Friday

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

It's been nearly five years since I've written anything on TJEd. The enthusiasm for TJEd has died down a lot and although people may talk about "Leadership Education" periodically there's not much said anymore about TJEd itself.

I still contend that what I said years ago is still true: TJEd has nearly ruined homeschooling in Utah. The fact that so many people would vehemently argue such a flawed philosophy and approach was surprising and worrisome. I put forth my best arguments and stayed clear of personally attacking anyone or using material that wasn't publicly available and which came directly from publishings of Oliver DeMille. Time would then tell whether TJEd was really a revolution that would raise up leaders of the nation, or dwindle away.

George Wythe University has published an account of the misdeeds of Oliver DeMille and others in their roles as founders and administrators of the school. It's not pretty. Below are some excerpts (http://news.gw.edu/?p=393):

"The most grievous discovery was that Oliver DeMille had, during the previous governance under Coral Ridge, approved two doctoral degrees based primarily on experiential credit and without any coursework.  In addition, DeMille’s own credentials were called into question when critics investigating his past revealed two illegitimate degrees he had received in the early 1990s."
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"The first discovery was that incomplete and misleading statements and financial reports were being presented to the board by the administration. "
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"Particularly troubling were the discoveries that accounting practices were in disarray and that Brooks had consistently withheld information about contracts and finances regarding the Monticello campus he had proposed two years earlier."
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"As the board continued its investigation, a number of egregious actions were discovered that the board felt could potentially justify legal action."
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"Given the board’s discoveries with regard to DeMille in particular and his selective compromising of transcripts and degrees, the board’s new leadership faced a serious dilemma."
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"The board’s duty and commitment was to cleanse the school and its alumni of the checkered past of its founders.  Yet a delicate balance was required between timing the publicity of the founders’ misdeeds and allowing institutional strength to recover from the very damage they had inflicted."
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"Through this sheltered introduction, a loyalty to personalities had formed among thousands of people.  Given this, the board realized that many would not be able to distinguish the school from its founders."
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"It is the opinion of this board that the public should be safeguarded from the kind of mismanagement, deception and irresponsibility that the school previously suffered under DeMille and Brooks.  We condemn their actions in the strongest terms and without reservation. " 
These statements are from the official Newsroom of GWU. These are not accusations from outsiders.  I suggest you read the whole thing. There's a lot in there. One could argue that it doesn't mean the current Board of GWU is right, but it does mean that the Founder of TJEd has been found to be "deceptive," and having a "checkered past," and acting "egregiously." Not all the misdeeds were done by DeMille of course, but they were done by Board Members of GWU. If GWU isn't the most blatant example of TJEd in action or implementation of its principles, I don't know what is. And GWU is not some splinter group from the movement that is dissatisfied and broke off from DeMille. There is no group left of any size that still defends or implements TJEd like there was when this blog was started. None that I'm aware of.

Perhaps some will accuse me of kicking a man when he's down or jumping on the bandwagon of attacking DeMille. I'm bringing to light what the results of the founder of TJEd has been. These are the results. DeMille and his followers preached a better way and made a lot promises and arguments about the benefits and results of TJEd. It didn't happen, and it wasn't because they weren't allowed to fully implement their ideas. It broke apart all by itself.

The current GWU Board said something I totally agree with: "None of this had to happen." That's right, it didn't. Yet the damage done was widespread and long lasting. It will still take a few more years before Utah homeschooling recovers, and hopefully nothing as faulty comes in and takes the place of TJEd. But like the old saying goes, when the students are ready the teacher appears. We need people and parents who aren't so quick to adopt philosophies like TJEd. We need to not fall so easily to claims and promises. We need to not be so eager to accuse other people of persecution, or "conveyor belt" thinking, or denying people greatness, or squandering their destiny, or of being too stupid to understand. We need to be wiser than that.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am still seeing lots of people do TJEd. I wasn't in the homeschool scene 5 years ago, so perhaps it was worse, but that's hard to imagine. Every corner I turn people are "introducing" me to TJEd, as if is a revelation that if I'm not doing it it's because I'm not aware. I feel like I can't even troubleshoot academics, efficiency, or schedules with homeschool moms because it's always followed by, "Why does that matter?" Or, "That's what the child is supposed to be doing," or other comments relating to just let the child do their thing and stop worrying. I've pointed a few people to your site privately, but I never say things to a group, because I know I will offend someone. The first time I questioned TJEd was shortly after a mom introduced me to it. I read an article somewhere talking about how it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. So I sent it to this mom, thinking that we all like to read both sides of the story, right? She told me that article made her feel dark inside and she had to listen to hymns to feel better. So I don't say anything anymore, except to people who are just learning about it. Thanks for your site. Wish we could be neighbors.

-Megan

Alison Moore Smith said...

Wow. Just decided to find this site again and just saw this.

Kills me because I've been SCREAMING for years that this guy is a fraud and it was like the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Augh.

Alison Moore Smith said...

Megan, I'd love for you to right up something about your experiences on my homeschool site, if you would. Just conta

Loni said...

I am new to this concept. I don't know anything about TJed or his past or present practices. I do not homeschool. I am simply looking for realistic alternatives to the Common Core disaster being forced on public schools. A homeschooler friend turned me on to TJed. I was impressed with the concepts of education introduced, but that doesn't mean I want to jump aboard with my eyes closed. I read this critical article and was troubled by its content. Now, I don't know this founder or anything about his alleged shady past. But what bothered me about the article was that it was 100% critical of the man's character and that of his business partners and their business practices, all ad-hominem attacks, from the perspective of an education rival. I didn't find that very fair. There was no discussion in this article as to the actual education of the kids or evidence as to the end result for the kids of this type of education. I would expect a rival to have nothing nice to say. What do the kids and their parents say about the actual education they received, who have been through the program? Whether this founder or his associated committed fraud or deceived their followers is something to definitely consider. But what does that have to do with the actual education? Why are homeschoolers STILL singing the praises of this program? It just doesn't follow.

Anonymous said...

I have a degree in education and I have taught adults for many years. When I read TJEd it was the first book on educating children and adults that made real sense. Oliver DeMille may have some difficulties along the way, but his insight is sound and his argument compelling. I suspect most of his critics are so-called "professional educators" whose own ideas have failed to improve our schools despite 50 years of trying!

Liz Swanson said...

I attended some seminars ten years ago and sent my son to a GWC sponsored high school retreat. It was very good. One thing I can say is that my interactions with Oliver Demille convinced me that he is a man of integrity.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to be looking for the "Holy Grail" of education. I've been in the public ranks of science education for 20 plus years and have discovered a few truths along the way. One, be an expert in your chosen field and be passionate about what you teach. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Two, try whenever possible to have make connections between education and real world application. Three, remember that education is a political hot potato, be it NCLB, Common Core or TJ Education. See your teaching as a calling and a privilege. It's still one of the great professions where you can make a real difference in the life of a child. Best wishes to all of you looking for answers.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! I wonder why you don't use your reasoning abilities to research the mormon church that you seem to be a member of? If education is so important that you would spend all this time and energy finding the truth I would think the truth about your own religion would be even more important and worth at least the same amount of research. I can't wait to read that blog!

Tom & Ruth said...

I question every blog post by a nameless faceless person. I find this kind of attack childish. You could do so much more with your time. TJEd is a great program. If there are flaws so what. I still find it a better alternative to the public school system approach.

Tom Hinds

Anonymous said...

I've recently been researching TJEd while preparing to home educate my young children. So many of the homeschooling families I've met "do" TJEd that I felt I should look into it. After reading a few of his books, although I agreed with many of his ideas, I felt uneasy about his philosophy as a whole. It was great to read your blog and gain a little more perspective. You saved me the frustration of trying to implement it, and/or guilt about not raising "leaders" the "right" way. Thanks. -Amy

theimperfectwriter said...
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theimperfectwriter said...

You have your brain all wired up now to shout at the next person who says “I like TJed” so let me back away a bit and get a helmet on when I say… I like TJed! And before you bop me on the head with your arguments, take a deep breath and consider what I have to say. When I first opened that book, I couldn't get through 3 pages before I felt overwhelming despair. A leader? There are very few leaders! I've always had to hammer down the feeling inside that I could be great. Disney, Hollywood, they were all out to get me with that already. I was meant to be small and pathetic!! Leave me alone!! And this book was trying to make me fill myself with fruitless hopes??? I could not stand it. But that was last summer. You want to know something? I was focused on me. I realized now, that in order to really help and serve OTHERS, I need an education. Because you are a leader no matter what you do. You are a leader to your friends, you are a leader to your family, you are LEADING RIGHT NOW by making this blog. You are making profound arguments, you are questioning your sources, you are actually thinking. That is TJed. The reason why you do not like it, is because in order for Oliver to have a school, he needs to be a good sales person. You’re acting as if he is forcing you to do this… he isn't. He is trying to provide the opportunity for people who believe in what he does. You don’t have to. I’m not planning on applying all of this; I’m just getting excited about education for the first time in my life. You however have nothing better to do than to discourage that and be negative. TJEd isn't for everyone. SO...find something else. By the way, I'm only 15. I could be wrong. But really? Apparently you think this is your mission to set out to destroy "evil" educational programs. He's a good salesman, so? His product may still be worth it, you don't know. Don't talk this way about people you don't know.

theimperfectwriter said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you feel the way you do. I also have alarm bells that go off when someone tries to sell me something, and I wonder how much of what your feeling is due to that. A liberal arts education in and of itself is a wonderful thing, but I think you have to do what is right for your family, there is a reason that the Lord sent your children to you. You can receive personal revelation and know what is best for your family. I think part of the reason that I don't have a problem with TJed is I don't see it as the Holy Grail. It isn't a religion and I don't treat it as such. Parts of it work for my family, parts of it don't. Honestly, as I read I find the things that make sense to me and implement them. I do the same thing with any curriculum or book. So I guess I agree with you that no one should turn TJed into a conveyor belt or religion, but I don't think Mr. Demille is really asking us to. People choose to take what he says as the one right way gospel, even though he has tried multiple times to get them not to (see articles on his web site). I read the entire article on GW and found it disturbing, but my problems were mainly with Mr. Brooks. I think Mr. DeMille made some choices that weren't correct, perhaps not understanding the full implications of giving degrees to people for life experience. I am perfectly willing to admit that he isn't perfect, I also admit that I'm not. I don't pay to go to seminars because I am confident of myself and my abilities. I am paying to go to college to get a degree, but I still don't take what my professors say as doctrine. It seems again that we come back to the point of people treating it as a religion, that bothers me too. Without that, the rest of your arguments don't matter. If it isn't a religion then we can take the good and leave what doesn't work for us. Lets try to do that without being antagonistic and attacking others.

Anonymous said...

I am new to homeschooling, and still in the process of figuring out what is going to work for my family. I would be curious to know how you educate your kiddos. Any Suggestions?