Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Public Education: The Sick Dinosaur on Fed Life Support

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It is said that the dinosaur had a tiny brain in a huge body, which undoubtedly contributed to its extinction. This huge body also required an enormous amount of food for its survival. The public education establishment has the same characteristics: small brain, huge body, enormous appetite for taxpayer money — its only means of survival.

The government school is also obsolete, a product of 19th century utopian reformers who believed in the perfectibility of man and a secular government education as the means to salvation. None of their ideas have panned out.

The idea of centralized, government-controlled education was imported into this country from Prussia in 1843 by Horace Mann the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, who believed that Americans could adapt the Prussian system to American needs. It had everything our statist control-freaks wanted: government education of teachers in state seminaries; a state directed curriculum; state-approved textbooks; compulsory school attendance; truant officers; and obedient parents. Toward the end of the 19th century, the system became the perfect means to indoctrinate children to become the obedient subjects of the growing industrial-government establishment.

Although Americans at the time, in the 1830s and ‘40s, were enjoying full educational freedom and patronizing the growing number of private academies, Mann and his fellow statists saw the public school as the best means of imposing social control over the children of the poor immigrants who were flooding the United States as well as Americans who greatly valued private education.

But the whole idea of centralized, government-monopoly education is totally incompatible with the values of a free society. But these statist ideas, which swept over America in the wake of the industrial revolution and the rise of socialism, are now being seen by more and more Americans as impediments to true education. The computer has heralded a post-industrial information age in which decentralization and privatization are now the imperatives of the future development of a dynamic, high-tech, market economy.

The government school is an anachronism. Not only does it no longer serve the basic purposes of education, and not only has it become a huge parasite on the national economy, but it is blocking the development of the new technology-driven private institutions that will be needed in America’s future. The public is addicted to government education because it has been with us for 169 years and most people cannot even imagine education without government control.

Even though about two million parents are now homeschooling their children quite successfully without government supervision, the vast majority of Americans still put their children in government schools because they’ve been led to believe that they are too stupid to educate their own kids. The professional teachers, controlled by their politicized labor unions, have become educators for a variety of reasons.

Their colleges of education have trained them in how to dumb down the kids while giving the impression that they are actually educating them. That is probably the greatest magic act of self-deception ever put over on a supposedly intelligent group of people.

The lumbering dinosaur’s preoccupation with politics is an indication that it knows its survival depends not on pleasing the easily deceived parents but on controlling corrupt state legislators who prattle incessantly about their concern for “the children.” And the more incapable the system becomes of delivering academic excellence, the more it will rely on politics for its survival. Even George Bush, a Republican President, had the gall to saddle America with No Child Left Behind, which has just about left everyone behind, including the taxpayer.

Of course, the education larcenists have become experts at pretending to reform education, but these reforms cannot work because the collective brain that has produced them is not only lacking in reasoning power, but exhibits the symptoms of disease and retardation. A school system that no longer educates but deliberately dumbs down its students is a corrupt freak that no more resembles a genuine institution of learning than a nest of rats in the sewer pipes of New York.

Who will deny that distributing condoms to middle- and high-school students is about as corrupt an idea as has ever been promoted by so-called educators who are clearly guilty of contributing to the delinquency of minors? Who can deny that separating education from Biblical moral values has simply delivered the schools into the eager hands of the devil? And who can deny that the young adults emerging from our high schools are not only poorly prepared for college but are morally confused and ill-equipped to deal with the problems of our society?

Who are the young idiots at the Occupy Wall Street sites with signs extolling 19th century socialism, communism, and anarchy, but damning 21st century capitalism and profit as if our high-tech economy could exist without them? They are the products of the dumbing down process in the government schools, which has reduced their brain power to that of the dinosaur.

One would think that after a hundred years of compulsory school attendance, this nation would have reached new heights of literacy and intelligence. But the very opposite is true. The latest SAT verbal scores for the class of 2011 are the lowest on record. Indeed, the combined reading and math scores have fallen to their lowest level since 1995. No surprise when you consider that No Child Left Behind has just about left every child in the government schools very far behind.

There is actually no better evidence documenting the dumbing-down process than the SAT scores. For example, in 1972, 2,817 students achieved a verbal score of 750 to 800, the highest possible score. In 1987 only 1,363 students achieved that score. In 1994, it was up slightly to 1,438. In other words, over a thousand smarties became dumber.

In 1972, a total of 116,630 students achieved verbal scores between 600 and 800. In 1987 only 88,000 achieved that score. In 1972, a total of 71,084 scored between 200 and 249 in the verbal test, the lowest possible score. In 1987 the number of students scoring in that lowest category had risen to 123,470. In 1994, that number had increased to 136,841.

And so the smart have been getting dumber, and the dumb have been getting even dumber. It should be noted that the total number of students who took the test in 1972 was 1,022,680; in 1987, it was 1,080,426. In 1994, that number was down to 1,050,386, probably indicating that fewer students felt they could score well on the SAT test.

A review of the reforms, such as the new Common Core Standards, being advocated by the establishment, should convince any thinking citizen that government education is headed toward oblivion. Higher teacher pay, national certification, restructuring, more social services, more vegetables for lunch, preschool education, smaller class size, more sex ed, and other such reforms will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars but not one of them will improve academic education.

The government educators claim that they are working real hard to improve the performance of their schools. They are good at attending, at your expense, conventions, conferences, seminars, and workshops, held all over the country, to discuss curriculum reform, curriculum innovation, curriculum revision, curriculum enhancement, curriculum infusion. And they still haven’t figured out how to teach reading. I’ve been trying to get public schools to give my reading program, Alpha-Phonics, a try. But they look at me as if I’m some sort of alien from another planet.

Each year, thousands of hours are spent by educators discussing every aspect of public education, thousands of articles are written for countless educational journals, hundreds of books are published on school reform, and yet the system keeps getting worse. If you’re curious about how these top educators think, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) quoted Stanford University’s Elliot Eisner in their publication in Dec. 1990:

We shouldn’t be thinking about effective schools or about effective teaching simply in terms of high-level achievement within the context of schooling. I don’t think that the major aim of school is to help kids do well in school. . . . Schools exist for the kind of life that kids are able to lead outside of schools. . . . There is increasing recognition of the importance of context-specificity. Hardly anyone now believes the idea that there is a "best way" to teach something, and that we will eventually converge on that best way.

If you are as confused as I am about “context-specificity” it’s because you’re not thinking the way an educator does. They have to give the impression that teaching in a government school is about as complex as rocket science. In other words, in order to justify their high salaries, they have to sound profound, thoughtful, and meaningless. They have to deceive each other and think up new and clever ways to pretend that they are actually making sense. Does a homeschooler have to know something about “context specificity” to be able to teach a child anything?

In the end, public education is nothing more than a system of cash flow that supports millions of teachers, administrators, janitors, food service employers, and thousands of doctors and masters of education in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. The biggest job of the latter is to train newcomers to plug into the system and to concoct novel theories and ideas for their endless game of education reform. As long as they can convince the legislators and taxpayers that the reforms they offer will improve education, they will be able to keep the game going.

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