by Bruce Price 12/13/13
In all the comments I see left on articles about education, two themes dominate. The first is, average Americans have no idea how bad the public schools are. The Education Establishment has done a brilliant job at propaganda and deception. They have tried to deceive the public; and the public is deceived. Unfortunately. So here are several quotes from some of the smartest, most successful people in the USA, people you should trust completely. And they are saying that educationally speaking we are now having a near-death experience:
“When I compare our schools to what I see when I’m traveling abroad, I’m terrified for our workforce of tomorrow.” Bill Gates, founder, Microsoft Corp.
“If companies were run like many education systems, they wouldn’t last a week.” Thomas Donohue, president, US Chamber of Commerce
“Will America lead… and reap the rewards? Or will we surrender that advantage to other countries with clearer vision?” Susan Hockfield, President, MIT
“Our record at fixing our K-12 education system is virtually unblemished by success.” Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin
“If you don’t solve (the K-12 education problem), nothing else is going to matter all that much.” Alan Greenspan, former Chairman, Federal Reserve
Scared? You should be.
The second common theme is that the public seems to have no idea that the sabotage of the public schools (and thus our economy) was started long ago, 75 years or more. All the wonderful new methods discussed in your daily paper are the same old dreck from your grandparents’ day. The ideas were bad then, and still are today. (Typically, progressive ideas stress sociological and psychological abstractions, but there’s no mention of actually learning anything. So-called educators actually say such nonsense as, “It’s not important that children know historical facts as long as they can think historically.”)
Probably John Dewey’s quote from 1898 sums up the assault best: ” I believe that we violate the child’s nature and render difficult the best ethical results, by introducing the child too abruptly to a number of special studies, of reading, writing, geography, etc., out of relation to this social life.” That is, don’t teach them anything.
I’ve just read a book called So Little For The Mind by a Canadian academic writing in 1953 (Canada being entirely under the spell of American ideas). This brilliant author, Professor Hilda Neatby, tells us how barren the educational landscape already was sixty years ago:
“The faith of our experts is not faith in the ability of all to solve problems but the reverse. The material which would enable the individual to work out his own salvation is practically withheld in order that he may be more receptive to the ready-made solutions that are handed out.”
“Probably many Canadian parents would at least understand the attitude of the man who said, ‘Nowadays the school seems to be doing the job of the homes, and the home has to do the job the school was supposed to do. They spend their time teaching my son to wash his face; when he comes home I have to teach him to read and write.'”
“For all his talk of democracy, the educator is generally authoritarian and dogmatic. Teacher-training institutions in general exist to indoctrinate; their task is not to discover truth, but to convey ‘the truth.’…[Students complain] that whatever lip service may be paid to them, ‘logical self-expression, problem solving, and creative thinking’ are the very last things the college wants to develop in its students.”
“The official attitude towards examinations is in accordance with the general feeling on which we have remarked that the use of the intellect is a painful thing, which people ought to be spared on humanitarian grounds.”
“Whereas in the elementary school the child learned critical thinking, and in the junior high school, critical and independent thinking, in the senior high school he learns critical reflective thinking.” (Sarcasm, of course. Today, every day, we hear chatter about critical thinking. Look how far Canada had taken the same racket 60 years ago.)
All the dopey ideas that progressive educators had unloosed upon kids circa 1950 are still the latest thing today. Our so-called experts have merely adopted new names and terms, new propaganda and PR. True story: schools got ever dumber, the public was robbed in plain sight.
Many people are in despair and say the public schools cannot possibly be saved. Bruce Smartt in his wonderful book The Harsh Truth About Public Schools (which I highly recommend) states his thesis that everyone should homeschool their kids, that public schools are a hopeless brew of left-wing politics and raw greed. People influenced by Smartt say we should close down the public schools. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea; I just don’t see this happening. So what are we to do?
One reason I’m more optimistic is that I think even the people inside education know how rotten it is. These phonies have created 50,000,000 functional illiterates. How do you live with that?
My hope is that more people get involved, get informed, and get indignant. Find out why Sight Words don’t work, Constructivism is nonsense, or New/Reform Math are hoaxes. You’ll never trust the Education Establishment again. That’s when we’re going to see progress.
Bruce Deitrick Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org
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