Throwing $5 billion down the education rat-hole
By Alan Caruba
There's a reason why President Bush's proposal to throw $5 billion down the education rat-hole is misguided. To understand why, however, you have to ask and answer the question, just how did education in America turn from being a system that imparts knowledge to one that uses behavior modification techniques to influence the attitudes and beliefs of those passing through it?
To achieve this, beginning in the 1960's, the perpetrators of the subversion have employed deception to achieve their goals. In early February, a New Jersey daily newspaper ran an editorial, "Let board members speak", noting that members of a local school board had been restricted from speaking to the press to avoid "confusion" about the board's programs and objectives. "But this isn't about 'confusion'," said the editorial. "It's about control", adding "And it is insulting to the public and the idea of open local government."
There is nothing "open" about the effort to subvert education in America. It only has that appearance because it takes place at presumably local school boards or in a state education department. Always, the vehicle is a governmental agency. The controlling player, however, is the US Department of Education.
The objective of those who control our educational systems has long been to produce poorly educated, little world citizens, ready to forego the liberties guaranteed by the oldest living Constitution. The system introduced into American schools mirrors the Soviet and Communist Chinese systems that produce a compliant and complacent population.
To achieve this, they have had to dumb-down the students passing through the system. On February 17th, the Los Angeles Times reported that the president of the University of California "wants to eliminate the SAT as a requirement for admission to all eight of the university's undergraduate campuses." What a great way to further dilute all standards for academic achievement!
In January, the LA Times reported that the University of California kicked out 2,009 students, six percent of last year's freshman class, for failing to master basic math and English skills in their first year of classes. These are skills that should have been mastered in their first twelve years in California schools! It means that the diplomas they received are worthless pieces of paper.
This pattern repeats itself from state to state because it is the educational system that is failing American students. The President's emphasis on testing misses the point entirely!
In the January/February issue of The American Enterprise, devoted to why some few schools succeed while the majority fail, Karl Zinsmeister writes that "it's extremely interesting how many common traits are shared by the successful schools we profile. A remarkably similar basic formula applies in almost all of these places: high demands on students, strict discipline, a strong and unapologetic moral component, including a respect for religion, an emphasis on teaching intellectual basics, a preference for time-tested books and curricula, clear standards of dress, grooming, and comportment, and an insistence on politeness, respect and courtesy."
Compare that to schools in your area where the way students dress is an offense to decorum, the language they use is replete with profanities, and their chief complaint is that they have too much homework.
President Bush has bought into the Education Establishment's systematic stupification of students. He is not the first President to fall prey to this effort. The President has proposed a five billion-dollar program to help children learn to read. Please! Please, please, will someone explain to me why spending even MORE money will answer the question of why our schools, soaking up billions a year, are NOT teaching this already?
One need only look at the realities of education in Texas to see why the call for national testing standards is a deception. An excellent article by Jerry Jesness in the November issue of Reason magazine blows away the hype about the test scores of Texas students. Despite apparent improvements, a closer look at the test scores of basic skills places young Texans in 39th place for SAT scores.
In 1984, the State adopted the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimal Skills that established minimal standards for graduation. The result has been that a considerable amount of time is spent "teaching to the test" in schools throughout Texas. Students are taught strategies to pass the text. For example, the acquisition of real arithmetical skills is sacrificed to methods that include drawing and counting sticks! This is not progress and the test is, essentially, meaningless.
All this was foretold back in the 1970's as the "educrats" continued their efforts to undermine the teaching of basic knowledge. In 1976, Catherine Barrett, then president of the National Education Association, gave a speech in which she said, "First, we will help all of our people understand that school is a concept and not a place. We will not confuse "schooling" with education. The school will be the community, the community the school." This predates Hillary Clinton's "it takes a village" concept, but it reflects a communist view that all of society must be employed to form the views of students. Individualism is bad. Conforming to the group is good.
Barrett went on to say, "We will need to recognize that so-called 'basic skills' which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one quarter of the present school day. The remaining time will be devoted to what is truly fundamental and basic---time for academic inquiry, time for students to develop their own interests, time for a dialogue between students and teachers more than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher. Students will learn to write love letters and lab notes."
You may want to read this again. The then-head of the NEA was talking about turning the school day into one devoted to just about everything other than the teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic. Teachers were, instead, to become "agents of change."
The change incorporated into today's educational programs is intended to change the entire social structure of our society and the values that had made it great. Competition and achievement in the acquisition of basic knowledge and the skills to implement that knowledge are jettisoned in favor of changing attitudes about family, patriotism, religion, and sexuality. Look around you and ask yourself why we now except all forms of "families." Look around you and ask why we live in a cultural environment drenched with sexuality without responsibility. Ask yourself why millions fail to vote. Look at the way the expression of religious values is continually derided.
In 1972, Dr. Chester M. Pierce, MD, of Harvard University wrote an article entitled "Becoming Planetary Citizens: A Quest for Meaning" that appeared in the November issue of Childhood Education. He was concerned that children, by the age of five, "already have a lot of political attitudes", among which were "a tenacious loyalty to his country and its leader." What he wanted was a child who entered kindergarten "with the same kind of loyalty to the earth as to his homeland "
This is a formula for degrading patriotism and loyalty to everything for which this nation stands in favor of creating citizens of the "global government" being pursued by the United Nations and the environmentalism that preaches against the use of the earth's natural resources.
All throughout the 1970's, the Federal government funded these goals. Local educational systems were taken over by programs designed to destroy local control. I do not want President Bush's education proposals to succeed because they reflect the continued subversion of our nation's schools by the Department of Education.
For more information, purchase Charlotte Iserbyt's The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America at Amazon.com for $39.95
Alan Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center and writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Center's Internet site which can be found at http://www.anxietycenter.com/. © Alan Caruba, 2001.
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