The “Delphi Technique” And How It Robs Parents of Control Over Their Child’s Education

One of the eight stated purposes of Goals 2000 is “increased parental involvement in learning.” Yet parents have experienced a strange phenomenon when they have tried to follow the goal and actually get involved. They are rejected.

They are not, however, rejected rudely or dismissed abruptly. In fact, most parents come away from a school meeting not knowing they’ve been rejected at all.

On the contrary, school administrators openly welcome them, show them around and bring them into their office for a friendly chat. During that meeting the education official will quiz parents about their interests in education reform. The parents will be asked if they are a part of any locally organized group of concerned parents. They will want to know if the parents are affiliated with a specific national group or religion.

After the interview, a smile, a hand shake and a pat on the back gives the parents the feeling that progress has been made, that the school is interested in their ideas and that their concerns will be considered and changes made. Yet it never seems to happen.

That’s because many school administrators have been specially trained to deal with those who seek to question the education “reforms” that are rapidly replacing the teaching of basic academics. In most cases a school administrator has no intention of changing anything the parent finds troubling. But he also knows that an angry group of parents can cause trouble for their plans. His job is to keep parents happy and quiet. He’s been trained for just such a challenge. It’s called the “Delphi Technique” and parents, who don’t know they’re being manipulated, haven’t a chance against it.

The Delphi Technique was first developed in the late 1950’s by the Rand Corporation as a method to “forecast” the future. Companies used it to help make decisions in determining product development and how new technology would affect the market.

Later, the technique was perfected to literally dictate desired outcomes. A panel of experts was placed in a group session and through a very subtle manipulations process to separate supporters from detractors of the official, desired outcome, they were brought around to accept a pre-determined position. Those who opposed the position were subjected to ridicule, divisions were driven between the two sides, until only one possible solution could be accepted – the pre-determined outcome. Once this group of respected authorities had accepted that position it was a simple step to dictate the outcome to the rest of the market.

This is exactly how the radical Educrats are stopping opponents of Goals 2000 and Outcome-based Education. The reason the parents are quizzed about their interests and affiliations is to determine if they are potential trouble makers. If they are part of an organized effort to challenge “reforms” then steps will be taken to investigate, and possibly infiltrate the group.

Here is a sample of how the Delphi Technique is thrust on such a group. At a regular meeting of a parents’ group organized to stop Outcome-based Education, for example, a new, “concerned” parent makes his appearance. He may be a well-known civic leader that the other members are excited to have on board. His presence adds needed credibility and contacts to their efforts.

He sits and listens, and he watches members as each expresses his or her opinion. He will begin to ask questions and play “devils advocate” as he points out possible objections to the group’s positions. He warns them that they could be perceived as too extreme to be taken seriously by other community leaders. He’s concerned because he just wants to see the group succeed. He poses as everyone’s caring friend.

As he observes the group he begins to evaluate the positions of each member, watching for those with the strongest opinion and those who may be a little hesitant in their convictions. The weaker ones become his target. He begins to question the position of the leaders, playing on the doubts or fears of those with weaker convictions or differing opinions. Finally, he begins to drive a wedge between them – always, he says, with the “good of the group” in mind.

Soon, as a result of his manipulation, dissension breaks out in the group. Its goals become clouded. Eventually it will break up completely or take a radically different position on the issue. The outcome that the Educrats wanted is achieved. Their opposition has been neutralized.

The Delphi Technique is used over and over again on all types of issues, not just education. It is the reason why change is rarely achieved, why opposition rarely succeeds even though, in the beginning of a community debate, it seems everyone supports those calling for rational change.

How can it be that with nation-wide hatred of Goals 2000, it isn’t stopped? How does Outcome-based Education survive? Why are our children trapped in such an education nightmare, unable to learn, even as the whole nation demands change? The reason is because the Educrats want it that way and they have the power to neutralize any voice of opposition through tactics like the Delphi Technique.

The Delphi Technique is used in almost every college in the country. It is used on students to assure that they emerge with the proper attitudes. The Delphi Technique itself is a very important component of Outcome-based Education and is used on children in secondary classrooms.

The technique is taught to those who are expected to go out into the community and implement the education “reform” agenda. Community leaders are recruited and trained so that they can use their influence to promote the agenda.

The technique is being used in almost every school in America as parents attempt to use rationality and reason to combat an education “reform” program like Goals 2000 that fails to teach children to read, write or add and subtract. As children grow dumber, parents want action. The Delphi Technique blocks all avenues of change.

With a smile, a pleasant manner, a hand shake and a steel shaft in the back, parents, who just want to save their children, are being deliberately manipulated by a controlling monster that stops at nothing to force its programs into place.

Americans wonder aloud why nothing ever changes, no matter the outcome of elections, no matter how loud the protests, no matter how wrong the program. To see the reason in action, just visit your local school, voice some objections and watch the Delphi Technique spring into action – on you.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.