If you say to someone, “Your life can be improved, here is a set of rules, follow them and you will be a better and happier person,” that’s a legitimate approach. That’s Buddhism with its Eightfold Path, Christianity with its Ten Commandments, the Boy Scouts with their Code.
That’s the way all religions and philosophies have operated since the beginning of time. They candidly state what they think you should do. Then they say, the decision is up to you.
None Of The Above is what our Education Establishment has been doing the last 100 years. They conducted their campaign against traditional education in a furtive and treacherous manner. They had a hidden agenda which they hoped to impose by cunning on the country.
Rarely honest, they were instead disingenuous and conspiratorial. The “progressives” who took over our educational system were very careful not to let people know what they were doing. These covert operatives clearly knew they had to work outside the law.
Ideally, from their point of view, they would control the government and not have to sneak about. Until they had that power, what does a secret cult (i.e., our Education Establishment) do to reach its goals? Answer: subversion. A huge amount of ingenuity has been displayed in hundreds of initiatives intended to sabotage traditional practice.
The primary technique was simply to demonize and delete knowledge, to assert that children do not need to know X, Y and Z. Much of this could be done openly. But parents continually demanded that traditional subjects be taught.
At some point the Education Establishment had to be more clever. They introduced pedagogical methods that kept children busy without advancing their education very far. The paradigm is reading During the 1920’s so-called “progressive” educators created a way to teach reading that did not teach much reading. This was called Look-say (1931) and then later Whole Word and other names. Children were told to memorize “sight-words” as graphic designs. Thus began the Reading Wars and the slide toward semi-literacy for all but top-level students.
The same sinister ingenuity went into creating New Math and later Reform Math Kids were kept elaborately busy but years later they didn’t know how to multiply and divide.
A third breakthrough was called Constructivism which requires that children figure out everything for themselves. Teachers are no longer allowed to teach, which reduces the knowledge-flow tremendously. Again you have the semblance of education, often at a frantic level, but at the end of the year the children hardly learn anything.
All of these counterproductive methods and many others (nowadays promoted under the umbrella term Common Core) are commonly used in the public schools. How, you may well demand, could they do all this mischief in plain sight? How, we might equally well ask, could Bernie Madoff steal billions of dollars from people he knew personally? The con artist has the edge. He knows exactly what he’s trying to do, as does the covert operative. In contrast, the victims are trusting and oblivious.
At this point, Madoff is in jail, a convicted felon. But most people are not yet able to see that the Education Establishment, in conducting its covert op, has been engaged in criminal activity. What else can you call it when schools deliberately dumb down children, thereby stealing their IQ, and reducing their earning potential? These harmful activities should be regarded as the felonies they are—assault and battery.
John Dewey and his socialist pals wanted a new kind of country. They were willing to tell lies and break heads (metaphorically at least) to achieve their agenda What they were not willing to do is candidly explain their beliefs. They were not willing to say, “Mr. and Mrs. America, we think too much literacy is a mistake. Your children don’t need to read all that well. They don’t need to know very much. They’ll be working in factories and on farms. What’s the point? Frankly, we want a simpler and dumber America, where smart people like us make all the decisions.”
So Dewey and his pals put on their poker faces, stuck an extra ace in every pocket, and set out to fleece the suckers. Finally, their every action was like an email scam. It was like putting fluoride in the water supply (which the Nazis and Communists talked about and probably did). It was like bombarding somebody’s house with microwave until they get sick (the Russians are fond of this technique). That’s what education has been in America for 75 years.
One knows this covert assault has taken place simply by looking at the results. According to Professor Allan Ornstein “U. S. students consistently score on achievement tests below students in other industrialized nations, despite the fact that we spend more money per student on education than all the countries except Switzerland.”
The Education Establishment is always in the curious position of having a losing season, as they say in sports. But in education we are always having a losing century. The ever lower stats, the country’s ever growing ignorance— how else can you explain all that without recourse to intent and malfeasance?
Finally, there is no other way to explain how a country with our brains and resources could possibly end up with such dopey schools. You are finally forced to the conclusion that the people in charge of our schools conspired to create the schools we now have. What’s the appropriate punishment for these felons?
CODA: Common Core should be opposed because it is arguably the culmination of all these covert ops. Indiana just opted out. Hopefully, all states will pull back from this draconian scheme.
Bruce Deitrick Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org.