What is the greatest mystery in American history? Rattle off a few answers. I bet you won’t think of mine…
Here is my nominee for biggest mystery: the decline and fall of public school education. Don’t agree? Give me a minute and I’ll convince you.
Here are the towering facts: The U.S. spends a huge amount on education; more per student than anyone else; more and more every year. Simultaneously, over the last 70 years, literacy has fallen, SAT scores have fallen, American competitiveness has fallen, and the general knowledge of ordinary citizens has fallen. Teenagers graduate from high school who can’t read their diplomas; the country now has 50,000,000 functional illiterates. I recently saw on television that the wealthiest, most successful country in the world–that would be us–hovers around 18th internationally on reading, and 25th in science.
I submit that all of these facts taken together are paradoxical; one might say, impossible. It’s as if I told you that an ordinary man consumed 5000 calories a day and lost weight. So this, I submit, is the greatest mystery in our history.
But why have our educators allowed this decline to take place? Or is “allowed” a trick word, and they have actually abetted this failure? Ah, mystery on top of mystery. This is a puzzle that academic historians should be trying to solve.
For starters, can’t we all agree that genuine experts, making a sincere effort, would have our schools functioning at a higher level? Why, oh why, don’t our educators do a much better job?
In the interest of brevity, let me just list the three most common answers given to that question:
1. Our educators mean well but they get caught up in fads.
2. Our educators have a lot of bad luck. Who could guess that all their wonderful ideas would have so many unintended consequences?
3. A harsher theory is that our educators, alas, are nitwits. (Smart people, it’s often remarked, don’t go into Education.)
The problem with all these theories is that, if true, we would see a greater range of outcomes. After all, there are thousands of these people. Now and then they’d have to get lucky; the law of averages would have to have its day. There’s only one problem with this: there are, it seems to me, no successful results, and no good ideas. All we see is a grinding mediocrity.
It goes beyond a failure to find ideas that increase education; many have embraced ideas that are clearly destructive. Our experts really don’t seem all that interested in education as most people understand this term. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, for example, don’t seem to be priorities. What we see in education makes sense only if we assume that our educators have an agenda we don’t know about, or that they are malevolent, or both.
So what agenda, you’re wondering, are they actually focused on? What’s the answer to the mystery? Here is my deduction: that those at the top of the Education Industrial Complex, since the time of John Dewey, have been collectivists first, and educators second or third. The goal of creating an educated child was too often superceded by the goal of creating a cooperative child.
Broadly speaking, they undermined educational success in two ways. First, they found reasons to delete and dilute the curriculum. Second, the things they did teach, they often taught in confusing, unhelpful ways. I could reel off a list of 50 failed pedagogies, none of which lived up to the hype or the hope, things such as New Math, Reform Math, Constructivism, Bilingual Education, Self Esteem, et cetera.
The paradigm of bad pedagogies, of course, is Whole Word, I.E. any non-phonics way of teaching reading. Around 1931, every public school in the country was told that phonics was out, and the children should be taught by Look-Say (think Dick and Jane). This switch is one of most amazing (and revealing) events in American educational history. Try to think of another instance where a profession abruptly decided to reverse everything ordinarily done for centuries.
Once you assume that all these conclusions are true, you find there’s no mystery at all. Everything that’s happened in American education is as logical as 1 + 2 = 3. My estimation is that if we tossed out the ideological admixture, we’d see steady improvement. Don’t think we can improve things by tweaking around the edges. We need an intervention. We need surgery.
NOTE: MP = Minister of Parliment
MPs’ EXPENSES: The Telegraph’s investigation into how politicians – from Gordon Brown and his Cabinet to backbenchers of all parties – exploit the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidise their lifestyles and multiple homes.
It’s not just an American thing!
The honest truth of the government’s approach to the Constitution
What’s interesting is that a good majority of the people involved in the Chrysler dispute, including the lawyers, VOTED for Obama
To hell with the Constitution, the rule of law, the integrity of contracts and any other written limitation on their power – they will do anything they can get away with. Which means that we are all at risk, and the only reason some of us haven’t been targeted is that Obama simply hasn’t turned his attention to that particular sector yet. But he will – it’s only a matter of time.
Two, the moment anybody gets in the way of their grandiose communist plans, the Obama Administration’s first instinctive reaction is to threaten people with personal destruction. This suggests both a childishness – throwing a temper tantrum the moment it seems their object of desire might be put beyond their reach – and an evil large in scope.
When you stoop that low right out of the gate, the extremity of it indicates a total lack of conscience. Just ask Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas and Sarah Palin how it feels to be so instantly targeted by the left for annihilation. And the haste of it portends an intention to go much farther than that one area – hence the need to get it over with quickly, so as to proceed to the next victim.
Third, the fact that the Obama Administration would so confidently wield the press as a weapon indicates that they aren’t merely vomit-inducing in shoving their tongues up his teleprompter-dependent bunghole in blind worship. The media, by the White House’s own de facto admission in having issued this threat, will not only refuse to report and thus cover up the malicious misdeeds of their “messiah,” it will happily and obediently destroy his enemies upon his marching orders. They are, in essence, his club-wielding goon squad. (Whereas a Republican president so threatening people would result in screaming for impeachment and ululating echoing through newsrooms as they wrote veritable fatwas of jihad against him.)
That sound you hear is Thomas Jefferson rolling over in his grave, as the two entities he presumed to be natural antagonists – the press and government – join forces to trash the founding documents and the nation he helped create.
Just what country and time are we living in? The United States of 2009, or Stalin’s Soviet Union of the 1930s?
As best said here:
By Paul Ibrahim
April 20, 2009
In Obama’s America, I Am a Terrorist After All
I am an Arab male in my 20s. If I don’t fit the profile of your average terrorist, I’m not quite sure who does. Yet thanks to a culture of political correctness and the likes of the ACLU, I had it unreasonably easier than most after 9/11. Until, that is, the Obama Administration decided that my conservatism makes me a potential terrorist.
Rewind to the aftermath of 9/11. Not only were Obama-types making it difficult for airport security to even consider my background, but oftentimes made it so anyone but me was selected for extra screening. On many occasions I waltzed through security only to look behind me to see a little old black lady, or an elderly white man, pulled out for an additional search in an obvious exhibition of political correctness in a world where we’re supposedly trying to save lives.
My college experience was no different. I was automatically assumed to be a member of an imagined community of oppressed minorities, invited to diversity events that offered me special resources (because white people apparently come with such resources), and welcomed with open arms by members of an administration that cared more about the level of melanin in my skin than about my intellectual capacity.
Then they discovered I was a conservative. The rainbows, unicorns and Kumbayas abruptly vanished. Professors made plain their distaste for non-liberal views in the classroom. Minority groups were shocked that a “fellow” minority would speak out against their racially segregated dorms. In utter irony, even the vice provost for diversity personally attacked me in print for my calls for color-blindness – you see, if the world became successfully color-blind, he would have no job.
“All the News that’s Fit to Print” – except for when it benefits Democrats, especially Obama
A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.”
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