the ACE curriculum is racist – at least in some instances. The statement that one of the few statistically significant correlations that we have when it comes to student performance is socio-economic status is not racist (or elitist). It is a consistent finding based on data. Can instruction make a difference? It certainly can. If you are familiar with the work of John Hattie, you can see based on his synthesis of meta-analyses that there are some pedagogical strategies that can have significant impacts on student achievement. Oddly enough, most of what is being pushed and pursued in the United States these days – particularly by so-called educational reformers – is on the low end of having impact based on Hattie’s research.

      Comment by mkbnl — August 30, 2013 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

      • Seeing as how you chose not to answer my question in my previous post about how the K12 online school measures the outcomes/success of its students, I went to the K12 website and looked myself.

        Gee, the K12 curriculum uses “standardized testing” to measure the outcomes of its students! (smile)

        The exact same way ACE uses to measure the outcomes of its students! (Chuckle)

        So much for your objection to how ACE measures its students’ success and the “validity” of their measurement.

        What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        Comment by Patti — August 30, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

      • Again, you are attempting to confound the issue. Just because K12, Inc. – a for-profit company that is profiteering using public education dollars – uses standardized testing as a measure of how well or not their students do does not make it a good measure. If you look at the National Education Policy Center’s report by Gary Miron on the performance of K12, Inc. programs compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts in the states they operate in, you’ll find that Miron reports that K12, Inc. students do quite poorly compared to their face-to-face counterparts (a finding that is substantiated by several legislative audits and investigative journalists reports). However, you’ll also note that before presenting his findings, Miron laments the fact that the only measure that we have available to use – due to state’s testing and reporting requirements – are these standardized test, and proceeds to outline reasons why the tests aren’t necessarily a valid measure of what students have actually learned.

        Further, how student test scores are used is an issue of methodology – one that can be examined for its reliability and validity. To use another example from K12, Inc. again, this company is fond of pointing to the low standardized test scores in jurisdictions where they want to operate as a rationale for the fact that traditional brick-and-mortar schools are failing their students. However, when measuring their own performance in these state’s K12, Inc. argues that raw scores are misleading and that we should look at growth in performance (i.e., how a student did last year compared to their performance this year). Are these two comparisons, where we are using standardized test scores in one way in one instance and a different way in a second instance, a valid comparison? No, they simply aren’t methodologically valid. To use a vernacular phrase, they are comparing apples and oranges. So even if you discount all of the problems with using standardized testing as a way to measure student achievement, you still have to consider the methodology concerning how those scores are used to determine if the method of data analysis was reliable and valid!

        To use your phraseology… What lacks reliability and validity for the goose, also lacks reliability and validity for the gander!

        Comment by mkbnl — August 30, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

      • I am certainly not a proponent of K12. Or any other online curriculum.

        As I’ve noted before, the ACE curriculum, which we use, is not an “online” curriculum. It is a paper and pencil “print” curriculum. If you remember, I previously stated “that paper and pencil” (print) curricula have several advantages over “online” curricula. One advantage is the presence of a teacher. Hopefully a caring and competent one. Another advantage is that the muscular action of “writing” one’s answers and underlining key concepts in one’s text help to reinforce what one is learning. Lastly, it’s also far easier with print curricula to read, “review”, and “study” what one has learned in preparation for tests. There are additional advantages which I haven’t listed.

        My point in my previous post iwas that “standardized testing” is how most schools, districts, and states measure the outcomes of their students. Whether it is the “best” way to measure outcome or not.

        I happen to agree with you that it is hypocritical and self-serving for public schools and online curricula to cite standardized test scores when such scores make them look “good” and then to dismiss such scores when they make them look bad.

        Comment by Patti — August 30, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

      • Once again, you are either confounding or misunderstanding the issue. Online schools should have teacher involvement. In fact, most of those online schools that do perform well on the flawed measure of standardized testing actually have significant teacher involvement. Not the role of the teacher is often diffused to multiple individuals (as I noted in my own report for the British Columbia Teachers Federation – see http://www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/Issues/Technology/VoraciousAppetite.pdf). In fact, most states now have regulatory measure put in place to ensure the presence of a teacher. In the case of the full-time online schools, the term most often used to describe the face-to-face individual with teaching duties is the learning coach. There should also be an online teacher, although their teacher-to-student ratios can vary from less than what you’d find in a typical face-to-face classroom to hundreds of students to a single teacher – depending on the program and the instructional model that they have employed. So to say that print-based distance education programs have a teacher and online ones do not is not accurate.

        Further, I’d disagree with the statement “it’s also far easier with print curricula to read, “review”, and “study” what one has learned in preparation for tests.” Say what you will about the standardized nature of the “individualized instruction provided by most full-time online schools (and I have lots of negative things to say about them). The artificial intelligence that is build into the adaptive testing that these online curriculum have is pretty sophisticated. On that front (i.e., as an example of computer-assisted instruction), I’d have to rate it as being quite excellent. And I’m not a fan (but I do have to give credit where credit is due).

        On the actual physical act of writing, I can’t comment as I don’t know the research on that – so I don’t know which is better. My gut tells me that given that we are assessing using bubble tests, that there likely isn’t much difference. Now if we had a different kind of assessment, that would be a whole different ballgame.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 30, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

      • I do not confound or misunderstand. You and I simply hold differing points of view on certain topics., You also seem to enjoy “finding” things to disagree with, and if they are not to be found, then you simply “create” them, just so that you can then speak to your “disagreement” with them. (smile) Whatever floats your boat.

        It does reminds me, though, of our much-loved dog, whenever we are not into tossing her ball for her to catch. She will jump up and toss her ball off our bed or sofa herself and then jump after it to catch it before it hits the ground. (smile) ,

        Michael, It’s been a pleasure for the most part going back and forth with you in regards to the ACE curriculum, the methods and results of high-performing high-poverty schools, and the validity of standardized testing. You’ve given me some very good chuckles. I trust I’ve given you some, too

        At this point, I really need to turn my time and energy to preparing for our rapidly upcoming new school year. I will post again after I’ve had to time to examine the specific ACE Paces on which Scaramanga bases his objections to the ACE curriculum.

        I would be glad to respond to your objections to the ACE curriculum, too, if you would be kind enough to private email me a list of the specific Pace Subjects, Pace numbers, and the page numbers in each Pace which support your objections, For example, you might list “Social Studies 1096 page xx” and then the specific text content on the page which supports your objections.

        Just fyi, Pace Numbers run from 1001 – 1101 in each core Pace Subject of Math, Reading, English, Word Building, Science, and Social Studies. Please note that older edition “Self Pacs” and ACE Electives at the High School Level have different numbering systems. Please provide whatever the Pace number is on the Paces with which you have issues. And I will respond to them at a later date.

        I will then be finished with this thread. Having covered all I wanted to address when I joined this discussion, plus some additional points which you brought up after I joined in.

        I wish you the best in your new position at Sacred Heart. I am curious, though, if Sacred Heart is aware of your being “more of an agnostic” at present? Your new position at Sacred Heart should give Christian and Catholic parents serious pause for thought though. Just because a college or University is faith-based or faith-affiliated, it doesn’t mean all the instructors there share that same faith, does it?

        One simply can never assume anything about any place or any one, can one?…

        Until later, then!

        Comment by Patti — August 30, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

      • Patti, if you think (or thought) that there is no teacher involvement in online schools – supplemental or full-time – than you misunderstand the nature of K-12 online learning.

        I can’t provide specific page numbers from the curriculum, as I don’t have copies (and have only taken a cursory look at it) myself. I rely upon independent analysis of the curriculum by others.

        Finally, Sacred Heart University is a Catholic institution, but it is run entirely by lay people. Those working at the institution are expected to uphold the Catholic education tradition, but that isn’t one based on doctrine or ideology, but on an intellectual exploration of ideas from all perspectives. My own personal exploration of issues of faith led me to the fact that I question organized religion, but am unable to deny that there must be some form of higher power is the exact kind of exploration that fits into the Catholic education tradition. It was actually a topic I explored with the Provost at some length during my interview, and one of the reasons I accepted the position at Sacred Heart was because I felt it would give me an opportunity to continue to explore this aspect of my non-academic life.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 30, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

  103. Somehow my reply ended up in the wrong place. Sorry! Here it is again:

    YOU WROTE:: “Patti, if you think (or thought) that there is no teacher involvement in online schools – supplemental or full-time – than you misunderstand the nature of K-12 online learning.”

    REPLY: I am aware that all public school online curriculums do provide teachers,and even real-world social interaction events, as well as monthly home visits to the student’s home. You may not be aware that not all private online schools do that, though. Some are very much “on-your-own” with the computer affairs.. Especially private “for profit” providers of the ALPHA OMEGA online curriculum. (Of which I am definitely not a fan.)

    YOU WROTE: “I can’t provide specific page numbers from the curriculum, as I don’t have copies (and have only taken a cursory look at it) myself. I rely upon independent analysis of the curriculum by others.”

    REPLY: Really, Michael? Well, that kind of proves my point. Then I will just address the specific volumes which Mr. Scaramanga has cited as the basis of his objections and accusations. After I have had the time and opportunity to go through his list and my copies of the ACE paces.

    So you are only passing on “hearsay”? I suggest that you might want to verify the veracity of what you are passing on before continuing to pass it on. The “independent analysis of the curriculum by others” that you are relying on may not be accurate. Nor as “independent” or free of the very “ideological slanting” which you so decry.

    The truth is, though, that “everyone” has an ideological slant. It’s just that some people get upset when the ideological slant of information doesn’t agree with theirs. (smile)

    QUESTION: Have you actually ever read the Heritage Foundation’s “No Excuses” paper? Or are you again only passing on “hearsay” from the “independent analysis of others you rely on”? Is this what you mean when you say you are “familiar” with something? If so, you really ought to be better than that. Seriously.

    As someone who trains others and as someone who has just accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in an “Educational Leadership” program, don’t you think you should do a better job of fact-finding before you accuse and malign? If not because you care about being fair, intellectually diligent and honest, and being above personal attacks not based on fact, then perhaps because one can be sued for libel for making false statements about a person or company in writing.

    I had many experiences of exploring with critics of Dr. Lovaas’ methodology and results just what exactly was their level of knowledge of Dr. Lovass and where they got their information from. In every single case, all of them were merely passing on “hearsay”. NONE of them had actually “read” his federally-funded research. Their so-called “familiarity” with Dr. Lovaas’ work, on which they based their accusations, always boiled down to “hearsay” they had gotten from someone or somewhere else.

    I, and many other users of the ACE curriculum, find it to be much the same with critics of the ACE curriculum.

    Michael I strongly suggest that such lack of checking the facts on your part when casting aspersions on people, curricula, or foundations, especially when making serious charges of racism, is something you might want to seriously reconsider. For many reasons. Most especially because the kind of actions you are engaging in are not the level of diligence, circumspectness, quality of character, nor the kind of personal modeling one expects from a person with your training or in your kind of position.

    As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

    I appreciate your sharing about Sacred Heart with me and how you came to accept the position there. You might try out the masses and RCIA classes for adults. If only as an educational exercise to understand more about the Catholic faith. After all, it is the ancient church that Jesus built!

    I sincerely hope that you will find more than you expected at Sacred Heart and that your exploration of the non-academic aspects of your life prove very fruitful. Many people find the ritual of Mass and saying the rosary to be very satisfying. I hope you don’t mind if I sign off by sharing the Priestly Blessing with you from Numbers 6:24 -26:

    The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

    Comment by Patti — August 30, 2013 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

    • The private online programs vary considerable, as they do not receive public funding and – in many instances – have few state regulations that they must follow. As such, they can get away with a great deal.

      Exactly how does the fact that I rely upon research conducted by others make your point about whether the ACE curriculum is racist. As one example, Mr. Scaramanga outlines a series of issues. There were all of those journalistic reports that I linked in a previous comment. Even the Wikipedia page for ACE notes issues concerning “Race and apartheid,” “Creationism and the Loch Ness monster,” “History,” and “English” – providing citations from Mr. Scaramanga’s blog, the New York Time, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Herald, and even the Christian Post (as well as citing specific aspects of ACE’s curriculum). While I don’t accept Mr. Scaramanga based solely on his word, these other sources – all respectable media outlets – do provide a consistent and compelling case. Further, I’ve never measured the high of Mount Everest. But the evidence suggest that it is the case. Would you consider that hearsay as well?

      As for the Heritage Foundation’s report, I have read it. I have also read Biddle’s and Bracey’s review of the report – as well as numerous others who have used Lovass’ research in their own work. The only folks that I have seen that have found the Lovass work to be credible have been those who have been pushing a neo-liberal or conservative agenda.

      Relying upon the research conducted by others is not a case of not fact checking. It is actually a fundamental part of the process of scholarship. To portray it as anything other than that is an attempt to misled or confound the issue – something that you do quite often.

      Comment by mkbnl — August 30, 2013 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

      • YOU WROTE: “As for the Heritage Foundation’s report, I have read it. I have also read Biddle’s and Bracey’s review of the report – as well as numerous others who have used Lovass’ research in their own work. The only folks that I have seen that have found the Lovass work to be credible have been those who have been pushing a neo-liberal or conservative agenda.”

        REPLY: I can accept your word that you have read the Heritage Foundation’s report. However, as Dr. Lovaas’s (not “Lovass”) research has nothing to do with either the Heritage Foundation or people pushing a neo-liberal or conservative agenda, That statement alone shows that you know nothing about Dr. Lovaas or his critics. I myself do know Dr. Lovaas personally, who is Norwegian, I am also married to a Dane and also just returned from Scandinavia.. Trust me, Scandinavians as a whole are anything BUT “neo-liberal” or “conservative”. And a neo-liberal or conservative agenda has nothing to with autism.

        I must have really upset you by putting some Christian content into my last report. .

        The way you attack anything and everything with the same all guns firing approach, not even bothering to find check your facts before you begin slinging your attacks and dismissals is very sad, Michael. Very sad. Your behavior says a whole lot more about you than the people and organizations you think you are so brilliantly skewering.

        It appears as if you only have a certain repertoire of responses and “labels” that you use, and that you simply throw them out without any careful consideration, much less “fact-checking”, before you do so. Perhaps your thinking is that if you throw enough out, something is bound to “stick”.

        Or perhaps you have had success in the past with your behavior getting others to quit and “back off”. When others quit and back off that is then interpreted by you as “winning”. It isn’t winning, Michael, if your charges are not founded. It is simply people quitting and backing off from engaging in discussions with you because of how you conduct yourself during discussions and because they have decided that discussing with you is pointless. They come to realize that you are not really passionate about what you consider to be “true” or “not true”. You simply are passionate about engaging in your behaviors, which really have nothing to do with education or standing up for true versus not true, but more to do with personal needs within you which your behavior satisfies. You appear to be an angry and unhappy man.

        AS FOR DR. LOVAAS, not “Lovass”, insurance companies have found his research MORE THAN CREDIBLE ENOUGH to begin covering ABA therapy for children with autism. Something insurance companies do not do readily without having strong and persuasive scientific evidence to support the efficacy of the interventions they fund. Many school districts also now fund ABA, too. Something which school districts also do not do without strong and persuasive scientific research and often several successful lawsuits by parents. Successful lawsuits are due to there being strong and persuasive federally-funded research to back up the efficacy of ABA, including repeated replication of the results. Across the world as well as internationally.

        Not that ABA is the end all be all of autism treatments. Or the “only” one. There are other methods that recover autistic children besides ABA, such as Dr. Gutstein’s RDI therapy and the Option Institute. And Kozloff’s Social Exchange method. Just fyi, RDI therapy actually has an 80% success rate compared to ABA’s 47% success rate.

        I personally *know*, (and please note that I do not mean that I “know of” or have heard “hearsay” from others about, or have “read about on the net”, but that I have actually known and been part of their lives for years), many children, and children who are now adults, who have recovered as a result of ABA, RDI,or Option therapy. Recovery can and does happen and children do recover as a result of receiving ABA, RDI, or Option therapy. Children with autism have nothing to do with “neo-liberal or conservative agendas”. People from all walks of live and, yes, all “socio-economic” levels, have children or other loved ones with autism.

        Your lumping Dr. Lovaas in with Biddle and Bracey’s review of the Heritage Foundation report is really bizarre. And to me, as I DO actually know Dr. Lovaas’ work extremely well, it only proves again how unbased in personal knowledge and facts your accusations and behaviors are. I must say again that It’s as if you have a certain repertoire of responses and simply throw them out without any careful consideration, much less “fact-checking”, before you do so.

        I will get back to you when I have personally researched Mr. Scaramanga’s citations for his objections to ACE. As I said I would. That’s because I am a person of my word and also because I believe in being honest and checking my facts, and the hearsay of others, first, before I speak.

        Unlike you. You admitted you haven’t given ACE but a “cursory” examination and cannot cite any specific Paces on which your objections and criticisms are based. That you are merely write and speak about ACE based on what others have told you or written about it. Without fact-checking what they say or write first, before your repeat it.

        As opposed to when I do research, especially of things posted “on the net”. I check every single reference by ordering the journal articles and books cited from my library via interlibrary loan. I verify for myself that the journal articles and books are “real” and “legitimate”. Believe it or not, Michael, some people lie. And as you well should know, you can’t believe everything you read on the net.

        ACE, by the way, has been in existence for over 40 years, not “25” as you wrote, and is used by 1 million children every day in 145 different countries. Another example of your “inaccuracies” in what you have written about ACE. When added to your repeated insistence that ACE is an “online” curriculum, which is what cued me that you yourself are not that knowledgeable about ACE and how I knew you were only going on “hearsay” long before you admitted it.

        I will not respond to any further posts you write until I have completed my fact-checking of Mr. Scaramanga’s objections and accusations. So I can respond to them knowledgably and accurately.

        I suggest you also do some fact-checking yourself regarding Dr. Ivar Lovaas and the “numerous others” who have used his work in their research. I noticed you were unable to name “one” name of those “numerous others”. If you actually are so knowledgable about Dr. Lovaas, those who use his research in their work, and those who are critical of Dr. Lovaas, you would be able to name at least “one” of those researchers and one of those critics. You did not.

        Most likely you will perceive and characterize this reply as a personal “attack”. it isn’t. Neither am I “mad” at you or “bitter” about your reply. My reply is simply a point-by-point rebuttal of your reply. One that sticks to what you wrote and “facts”.

        Please note and remember that I said I will not post again, no matter what you post in reply to this reply, until I have completed my fact-checking of Mr. Scaramanga’s citations supporting his objections to and criticisms of the ACE curriculum. At least Mr. Scaramanga has citations for his criticisms of ACE for me to use. Ones he looked up himself.

        Comment by Patti — August 31, 2013 @ 2:50 am

      • My apologies… You referenced Dr. Lovaas as you were discussing what I said about the Heritage Foundation report, and given that it was back in doc school when I read it I made the assumption that he was the author. As you’ve pointed out that he isn’t, then I can honestly say I’m not familiar with his work.

        I always find it interesting that people get their backs up when I use labels. Labels are useful as they tell us the orientation of individuals, their biases, and why they write the things they do or take the positions they take. It also someone to pick up a report from the Heritage Foundation or any of these policy think tanks, and start to read that document with an eye for possible self-serving conclusions – which most of these pieces of research that have not gone through the peer-review process generally take.

        Speaking of not reading what the other has said, I didn’t say that he ACE curriculum was only 25 years old. I said that criticisms of the curriculum and the inaccuracies it contains date back 25 years.

        I’m not disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing. But what I see here is someone defending a product that they personally believe in – like so many other people who have commented on this thread – with no independent, methodologically reliable or valid data. Simply with a sample size that reaches their own children and nothing more. I also see someone who has illustrated that she is personally invested in her children’s education, and well educated herself – all of which are characteristics that would have likely made those children successful regardless of the curriculum chosen, some might even say in spite of the curriculum.

        I’m an academic. I look at the evidence, and with each piece of evidence we have to consider the source and determine if the research is methodologically reliable and valid. The evidence that I have been able to find about this curriculum has indicated hat students – particularly those that do not have the kinds of home support that your’s do – do not do well. The evidence also suggests that the curriculum has shown signs of racism (at least in the past, I don’t recall off the top of my head if there were current instances of racism), as well as modern day inaccuracies and cultural insenstitivities largely due to the fundamentalist nature of the curriculum.

        Comment by mkbnl — August 31, 2013 @ 9:25 am

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  107. I am currently attending an ACE school and I am about to graduate with a year yer 12 certificate. In my opinion this program has both its positive sides as well as negative sides. Our work is conducted on PACEs which are booklets about 30-60 pages long. When you finish a PACE you sit a self test and then a Pace test, if you successfully complete these tests you receive a new PACE and the cycle continues until you complete all requirements for the certificate you are working towards( year 9-13). Since our work is “pace” based, your experience in the program depends mostly on your academic ability or your determination. I have seen very intelligent as well as determined students who have gone on from this program to achieve degrees in Law, Mathematics, Music, Economics etc. I have also seen students who are academically challenged and some who are just plain lazy, these students tend to work through their PACEs very slowly and sometimes stay in High School much longer then they should. There are also some very qualified teachers who are capable of helping students with whatever problem it is that they do not understand and then there are the people who are just there to supervise and do not understand anything. I partly agree with your statement saying that the program does not encourage critical thinking as most public school exams do. Our exams are mostly Multiple choice and fill in the blanks but they also have THINK! sections which do encourage critical thinking. All in all this education system definitely has its flaws just like every other education system in the world.

    Comment by Ray Campbell — November 4, 2013 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

    • Ray, thanks for a reasoned, reflective perspective from the student standpoint. As you’ll note from the comments above, many of the students and former students who have participated in this discussion have based their comments more on a blind defense, as opposed to a measured, critical opinion.

      Comment by mkbnl — November 5, 2013 @ 7:05 am | Reply

      • If anyone cares, I graduated from an ACE school in 1984. I went on to college, finished a 4-year degree in three years. I own a couple small businesses, and live on a half acre in a 4,000 sq ft home. Any curriculum can work with any kids! If you philosophize that a kid should grow up and develop his/her own world view, as some of the visitors have on this site – you are nuts! We had some guests over to our home who had a small child. They marveled that we did not have “bumpers” on the bricks by our fireplace, and that poisonous foliage was present in the house. They marveled even more when we told them that we simply do not allow our children to eat plants or play rough near the fireplace… Our kids did not sit around staring at candles in deep contemplation when they were two and three years old and decide the right path – we established that for them. Growing up in a Christian school does not make one a Christian, nor does getting beat to death with the “greatness” of mere human philosophers (who thought the earth was flat, that there was no need to wash, that our orbits were round and not oval, that maggots magically appeared in bottles, etc.) that did not have to work for a living make one a humanist or atheist. I think the ACE curriculum does as good a job as anyone from an educational standpoint. The rub is when religion comes in to play in education – whether humanistic or theistic…

        Comment by Brian H — November 12, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

      • Brian, your comments are interesting. Much of this discussion has focused on the personal experiences of former students and parents, as well as current and former teachers. What has been missing has been any empirical data – beyond what I presented in my original entry. There will always be isolated instances of success and/or failure. The limited available data seems to indicate that the curriculum focuses on rote knowledge, and ACE students tend not to perform as well on standardized tests as compared to traditional public school students (with standardized testing being the main point of comparison here in the United States – and many other neo-liberal ideological nations).

        Comment by mkbnl — November 13, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

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