If you watch TV, you are seeing ads for a new Alien movie (i.e., Alien Covenant). All hail Ridley Scott. This will be the sixth in the franchise. One thing all of the entries have in common is that a ghastly alien emerges, often with pointy teeth and covered in drool, from an egg or an astronaut’s chest.
This signature sudden, unforgettable moment is the essence of the cinematic covenant. An entirely hostile organism will burst out somewhere when you least expect it and kill you.
That has to remind us of the year 1931, when the Education Establishment sprang its own alien on the country. With no testing, no proof of concept, no incremental introduction, and certainly no humility or shame, a small clique of education professors abolished common practice and, almost overnight, forced an alien method upon this country. Thus began the appropriation (that’s Commie euphemism for conquest) of the U.S. via illiteracy.
If you want to understand what we are up against when it comes to improving our schools, you have to reflect on how far a small group of ideologues will go to impose their destructive theories. Apparently, there’s no limit.
In the early 1930s, the country was crippled by economic failure. Even the rich felt weak and vulnerable. Who knew how bad things would get? The professors apparently thought this was an ideal time to roll a drunk, so to speak. People would be too demoralized to fight back. Tragically, that turned out to be true.
The big change was that children were no longer supposed to bother with the alphabet. Always the alpha and omega of reading, the alphabet was mugged and pushed in the East River. A new theory called for memorizing entire words visually, without any concern for letters or the sounds they represented. In effect, the alphabet was vaporized.
This was a huge and shocking change, almost as great as requiring that children first learn to count with Roman numerals or in binary.
In the years before this “alien covenant,” alphabet blocks were probably the most common toy given to children. The letters also appeared on cribs, clothes, cups, and wall decorations. Everyone agreed: children must know their ABCs. The alphabet was the only way into the secret heart of literacy.
Look how Plato, 24 centuries ago, carried on about this need in The Republic: “Just as in learning to read, I said, we were satisfied when we knew the letters of the alphabet, which are very few, in all their recurring sizes and combinations; not slighting them as unimportant whether they occupy a space large or small, but everywhere eager to make them out; and not thinking ourselves perfect in the art of reading until we recognize them wherever they are found.”
John Locke, in 1693, suggested, “It must never be imposed as a task, nor made a trouble to them. There may be dice and play-things, with the letters on them, to teach children the alphabet by playing; and twenty other ways may be found, suitable to their particular tempers, to make this kind of learning a sport to them.”
Plato and Locke being world-class geniuses, that settles the matter. If you thought this for a second, you don’t know our Education Establishment. As Progressives (aka Socialists), they were obsessed with cooperation and equality by any means necessary. The smarter children should not be allowed to sprint ahead. The simplest device for achieving all of their collectivist goals was to curtail reading. John Dewey opined that an emphasis on literacy in the early grades was “a perversion.” He detested the thought of a child sitting alone, enjoying a good book. No child should be doing something that other children are not doing. That was the ideological starting point for Dewey’s alien detour.
The Russian Revolution was finalized by 1920, and then, in 1929, came our economic collapse. Karl Marx was proven correct. Our left wing was so excited that they could hardly stop cheering and popping bottles of champagne. Now they must move boldly ahead with their ruthless schemes. They must seize destiny. When would they have a better time than in the midst of a Great Depression?
The United States is a vast country with millions of students and tens of thousands of schools. Imagine the chaos and craziness of trying to switch to a new, untested method in all of these schools more or less simultaneously. Apparently, the word came down to individual principals: destroy the old phonics books and use the new Dick and Jane reader. Tolerate no slackers. Non-compliant teachers were fired for using phonics.
The people who wrote the new readers made piles of money, proving that crime does pay. The main guy was William S. Gray, who invented Dick and Jane. Other major players had Alice and Jerry, etc.
Had there been any systematic testing to prove this theory, then maybe you could forgive the Progressives for wrecking the country’s literacy. There wasn’t. You can’t forgive.
Interestingly, the only testing seems to have been Dr. Samuel Orton’s research on a few school districts over two years, 1926-1928. He found that Whole Word is a disaster. So you have a direct jump from 1930, when the Education Establishment began pushing this bunk, to this month, just in time for a new Alien movie and a study just announced in Science Daily magazine: “[n]ew research has shown that learning to read by sounding out words (a teaching method known as phonics) has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of reading aloud and comprehension.” Shazam. In related research, scientists find that water is still wet.
An alien killer naturally works at reckless speed. Changing the reading instruction for a whole country all at once? The speed tells you that these totalitarians viewed Americans as patsies and thought of themselves as saboteurs, striking in the middle of the night, when they could most likely get away with their conspiracy. What had worked well for centuries was terminated. Then you had millions of students, sans alphabet, stumbling dazed through the rubble. They are still stumbling.
Typical estimates are that the country has more than 30 million illiterate adults and an even bigger number who are semi-literate. The plot continues.
Written by Bruce Deitrick Price and published by American Thinker ~ May 3, 2017.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml