This is a phamphlet that was sent to parents of prospective students explaining the school's position on education. Many of the ideas are heavy derivatives of Ayn Rand's Objectivist ideals. She was purposely not quoted.
A few months before Ayn Rand's death in 1982, the Stolls were invited to attend a reception sponsored by the Jim Blanchard. The Stolls were humilated by some of Ayn Rand's followers in front of Ayn Rand for "daring to call their school and Objectivist School". Although the Stoll's never clamed this, others labeled the school as such. This incident is a predictable, dark behavior in cult followers.
You will notice many controversial ideas and ideals in this text. There is a central theme that a human can be designed like a building and can achieve greatness almost entirely through his intellect. Some of the attitudes of the school that I found impossible to integrate in my adult life are highlighted in purple. George Stoll held a high yard-stick with which to measure us. He claimed to building self-esteem, but in is presence, I never felt that I measured up along with my shipmates. I did embark on years of trying to find the answers to life from a purely intellectual angle, but I slowly gave it up after years of poor relationships and satisfaction with myself. Thanks to this drive, I did manage to collect many skills, competencies and certifcations and kept inquiring. In my opinion, the auster rationality of the school was eventually its own undoing. (It is very hard to live like a Vulcan from Star-Trek.) George Stoll's higly nautically competent son Jim and half of the staff resigned in 1981, forcing the senior Stolls to close the school.
- P.K. Stevens (1976-1880) Feb 2000
DID YOU NOTICE DO YOU REALIZE?:The "vagueness and confusion" of yesterday has evolved into the violence of today?
The lowering school grades were a preview of "the elimination" of academic standards.
The student campus riots were only the first symptoms of the intellectual cancers now revealed as "terminal" as "academic intellectuals" are able to propose only "dead end theories" as solutions to world problems.
You should know that your child is a1so, having problems based upon a primary misunderstanding in the philosophy of education. It is this misunderstanding that "sets up" the entire conflict of Basic (3Rs) versus the "Life Adjustment" emphasis (Driver Ed., Home Ec., Golf, Modern Dance, etc.) However the entire conflict is unnecessary. And it is in the nature of the conflict that the school problems are caused.
As Clifton Fadiman writes in his introduction to A Case For Basic Education, "The present educational controversy, like all crucial controversies, has its roots in philosophy! Ones attitudes . . . depend on ones conception of man . . . ones view of his nature, his powers , and his reason for existence!
He then quotes the opening of the Metaphysics of Aristotle, "All men by nature desire to know."
Mr. Fadimans basic mistake is revealed in his next statement which, as he predicted it would, reveals his view of the nature of man Mr. Fadiman states the fallacy in his position following Aristotles quotation when he says, "This is not a statement of fact in the sense that all men are born with lungs."
This is, of course, exactly what it is! And the crucial word concept Mr. Fadiman does not understand is "by nature." Here he reflects a foundational error which is the seat of educational problems of human problems you as a parent must understand fully to understand yourself and your childs education. To date The 4Rs Program is the only educational procedure "since Aristotle" based upon the correct foundational understanding for the development of human life, social order, and freedom.
Aristotle (teacher of Alexander the Great and the most articulate leader of the Greek schools "developer" of the "Pierian Spring") instigated an educational explosion that took the Roman dictators 500 years to quell so that man could once again enter the dark ages of anti-intellectual life!
The Renaissance developed from the reawakening of intellectual activity. The development of schools at Maritua (Italy) were largely inspired by the master teacher, Vittorino da Feltre, teaching the lessons once again of Aristotle! From the "Renaissance Man" sprang the modern world as schools were organized to teach knowledge, the methods of knowledge and the "nature of man."
Today, as the "dark ages" again threaten to extinguish the lamp of learning . the flow of the Pierian Spring the 4Rs program of The Flint School offers an educational format for the man of the "New Renaissance" the total man. Educational accomplishment is based here upon the understanding of the "nature of man."
All human development hinges upon this premise. It is by the "nature" of man exactly as Aristotle taught that "man desires to know" and it is the full understanding of this concept that is what you must come to understand.
The entire pyramid of knowledge is based upon the statement you will probably recognize from your study of high school geometry or from Aristotle directly, "A is A." In logic, this is the statement of identity and existence. We then as humans understand that we gain our knowledge of existence from our senses and we therefore know the difference between an inanimate object and one containing the element of life. Inanimate
objects simply exist without change and without function. They are "acted upon" by other forces and contain no element of living motion. This is "the nature" of an inanimate object.
A living organism we realize can contain a process of life sustaining activity and that its entire activity is directed to the goal of continuing its life activity. This is "the nature" of an animate object.
We know too, that every order of living species is different "by its nature" in that it exists by the limitations and advantages of its particular variety. It cannot exist except according to "its nature." It cannot live according to the rules or laws of a species of a "different nature." A plant cannot get up and walk to another location if its roots fail to find food to sustain its life where it has in the past been growing. It is not in "its nature" to do so.
A man, then, can no more live according to the "nature" of an animal than can an animal live according to the "nature" of a plant (by digging a hole, planting its feet in the ground, fertilizing and watering the animal, expecting it to grow and receive nourishment, and continue its life process according to the nature of the plant).
Mans "nature" is that of a rational being with an intellect capable of abstraction, conceptualization, and generative mental ability. Mans brain is the thinking organ that enables, man (and only man) to work out the ideas, make the tools, build a house, heat it, provide food storage; superior minds to build skyscrapers and airplanes, procedures of a dimension so vastly superior to any other living species that this is the "nature of man"
It is this creative, inventive, abstractive, "future time view" orientation that keeps the species Homosapiens alive and that is, in fact, his life sustaining process. Such traits are learned. Man by nature must desire to know! Man does not automatically learn, he must decide to learn and has the freedom to choose not to learn. Man is the only species which may choose to destroy himself by decision. But to perpetuate his species he must initiate procedures requiring intellectual knowledge. Failing to do this, he dies, or lives subservient to the intellectual superiority of another human, still proving man "by nature desires to know" just as Aristotle so defined 2300 years ago.
Clifton Fadiman makes his assumption in error! (Mr. Fadiman states that it is an assumption.) We work with a certainty of knowledge, and document for each student the basic axioms and corollaries of that certainty! He states that present day conflict is between the so called life adjustment school of education (Driver Ed., etc.) and the basic knowledge (3Rs) school of education. It is this conflict that is destroying education today and that has destroyed any development of students of "genius and new ideas" for the past 30 to 50 years. Today it is only when the occasional student by accident or chance stumbles upon the third alternative (the 4th R) that this student achieves greatness!
The 4Rs method is founded upon the fact and implications that all men of intellectual capacity can follow the same path to "greatness and ability." The path does exist, one has only to follow it!
The 4Rs method is based upon Aristotles statements with the knowledge that it is by mans "nature" that he desires to know. Exactly what Mr. Fadimari says is not so, is what is so. It is that he that every man desires to know by his nature as certainly as each man has lungs! So understand the "nature" of the human of the species. An entirely new educational method is indicated. The 4Rs method will allow your child to develop greater capacities, attain greater academic excellence far more rapidly and by plan rather than by accident. It is the only method consistent with the "nature of man."
We will expand his capacity, stretch his initiative, and make available the "generative" knowledge and skills. Thus we inspire him to learn the volume of facts and concepts necessary to intellectually "leap for joy" as he develops a mind that reasons and creates new and original ideas.
Demonstrating the need and reflecting the confusion caused by the many contradictions presented to students on all levels of their academic training from pre-school through college graduation and graduate school are the many slogans and admonitions exhorting people to "think"; The cry of business owners and employers is, "with all of the so-called excellent educational facilities and emphasis placed on preparing our young people for life, why are good men scarce?" Perhaps the greatest incitement against formal education is . . . . . "But man only uses 10 to 15 percent of his mental ability!"
As we look at the world around us we see that man is capable of many mechanical achievements such as building skyscrapers, high performance airplanes, and sophisticated electronics of all sorts. Mans brain is capable! The area of mans reduced abilities and mans failures invariably stems from the malfunction of h/s ability to get along with his fellow man. Thus we find the emotional climate of mans social adjustment, the area where volumes of conjecture and thousands upon thousands of commentators choose to offer their particular panacea for personal and social ills. THE COUNTLESS PRESCRIPTIONS AND SUGGESTED REMEDIES OFFERED TO MAN BY SELF-APPOINTED AND SELF-ANOINTED PROPHETS OF MANKINDS FUTURE ARE ALL MADE POSSIBLE ONLY WHEN THE PREMISE IS ACCEPTED AS EXPRESSED BY CLIFTON FADIMAN AND PREVIOUSLY QUOTED.
If we interpret Aristotle's statement literally we find that all of this confusion is dissolved and a clear, clean path is revealed as we build with the scientific method upon the basic premises of Aristotles teachings and commit ourselves totally to the understanding arid the use of the 4th R that is mandatory to the life function of the human of the species: Reason.No one quarrels, becomes emotional, loses his temper, storms out of the room, or beats the lectern with the heel of his shoe over the question of whether or not 2 x 2 = 4. Suppose some one in a beginning study of plane geometry should, after completing the proof of the congruency of two triangles express an "opinion" contrary to the conclusions of the geometric proof: Well, yes, I understand what the geometric proof says, but I still just do not believe that these two triangles are congruent. I feel that they arent really congruent and I am entitled to my own opinion about the matter." if anyone expressed such a sentiment, he would be laughed right out of the class of geometry and there would be no doubt as to where the truth lay and which position was right or wrong!
Or again, if we wish to build a skyscraper, we plan for this skyscraper starting with its foundation. If, for this skyscraper, we prepare only a foundation for a two-car garage, all will still go well as we build the walls stacking one concrete block on top of the next, course upon course, until we have built the first story. Then, obviously the higher we try to erect our building, the more inadequate the foundation and the construction method will appear until in time the walls tumble, since we were violating certain scientific principles and procedures in attempting to construct a skyscraper on top of the foundation for a two-car garage. No one would sympathize with such a builder but would laugh at him and ridicule him for his ignorant approach to building skyscrapers~When building an oil refinery we do not put valves in pipelines because we think they would "look good" right there. We put a valve in a pipeline for a particular reason as the type of valve and where it is installed is determined by a scientific reason. Anyone building an oil refinery using such a whim oriented method would not only be ridiculed but also would not likely, when completed, have constructed a refinery that refined successfully. The analogy is complete and total when we consider the project of building a life, a person, a human. It must be done on exactly the same scientific, orderly, rational procedures as any construction project, or else we will get exactly the results we are seeing in our schools, colleges, arid universities today. So this new method of the 4th R is philosophically and foundationally different than any other academic system presently in existence.
So, lets try to delineate more specifically what are the foundations and axioms upon which the 4Rs method is based.
1. All humans of the species are identical in their nature. Obviously some are tall, some are short, some are fat, some are thin, some are blond, some are dark, but the distinguishing characteristic of the human of the species is a drastically significant characteristic and while one individual human may have more potential than the next, all human individuals have the identical rational facility which distinguishes them from the lower animals. They must be educated arid live by their nature or they will only exist by permission of anothers brain! Therefore, the "method" of building free individuals must be based upon identical procedures and construction principles just as certainly as one skyscraper is built upon the same identical construction principles as the next skyscraper. This means there is one "way" and only one "way" to build a human qua human. It is not a subject open to difference of opinion! There is no such thing as a contradiction. Contradictory procedures can only result in confusion and a crippled human intellect, just as if you contradict certain basic laws of physics your skyscraper will not stand. (and crippled human intellects are "what we have the most of" today!)
2. It takes the human of the species just a little less than one-third of its life span to reach maturity. During the first 20 years of its life the human body reaches its full height and its general physical characteristics are formed. During this first third of its lifetime these physical characteristics can be drastically altered dependent upon the food the body takes in and the exercise in which it indulges. The same is true of the "mental" characteristics!
It takes approximately this same one-third of its life span to form the capacity of its intelligence . While it is generally accepted that there are genetic limits apparently determined by the genes and chromosomes, there is considerable variation in the extent to which a given individual will reach the intellectual capacity for which its chromosomes have determined the limits. Present day cognitive psychologists indicate there may be as much as forty points of measurable IQ difference dependent upon the environment and intellectual stimulation of a particular child during this first third of its life span.
It is during the first third of its lifetime that its inte1IectuaI capacity is formed and also the individuals personality is developed; either a strong self-assertive, competent, productive, man qua man personality, or the dependent, security seeking, death oriented individual whose only remaining alternatives are in which particular direction its bizarre personality will manifest itself. Thus it is in this first third of lifetime that emotional values are developed resultant from the experiences and intellectual content filed into the subconscious part of the human brain which is its resource and "memory bank. From these resources are developed the values and judgmental ability for future life events and experiences. The basic requirement then of sound emotional and mental health is that of an accurate, rational, and complete library of intellectual ammunition for future life judgments.
IT IS TO PROVIDE THIS BASIC METHOD OF PERCEIVING, CONCEPTUALIZING, JUDGING, AND FILING A VAST NUMBER OF ACADEMIC FACTS AND UNITS OF EXPERIENCE THAT IS THE ONLY REASON FOR AN ACADEMIC EDUCATION AND CONCURRENTLY THIS PROPER ACADEMIC EDUCATION IS A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT FOR MENTAL HEALTH.
3. Since we have only the first 15 to 20 years of the life of the Homosapiens to determine entire future productivity and its mental health, we are committed in the 4Rs program to subjects of a generative nature. This is a total commitment to the philosophy of basic education. There is so little time available and so much to be taught that there simply is only time for a generative subject, a tool subject. Again to use Clifton Fadimans correct illustration that if we teach a child to tie a necktie (typical of life adjustment education philosophy) the value of that piece of knowledge terminates on that level and all the child has learned to do is to tie a necktie. Obviously there is nothing evil with learning to tie a necktie, or learning to cook, sew, make beds, play golf, tennis, drive a car, or any of the other life adjustment subjects that now crowd out of most peoples "intellect" any serious academic knowledge. But if we stick to basic skills such as teaching a person how to read, how to comprehend, and how to judge values, we are developing a generative skill with which any given individual can then learn how to tie a necktie, play golf, drive a car, or make a dress, or decide if he wants to!
4. ,The 4Rs Method is a completely honest approach in all ways. This implies many things and a strict adherence to a code of intellectual honesty. It implies first of all that passing scores are all 100%; 90% is not quite good enough. It is lying to a child to have him complete 12 years of schooling with a passing score of 70%. On such a basis, since a child has completed the fifth grade of school he is led to believe that he understands fifth grade work, rather than being led to believe that he may have completed 3/4ths of fifth grade work, 3/4ths of fourth grade work, ūths of third grade work, 3/4ths second grade work, etc. He must learn to suck up knowledge like a vacuum cleaner rather than merely sit quietly waiting to be educated.
5. The 4Rs method is a "non-graded" approach to individual education. The subject matter is graded, but students are not assigned to a grade level depending upon their chronological age rather than their intellectual age. Since it is the intellectual aspect of their development we are trying to help catch up with their physical development, it is slightly ridiculous to give up academic instruction when a student is experiencing difficulty in assimilating. It is just as ridiculous to retard a student who is ready to tackle more advanced intellectual subjects.
This would be directly comparable to passing a law which you would enforce at the point of a gun (which is exactly what we have done in the field of education) that all building construction in the town or state or country must be commenced on September 1 each year and that it must necessarily be completed by June 1 of the following year. Imagine what would happen if we passed and enforced such a law that all foundations had to be poured and completed within two weeks time regardless of the size or nature of the super structure that would be placed upon that foundation. And furthermore that if this foundation were not completed in two weeks time we would have to stop work on the foundation and move ahead to wall construction whether there was a proper foundation to support it or not. Consider that everyone had to follow this schedule through the year. Anyone attempting to build a skyscraper would realize that no skyscraper could be built in that period of time therefore he would restrict his construction to single story residential projects that he knew could be completed according to the arbitrary and mandatory schedule. Obviously not all foundations could be completed in the same time span, if one foundation had to be dug through sand, another through clay, and another through a hard rock material, and another through swamp. Such is the plight of academic education which is oriented around a time schedule rather than around the requirements of a particular individual student.
As a child enters a 4Rs school an intellectual inventory is taken to determine the content of the basic, generative, intellectual, motivational, and academic library 50 far developed. Regardless of age, if the child only has a third grade spelling level this is the level at which the spelling skills will be commenced. As soon as the third grade words are completed, the fourth grade words will be approached. But these basic foundational skills must be brought up to standard Just as a foundation must be brought up to standard before super-structures, whether mechanical or intellectual, can be placed safely for the proper completion of a person who expects to live according to the fullest capabilities of the species man.
6. The 4th R, Reason, encompasses the concepts of intellectual honesty, objectivity, and an inquiring mind. Just as a person going into the profession of designing or building bridges, sky-scrapers, or houses must have a thorough understanding of the components, the laws of stress, the strength of various materials, etc., so any person wishing to build himself to the fullest capacity of the human, must have a thorough understanding of the nature of man and in considerable detail the laws by which he is built. To continue our analogy, the 4th R is a class in human architecture or human construction techniques that enable each individual student to thoroughly understand his personal intellectual make-up and motivations. He must learn how and why he as an individual can determine what is the proper information and mandatory training required to live to the fullest capacity of his human abilities.
7. Vittorino da Feltre defined the total man concept as necessary to provide the foundation for a renaissance. The 4Rs method provides a foundation for a new renaissance with the concept of developing "the total man," physically, intellectually, and philosophically.
Thus the 4Rs method presents a requirement of physical ability, personal skills, grooming, the development and understanding of why ones personal philosophy requirement is the acquisition of a proper basic academic education. This, then, is the context for the formulation of moral values and personal ethical standards.
1. Every student entering is brought up to a standard which includes:
a. Acceptable penmanship and articulate communication .
b. Phonics concepts solidified, reading comprehension, tactics.
c. Spelling, English grammar, construction and composition.
d. Arithmetic, number theory, plane geometry, logic.
e. World History Orientation, American history, discovery of capitalisrn, free enterprise.
f. Basic personal design (the 4th R) for intellectual honesty, objectivity, and an inquiring mind.
No student (who is already competent) is retarded by waiting for others to catch up.
2. The world asks not so much of a man what he knows, but what he can do. So all school content then, is oriented for overt production and accomp1ishment.
3. There is no "busy work" in our schedule. Everything selected for curriculum must have met the criterion of the Basic Education or generative technique (including generative of motivation).
4. Subjects taught are to be used in each class! Penmanship is part of the history grade, spelling is part of the history grade, proper sentence structure is part of the history grade, etc.
5. Students are taught to think in principles and thus are taught to judge which facts are right and worth making a part of their store of knowledge.
THIS IS THE FOUNDATION. DO NOT FAIL TO SEE THE INTELLECTUAL SKY SCRAPER YOUR CHILD CAN BECOME: RATIONAL, PRODUCTIVE, AND CREATIVE ! THIS IS THE NATURE OF MAN RELEASED BY THE 4Rs METHOD!
EDITORIAL . . . by permission of "Rudder" Magazine
"WHY A SCHOOL ABOARD SHIP?"
Perhaps best answered
by the following:
If the small boat sailor could have a magic dial aboard his boat which would allow him to set it on any desired wind and weather condition he would soon Cease going to sea.
This is because the touch of uncertainty would be lacking, and it is this uncertainty which gives spice to life. If man knew exactly what the future holds for him, life would become an unbearable burden.
This is why a demand for total security is a demand for total death.
The small boat sailor reaches security only within himself. He prepares himself and his boat for every conceivable eventuality, and he operates her within the framework of his, and her capability.
The sharp edge of life for our sailor is that challenge of the uncertain. When he casts off, no matter what information there is at his disposal, he never knows what the fickle fates have in store for him. And the knowledge that he is almost certain to outwit them makes him a man.
It not only makes him a man, it flavors his life and enriches Mother Earth for him, as each return to her is as a conquering hero who has won another battle, and has learned to savor the pleasures of life in all their pungency.
As man casts off, he enters another world, another dimension, another life. Going to sea gives lucky man two lives, where others have only one.
The fountain of youth is not on land. Its in the sea.
Boni Lazier Leonardi
The4Rs Method is available at the Flint School aboard TeVega and teQuest for boys and girls as young as 9 years old. The programs available include elementary review, junior and senior high school work with high school diplomas denoting:
Post High School years are available as a maturing and insight producing experience for graduates from other high schools as we as previous Flint School students.
A two year Post Graduate course using college level format leads to a special certificate in Entrepreneurship. The course presentations are conducted on a high quality college standard level. College level entrance examinations (CLEP tests) taken by Flint students have resulted in college level credits.
SMALL CUSSES BASIC EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY
PHONICS and SPELLING
- Creative Composition
- Reading Comprehension
- Articulation and Communication
ARITHMETIC, GEOMETRY and MATHEMATICS
ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH, GERMAN, DUTCH
GENERATIVE MOTIVATIONAL SUBJECTS
NON-GRADED APPROACH TO INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS
4th R REASONReason, Responsibility, and Thinking in Principles to Develop Intellectual Honesty Objectivity An Inquiring Mind
Texts and all supplies included