Statement by Lauren Phillips, NYC Elementary School Teacher
I have studied the philosophy Aesthetic Realism for almost 25 years, and I am qualified to state emphatically that the web pages attacking it are nothing more than a bunch of lies. Meanwhile the accomplishments of my life in the field of education and the family show what is true.
As to the lie about the family:
First I comment on this lie: that persons who study Aesthetic Realism "sever their ties with...former members...[who] are immediate family...." My whole family studied Aesthetic Realism at one time. When my parents decided to discontinue their formal study, we never stopped our relationship. As a matter of fact, our study of Aesthetic Realism has made for a friendship and respect among us that never existed before.
We-my husband and son and my parents-family see each other regularly, including on holidays. Many times my parents have said they are very grateful for my marriage and for the kindness my husband has shown both to me and to them. I was so moved at my son's Bar Mitzvah last year at the Village Temple, Congregation of B'nai Israel of New York, which we have been members of for many years; my son honored my parents as he invited them to participate in the ceremony. As a matter of fact, my son and his grandparents spend almost every Saturday night together and they enjoy each other's company tremendously. The idea that how one gets along with one's family, whether they study Aesthetic Realism or not, is being lied about, is an outrage and I'm so glad to say my family is a beautiful refutation of it.
As to the lie about higher education:
The second lie that I want to comment on is that persons are discouraged from earning a college degree. I am living proof for how false this is. As a matter of fact, it was only because Aesthetic Realism encouraged my care for knowledge that a new ambition was born in me: I wanted to become a teacher. It gives me such pride to say that I have been a respected educator for almost 10 years, and have presented workshops around the New York metropolitan area.
Aesthetic Realism encouraged me to go even further in my education. While studying in classes for Aesthetic Realism consultants and associates, I also got my Masters degree from Hunter College, and I'm proud to say my grades were better than they had ever been. This is because I am more interested in the world and value knowledge more, which has made my mind so much keener and more at ease comprehending fields of knowledge in which I'd never seen myself as interested before. And yes, also while studying Aesthetic Realism I even went further, earning 30 more credits above my Masters. Not only that, I am now in the midst of taking even more education courses at Teachers College, Columbia University, because I see all knowledge as adding to my success as a teacher.
Everything I have learned in college, the various courses I have taken, have been tremendously useful to me as educator, and what I am learning from Aesthetic Realism is invaluable, and has enabled me to be a successful teacher. I am proud to say that the reading scores of my students increase dramatically every single year. Both my principal and assistant principals have told me what a great job I do, including with some of the most troubled students in the school.
I am a person who never thought that knowledge would be so important in my life, and because of my study of Aesthetic Realism I am a respected educator today.