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Impoverishing everyone. Educating no one

By Alan Caruba
web posted February 9, 2004

Want your child to earn a salary equal to or more than the governor of your state? Want your child to be sought after by districts all over the nation offering all kinds of financial perks? Want your child to hold a job where failure to achieve any real improvement in the actual product, a student prepared to enter the workplace, has no affect on their job security?

Bush and Kennedy: The picture that still gives conservatives heartburn
Bush and Kennedy: The picture that still gives conservatives heartburn

Then put your child on a career path to be in the field of education where he or she can rise to become the supervisor of a school district! Why? Because, not only has the Bush administration backed a program, "No Child Left Behind", created by the leader of the liberal wing of the Democrat Party, Teddy Kennedy, but he signed a bill that throws $49 billion at it. It mandates annual testing via a national program of standards of all public school students in grades 3 through 8. It requires "steady progress" for each minority group in our nation's schools, as well as "special education" students. It requires "reorganizing" any school that fails to meet these mandates.

And the entire "No Child Left Behind" program is managed from Washington, DC. Your local school board has diddlysquat to say about your local school's curriculum or standards. Neither does your state school board. Anyway, what does it matter? The education of today's children is entirely controlled by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, two unions. Both will tell you they are entirely dedicated to students, but they are both entirely dedicated to higher salaries for teachers and administrators.

As I am frequently wont to say, the word "education" does not appear anywhere in the US Constitution. The founders of this nation understood that education was best served at the local level and somehow, prior to around the midpoint of the last century, America's schools managed to turn out students so well educated they created the world's greatest economy, most powerful agricultural system, a constant stream of technological advances, and what is arguably the most effective military fighting force on the face of the earth.

Indeed, a 2000 federal court decision says, "the right to an education is not guaranteed, either explicitly or implicitly, by the Constitution, and therefore could not constitute a fundamental right." In short, education is not the prerogative, nor job, of the federal government and never has been. Throughout most of our history, education has always been seen as the job of local government. An American tradition, its value was recognized in rural communities and in cities from the very earliest days of settlement.

This began to change with the establishment of standardized college entrance exams. Curriculums began to serve the designers of these tests and educational bureaucrats began to enforce a curriculum tied to them. Since the 1960s, however, the deliberate "dumbing down" of the educational system has consistently produced an annual crop of students who are deficient in their knowledge of history, civics, geology, science and lots of stuff about which students in other nations, when tested, consistently score higher grades. In short, America's students, thanks to a system engineered by the NEA and AFT have long since been "left behind."

What else can you expect from a system that prefers "new" math to memorizing multiplication tables and encourages student to spell words any way they want? This is not to say that children don't want to learn, but when you're busy being taught that all cultures are the same and equal, getting in line to be drug-tested, or forbidden to say a prayer in school, you tend not to learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic while, at the same time, learning a great deal about "self-esteem." This is an educational system that has been so strongly politicized it no longer reflects the real world.

For the record, every single one of the Democrat candidates for their party's nomination to be the next president supported "Leave No Child Behind" and most called for throwing even more money at this effort to "improve" education by testing, testing, and testing. No, education is improved by letting teachers teach, teach, and teach. They cannot do that if they must wear an educational straightjacket tied to goals set, not by a local school board, but by federal government educrats. The term for this is "teaching to the test."

So, while taxpayers can look forward to ever-rising property taxes to underwrite ever-rising salaries and other school expenditures, the children in American schools can look forward to learning less and less of practical, necessary value for the conduct of their lives.

Instead of science or social studies, they learn that all of the rain forests are disappearing or that there's no place left for garbage or that the air and water is unsafe. They learn that some African tribe in mud huts are living "close to Nature" because they don't have electricity or use DDT to protect themselves against malaria. Or that all the glaciers are melting. They learn that the Founding Fathers were slaveholders and that Christopher Columbus' greatest achievement was the spread of disease to indigenous Indian tribes. They learn socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism, and to avoid making any kind of moral or ethical judgment. Little wonder that home schooling is one of the fastest growing trends in America today!

And it's going to get worse. The Bush administration has begun issuing grants to help spread a United Nations-sponsored school program that aims to become a "universal curriculum" for teaching "global citizenship, peace studies, and equality of world cultures"!

As my friend, Henry Lamb, an expert on the United Nations, points out, "No longer are American children learning about the structure of a federal republic compared to a parliamentary democracy. No longer are children learning the difference between capitalism and socialism. No longer are children being taught why the United States became the most powerful economic engine the world has ever known. Instead, they are being taught that with less than 5 per cent of the world's population, the US uses 25 per cent of the world's resources and produces 25 per cent of the world's pollution. They are being taught that the US is the #1 terrorist nation. They are being taught that the rest of the world is mired in poverty because of the greedy capitalists in the United States."

That's right. Your child and future students in American schools will be taught that being a citizen of the world is more important than being an American citizen. The curriculum is "a set of culturally neutral universal values to which all people aspire", based on human rights, equality of the sexes, and "open-mindedness to change and obligation to environmental protection and sustainable development."

Among the things sustainable development is opposed to are cars, air conditioning, logging, bio-engineered seeds that produce crops with higher levels of vitamin content, higher yields per acre, and less need to reduce forestland for farming. Sustainable development is opposed to property rights, the keystone of capitalism. It is socialism on steroids, but what does it matter? This is what your child or grandchild is going to be taught because the Bush administration and any future Democrat administration is pushing a United Nations curriculum on them instead of an American curriculum!

But don't worry, Big Government, no matter who's running it, has plans to help you put your child through college with a system of grants to pay for his or her tuition. You're going to need those grants because the cost of today's education system will have made it impossible to save enough money on your own. If this sounds like a plan to wreck individual freedom, prosperity, and America's sovereignty, it is.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly commentary posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2004

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