February 19, 2001
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.
Norman Dodd On Tax Exempt Foundations
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:
* De-emphasize academic knowledge;
* Establish the one-world agenda with the United Nations as its center, moving students away from a belief in national sovereignty, i.e., patriotism;
* Replace individual achievement with collectivist group-think ideology;
* And invade the family authority with an "It takes a village" mind-set.
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
Charlotte Iserbyt: Secrets Of Skull & Bones Blown Wide Open
October 27, 2003
...Relativism is currently rife within the field of social studies. We now teach students to respect diversity even in regards to unconscionable acts. The book's treatment of tolerance is one of the strongest in the entire work:
Tolerance is an admirable quality. But if it is our sole universal value, are we not then called upon to tolerate the intolerable? And if so called upon, are we even capable of performing such an act of mental jujitsu? In fact, the pressure not to apply moral standards is more likely to produce an ethic of "indifference" than one of true tolerance—as young people learn not to pass judgment on all kinds of horrendous practices, especially when they are non-Western. In trying to suppress what is probably a natural human tendency (to judge), these students are more likely to become morally numb, certainly not "sensitive" to the "Other."
This is the perfect summation of the way in which relativism has corrupted our social fabric. People are no longer allowed to judge right from wrong because to do so would be to judge and to judge would be to embrace intolerance. This fosters in students a "who cares" attitude as nothing is better than anything else so why bother even thinking about it at all.
I have first-hand knowledge that many university instructors who are entrusted with the position of teaching teachers attempt to manufacture social activists as much as they attempt to graduate competent educators. I can still remember the time I walked into a classroom and was deflated to see that the instructor before me had left a recommendation for the students to read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Such a book obviously gels well with progressive views of capitalism and the free market economy.
Within many social studies classrooms across the land, students are asked to critically think about events about which they know little. Two chapters, "The Training of Idiots" and "Ignorant Activists" outline the dynamics of how rarely our students are asked to learn about events and facts before they asked to psychoanalyze them [my phrase-BC].
It may well be that social studies is the subject progressive education has damaged the most. Indeed, one has to wonder how thrilled early progressives would be had they lived to witness the equality inherent in every student knowing practically nothing. How titillated they'd be by the frenetic swinging of "the leveler's ax" in so many school houses.
We cannot always see the results of miseducation, but masses of citizens who are ignorant about our history and the nature of our democracy will, by definition, see little reason to defend it. In a future crisis, some may have cause to remember Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong? Although most likely, with the students we are rearing today, they will find little value in dwelling in the past or examining any lessons that history has to offer.
Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 4, 2010
Our educators aren't very good at raising SAT scores, increasing literacy, or spreading knowledge. But they are world-class at making excuses.
Let me rattle off a few. Money! You know money is always the problem. If only taxpayers weren't so selfish. Violence! This is a big deal. All the students are in gangs or fighting in the halls. Broken homes, divorce, domestic tensions! How can children concentrate? Even if the home is stable, kids are watching TV or goofing off on the Internet.
That's a huge problem. Or they're sending text messages on their phones. Or spending hours with their video games. No wonder that schools can't get good results! Did we mention drugs? Kids are shooting up or stoned on marijuana. What else? They're hanging around malls, wasting time and going to bad movies. What can you expect when most kids are lazy or ADD? The parents are ignorant and won't help. The problems never stop. Not to mention, all the schools are too crowded. Teachers are overworked, and the whole system is broken from top to bottom and about to collapse...
In fact, there is only one thing our educators are better at than making excuses. And that is coming up with bad ideas.
Gee, probably there's a connection. Maybe if our elite educators stopped inventing pedagogical gimmickry, they would not need excuses.
Here's just a quick survey of education gone bad:
Starting in 1930, our educators have been insanely devoted to a reading method variously called Look-Say, Sight Words, Dolch Words, Whole Language, and Balanced Literacy (with so many aliases, you know it's a criminal). This gimmick has resulted in 50 million functional illiterates and a million dyslexics. Whole Word requires that children memorize words by their shapes, at a pace of about 300 words per year. Do the math. By the end of high school, students will know only 4000 words and be, for scholastic purposes, illiterate.
Speaking of math, our educators show a similar incompetence when they pick math pedagogies. Around 1960 educators said that New Math was the answer. Five years later they said, never mind. In fact, they went back to their laboratories and devised variations of New Math, which they called Reform Math, but the rest of the world sarcastically labeled New New Math. Some of the familiar variations are Everyday Math, MathLand, TERC, etc. All these pedagogies engage in the same trick: they mix in college-level terms and perspectives, while refusing to teach any of the standard methods for addition, multiplication, etc. Such approaches virtually guarantee children will never master ordinary arithmetic.
Meanwhile, a non-subject called Social Studies (truer name: Socialism Studies) appropriated everything it could grab--geography, politics, economics, civics, history--and tries to substitute PC opinions for knowledge.
Meanwhile, across ALL subjects, and all ages and grades, our educators sabotage what's left of the traditional curriculum by insisting that children need not memorize anything. Not a single fact. Additionally, educator are in love with constructivist thinking, whereby students are supposed to invent their own versions of everything. Which can take a long time. Our educators are similarly enamored of cooperative learning, whereby children do everything in groups, thereby guaranteeing that children will not be able to think independently. Another fad that cuts across all subjects is what might be called sloppy thinking--fuzzy math, fuzzy English, fuzzy everything. Close is good enough.
Imagine the cumulative impact of all the shoddy pedagogies described so far. You will easily imagine schools doing a very bad job. You will easily imagine a perpetual need for excuses, excuses, excuses.
I suggest it doesn't matter how much money you give these people. Nothing will improve until you take away their bad ideas. Educators are not a very glamorous group but I now think they have one thing in common with our Hollywood stars. They need to go to rehab now and then. For their own good. Somebody needs to take away their pills and bottles. Give them back their self-respect. Give them a life without excuses.
Bruce Deitrick Price is a novelist, artist and education activist. His main site is www.improve-education.org/ which now features 40 original articles on a range of topics, birds to robots, Latin to sophistry, phonics to Reform Math. If you love passionate non-fiction, you'll love this site.
The United States is already a leader in per-student higher education spending - in 2009 state and local governments spent $88.8 billion to fund higher education - but ranks only 10th among developed nations in college degree attainment among adults age 25-34. - Kristin Conklin and Terrell Halaska, America's Higher Education Collision Course -- Who Will Pay?, Huffington Post, Posted: July 8, 2010
February 1, 2010
The President’s FY2011 budget request calls for significant increases in education spending and, as promised, the Department of Education is exempt from Obama’s so-called spending freeze.
At a briefing today at the Department of Education, words such as “historic” and “bold” were used to describe the President’s budget. Secretary Duncan stated that the FY2011 budget represents “one of the largest increases” in education spending, which the president “sees as the key to our economic future”.
But is more spending on education the key to economic prosperity? For that matter, is it even the key to raising academic achievement?
Since 1985, inflation-adjusted federal spending on K-12 education has increased 138 percent. Yet, indicators of educational improvement such as increases in academic achievement and graduation rates have remained flat.
Despite the evidence that more spending is not the answer to increasing academic achievement, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Carmel Martin noted during the briefing that discretionary funding for the Department of Education will increase 10 percent under the president’s proposed budget, raising total discretionary spending to $50.7 billion.
Included in this “historic” spending increase is $3 billion for ESEA programs, $173 billion in college loans and grants, and $9.3 billion for a new preschool program created in the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.
The budget increase also includes a $1 billion reserve fund for the Department of Education, contingent upon successful reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). But those of us who’ve taught in the classroom know that you don’t give students extra credit for simply doing their assignments. That’s why the administration’s proposed $1 billion incentive for Congress to complete a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is puzzling. After all, it’s Congress’s job to complete legislative assignments such as ESEA, which has been due for reauthorization since 2008. It’s also a little strange for the White House to be proposing an extra $1 billion as an incentive, since the Congress holds the power of the purse and could choose to increase funding for ESEA itself.
Perhaps the president feels that this is the increase that will finally solve the problems facing American education. When it’s all said and done, the president’s Fy2011 budget for the Department of Education tops $77 billion. This includes $50 billion in discretionary spending, $1 billion for successful ESEA reauthorization, and $35 billion for Pell grants, which became mandatory in 2010. The budget increase comes on top of last year’s $100 billion infusion of “stimulus” cash into the Department of Education’s coffer. Unfortunately, the sacred cow of education spending has been spared of the spending freeze.
Rather than calling for “historic” increases in federal spending or gimmicks like this $1 billion ESEA reauthorization incentive, Congress and the administration should focus on streamlining and reforming federal education programs in 2010 to better serve students and taxpayers.
Click here for more analysis on the 2011 Budget.
January 17, 2005
Any parent with a child in a public school has likely discovered that our education system is little more than a vehicle through which liberals indoctrinate our children with socialist ideology.
If this sounds like a radical assertion, I assure you it is not. In fact, examples abound indicating just how accurate it is.
Take the "community box," for instance. How many elementary school kids across the country show up the first day of school, only to have their brand new supplies pilfered by their teacher and thrown into one big box, to be distributed henceforth as said teacher sees fit? (As I recall, Marx also had very little regard for private property rights.)
Or how about "cooperative learning" methods of instruction? I use quotation marks here to point out how impossible it usually is to get kids to either cooperate or learn when they sit in groups about a pencil length from their neighbors. But in the event a teacher is blessed with darling little angels who'd never think to misbehave, the fact remains that students who have "more" knowledge are regularly expected to assist those who have "less." (How's that saying go again? "From each according to his ability…")
Ever heard of social promotion? This egalitarian concept is standard procedure at most public schools, where students are promoted from one grade to the next regardless of academic aptitude. It practically takes an act of Congress to retain failing students these days, lest we give them the impression that they are actually responsible for their own accomplishments.
These are not isolated examples, nor is this short list exhaustive. This is business as usual in many American public schools. But as ridiculous as every one of these concepts is, one would think some ideas would be beyond the pale. Not anymore.
According to a WorldNetDaily report, California schools have been barred from informing parents if their children leave school grounds "to receive certain confidential medical services that include abortion, AIDS treatment and psychological analysis, according to an opinion issued by the office of state Attorney General Bill Lockyer."
While it may come as a surprise, it's not altogether uncommon for high schools to allow students -- namely seniors -- to leave campus for various reasons during the normal school day without informing the front office -- say, during lunch period or to attend courses at local colleges. But I'd bet my lunch money parents are made aware of any such policies.
Make no mistake, this decree handed down by Attorney General Lockyer is not some unambiguous legal maneuver intended to protect the public school in the event it loses track of a student, or to safeguard a student's doctor-patient privilege. To the contrary, it is an announcement of Mr. Lockyer's intent to protect organizations like teachers' unions and Planned Parenthood, who have resisted efforts in the state to adopt parental notification policies for medical procedures like abortions.
Think about this for a second. If California's attorney general is allowed to get away with this absurd policy, your kid's geometry teacher essentially has more right to know your child is pregnant -- or has contracted HIV, or is potentially suicidal -- than you do. Moreover, how in the world is a "medical service" any longer confidential if someone other than a doctor and his patient is aware of it?
In plain English, it isn't. But this hasn't stopped school officials and liberal lawyers from assuming they know better than parents what's best for their own kids.
It is irrefutable that there are many outstanding teachers, and still more who are appalled by the actions of people like Bill Lockyer. But alas, this has not prevented public school districts from believing they have the right to act tyrannically, even if usurping authority from abusive or irresponsible parents generates policies that apply equally to the vast majority who aren't.
In the "perfect" society, there is no private property because everything belongs to the state (or the "village," in Hillary Clinton's mind) -- even your children.
It is a sad day in public education when teachers and administrators -- who so adamantly proclaim their love for "the children" -- would even consider engaging in active parental deception to conceal affairs that pose such clear emotional burdens to youngsters.
What's worse, we're not even talking about forcing schools to report such distressing information, as we do if they suspect cases of child abuse -- we're talking about encouraging, even requiring, schools to intentionally withhold vital student health information from parents even if the parents ask for it.
Public schools can't even take students on field trips or hand out Tylenol without the consent of a parent or guardian, but if they want to toss out condoms and, apparently, schedule abortion appointments for knocked-up teenagers, why, that's just none of our business.
If this doesn't convince you that parents practically forfeit all control over their kids' lives upon subjecting them to the draconian fancies of today's state "education" facilities, nothing will.
Trevor Bothwell is editor of The Right Report.com. He is currently co-authoring a book with colleague Lisa De Pasquale titled "Communism for Kids: How Liberals Attempt to Indoctrinate Our Children." Trevor can be contacted at email@example.com. © 2005 Trevor Bothwell
February 12, 2001
The President's education plan, with or without vouchers, suffers from an essential defect. In the U.S. Constitution's enumeration of its powers and responsibilities as regards "raising revenue" (Article 1, Section 8) you will find no mention of "education."
While education is a national priority, it is more properly a priority of the parents of students, their teachers, and local school boards. The flaw in President Bush's education plans is the US Department of Education, an agency that since the 1970's has racked up a dismal record when it comes to educating the nation's youth. The "national standard" of education being discussed ignores the most fundamental issue. Under the DOE a deliberate plan to dumb down American students has been in place for decades. No one seems willing to discuss this.
We should not support the President's plan because it will expand the powers of the Department of Education. Forget the rhetoric of block grants and other forms of slippery bookkeeping jargon and logic designed to make this palatable. "Accountability" and "Leave no child behind" are political slogans that have helped ruin schools by diverting attention from the entrenched subversion of our schools.
Individual States are, in reality, the conduit for the programs designed by the federal Department of Education. Federal programs are intended to subvert the teaching of the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic, along with history, civics, and science. The problem is the top-down federal programs and other changes in American life such as the trend to litigate against the disciplinary powers of school authorities that have severely undermined the ability of local schools to achieve their intended goal.
· It is not the government's job through Outcome Based Education to shape the opinions, personalities, and values of students. That's the job for parents.
· It is not the government's job to set up health facilities in schools and insist that millions of students be required to take mind-altering drugs like Ritalin.
· It is not the government's job to send so-called social workers into the homes of parents, threatening to take their children from them.
· It is not the government's job to create School to Work programs as if students are mere economic units whose skills are to be pre-determined as to what occupation they will enter upon graduation. That's what the former Soviet Union did and that's what occurs in Red China, Cuba and other Communist nations today.
Since the 1960's, the federal government, in league with the all-powerful teacher's unions, has so transformed our schools that, by any standard and all current test scores, they have been degraded to the point where American students score well below those in other nations in almost every area of knowledge.
The Department of Education and the teacher's unions have ruined our nation's schools. Everyone knows it. Parents under the current system are powerless. In the schools, the principals and teachers are powerless to deal with disruptive students, to separate the slow learners from those who can progress at a faster rate, to avoid having disabled students mixed in so as to diminish the teacher's attention to the rest of the class.
Why do you think that tutoring services outside the school system are a booming business these days? Desperate parents spend money out of their own pockets to get the education for their children that the nation's schools are not providing. Millions more parents have turned to home schooling in order to insure their children receive the education public schools cannot and will not provide.
They do so to insure that their children grow up with the values that are prohibited in today's schools. These children uniformly score better on the same tests given those currently suffering from the lack of a real education they should receive in the schools.
The power to educate children must and should be returned to where it was before the tentacles of the federal government and the teacher's unions turned our schools into shooting galleries and indoctrination centers where environmentalism, global government, and sexual behavior are on the curriculum as the prime objective of a student's education. All signs point to the fact that the President is, in fact, a captive of the education establishment's rhetoric. If he is, you can bet the nation's mainstream media will be as well.
Giving tests in school is the oldest and best way to determine the progress of students. National standards that determine the federal and state funding of school districts, their budgets, the pay teachers and administrators receive, can only lead to schools that devote an enormous amount of the school day "teaching to the test." It's not the scores that matter; it's who sets the standards. Right now it is the "educrats" in Washington, DC.
Current curriculums and the way they are implemented insure that all students are indoctrinated to give the "right" answers to the questions determined by someone in Washington, DC, not the local school board, not the teachers, and not the parents. All real power has long since shifted to the Department of Education and this is why our schools are in wreckage.
It's easy to condemn the Democratic Party, controlled in large part by the teacher's unions, for embracing the President's and previous proposals for education in America. At its heart, it is a socialist concept. What is frightening is that Republicans have, since the 1960's, embraced it as well, oblivious to the true intent of "modern education." It must stop.
Title 1 and other programs provide the chokehold on education in America today. It controls school lunches, in-school healthcare programs, and pushes the concept of "at risk" children. This opens the door to a wide variety of abuses including the prescribing of mind-altering drugs, inappropriate physical exams, as well as permitting social workers to invade homes to enforce these programs.
Until Title 1 is dismantled and removed, the President remains as much a prisoner of the education establishment as everyone else in America. Right now, those with the least power are the parents of America's school children.
The history of the effort to model America's schools after those of the former Soviet Union is largely unknown to Americans. This is why they need to take back their schools. This is the new American Revolution.
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.