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Thread: Exclusive: Will Smith’s new school based almost entirely on Scientology

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    Default Exclusive: Will Smith’s new school based almost entirely on Scientology

    Exclusive: Will Smith’s new school based almost entirely on Scientology


    Yesterday we ran a story about Will Smith’s new private school, New Village Academy, based on a piece that appeared in the National Enquirer that tied Smith to the school. Smith is not mentioned on the school’s website, but he told Regis & Kelly last year that he was starting a school, and the school’s director is Smith’s former personal assistant and is “Director of Philanthropy and Vice President of the Smith Holdings Group.”
    After a superficial reading of the school’s website I said it sounded like a decent school. My conclusion was similar to saying Scientology is ok after reading three chapters of Dianetics. I didn’t dig deep enough, or have enough knowledge of Scientology schools, to make an analysis. Several commenters pointed out that Smith’s school uses the same materials as Scientology schools, mentions L. Ron Hubbards “Study Tech,” by name, and even employs teachers who are known Scientologists. The language on Smith’s school’s website is also loaded with words and concepts specific to Scientology, and the mission is straight out of the Scientology handbook.
    The class materials are the same ones created by Scientology and used in Scientology schools
    The Delphi Schools are Scientology-schools run for children of Scientologists, and for outside children with the purpose of converting their families to the cult. According to Wikipedia, Delphi Schools use their own Heron Basics language program along with Hubbard’s “tech.”
    Smith’s school uses Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard’s “tech,” and the Heron Basics language program. Hubbard’s tech is mentioned specifically in their Glossary section, and the Curriculum overview states that they use Heron Basics.
    Five out of seventeen teachers are easily identified as Scientologists
    Director of Learning: Tasia Jones
    Education Enrichment Program Supervisor: Andrea Beckham
    Director of Qualifications: Sigrid Burgett
    Artistic director: Sisu Raiken
    Teacher: Marcia Perkins
    Teacher: James Oliver
    Unique words, phrases and concepts of L. Ron Hubbard’s “Tech” are found on the school’s website
    Although there more mainstream, proven and accepted educational methods mentioned on Smith’s school’s “Glossary” section, such as Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and the Montessori Method, the methods outlined on the site are straight from L. Ron Hubbard’s “Study Tech” and show only a superficial influence from other educational philosophies. They are the same concepts described on Studytech.org, a critical site created by Scientology expert Professor David S. Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Touretzky corresponded with us and helped find additional ties to Scientology in Smith’s school.

    Smith’s Educational Philosophy: sequential learning with the example of building a robot, mentions being “out” of the sequential process:
    Secondly, teachers are taught to teach sequentially, checking for prior understanding. When a student is required to perform a sequence of steps and he comes to a point where he doesn’t understand, the learning curve is too steep. If a teacher is showing a student how to make the robot and the student suddenly is confused, the teacher makes sure to go back to the place the student stopped understanding and re-teach that point. We teach older students to do this on their own – when studying they learn to recognize in themselves when they are “checking out”; they then learn to go back with no prompting to restudy their prior steps and the concepts they may not have grasped the first time around.
    [From Newvillageacademy.org, emphasis added]
    L Ron Hubbard’s Study Tech: gradient learning with the example of building a doghouse, mentions being “out” of the gradient.

    An example from the critical site, Studytech.org:
    There is nothing objectionable in the notion that complex ideas should be mastered by breaking them down into simpler steps done in a logical order. But Study Tech turns this sensible advice into rigid dogma, with a warning that violations can have unpleasant consequences. “If you have skipped a gradient you may feel a sort of confusion or reeling” (Learning How to Learn, p. 84.) The illustrations of this idea on pp. 84-85 show a boy who was trying to build a doghouse “seeing stars” as if he just got whacked in the head with one of the boards he was hammering…

    Being “out-gradient” is actually considered an ethical violation in Scientology, because it is “out-tech“, or contrary to Hubbard’s teachings about how one should study.
    [From Studytech.org, emphasis added]

    Smith’s school: word definitions as the key to knowledge
    NVA teachers make sure children understand the meanings of all of the words related to each lesson whether in math or in music, or as in the robot example – all of the words related to making the robot. What do the words, electro-mechanic, gears, and system mean? Often students (and adults as well) lose interest and stop paying attention when they get lost in explanations filled with words they do not understand. So many students think they are terrible in math; has the teacher ever defined words such as factor, geometry or exponent? Teachers therefore are trained to make sure they monitor the children for lack of understanding. Similarly, if the student is learning how to program the robot and comes across a word that he is unfamiliar with, the student must look it up in the dictionary or have the word explained by a teacher. Once the student understands the words related to a concept, there is greater understanding of the entire subject.
    [From Newvillageacademy.org]

    L. Ron Hubbard’s Tech: word definitions as the key to knowledge
    The third principle of Study Tech centers on the concept of misunderstood words. They’re called “misunderstoods” in the books, and abbreviated as M/U or Mis-U in Scientology. Misunderstoods can be “cleared” by looking up the word in a dictionary. This is fine as far as it goes; students should certainly learn to use a dictionary. But according to Hubbard, misunderstood words are not a minor problem; they are in fact “the most important barrier to study” (Learning How to Learn, p. 101; Basic Study Manual, p. 49), and “the only reason a person would stop studying or get confused or not be able to learn” (Learning How to Learn, p. 114; Basic Study Manual, preface). In fact, “THE ONLY REASON A PERSON GIVES UP A STUDY OR BECOMES CONFUSED OR UNABLE TO LEARN IS BECAUSE HE HAS GONE PAST A WORD THAT WAS NOT UNDERSTOOD” (How to Use a Dictionary, p. 282; capitalization as in the original.) This sentence also appears in the frontmatter of all Scientology religious volumes.
    [From Studytech.org]
    Smith’s school uses terminology, phrases and concepts that are unique to Scientology

    Smith’s School’s Mission:
    We believe that an individual’s survival and prosperity are inextricably bound to the rise and fall of his or her family, social groups and humankind.
    [From Newvillageacademy.org, emphasis added]

    L. Ron Hubbard on Ethics:
    Dishonest conduct is nonsurvival. Anything is unreasonable or evil which brings about the destruction of individuals, groups, or inhibits the future of the race.
    [From Scientology.org, emphasis added]

    Use of “Qual” as a test to judge understanding:
    Upon completion of a subject chapter such as in math, the teacher sends the student to “Qual”, where he/she is given an test in various forms. If the student scores anything less than 100%, the Qualifications teacher will sit down with the student and go over the part of the exam that was not fully understood and make sure the student understands all of the words and concepts in the chapter. The teacher will also make sure the student did not skip any concepts which would inhibit learning. This is done to help students so that they gain 100% certainty.
    [From Newvillageacademy.org]

    The abbreviation “Qual” is directly from Scientology, and describes a concept unique to the cult. Scientology expert Dr. Dave Touretzky corresponded with me via e-mail, and provides this explanation:
    I have not seen the term “Qual” used this way in the context of Scientology-affiliated educational organizations. It use here comes straight out of the Church of Scientology itself! “Qual” is where you go when you’ve completed an auditing action in Scientology, or completed a course in the Scientology church. How revealing. Also of note is the final phrase: “100% certainty”. Notice that they did not say “mastery” or “understanding” — the terms professional educators use. They said “certainty”, which is the standard profession of faith used in Scientology. Even the Delphi schools aren’t this blatant in their use of Scientology phraseology.
    [E-mail received from Dr. Dave Touretzky]

    Smith’s school’s definition of ethics:
    An understanding of basic ethics helps students prosper as individuals while being a part of a group. Ethics is simply the choices and actions a person takes on himself, and the ability to take responsibility for his or her actions.
    [From Newvillageacademy.org, emphasis added]

    Scientology’s definition of ethics:
    Ethics may be defined as the actions an individual takes on himself to ensure his continued survival across the dynamics. It is a personal thing. When one is ethical, it is something he does himself by his own choice.
    [From Wikipedia and Scientologyethics.org, emphasis added]

    Dr. Touretzky explained this clearly as a concept unique to the cult:
    The strange concept of ‘actions’ one takes on oneself, and the phrase ‘ability to take responsibility for’ are all pure Scientology, and contrary to the usual definitions of ‘ethics’ in non-cult society, which are based on concepts such as ‘morals’ or ‘good vs. evil’.
    [E-mail received from Dr. Dave Touretzky]
    Smith’s school’s motto: Spiraling Up!
    L. Ron Hubbard wrote about the “dwindling spiral” of society, and talked about “spiraling” down. The Scientology Handbook uses the word “spiral” frequently, and it’s one of their cult-speak words that serves to “load the language” as cult experts explain, or redefine words and invent new words and phrases that have a specific meaning to the cult.
    Smith’s school doesn’t disclose that it’s Scientology-based
    At first glance, these concepts seem helpful and even innovative, and I was fooled by the very detailed website for Smith’s school into thinking that it might be as progressive as he claims.
    Dr. Touretzky maintains that Hubbard’s “Study Tech,” is really just Scientology religion disguised as education. With a philosophy and methods based primarily on Scientology founder Hubbard’s “Study Tech,” Smith’s school may strive to indoctrinate students into Scientology with no disclosure to their families.
    The curriculum and details for the New Village Academy are straight out of Study Tech, but other educational philosophies are thrown in the glossary to make it seem like a balanced education. There is no mention that most of the teaching methods are taken straight from Scientology, or that children are being taught religious concepts under the guise of a secular education.
    Study Tech has no proven effectiveness, is entirely based on Scientology, and is deemed harmful by education experts

    If you’re interested in reading more about this, there is very useful detail on Studytech.org. Here’s a pertinent excerpt:
    The contents of the Study Tech books are taken directly from Scientology scriptures published over a period of about twenty years between approximately 1960 and 1980. Not all of the material is reproduced in exactly the same form in the Scientology and Applied Scholastics versions. A number of significant changes have been made. Hubbard’s rambling lectures have virtually been rewritten, although their underlying message remains the same. Some of the wording of original Scientology materials has been modified, presumably to make it more readable to a non-Scientologist audience. All mention of Scientology has systematically been removed, although some Scientology jargon still remains. But despite these modifications, much of the text remains close to the original Scientology versions in word or spirit. Each chapter of the Basic Study Manual is drawn from one or more original Scientology works, often retaining the same or an abbreviated version of the titles.
    [From StudyTech.org]
    There is not a single study or independent educational expert who can vouch for the effectiveness of Hubbard’s Study Tech, and there are only vague and unsubstantiated claims by the Scientology organizations.
    Many education experts maintain that Study Tech is “old” and “inadequate” at best, and can be harmful to children, because it’s based on one man’s unproven ideas that often run counter to established, tested practices in education.
    Conclusion: A Scientology school disguised as a progressive private school
    Will Smith has started a school that teaches Scientology principles and is touting it as if it’s based on the latest educational research. A similar Scientology school was started in Milton, Massachusetts 10 years ago, with many parents claiming that the primary objective of the school was to recruit new members to the cult. For a celebrity who needs to distance himself from Scientology in order to ensure public acceptance, this is not the wisest move he could make.

    Here’s an excellent conclusion by Dr. Touretzky:
    To summarize: what this looks like to me is a bunch of Scientologists got Will Smith to bankroll a school run on Scientology principles leavened with a touch of Hollywood “we are the world” liberalism. L. Ron Hubbard, who had nothing but contempt for black Africans, would not be buying goats for impoverished villages — unless he saw a way to milk it for PR value. But to make Will Smith and his crowd think the school is “hip” and promotes Hollywood values, they throw in some

    plastic recycling and token third world charity along with the usual cult indoctrination stuff.

    You can bet Will’s buddy Tom Cruise had a big part in all this.
    [E-mail received from Dr. Dave Touretzky]
    Credit for helping to come up with the ideas for this post goes to commenters Anonymous, LS, Mairead, and FormerSCN on our original post about Smith’s school. Dr. Touretzky helped find additional ties to Scientology and analysis.


    Cele|bitchy Blog Archive Exclusive: Will Smith’s new school based almost entirely on Scientology

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    ^^ butt buddies


    Well we could see this one coming from a mile away. Where is my handbasket we are all going to hell. F'me

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    So no watching any hollywood movies, fucking CO$ has infested everything
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Will and TommyGirl look like they've been groping each other in that first pic ... five seconds from ripping their pants off and hitting the floor.

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    Elite Member Belinda's Avatar
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    wow... CO$ must have some good shit on Will from an auditing session... LRH was a racist and CO$ has Will out there promoting and furthering this bullshit religion

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    The only thing worse that a lunatic pushing his fringe religion openly is one who does it sneakily and won't come out and admit to membership in the Kool-Aid Club. At least Tom is willing to go balls out and fuck up his career for what he believes. I wonder if Will really is that smart, or the CO$ is determined that what happened to Tom is not gonna happen with another one of their high profile members.

    I want Will to get reaaaaally into it and do some crazy shit. Oprah, get a new couch ready!
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    Well,there you have it.
    eat a hot bowl of dicks.

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    No more buying, renting, or going to any Will Smif movies.

    I looked at the website and not a word about accreditation... how unexpected.........

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    Why Will why!!!!
    Now I cant see any of your movies

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    Can someone please go send him to go stay with his aunty and uncle in Bel-Air and get him the hell away from TinyTom?
    When your daughter plays "House," she pretends to be an annoying doctor with a pill-addiction and a limp.

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    Do they have there own language? or do they have to whisper? Pretty touchy feely in those pictures.
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    Damn, another one bites the dust. He can kiss the ass of his career goodbye.
    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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    Tommy and Willie look quite cozy.



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    Silver Member sparklehead's Avatar
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    Well, even though I'll probably be accused of being an undercover Scientologist again, here goes:

    I went to Delphi Academy in La Canada outside of LA for a year. The education I got there completely turned my attitude about education aroud. I was going to fail a grade at my previous school (Le Lycee Francis, a very snooty LA school, which got a ton of press when Maddox went to the NY branch) when I switched to Delphi I completed two grade levels in one year (you go at your own pace) using thier teaching methods and learned to love learning.

    The only reason I left that school was because the drive was so long (an hour and a half each way). NO ONE EVER TRIED TO FORCE SCIENTOLOGIST BELIEFS ON ME OR MY FAMILY. I know someone who stayed and graduated from Delphi after I left, and he's not a scientologist either and wasn't pressured to be.

    Sure, teachers used Scientologist principles in the classroom (just like any religious school would) but it never got in the way of the curiculum. Here are a few examples:

    Scientologists teach not to compare, so if I would ask the teacher or fellow student which painting they liked better, they would pick out things in each they liked and refuse to say one was better than the other.

    There is a thing called touch-back, where say you stub your toe, Scientologists believe that the object that hurt you took some of your energy. So you go and very lightly touch your stubbed toe back to the place that hurt it to get your energy back. As a kid it did make me feel better, I think just because it took my mind off the pain.

    Also, instead of complaining to a teacher about a fight, you would write a complaint note, and so would the other student. A court-like system was set up to hear out the complaint. Mostly this made everyone feel heard and then they'd appologize. If not, you went to a room to each think about what you'd done. Even when I was young it seemed fair.

    Anyway, I personally had a wonderful expirience with Delphi Academy and Scientologists. I know there are many stories of blackmail, control etc. but all I know is that I personally never expirienced any pressure from them, and neither did my friends at Delphi and family who were not scientologist.

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    ^Thank you for sharing that. I'm relieved to know they actually try to give out a good quality education, and don't try to pressure kids into scientology.
    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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