hear it all the time. Americans want something done about
education. Their children can't read or work math problems
without a calculator. They can't spell, find their own country
on a map, name the president of the United States or quote the
For the past decade or more, we have been focusing on a massive
national campaign to "fix" the schools. In some
schools we can find ultra high-tech, carpeted, air-conditioned
classrooms with computers and television sets. We have education
"programs" full of new ideas, new methods, and new
In the 1990's the education mantra became "national
standards" and accountability through "national
testing" with Goals 2000. Politicians and "educrats"
declared that every child would come to school "ready to
learn", "no child would be left behind." They
pledged our kids would be "second to none" in the
world. Right now, the Bush administration, prior to issuing its
budget, is trying to get Congress to sign off on a program based
on these political slogans.
In the past, we spent money, money, and more money! The new
"fix" intends to spend more. The result: American
students have fallen further behind, placing 19th out of 21
nations in math, 16th in science, and dead last in physics. With
all the programs, attention, and money lavished on education,
how can that be? The problem? It's the federal programs and the
education bureaucracy that run them.
Simply stated, over the past twenty years America's education
system has been completely restructured to deliberately move
away from teaching basic academics to a system that focuses on
training students for menial jobs.
The restructured education system has been designed to
deliberately dumb-down the children. Most Americans find that
statement astonishing. Believe it! Parents don't want to let go
of their child-like faith that the American education system is
the best in the world, designed to give their children the
academic strength to make them the smartest in the world.
None of the problems will go away, nor will children learn,
until both parents and politicians stop trusting the education
establishment and start ridding the system of its failed and
subversive ideas and programs.
Politicians continue to offer old solutions of more money and
more federal oversight, almost stamping their feet, demanding
that kids learn something. Programs are being proposed that call
for teacher testing to hold them accountable for producing
educated children. More programs call for annual tests to find
out if children have learned anything.
The nation is in panic, but none of these hysterical responses
will improve education because none of them address the very
root of the problem.
Parents and politicians must stop believing the Education
Establishment's propaganda that says teaching a child in the
twenty-first century is different and must be more high tech
than in days past. It simply isn't so.
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
education system is driven by money from the federal government
and private foundations, both working hand-in-hand with the
Education Establishment headquartered in the federal Department
of Education and staffed by the National Education Association (NEA).
These forces have combined with psychologists, huge textbook
publishers, teacher colleges, the healthcare profession,
government bureaucrats, big corporations, pharmaceutical
companies and social workers to invade local school boards,
classrooms and private homes in the name of "fixing"
The record shows that each of these entities has benefited from
this alliance through enriched coffers and increased political
power. In fact, the new education restructuring is working
wonders for everyone involved except for the children and their
parents. As a result of this combined invasion force, today's
classroom is a very different place from only a few years ago.
BRIEF HISTORY OF EDUCATION SUBVERSION
A Different Kind of Teacher:
Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
by John Taylor Gatto
Opening of the American Mind : Canons, Culture, and History
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