Education: Land of the Giant Bimbos

Bimboby Bruce Price   12/12/13
In researching why American public schools sank into mediocrity, I’ve read 60+ books and hundreds of articles. The writers often describe juicy conversations and revealing scenes, as quick ways to illustrate what happened to public education. I’ve encountered many great stories about bewildered parents, befuddled kids, obtuse officials, and dazed teachers.

So from all this glut of gobbledygook (working title: “Slow Times at Ridgemont High”), what would be the most memorable?

In his 1999 book “The Conspiracy of Ignorance,” author Milton Gross tells about the day that Professor E. D. Hirsch appeared at a California school to explain the virtues of cultural literacy (Hirsch had written a book on the topic). He spoke to a meeting of principals and superintendents who asked what facts a first-grader should learn. Hirsch suggested that children should learn the names of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the seven continents.[pullquote]You are staring into the cruel dark heart of public education. It is run by people who are deeply contemptuous of knowledge and probably themselves deeply ignorant. [/pullquote]

One of the so-called educators wondered why children would need to know any of that? Of what value was learning such information?

No one at the meeting, according to Hirsch, was willing to defend the idea that children might need to know such facts, or might actually enjoy learning them.

The assembled experts wanted an answer to this question: Would knowing such information make you a better person?

Hirsch’s facts are the very starting points for Geography and History, for Science and Environmental Studies, for Weather and News. You have to ask yourself, if basic information like this is prohibited, what is left?

Are children allowed to know the name of the state they live in? How about the city? Are they allowed to know their own names?

Let’s make a list of what such non-educators would want a first-grader to know. Clearly, it would be a tiny list, one that might fit on a name tag. But the child is going to be in school 20 to 30 hours each week. What will they be studying and learning all that time? Nothing, it seems.

“WHY WOULD OUR CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW THAT??”

Think about this scene often enough, and you may have nightmares. You are staring into the cruel dark heart of public education. It is run by people who are deeply contemptuous of knowledge and probably themselves deeply ignorant. Do they even know the names of the continents? Anyway, these principals and administrators clearly don’t want your kids to know. Everyone must remain ignorant.

School will be an endless baby-sitting service, at the end of which the children will know little more than when they entered the school the week, the month, or the year before. If you rule out something as basic as the Atlantic and Pacific, you rule out 99% of everything.

I submit that the people in that meeting were cultural bimbos. But in fairness to them, they are the victims of a system, specifically, the so-called schools of education they were ordered to attend. They went there for a few years and obtained a Master’s or a Doctorate. And all that time, they were asked to learn almost nothing factual from the real world. They took courses about theories of psychology and sociology, about philosophies of education, about the so-called problems of education and techniques of education. But nothing so banal as the name of an ocean.

Were these future educators themselves ever encouraged to become educated people? One suspects otherwise.[pullquote]They took courses about theories of psychology and sociology, about philosophies of education, about the so-called problems of education and techniques of education. But nothing so banal as the name of an ocean.[/pullquote]

When you imagine a graduate school of education, you are voyaging into the Land of the Giant Bimbos. That’s where they create the principals and superintendents that Hirsch addressed. People who find it highly suspicious and unreasonable that kids might be taught the names of oceans. Or anything.

The dumbing down of American public schools was accomplished by one main technique: demonizing knowledge.Remove facts; ignorance is what you get. That’s straightforward enough.

But you have to find the sort of people who are actually willing to do the dirty work of kicking knowledge out in the street. Conversely, getting rid of such people would be a big first step toward recovery.

Quite simply, when knowledge again becomes the focus and first concern of public schools, we will have a rebirth of educational success. Until then, don’t expect much.
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Bruce Deitrick Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org • (842 views)

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One Response to Education: Land of the Giant Bimbos

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    About a decade ago, a friend gave me a print-out of a story by one Roger Coppock, which he sent out to teachers concerned about the problem of (e.g.) having to take religion into account in teaching science. In the story, a cooking teacher runs into children of peculiar Christian cults with peculiar dietary habits they want included in the course: first the use of excrement, then cannibalism, then the use of poison, In each case the parents justified this by citing various Bible verses. Naturally, it never occurred to the teacher and her principal to check out the verses; nor, presumably, did those Coppock sent it to (he said he’d been sending it out for years). I did, and found that the first two referred to the possible consequences of disobeying God; the third is from a controversial alternative ending to the gospel of Mark.

    No doubt that’s why Coppock’s sample religious diets were fictitious. The idea of using real religious dietary limitations was clearly unacceptable, no doubt because christophobia was a key aspect of his story. But it also indicated that someone didn’t consider it reasonable to expect educators to check out such claims before altering course content in a most undesirable fashion.

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