The main reason they were able to succeed is that for the last 75 years they have been in total control of American public education, which gave them the means to produce a whole new generation of dumbed-down Americans who don’t know the difference between capitalism and socialism, freedom and tyranny.
I have been writing about the leftist takeover of the public schools since 1973 when my first book, How to Start Your Own Private School, was published. In that book I wrote: “The myth of public education as the greatest good ever invented is dying a slow, painful, agonizing death — one that may drag on for a long while, contaminating and corrupting all of those who must remain with it until the very end.… The state has proven once again that unbridled governmental power, as in public education, knows no limits in how absurd, perverted, and misguided it can be.”
Prophetic words in 1973, and the only people who took them seriously were Birchers.
They understood that the public schools could not be reformed as long as the Left maintained its stranglehold. As a result they began what has become the great American homeschool movement, an exodus by now of about two million children.
Recently, I was totally surprised by something on YouTube. Someone posted a speech I gave in Stockton, California, back in the 1980s. It was one of the many speeches I gave in those years all over the country, sponsored by JBS. And I am sure that some of the parents in that audience removed their children from the public schools after they heard what I had to say. I minced no words in those days, and I don’t mince them today.
My second book, The New Illiterates, was about the reading problem. I had read Rudolf Flesch’s book, Why Johnny Can’t Read, back in the ’60s and decided that an updating was needed. Flesch’s book was published in 1955, and we still had a reading problem in 1972. In fact, we still have one 54 years later. In November 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts issued a devastating report on American literacy, Reading at Risk. The chairman of the Endowment, Dana Gioia, stated: “This is a massive social problem. We are losing the majority of the new generation. They will not achieve anything close to their potential because of poor reading.”
But Flesch told us in 1955 exactly why we had this problem. He wrote: “The teaching of reading — all over the United States, in all of the schools, in all the textbooks — is totally wrong and flies in the face of all logic and common sense.”
I wanted to find out why our educators decided to get rid of phonics, the proper way to teach reading, and put in its place a whole-word method that teaches children to read English as if it were Chinese, an ideographic system. I had been taught to read by phonics in the public schools of New York City in the 1930s, and I could not imagine how anyone in his right mind would try to teach any child to read without it. But what I discovered was mind-boggling.
I did a line-by-line analysis of the Dick and Jane reading program being used in almost all the schools of America and came to the startling conclusion that children taught to read by that method alone would exhibit the symptoms of dyslexia. They would read words backwards, substitute words such as pony for horse, mutilate words, truncate words, and guess at words, totally unable to sound them out. They would become lifelong reading cripples, and this was being done to them deliberately. Indeed, the educators had been warned by neuropathologist Samuel T. Orton in 1929 that this “sight” method of teaching reading would cause untold harm to a large number of students.
I also made another shocking discovery when writing that book. I discovered that the inventor of this whole-word teaching method was none other than the Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet, the teacher of the deaf and dumb. Because the deaf could not hear language sounds, he created a sight method whereby the deaf would learn to read by associating words with pictures. By this method the deaf could acquire a limited reading vocabulary.
Gallaudet then thought that this method might also work with normal children. So he wrote a primer based on this method which was adopted by the Boston Primary Schools in 1837. It produced a reading disaster. And the Boston schools quickly went back to traditional alphabetic phonics.
But the Progressive educators, knowing full well why the method did not work in 1837, revived it for the schools of the 20th century. Why? Because John Dewey and his socialist colleagues believed that high literacy was an obstacle to socialism. High literacy, you see, promoted individual intellectual independence. What was needed was a lower-level literacy, fit for a collectivized proletariat with stifled brains. In other words, thanks to the Progressives, school-induced reading disability has become a fact of life in modern America.
Knowing all of this, I decided in 1983 to produce an intensive phonics reading program that any parent could use to teach their children to read at home. It is called Alpha-Phonics and has been used by thousands of homeschoolers to teach their children to read. If the schools of America would adopt that program, all of our reading problems would vanish in short order. But trying to get intensive phonics in the public schools is like hitting your head against a stone wall.
I then wanted to find out why freedom-loving Americans adopted government education so early in their history. The result was a book that has become a classic: Is Public Education Necessary? In that book I revealed that the government school movement had been started by the Harvard Unitarians who wanted to get Calvinism out of the schools. Their solution was to create government-owned and operated secular schools which would teach a humanistic kind of religion. They were then joined by the Owenite socialists, who also advocated a government school system wherein children could be trained to become little communists. And finally, they were joined by the evangelical Protestants who were alarmed at the increased rate of Catholic migration to America, and decided that a government school system controlled by Protestants is what was needed to proselytize Catholic children. The Catholics, of course, were aware of this and created their own parochial system to educate their own children. But it was the atheistic Owenites who were the most determined to get the children away from religion.
One of the men attracted to the Owenite movement was Orestes Brownson, a writer and editor, whose remarkable religious odyssey took him from Calvinism to Universalism to Socialism to Unitarianism and finally to Catholicism. Years later, describing his short experience with the Owenites, he wrote:
But the more immediate work was to get our system of schools adopted. To this end it was proposed to organize the whole Union secretly, very much on the plan of the Carbonari of Europe, of whom at that time I knew nothing. The members of this secret society were to avail themselves of all the means in their power, each in his own locality, to form public opinion in favor of education by the state at the public expense, and to get such men elected to the legislatures as would likely be favorable to our purposes. How far the secret organization extended, I do not know, but I do know that a considerable portion of the State of New York was organized, for I was myself one of the agents for organizing it.
And so we know that as early as 1829 the socialists had adopted covert techniques to further their ends in the United States, techniques they have continued to use right up to the present. Is it any wonder that they have finally won the White House and Congress?
Government monopoly education, controlled by the socialists, is destroying our freedom and economy. It is destroying the literacy of our children, and destroying their religion and morality. The American brain is being dumbed down at an alarming rate. And when you see the once mighty General Motors down on its knees and transformed into a government-owned dwarf, you know that the America we grew up in no longer exists. And who knows what will become of the once-mighty dollar with our trillion-dollar deficits.
But never underestimate the power of America to reassert its basic love of individual freedom. One of the good things to come out of the last election was the creation of the Campaign for Liberty started by Ron Paul and those millions of young Americans who voted for him and want to bring constitutional government back to America. This is a campaign that all patriotic Americans, regardless of parties, can whole-heartedly support. But make no mistake about it: the only real solution to the education problem is to get the government out of it. And the fastest way to do that is to get the children out of the government schools.
That is why I want these new patriots to read Is Public Education Necessary? and NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education. All of those eager young members of the Campaign for Liberty must realize that we have to get the government out of the education business, for one very simple reason: government monopoly education is totally incompatible with the principles of a free society.
We all know that monopolies are bad. But an educational monopoly is particularly bad because it must rely on government force for its existence. Property owners are forced to pay taxes to support the local school system regardless of whether or not they use it. Monopolies do not reflect market values because the consumer must pay whatever prices they charge. And they create among millions of educators a vested interest in maintaining and expanding this huge river of taxpayer cash flow. Above all, monopolies attract lovers of power rather than lovers of efficiency. They also create artificial values such as multiculturalism and affirmative action, which the consumer must pay for. And, of course, they hate educational freedom and would like nothing better than to shut down homeschoolers.
All attempts to reform the system have resulted in even greater failure. But what may be failure to us is success to them. For example, the billions of dollars the federal government has poured into compensatory education (Title One) since 1965 has resulted in lower SAT scores and more illiteracy, not less. But it has also created thousands of Title One educators who need continued educational failure to justify their jobs.
The only solution that makes sense is to privatize the entire system. Each public school could easily become a private institution run by a local board of trustees, financed by tuitions and whatever other private means the schools may conceive of. Since the local community would be relieved of paying for the schools, the tuitions of poor children could be covered by a town foundation fund set up for that purpose.
Privatization would lower property taxes so that taxpayers could use their money in more productive ways. The cost of education would decline dramatically by eliminating the unionized bureaucracies that now govern state and town systems. Free competition among schools would force them to end the dumbing-down process and strive for real intellectual development. Privatization would eliminate the cultural and religious conflicts that now plague the schools. It would also open a whole new field for free enterprise, taking advantage of all the great technological advances of the last 50 years. It would also improve the lives of children by making them literate and safeguarding their moral and spiritual well-being. But most of all, privatization would represent a sharp rebuke to the philosophy of statism and thereby depoliticize education.
But the most compelling reason why we must get the children out is because public education has become a criminal enterprise. Deliberately dumbing down our children is a crime. Performing non-surgical pre-frontal lobotomies on our kids is a crime. Our educators are also guilty of drug pushing, forcing six million children to take powerful mind-altering drugs as so-called cures for ADD and ADHD. Some of these drugs, taken over several years have actually led to the sudden death of some teenagers on the playing fields. The reason? Some of these drugs constrict blood flow to the heart and cause cardiac arrest.
Another criminal activity that contributes to the delinquency of minors is exposing children from kindergarten onward to sexual perversion in the name of life-style diversity. That certainly is a form of moral child molestation. The schools also deliberately undermine the religious beliefs of the students, destroying their belief in biblical morality. I could go on and on making my case. But you and I know that the solution is simple: get the government out of education.
Of course, it won’t be easy. Our government in Washington has been hijacked by these socialist retrogrades who are out to destroy everything that has made America the greatest, freest, and richest nation on earth. How could this be? How could this happen? What is God trying to tell us?
If we are to salvage our freedoms and protect our children, we must end government control of our schools.
Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of nine books on education including NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, The Whole Language/OBE Fraud, and The Victims of Dick & Jane and Other Essays. Of NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, former U.S. Senator Steve Symms of Idaho said: “Every so often a book is written that can change the thinking of a nation. This book is one of them.” Mr. Blumenfeld’s columns have appeared in such diverse publications as Reason, The New American, The Chalcedon Report, Insight, Education Digest, Vital Speeches, WorldNetDaily, and others.