|The poor state of our schools|
All the way back in 1848 (the year Karl Marx published his Manifesto), Alexis de Tocqueville captured the essence of socialism in this short paragraph:
“Democracy extends the sphere of personal independence; socialism confines it. Democracy values each man at his highest; socialism makes of each man an agent, an instrument, a number. Democracy and socialism have but one thing in common—equality. But note well the difference. Democracy aims at equality in liberty. Socialism desires equality in constraint and in servitude.”
|Karl Marx Laughing at our education system|
I don’t know how this Frenchman got so smart, but I’m comfortable with saying he wrote the book-- in only 57 words -- on this complex subject.
The key phrase is: “a number.” Socialism’s big promise is to turn you into a tiny cog in a huge machine. Nominally you’re a comrade; in reality you’ll be a serf or a slave. So socialism’s brave new world turns out to be filled with “constraint” and “servitude.” Are there people somewhere yearning for this?
Once you strip away the rhetoric and slogans, socialism is promising dirt. Who would willingly participate in this stupid project? Short answer: very few.
Long answer: very few who haven’t first been indoctrinated, frightened, lied to, or otherwise tricked into believing that less is more.
|Socialisum on the march|
These so-called educators discovered a simple formula: the more people know, the more resistance they put up. (Values, traditions, history, religion, knowledge of whatever kind - - these are the enemy.) Conversely, the less people know, the more easily they can be seduced into surrendering their freedom. Clearly, our progressive educators started from these nihilistic premises, and aimed for near-zero content in the schools.
You can look at everything Dewey said, all the way up to this year’s latest pronouncements on Constructivism, 21st-Century Skills and Authentic Assessment. You will find this perennial motif: kids don’t need all that factual stuff; teach less.
I’m reading a book about progressive education in the 1930s and 1940s; and it’s remarkable how relentless these fanatics were. The perfect school would be one devoted entirely to busy-work. Anything resembling a shred of foundational knowledge was sneered at.
The second part of the two-punch combination is to make sure that whatever is still taught is taught in a confused and incoherent way. That, for example, is a perfect short definition of New Math and Reform Math. The teachers go through the motions of teaching arithmetic; but few can do arithmetic. Similarly, with Whole Word, teachers can imagine that they teach reading; but few kids become fluent readers.
You see the pattern. There are classrooms, teachers, students, books, tests, grades--the whole panorama of things that might make you think you were looking at a school. You’re not looking at a school. It’s a laboratory for churning out humans who know very little and will therefore settle for very little.
The good news is, schools did not one day get stupid all by themselves. Our faux-educators worked tirelessly at dumbing education down. Question: why can’t we do the opposite?
Our best revenge now is to see progressive/liberal educational thinking for what it is--non-education masquerading as education. Second, let’s clinically examine each idea they concocted (Whole Word, Reform Math, No Memorization, Self Esteem, and 50 others); carefully deconstruct these gimmicks; and confront why socialist ideologues would come up with such counter-productive methods. For these people, an idea was good to the extent that it impeded education.
I’m trying to describe what happened to our country so that we can undo the damage. Here’s how we start the healing process: understand the true goals of the education commissars, and that their unhelpful ideas were not about education at all, not as parents understand the term, but about social engineering.
Here’s a happy thought. If public schools simply went back to what was considered common-sensical and ordinary in, say, 1930, coupled with a clever use of all the new digital tools, I bet we could double the educational horsepower of the typical American school.
Now, to recapitulate, why do socialists hate education? Simple. It’s in the way.