Everyone Should Be an Education Reformer

Public Education Is Declining

Public schools get worse every year. Statistics show this. Anecdotes show this. Mark Dice and Jesse Watters go out on the streets and ask people simple questions. What country is Mount Rushmore in? Some people have no idea what country that might be. Even more extraordinary, these ignorant people are complacent and self-congratulatory. They murmur, “Seriously, who knows stuff like that?”

Anyone who has never looked at these videos, please do so now. It is the fastest way to plunge into the chilly depths of the educational swamp. Jay Leno started this expose ten years ago. He found people who did not know who won the Civil War. That was shocking but presumably a rarity.

Now we read that Prof. Deneen at Notre Dame complains there are a lot of students at that elite school who do not know who won the Civil War. Ask yourself a question. If a person does not know that basic information, what does that person know?

Dumbing Down

The movers and shakers, the people at the top, the leaders who run our society, seem to have taken a few decades off. They are AWOL or comatose. As a result, the wrong people have gotten too much power (Think of professors at Harvard). Some people say these educrats are incompetent. Others say they are deliberately subversive.

The point is, education should not be left in the hands of ideological witch doctors. William Buckley’s maxim is a good one: “I 'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

When the school situation is terrible and the best people stand aside, what is the answer? Obviously, all Americans should become education reformers. Find out what is going on. Get involved. It is a lot more entertaining than you might imagine!

Elementary, My Dear Watson

Think of public schools as a gigantic crime scene. Sherlock Holmes would get a rush. There is a glittering variety of disinformation, sophistry, propaganda, lies, and dis-ingenuousness. Wall-to-wall fraud and Ponzi schemes, that is what we are talking about. Three card monte on every corner.

Here is a quick bit of history. Starting in 1920, after the Russian Revolution was consolidated, the schemers in Moscow thought they could conquer the world by subverting each government and each individual organization. The easiest targets were educational, foundations, media, publishing, cultural institutions generally.

A Communist Front Group

By the 1930s the Education Establishment in the United States was virtually a Communist front group. We know this because in 1931 professors trashed phonics, proven for centuries, and introduced fraudulent reading instruction known as Whole Word. It does not work, and the professors knew this. In 1955, Rudolf Flesch explained the whole thing in his famous book. Our left-wing professors did not blink. They continued their mischief from 1955 until now. That is why we have 50 million functional illiterates.

In all that time, the frightening thing is the absence of leadership. Where are the religious leaders who have a moral obligation to their congregations? Where are the black leaders who care about what is happening in Detroit? Where are the first families, the wealthy, the patriarchs?

Andrew Carnegie made a lot of money and built 2500 libraries. This activism was aimed directly at lifting up ordinary citizens. Call it paternalism if you like. We need a lot more of it. K-12 is in decline. The Education Establishment has shown no inclination toward raising the level of our schools. As a result, your country desperately needs YOU.

Becoming an Education Reformer

So how does one become an education reformer? No big deal. You have to understand the basic sophistries and gimmicks used in the public schools. These are cheap tricks. Once you understand them, you’ll say, oh so that is all there is to it. Here are the five biggest gimmicks:

1) Sight-Words. Traditionally, children learn the alphabet and the sounds represented by the symbols. Sight-words require that students memorize the visual shapes of words, which is tedious and difficult for most children. Furthermore, sight-words cause side effects such as dyslexia and ADHD. If we return to phonics, virtually all children will learn to read in four or five months.

2) New Math ca. 1962, Reform Math ca. 1985, Common Core Math ca. 2010. Similar attempts to make elementary arithmetic too complicated for kids to learn or enjoy. Advanced topics are mixed in with simple topics, that’s the common denominator. All of these gimmicks almost guarantee that children will be calculator-dependent and alienated from further study. By crippling math, the public schools cripple STEM in general.

3) Constructivism. The gimmick here is you have to learn stuff on your own (i.e., construct it). Teachers are not allowed to teach. This weird little sophistry means children have to start over again, figuring out the wheel and everything else. Used now in every subject at every age, and thus very destructive.

4) Cooperative Learning. This is when children sit around a table and work as a group. People do not learn to think independently. They learn to wait for the person next to them to say something. The goal here seems to be to slow progress and to level all students.

5) Self-esteem. In this sophistry, no child should feel bad. If your kid can spell Mississippi and my kid can not, my kid will feel bad, and we can not have that. Answer? Prevent your kid from knowing how to spell Mississippi. This one gimmick can paralyze school systems from top to bottom. Slower students are used as a weapon against ordinary students.

Smoke and Mirrors

These five methods have one thing in common: wheels go around, so there is the illusion of activity and progress, but it is just that, an illusion. Imagine a Rube Goldberg contraption with 15 wheels turning; finally, a feather tickles a man’s nose, so he wakes up. That is what our public schools are like.

Discuss these gimmicks with your friends. Compare your take with their take. Figure out how you can most easily tell other people in the local school system. Write letters to the local paper.

Remember that our Education Establishment has had 90 years to conceal their gimmicks inside confusing jargon and empty promises. Are you not tired of that? It will feel so good to know what is actually going on.

Bruce Deitrick Price / Guest Contributor
Bruce Deitrick Price is an author, artist, poet and education reformer. Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org. New book is "Saving K-12 - What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?"
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