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BSTEP
(Behavioral Science Teacher Education Program)

by

Dean Gotcher

A review of the review of the final report of US dept. of HEW contract no.  OEC-0-9-320424-402 (010), by Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, Dec. 31, 1969.

BSTEP, a "comprehensive program" (Gestalt-perpetual culture change, performance-based, evaluation) for the restructuring of Michigan State University into a NTL, through its curriculum ("Behavioral Science paradigm") was initiated on Dec. 31, 1967.  With the use of "measurable" "laboratory-centered experiences" (developmental experiences" for the purpose of "systematizing of teacher behavior")  BSTEP would provide "alternative solutions" to traditional education ("goodness," "badness," time-based, measurement) programs (referred to as "the slum of the American educational system.")

With the development of "a new kind of school teacher . . . engaged in teaching as clinical practice," where teachers "function as a responsible agent of social change" (ability to relate with, manipulate, and evaluate student behavior), "old value systems" would be modified and new ones developed.  Student teachers would be "sensitized" to "diversity," and "non-Western thought and values, . . . promoting an understanding of human behavior in humanistic terms."  ("How do children from upper-class, middle-class, lower-class homes behave?  What are their respective needs?"  The NTL developed program "facilitates" learning experiences with the "prescriptive" (not just descriptive) cycle of "reflecting (describing, analyzing), proposing (hypothesizing, prescribing), and doing (treating, and observing consequences)."  Faculty Orientation and In-Service Education programs would be build on BSTEP experiences.

A "coalition among educational agencies, professional organizations, community resources, and business and industry" would be built upon the philosophical position of "adaptability to change," requiring "non-school resources" to join in partnership with educational agencies with "the most modern technology available" in "information storage and retrieval," for "tracks" of "behavioral attitudes and achievements" ("The BSTEP information retrieval system will store records on the personal characteristics of all BSTEP students"), "ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education."  "Major additional resources" according to the study, would be necessary to "restructure the total curriculum."  Funded on March 1, 1968, BSTEP united with the U.S. Ofc. Of Ed. on October 31, 1968.

"Systems analysis" was incorporated in the scheme, under contract with HEW.  The development for the design of this project was the work of the Southwest Regional Laboratory for Education Research and Development.  Workforce development is a major concern of "Systems Thinking."  The Teaching Research Laboratory at Monmouth, Oregon piloted "low cost simulated programs dealing directly with classroom management."  Bloom's Taxonomies were used to define the instructional variables involved with instructional planning, i.e. the "Professional Use of Knowledge."  They provided the evaluation tool needed for data collection on both staff and student behavior and content.

According to the report, HEW studied "the possibilities of a social state-of-the-union" in the future based on a consumer (not producer) or service driven economy to answer the question "Can educational institutions change rapidly enough to meet the needs of a changing society?"  The Rand Corporation, the Air Force, General Electric Company, and the United Nations were but a few of the organizations which attempted to forecast the future in accordance to NTL evolving outcomes.  "Rand use[d] the ‘Delphi' method in which a wide range of experts have confrontations and arrive finally at a near-consensus."  The years 1984, 2000, and 2100 were predicted or conceived with the later year being a time when "gravity may be controlled through some modifications of gravity fields," as an example.  The future is a time when man "must effectively forge human and natural resources to serve his fellow man and help create uniqueness."

It was projected that the "technological-scientific elite" would "strain the democratic fabric to a ripping point," that "regionalism" would "create tensions and strained public services," that "the Young in age or in attitude" would be confronted by "Older members" over social change, that the "quality of living" would produce conflicts over "values and priorities," that mass media would be used to prevent social disintegration as the American "melting pot" and separatists conflicted, that cooperation's will form international groups, vast data banks on society will be in operation, that the flow of information will be such that "few individuals will be able to maintain control over their opinions," being controlled by "competing opinion molders," and that society would do a shift in values as a result of social mobility.  The solution for all these problem areas, according to the study, was the use of laboratory experiences, interdisciplinary studies, encounter experiences, seminars on futurism, "Think-tanks," conflict resolution group negotiations training, cybernetic experienced in non-school work, etc.

BSTEP was the first major attempt to bring an entire education institution under the control of the NTL program with the agenda of bringing all educational institutions under the same program.  BSTEP was a federally funded pilot program for a global education system.

© Institution for Authority Research  Dean Gotcher 1997-2015