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.
Apparently the State of Louisiana may have competition for the upcoming 2010 Senatorial race with a prostitute running…for the Republican Party?
So Obama is going to let the Spanish prosecute US government administrators….good job upholding the Constitution, buddy.
Obama has taken ambiguous, and flatly contradictory, positions on whether to prosecute Bush administration advisers and decision makers involved in “harsh interrogation techniques.” Although he immunized intelligence operatives who conducted the interrogations, morale at the CIA is at record lows. The president has played to the crowd politically, but the principles underlying his policies are opaque and continually subject to change. This hardly constitutes leadership.
This is the government that you can trust
THE GOVT DECLARES ENEMIES of the STATE
Homeland agency pulled back extremism dictionary
WASHINGTON — The same Homeland Security Department office that categorized veterans as potential terrorists issued an earlier report that defined dozens of “extremists” ranging from black power activists to abortion foes. The report was nixed within hours and recalled from state and local law enforcement officials.
Whites and blacks, Christians and Jews, Cubans and Mexicans, along with tax-hating Americans were among several political leanings listed in the “Domestic Extremism Lexicon” that came out of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) in late March.
The lexicon lists definitions for key terms and phrases used by Homeland Security analysts “that addresses the nature and scope of the threat that domestic, non-Islamic extremism poses to the United States,” the report said.
If only they asked sooner, shareholder might have had money in their pockets…
Later, during the umpteenth question about MSNBC, another shareholder’s microphone was cut, according to multiple attendees.
“The crowd was very upset with MSNBC because of its leftward tilt,” one attendee said. “Some former employees said they were embarrassed by it.”
One specific complaint about MSNBC concerned Keith Olbermann’s interview of actress Janeane Garofalo, who likened conservatives to racists and spoke of “the limbic brain inside a right-winger.”
“They were upset that Olbermann didn’t bother to challenge her,” one GE shareholder said…
“My biggest surprise was the open hostility to MSNBC,” another shareholder said. “It was noticeable and loud. I don’t remember any of this going on last year.”
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.”
This is what happens when you question government – you lose your job.
His most recent column published Sunday in The Tennessean was so-to-speak the straw that broke the camel’s back.
His insensitive remarks about what “his” country or “his” federal government is doing for him is self promoting, egotistical and in our opinion not fit for print in today’s world of war and economic turmoil.
Specifically Mr. Valentine questions “what am I getting for my federal income tax?”
It would be one thing to fire a writer because he’s a bad writer but to fire him because he question’s government spending? Seriously? See here for more information.
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