The "fix" that's destroying education in America
By Tom DeWeese
We hear it all the time. Americans want something done about education. Their children can't read or work math problems without a calculator. They can't spell, find their own country on a map, name the president of the United States or quote the founding fathers.
For the past decade or more, we have been focusing on a massive national campaign to "fix" the schools. In some schools we can find ultra high-tech, carpeted, air-conditioned classrooms with computers and television sets. We have education "programs" full of new ideas, new methods, and new directions.
In the 1990's the education mantra became "national standards" and accountability through "national testing" with Goals 2000. Politicians and "educrats" declared that every child would come to school "ready to learn", "no child would be left behind." They pledged our kids would be "second to none" in the world. Right now, the Bush administration, prior to issuing its budget, is trying to get Congress to sign off on a program based on these political slogans.
In the past, we spent money, money, and more money! The new "fix" intends to spend more. The result: American students have fallen further behind, placing 19th out of 21 nations in math, 16th in science, and dead last in physics.
With all the programs, attention, and money lavished on education, how can that be? The problem? It's the federal programs and the education bureaucracy that run them. Simply stated, over the past twenty years America's education system has been completely restructured to deliberately move away from teaching basic academics to a system that focuses on training students for menial jobs.
The restructured education system has been designed to deliberately dumb-down the children. Most Americans find that statement astonishing. Believe it! Parents don't want to let go of their child-like faith that the American education system is the best in the world, designed to give their children the academic strength to make them the smartest in the world.
None of the problems will go away, nor will children learn, until both parents and politicians stop trusting the education establishment and start ridding the system of its failed and subversive ideas and programs.
Politicians continue to offer old solutions of more money and more federal oversight, almost stamping their feet, demanding that kids learn something. Programs are being proposed that call for teacher testing to hold them accountable for producing educated children. More programs call for annual tests to find out if children have learned anything.
The nation is in panic, but none of these hysterical responses will improve education because none of them address the very root of the problem. Parents and politicians must stop believing the Education Establishment's propaganda that says teaching a child in the twenty-first century is different and must be more high tech than in days past. It simply isn't so.
The root of the problem
Today's education system is driven by money from the federal government and private foundations, both working hand-in-hand with the Education Establishment headquartered in the federal Department of Education and staffed by the National Education Association (NEA).
These forces have combined with psychologists, huge textbook publishers, teacher colleges, the healthcare profession, government bureaucrats, big corporations, pharmaceutical companies and social workers to invade local school boards, classrooms and private homes in the name of "fixing" education.
The record shows that each of these entities has benefited from this alliance through enriched coffers and increased political power. In fact, the new education restructuring is working wonders for everyone involved except for the children and their parents. As a result of this combined invasion force, today's classroom is a very different place from only a few years ago.
A brief history of education subversion
The entire history of education restructuring and transformation would fill a book. It dates back to the early efforts by psychologists like John Dewey whose work began to change how teachers were taught in the nation's teacher colleges. The changes were drastic. Education moved away from an age-old system that taught teachers how to motivate students to accept the whole scope of academic information available.
Instead the new system explored methods to manipulate students through psychological behavior modification processes. Once this power was established, the education process became less of a method to instill knowledge and more of a method to instill specific political and social agendas into the minds of children.
The entire history of the education restructuring effort is carefully and thoroughly documented in a book called The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. The book was written by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, a former official at the Department of Education in the Reagan Administration. While there in 1981-1982, Charlotte found the "mother lode" hidden away at the Department.
She found all of the education establishment's plans for restructuring America's classrooms. Not only did she find the plans for what they intended to do, she discovered how they were going to do it and most importantly why.
Since uncovering this monstrous plan, Charlotte Iserbyt has dedicated her life to getting that information into the hands of parents, politicians and the news media. Iserbyt's book details how several wealthy families and their foundations began to implement a goal for a seamless non-competitive global system for commerce and trade.
Schools were transformed from institutions that produced well educated individuals into training centers to produce compliant workers for a collectivist society. The wealthy families and foundations included The Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefellers. Their foundations today continue to lead the way in the development and funding of programs that are at the center of America's education system.
The process to restructure America's education system began in the opening years of the twentieth century and slowly picked up speed over the decades. The new system used psychology-based curriculum to slowly change the attitudes, values and beliefs of the students from those of earlier generations that identified strongly with liberty, patriotism, the work ethic, and comparable American values.
The new school agenda was very different from most peoples' understanding of the purpose of American education. National Education Association leader William Carr, secretary of the Educational Policies Commission, clearly stated that new agenda in 1947. Writing the NEA Journal, he said, "The teaching profession prepares the leaders of the future The statesmen, the industrialists, the lawyers, the newspapermen all the leaders of tomorrow are in schools today.
"The psychological foundations for wider loyalties must be laid (to) teach those attitudes which will result ultimately in the creation of a world citizenship and world government we can and should teach those skills and attitudes which will help to create a society in which world citizenship is possible."
Professor Benjamin Bloom, known as the father of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) said: "The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students."
B.F. Skinner determined that applied psychology in the class curriculum was the means to bring about such changes in the students' values and beliefs simply by relentlessly inputting specific programmed messages. The education system is now a captive of the Skinner model of behavior modification programming.
In 1990, Dr. M. Donald Thomas outlined the new education system in an article that appeared in The Effective School Report entitled "Education 90: A Framework for the Future."
"From Washington to modern times, literacy has meant the ability to read and write, the ability to understand numbers, and the capacity to appreciate factual material. The world, however, has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. The introduction of technology in information processing, the compression of the world into a single economic system, and the revolution in political organizations are influences never imagined to be possible in our lifetime.
Dr. Thomas provided the blueprint for today's education system that is designed to:
These ideas permeate every federal program, every national standard, every textbook and every moment of your child's school day. It explains why today's children hasn't any time to actually learn the fundamentals we call the Three R's.
Without a strong basic education, today's children are mere pawns in the hands of those who have a far different world in mind than the one in which the first generations of Americans set the nation on its path to high achievement. It is not for nothing they are called Gen-X'rs, the tenth generation of Americans and, for those setting educational policy, perhaps the last to pledge allegiance to one nation, under God, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all.
Tom DeWeese is a national recognized expert on educational issues. He is the president of the American Policy Center. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org © Tom DeWeese, 2001
Buy Charlotte Iserbyt's The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America at Amazon.com for $39.95
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