The Subversion of Education in America: Lesson #1
February 19, 2001 ~ I’ll bet you think that the problems with our nation’s schools are a fairly recent phenomenon. Wrong. It dates backs to the 1960’s. Those that have implemented the subversion of our educational system have sought to fly well below the radar of public awareness, depending on stealth and duplicity to achieve the wreckage that has already stunted the lives of thousands who have passed through it.
No other topic has evoked as much email as did our weekly “Warning Signs” commentary, “Indoctrination, Not Education.” Good. Time to wake up America!
In this and three other commentaries, I will walk you through the history of the problem with the help of an extraordinary book, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt. The facts I will share with you are found in a fat compendium of research by this former senior official with the US Department of Education who discovered the mother lode, copied it, and fled. She is one of America’s unsung heroes.
As Iserbyt points out, in the 1960’s “American education would henceforth concern itself with the importance of the group rather than with the importance of the individual.” The purpose of education would shift to focus on the studentÕs emotional health, rather than academic learning. Remember the 1960’s? Sex, drugs and rock’n roll? Drop out, tune in, and turn on? Just about everything that is wrong with America today had its genesis in this pathetic decade of youthful self-indulgence.”
In 1965, there were two major federal initiatives developed with funding from The Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed that year. One was the 1965-1969 Behavioral Science Teacher Education Program and the other was the publication by the government of “Pacesetters in Innovation“, a 584-page catalogue of behavior modification programs to be used by the schools.
Let me repeat that: a catalogue of behavior modification programs! We’re not talking of programs to teach students anything. We are talking about programs to indoctrinate children passing through the system to believe in values contrary to those on which this nation was based.
In brief, the intention was to create a generation or two of Americans who would accept the United Nations, not the United States, as their new “nation”, a global nation, one-world government. The last thing the conspirators wanted was a nation of individuals who could or would actually think for themselves. This is how we ended up with Bill Clinton, the classic student achiever of the 1960’s.
Iserbyt writes that, “In 1960, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Convention Against Discrimination was signed in Paris. This convention laid the groundwork for control of American education, both public and private, by UN agencies and agents.”
Now connect the dots. In 1960, “Soviet Education Programs: Foundations, Curriculums, Teacher Preparation” was published under the auspices of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It was the blueprint for the US school-to-work restructuring that would take place and it would rely on the “Pavlovian conditioned reflex theory.” The mastermind of mind control and conditioning was a psychologist, Dr. B.F. Skinner who was the guru of the mess that passes for education in America today.
Though hard to believe even now, the US adopted the Soviet Communist approach to education. In 1961, Rep. John M. Ashbrook tried to alert Congress to what was happening. Citing a document published by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare called “A Federal Education Agency for the Future, ” he called the new education programs “a blueprint for complete domination and direction of our schools from Washington“. Guess what? He was right.
That is why the educational reform this nation really needs is the complete elimination of the US Department of Education. It won’t happen. For the same reason we are now only learning that those “Red baiters” of the 1950’s were right to assert the Department of State was shot through with Communists, no one in 2001 is going to believe that the US Department of Education is modeled on Communist theories.
The Subversion of Education in America: Lesson #2
Just how did education in America turn from being a system that imparts knowledge to one that uses behavior modification techniques to influence the attitudes and beliefs of those passing through it?
To achieve this, beginning in the 1960’s, the perpetrators of the subversion have employed deception to achieve their goals. Earlier this month, a New Jersey daily newspaper ran an editorial, “Let board members speak“, noting that members of a local school board had been restricted from speaking to the press to avoid “confusion” about the board’s programs and objectives. “But this isn’t about ‘confusion‘,” said the editorial. “It’s about control“, adding “And it is insulting to the public and the idea of open local government.”
There is nothing “open” about the effort to subvert education in America. It only has that appearance because it takes place at presumably local school boards or in a state education department. Always, the vehicle is a governmental agency. The controlling player, however, is the US Department of Education.
The objective of those who control our educational systems has long been to produce poorly educated, little world citizens, ready to forego the liberties guaranteed by the oldest living Constitution. The system introduced into American schools mirrors the Soviet and Communist Chinese systems that produce a compliant and complacent population.
To achieve this, they have had to dumb-down the students passing through the system. On February 17, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that the president of the University of California “wants to eliminate the SAT as a requirement for admission to all eight of the university’s undergraduate campuses.” What a great way to further dilute all standards for academic achievement!
In January 2001, the Times reported that the University of California kicked out 2,009 students, six percent of last year’s freshman class, for failing to master basic math and English skills in their first year of classes. These are skills that should have been mastered in their first twelve years in California schools! It means that the diplomas they received are worthless pieces of paper.
This pattern repeats itself from state to state because it is the educational system that is failing American students. The President’s emphasis on testing misses the point entirely!
In the January/February 2001 issue of The American Enterprise, devoted to why some few schools succeed while the majority fail, Karl Zinsmeister writes that “it’s extremely interesting how many common traits are shared by the successful schools we profile. A remarkably similar basic formula applies in almost all of these places: high demands on students, strict discipline, a strong and unapologetic moral component, including a respect for religion, an emphasis on teaching intellectual basics, a preference for time-tested books and curricula, clear standards of dress, grooming, and comportment, and an insistence on politeness, respect and courtesy.”
Compare that to schools in your area where the way students dress is an offense to decorum, the language they use is replete with profanities, and their chief complaint is that they have too much homework.
President Bush has bought into the Education Establishment’s systematic stupification of students. He is not the first President to fall prey to this effort. To learn the facts, you must read The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt.
The President has proposed a five billion-dollar program to help children learn to read. Please! Please, please, will someone explain to me why spending even more money will answer the question of why our schools, soaking up billions a year, are NOT teaching this already?
One need only look at the realities of education in Texas to see why the call for national testing standards is a deception. An excellent article by Jerry Jesness in the November 2000 issue of Reason magazine blows away the hype about the test scores of Texas students. Despite apparent improvements, a closer look at the test scores of basic skills places young Texans in 39th place for SAT scores.
In 1984, the State adopted the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimal Skills that established minimal standards for graduation. The result has been that a considerable amount of time is spent “teaching to the test” in schools throughout Texas. Students are taught strategies to pass the text. For example, the acquisition of real arithmetical skills is sacrificed to methods that include drawing and counting sticks! This is not progress and the test is, essentially, meaningless.
All this was foretold back in the 1970’s as the “educrats” continued their efforts to undermine the teaching of basic knowledge. In 1976, Catherine Barrett, then president of the National Education Association, gave a speech in which she said, “First, we will help all of our people understand that school is a concept and not a place. We will not confuse “schooling” with education. The school will be the community, the community the school.” This predates Hillary Clinton’s “it takes a village” concept, but it reflects a communist view that all of society must be employed to form the views of students. Individualism is bad. Conforming to the group is good.
Barrett went on to say “We will need to recognize that so-called basic skills, which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one quarter of the present school day. The remaining time will be devoted to what is truly fundamental and basic—time for academic inquiry, time for students to develop their own interests, time for a dialogue between students and teachers, more than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher. Students will learn to write love letters and lab notes.”
You may want to read this again. The then-head of the NEA was talking about turning the school day into one devoted to just about everything other than the teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic. Teachers were, instead, to become “agents of change.”
The change incorporated into today’s educational programs is intended to change the entire social structure of our society and the values that had made it great. Competition and achievement in the acquisition of basic knowledge and the skills to implement that knowledge are jettisoned in favor of changing attitudes about family, patriotism, religion, and sexuality. Look around you and ask yourself why we now except all forms of “families.” Look around you and ask why we live in a cultural environment drenched with sexuality without responsibility. Ask yourself why millions fail to vote. Look at the way the expression of religious values is continually derided.
In 1972, Dr. Chester M. Pierce, MD, of Harvard University wrote an article entitled “Becoming Planetary Citizens: A Quest for Meaning” that appeared in the November issue of Childhood Education. He was concerned that children, by the age of five, “already have a lot of political attitudes”, among which were “a tenacious loyalty to his country and its leader.” What he wanted was a child who entered kindergarten “with the same kind of loyalty to the earth as to his homeland.”
This is a formula for degrading patriotism and loyalty to everything for which this nation stands in favor of creating citizens of the “global government” being pursued by the United Nations and the environmentalism that preaches against the use of the earth’s natural resources.
All throughout the 1970’s, the Federal government funded these goals. Local educational systems were taken over by programs designed to destroy local control. I do not want President Bush’s education proposals to succeed because they reflect the continued subversion of our nationÕs schools by the Department of Education.
The process dates back to the 1960’s, continued through the 1970’s, and in the following discussion of education in America, we will see how they increased through the 1980’s.
The Subversion of Education in America: Lesson #3
This will come as a surprise to you, everything about the nation’s educational system does, but Congress back in 1970 recognized that the federal government is supposed to have limited authority when it comes to education. An amended General Education Provisions Act specifically articulated a “Prohibition against Federal Control of Education.
It forbids the federal government from exercising any “direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration or personnel of any education institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system.”
The loophole through which the subversion of our education system was accomplished was federal funding of “research” and “development.”
By the 1980’s the effort to turn schools from places where students actually learn something to places where their values, beliefs, and cognitive skills were determined by “Outcome Based Education“, behavior modification programs. The objective of these programs is to turn students in to little citizens of a one-world government where they are mere economic units, not individuals, nor people who give much thought to individual liberty.
Individual liberty was the reason the American Revolution was fought and is the philosophical basis for every word in the US Constitution. A generation or two of Americans who are systematically robbed of any knowledge of this are ripe for an authoritarian takeover.
The father of this movement is Prof. Benjamin Bloom and his book, “All Our Children learning.” Published in 1981, it is the bible of OBE. In it he says, “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings, and actions of students.” No, the purpose of education is to provide students with a sufficient knowledge of basic skills in writing, reading, arithmetic, as well as history and the sciences. Thus prepared, they are likely to be the kind of citizens that will question efforts to deprive this nation of its sovereignty in favor of a world government run out of the United Nations.
It gets worse. Writing in The Effective School Report, Dr. Thomas A. Kelly, Ph.D., stated that “The brain should be used for processing, not storage.” This is the view of education that says you prepare students to take a test determined by federal standards of what they should know. The student is merely to process predetermined bits and pieces of information. The best example of this is the rat’s maze where the rat learns to follow a specific path to get a piece of cheese.
This is a simplified explanation of why today’s children have difficulty acquiring and retaining a body of useful, long-term information such as multiplication tables or who the nation’s presidents have been, the 50 States of the Union, when the Civil War was fought, where India can be found on a map, the names of the earth’s oceans, et cetera!
The whole movement to utterly change the direction and purpose of our nation’s schools picked up momentum in the 1980’s and, sorry to say it, it occurred on Ronald Reagan’s watch. The harsh truth about the subversion of the nation’s schools has not been a Democratic or Republican program. It has occurred no matter who was in office or who controlled Congress. It happened because few politicians were paying any attention to what was really occurring over at the Department of Education.
In her book, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America“, Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt, says, “The real purpose of this project was to propose a radical redesign of the nation’s education system from one based on inputs to one based on outputs.” It switched, in other words, from a curriculum of content a student was required to learn, to a series of answers the student was supposed to repeat when tested. Or as Iserbyt explains it, the system turned away “from one oriented toward the learning of academic content to one based on performance of selected skills, necessary for the implementation of school-to-work” The schools, with direction from the DOE and grants from major foundations, as well as input from corporate leaders, were redesigned to produce workers.
Well, what’s so bad about that? We need workers. Ask anyone responsible for the management of any size organization, from a local bakery to a major corporation, what their primary problem is and they will tell you it’s finding good workers. That is to say, finding people with even the most basic education or skills to perform any job with a minimum of competency. That is the result of the education system that has been foisted on this nation.
Take away their pocket calculators and the newest generation of workers cannot add or subtract. Take away “spell check” on their computers and they are helpless to spell accurately. These are basic skills Americans used to learn in one-room schoolhouses heated with a wood-burning oven. They could also tell you the branches of the US government and a whole lot more than today’s graduates.
In the 1980’s the DOE says Iserbyt, “effectively transformed the essential character of the nation’s public schools from ‘teaching’—the most traditional and conservative role of schools—to ‘workforce training’—perceived as liberal and ‘progressive.’” It is a particular irony that one of Ronald Reagan’s campaign platforms was the abolishing of the Department of Education. He was right. He didn’t do it.
What, in fact, happened was that control of the schools and their curriculums increasing moved up the decision-making ladder away from local school boards and even state education departments. Administrators and teachers were delighted with this because it eliminated the “meddling” of locally elected and locally responsible school board members.
The instrument for this was the development of a “Course Goals Collection” completed by the DOE in 1980-81. “The collection consists of fourteen volumes with 15,000 goals covering every major subject taught in the public schools from K-12.” Remember that 1970 prohibition on any federal government involvement in instruction? Nobody else did either.
In 1981, 70,000 copies were distributed, despite the fact that only approximately 16,000 school districts existed. And you wonder why every state now has the same goals? With remarkable success, Outcome-Based Education became the way American students were to be trained to believe the same things, have the same values, and to ignore those they were taught at home.
This is important because values are supposed to be the job of parents. Some parents are Catholic. Some parents are Protestant. Some are Jewish or Moslem. Some are liberal and some are conservative. Their values no longer seem to matter. That’s why there no longer is a moment of prayer in any school in America. That’s why the school day often does not begin with the salute to the flag or a recitation of a pledge of allegiance. Much of the day is spent “teaching to the test” whose standards were determined in Washington, D.C., not by the parents, not by the local school board, not by anyone you know!
How was this achieved? Because, according to a 1981 report by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, “Federal funds account for approximately ten percent of national expenditures on education. The Federal share of educational research and related activities, however, is ninety percent of the total national investment.”
Thus, as Iserbyt notes in her book, “just about everything that goes on in the classrooms of American public schools, with the exception of salaries, school buildings, buses, and the purchase of equipment, is either a direct or indirect result of funding by the U.S. Department of Education as research!“
It should come as no surprise that, by the end of the 198o’s, writing in the January 25, 1989 issue of Education Week, Chester E. Finn, Jr., the former head of the DOE’s research branch, would tell business leaders that he favored a “national curriculum.” Flashback to the congressional prohibition on a curriculum determined at the federal level. Consider it null and void. The people in the DOE obviously did.
Little wonder, too, that in 1989, then-President George H. Bush unveiled “America 2000” (later known as “Goals 2000”) to the National Governor’s Association that virtually set in concrete the whole behavior modification movement that has been foisted on the American education system.
That same year, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Elementary Global Education Framework was announced. Its goals were to create “Human beings whose home is planet earth, who are citizens of a multicultural democratic society in an increasingly interconnected world, and who learn, care, think, choose, and act, to celebrate life on this planet, and to meet the global challenges confronting Humankind.”
NO! We are talking about AMERICAN students going to AMERICAN schools in the sovereign nation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We are not sending kids to school to become citizens of the world, programmed to deal with global challenges, i.e., threats to the environment that require we all cut back on the use of energy or pick up the bill to bring developing nations up to speed. That is exactly the game plan of the United Nations and the worldwide conspiracy of socialists masquerading as environmentalists.
That is, however, what is going on in our schools TODAY. That’s why President George W. Bush’s proposal to throw $5 billion at those schools, presumably to teach a subject, reading, they should already be teaching, is a continuation of the same bad ideas that president’s since Eisenhower have been rubber-stamping. And then ignoring.
The Subversion of Education in America: Lesson #4
I have lived my whole life in an affluent, suburban community in Northern New Jersey. When I attended its schools in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the vast percentage of graduating seniors went onto college. Their parents had migrated from Newark during or just after WWII because the schools had an excellent reputation. Today, they are not much better than those of the inner city.
Here’s an excerpt from a letter to the editor in our local weekly. “I understand that our education officials have yet to detail for the public exactly what measures have been taken to ensure that a first-rate education will be provided for students.” This stonewalling is endemic to education bureaucrats across the nation. He thinks he’s going to get an answer. He won’t.
“I was horrified to learn that 34 percent of the eighth grade students in (our) Middle School were found only partially proficient ‘the worst grouping’ in the 2000 GEPA math section. Simply put, we rank 97th out of 97 schools in this failing category. Further, this dreadful performance has been repeated over the past several years.
“As a homeowner and a taxpayer, I want to know how the district’s school budget increased from $51 million five years ago to $70 million today, a 37 percent increase over four years, during which time these poor test scores have not gotten measurably better and our last place ranking has not moved out of the cellar.”
Throwing more and more money at our nation’s current education system is not the answer. The system is inherently flawed because it is not intended to provide a basic 3R’s education.
President Bush proposes to introduce a national educational standard and then test to it, but we already know American students are deficient in all the areas of knowledge the schools are supposed to be teaching. The tests today’s students take are more about their values than about any body of knowledge they have acquired. Today’s schools are not about educating students. They are about teaching attitudes and values.
If you have been reading my series over the past three commentaries in this series, you already know that the system has been designed to deliberately dumb down students.
The architects of this attack on our nation’s youth can be found in the US Department of Education. They have adopted psychological methods of conditioning and jettisoned the teaching of information and basic skills. It is called “Outcome-Based Education.”
Today’s students, as opposed to their grandfather’s or even their father’s education, are being systematically conditioned to think in “global” terms about humanity, nations, religions, and, of course, the environment. They are conditioned to be citizens, not of the United States, but of the world. That’s what you need when you’re creating a socialist one-world governmental system and that is exactly what is occurring at the United Nations.
Today’s students are taught not to make value judgments about other nations, even if they are authoritarian dictatorships. They may not know where Brazil is on the map, but they “know” all the rain forests are disappearing. They don’t know when the Civil War took place or why, but they “know” that all the Founding Fathers were slave-owners. They also “know” that America’s history is one of destroying the native Indian nations, taking their land, and exploiting it with farms, mining, and the destruction of whole forests. They cannot tell you what the Bill of Rights is, but they “know” the US is the leading contributor of “greenhouse gases” to the atmosphere, thereby causing global warming. It is a full course of lies.
They haven’t a clue about the individualism, sacrifice, daring and innovation that made this nation great, nor its political system, and most certainly not its history.
As Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt writes in her book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, they aren’t being “taught the difference between free enterprise and planned economies, i.e., socialism; between ‘group thinking’ and individual freedom and responsibility.”
By the 1990’s the decades of effort to overturn an education system that taught specific bodies of information and the skills to use them in arithmetic, spelling, history, civics, and science, had effectively been transformed into today’s touchy-feely system. It is a place where a student’s feelings of self-esteem are more important than whether they actually know anything other than the specific answers to the test. Thus teachers now “teach to the test” (their paycheck depends on it) rather than provide a broader body of knowledge. It is a place where competition is discouraged as unfair to those less qualified for any reason. It is a place where socialist attitudes and values are the priority, not knowledge.
Given President George W. Bush’s enthusiasm for education that is “accountable” and “will leave no child behind“, will it surprise anyone that the “America 2000 Plan”, written in 1991, was presented to the American people by Lamar Alexander, the Secretary of Education serving his father, President George Herbert Walker Bush?
The “America 2000 Plan” proposed to radically restructure American society, beginning with its schools. It was intended to affect 110,00 public and private schools. When you’re trying to create good little socialists, you can’t afford to have anyone who is being taught to think independently or asked to incorporate moral and ethical values.
The “voucher” program exists to give the federal government control over private schools because, whoever pays the piper, chooses the tune. Schools that accept voucher students will soon find themselves required to accept federal education regulations as well.
Goals 2000 and School-to-Work programs introduced to transform our schools reflect what Iserbyt describes as “the internationalization of education with exchanges of data systems, curricula, methods, et cetera, all essential for the implementation of the international socialist management and control system being put in place right now.”
Everything, including the SAT college entrance tests, has been degraded to mask the dumbing down those who are passing through our schools. Today’s SATs permit students to use electronic calculators, ask fewer questions in general and fewer multiple-choice math questions in particular. Reading passages now ask definitions from context and the formerly difficult antonym section, calling for linguistic and intellectual subtleties, has been dropped entirely.
My hometown’s parent who could not get any answers from his district’s school board could not know that this is repeated across America in school after school. Parents are routinely lied to. Worse, today’s parents are often required to put their child put on a regimen of Ritalin, a mind-altering drug. We’ve got seven million government-approved drug addicts going to school in drug-free zones!
To the individual parent, there seems to be no way to resist the juggernaut of a system that routinely turns out thousands of “educated” morons. Some choose to home-school their children. Others who can afford it send them to private schools. Still others shell out for after-school tutoring services. Why? Because the schools have been “restructured.”
President Bush is not providing a solution. He is part of the problem. His father was part of the problem. Presidents going back to Eisenhower have been part of the problem because they failed to see that introducing Soviet-style educational methods’ behavior modification to produce good little socialists–into American schools was destined to bring us to this point.
Education is not about national standards and national testing. It’s about individual schools in individual school districts, all answerable to their communities and to the parents of the children entrusted to them. It’s not about how the child feels, but about how well the child learns. There is pride in learning, but if there are no grades, how does anyone, parent, child or teacher know what, if anything, is being learned?
Congress will probably give President Bush the $5 billion he wants to throw away on failed reading programs, and money for the national educational standards and testing he wants. Previous Congresses have gone along, failing or refusing to see how the educational system has been corrupted. The Republican “Contract with America” and the campaign promise of Ronald Reagan to dismantle the Department of Education had it right. It didn’t happen. It is the only hope to reverse the damage and return schools to local control.
Sit down with your child and watch “Jeopardy” together. If neither you, nor your child knows the answer to anything other than the television or film questions, you’re in trouble. Now multiply that against an entire population of Americans who don’t know the answers either.
This column was originally posted by Kettle Moraine, Ltd. Publications in 2001.
~ The Author ~
Contributing columnist Alan Caruba wrote a weekly column, “Warning Signs“, that was posted on the Internet for many years. “Uncle Alan” and I became acquainted early on with publication of the Federal Observer. Alan was a patriot, an online entrepreneur, and a brave and tireless writer. We were honored to publish much of his work at our various websites over the years, and to call him a friend. I was privileged to have Alan review, AMERICA: The Grand Illusion, BOOK I: Orphans of the Storm and BOOK II: What God has joined…. Alan is sorely missed – and each time I prepare one of his old education columns to repost – I smile all over again. He was – and is – what we need today. See you at Sun-down Uncle Alan.