A century ago, America's progressive elites, believing the Constitution to be old, dusty and irrelevant, formulated a 100-year plan to bring about the fundamental transformation of America. They knew that plan had to include controlling the education system and indoctrinating America's children. God and religion would have to be eliminated from the classroom, the Constitution would have to be diminished, and socializing and socialism would need to be a focal point. This series on Education in America details the shift from the Founders' belief in individual learning to a one-size-fits-all, federally-controlled education that produces enslaved citizens incapable of critical thinking.
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Education in America Part I: The Founders
The Founding Fathers believed whole-heartedly in education. They wanted students to become a learned citizens. They funded every conceivable form of education that existed and believed in school choice. They wanted young citizens who could read and write and had virtue and morality and understood accountability to God.
Most of America's Founders were homeschooled or self-educated, including Thomas Jefferson, widely considered to be the most intelligent among them, with an estimated IQ well into the genius range at 160. America's Founders knew the critical importance of educating the populace of their new nation. Without proper knowledge, the republic could not survive. But even so, the Founders did not include public education in the U.S. Constitution, nor did they see fit to set up some sort of national system. Instead, they left education to the states and municipalities.
Education in America Part II: John Dewey
American education has radically changed from what the Founders envisioned. Why? How? It began with a progressive named John Dewey and others who altered the vision of America's Founding Fathers, replacing it with their progressive vision for education.
Dewey's goal was to transform the educational system away from its foundations of God and religion. In a nation and culture founded on those principles, he had his work cut out for him. Like many other progressives of his day, though, Dewey rejected the original intent of the United States Constitution, believing instead that it was a living, breathing, evolving document. His new focus not only shifted away from God, but from learning.
Dewey and his ilk believed in replacing education with indoctrination:
The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively an individual affair, that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning. There is no clear social gain and success threat.
Advocates of classical education didn't see it coming until it was too late. It was an infection Dewey planted that took hold in both Democrats and Republicans alike.
Education in America Part III: Common Core
Race to the top. No Child Left Behind. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's been one gigantic failed federal government educational program after another.
And now, there's Common Core, a program developed by education elites and financed mainly by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Common Core proponents claim that it's not a nationalized curriculum, rather a set of standards that has nothing to do with the federal government. They use words like "voluntary" and "state-led." The reality, however, is that the federal government bribed the states into adopting Common Core standards. Huge amounts of money were given to the states if they adopted Common Core --- and withheld if they didn't go along.
The stated curriculum guidelines of Common Core replace classic teachings with government propaganda. According to the American Principles Project, they "deemphasize the study of classic literature in favor of reading so-called informational texts, such as government documents, court opinions and technical manuals." Over half of the reading materials in grades 6th to 12th grades consist of informational texts rather than classic literature. Historical texts like the Gettysburg Address are to be presented to students without context or explanation. On the other hand, social advocacy, social respect and social knowledge are top priorities.
Under new Common Core math standards, a child's participation and effort are more important that correct answers. If a child can explain why three times four equals 11 and show their work, that's more important than solving the problem correctly. This is not the real world. Education is supposed to prepare us for success in life.
Common Care advocates believe the whole community is responsible for the development of children, not just parents. According to professor and former MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry:
We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we've always had kind of a private notion of children: Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven't had a very collective notion of, these are our children.
So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it's everybody's responsibility and not just the household's, then we start making better investments.
There is a fundamental problem with American education. And the root of that problem is, and always has been, progressivism.
Education in America Part IV: The Solution
John Dewey and Horace Mann changed education in America from a classical approach to progressive indoctrination by administering heavy doses of collectivism and socialism into America's classrooms. Rather than teaching facts and truths based on First Principles and classical education, they introduced Marxist principles like redistribution of wealth, relativism and social justice. In tandem with these changes and societal secularization, parents became less involved and influential, ultimately turning the education of their children over to the state.
According to Kyle Olson, founder and CEO of the Education Action Group and co-author of Conform, "there is a secular progressive value set in public schools. And so when that sort of value set is in charge, there is no morality. There is no right or wrong. Everything is gray."
The only answer to reversing this 180 degree transformation is parent awareness and involvement. Parents can no longer yield their children's education to the government. They must be the ones in charge. That means finding alternatives to public school like homeschooling, charter schools or private schools, whenever possible. For the majority, though, it means increased involvement in their children's public schooling.
If parents want more input and influence in the process of educating their children about faith, sex or any subject, they should look into other options and also discuss daily with their children what they learned. Parents should ensure their children are exposed to classic literature, a knowledge and understanding of the United States Constitution and hands-on experience in pursuit of a complete Jeffersonian education.
The effort will be significant and time-consuming, but with an immeasurable, long-term reward. Parents just might prepare their children to be the new leaders of a restored United States of America.
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