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The Destruction of American Education And What We Must Do About It

It might seem that the word “destruction” in the title of this essay is a bit over the top. But it’s the only accurate description of what’s happening in America today. The demonic cabal that now controls the U.S. systematically destroyed American education in general and is now attacking each educational discipline. We can see this in the Bush junta’s denying and misrepresenting the scientific evidence for global warming–leading to their refusal to sign the Kyoto Accord.

Now the social sciences are being attacked. Jeb Bush, during his tenure as Governor, turned Florida into a totalitarian state, perpetrating a monstrous vote-rigging fraud in 2000 which resulted in his brother being criminally appointed President by the Supreme Court. Next, Jeb extended his dictatorship into the realm of education. Jeb and his henchmen assaulted the entire discipline of history by redefining it as the teaching of “fact,” not “construction.” In other words, history in Florida is now what Jeb and his cronies say it is, and any disagreement with their “facts” is not to be tolerated.
 

The Deliberate Creation of American Illiteracy

Some thirty million adults in the U.S. do not have the skills to perform even the most basic tasks such as adding numbers on a bank slip, identifying a place on a map, or reading directions for taking a medication. Eleven million Americans are totally illiterate in English.
 

Portrait of adult literacy in America

Percent of adults in each prose literacy level, 2003
Below Basic Basic Intermediate Proficient
14% 29% 44% 13%
30 million 63 million 95 million 28 million
Able to perform no more than the most simple literacy activities Simple activities such as understanding a pamphlet for prospective jurors Moderately difficult activities such as finding information in reference materials Complex activities such as comparing viewpoints in two different editorials

Only twenty-nine percent of Americans have basic reading and computing skills. One out of every twenty Americans lacks the ability to understand what is going on in the world or to develop an informed opinion for voting.

With an illiterate, uneducated American citizenry, unable to understand what’s happening in the world, it’s no wonder that a fascist cabal has been able to take over the United States.

On June 27, 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that the government may give financial aid to parents so they can send their children to religious or private schools. Before we examine the results of that decision, let’s review the historical demise of the American educational system.

It’s no accident that America’s schools have slowly eroded and that the intelligence of the average American has become so debilitated. American learning has plummeted and public school performance has nose-dived ever since the middle of the twentieth century because it was planned that way.

Thinking American citizens must always be aware that what goes on in this society is the result of the planning of its rulers; they create precisely the social, psychological, economic, and ideological conditions which will realize their goal of excessive wealth for themselves and impoverishment for the working class.
 

The History of Education

Education, the development of understanding, must be distinguished from training, the development of skill. Education occurs through learning:

  • Gaining knowledge or understanding of something by study, instruction, or experience
  • The radical transformation of self

“I take significant learning to involve a change in the learner. It is a change in behavior, in interpretation, in autonomy or in creativity. Ordinarily we take in information, organize it, make whatever response, if any, seems advisable, and monitor the results in those comfortable and familiar ways that have become our second nature, our habit. How well we do this may be important but the immediate information does not produce learning. We respond to it as we have learned to in the past. It, in turn, leaves us unchanged in our ability to act, understand, and evaluate in the future. Education worthy of the name must lead to a different tomorrow.” 

                  Edward Cell, Learning to Learn from Experience

The history of education began with the evolutionary appearance of homo sapiens, the first creatures who, through their development of language, were capable of understanding. Prior to homo sapiens, members of the homo habilis and homo erectus strains had trained themselves in such skills as fire-making, hunting, shelter-building, and food gathering. But to them, human experience was merely a series of events without long-term significance.

 When homo sapiens tribes invented language, they represented events and objects by written and spoken signs and gestures, which they understood to have meaning, that is, they signified some entity such as a person, animal, plant, place, thing, substance, quality, idea, action, or state.

A sign, such as the word, “fire,” could be communicated from one person to another. Now humans could not only see, feel, and make fire, for example, but understand its significance: warmth, cooking, protection from predators, sterilization, and destruction.

With the development of language, the communication of meaning began. Now, meanings could be transmitted from one person to another, one generation to another.

Meaning is truly a magical element. Perhaps the best way to grasp the mystery of meaning is by thoughtfully viewing the movie “The Miracle Worker,” the story of the early life of Helen Keller.

As a young blind and deaf child, Helen lived much like an animal, rushing from one sensation to another. Within a month after becoming Helen’s teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan was able to impart the gift of language to her. The awakening to meaning, as demonstrated in the film, was the event which made it possible for Helen to begin understanding instead of simply repeating what Anne was teaching her. Helen had been trained to repeat the word “water,” but it wasn’t until she combined the experience of feeling water and trying to communicate the word “water” simultaneously, that Helen gained the magical gift of meaning–and hence language and understanding.

Up to that point, Helen had been like a well-trained animal, memorizing words, speaking them, and receiving praise from Anne. But now, suddenly, it came to her! The word “water” actually referred to, pointed to, meant this marvelous liquid reality that ran through her fingers.
 

How Meanings Are Lost

In each culture, the public meanings, ideas, and skills transmitted through educational institutions (schools, academies, monasteries, universities) and through the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, Internet) have always been determined by the small ruling elite (politicians, financiers, warriors, priests, scholars, scientists, corporations).

In most cultures, the “ruling ideas” have fostered violence and class warfare. In only a few instances in history, have the “ruling ideas” fostered the betterment of common people and society at large. One example of such a benevolent era was the eighteenth century Enlightenment, which encouraged humans to develop broad understanding in all fields of knowledge. Highly educated, intelligent groups in Europe and America developed toward a democratic way of life, created constitutions, and founded institutions for public education.

During this Enlightenment period, words and phrases such as “liberty,” “freedom,” “natural rights,” “pursuit of happiness,” “consent of the governed,” “informed citizenry,” came into being for the first time or were first understood by humans through their own experience.

America has served as the beacon of these Enlightenment ideals, maintaining its faith in “the power of knowledge and reason in self-determination.”

“There can be no real question that the Enlightenment promoted the cause of freedom, more widely, directly, positively than any age before it. It not only asserted but demonstrated the power of knowledge and reason in self-determination, the choice and realization of human purpose.

“For the first time in history it carried out a concerted attack on the vested interests that opposed the diffusion of knowledge and the free exercise of reason.

“As thinkers the men of the Enlightenment were conscious revolutionaries, very much aware of a ‘new method of philosophizing’ that amounted to a new living faith, the basis for a new social order.” 

              Herbert J. Muller. (1964). Freedom in the Western World

Culture as a creation of humankind is a neutral element–it can be used for positive or negative ends. Through the process of acculturation, the process beginning at infancy by which human beings acquire the culture of their society, individuals are stamped with social norms.

Vested, moneyed interests have constantly sought to demolish the American traditions of democracy, plotting to destroy the enlightening “diffusion of knowledge and the free exercise of reason.” Their method of rule is not by “consent of the governed” or rational discourse, but by arbitrary dictate of a tyrant’s fascistic tactics.

Predictably, the very people who place American presidents, senators, and representatives in power, through the use of their multi-billion dollar fortunes, are the same monied interests that have deliberately destroyed American education. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, Browns, Harrimans, Du Ponts, and other ruling families want obedient, efficient workers, not thinkers.

“In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or science. We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.”

             Rockefeller Foundation Director of Charity,
             Frederick Gates, 1913

Clearly, the rulers not only did not want to make “philosophers” of the working class, they wanted them trained so they would not even think for themselves. So they have deliberately devastated the American mind through:

  • Funding universities and scholars who carry out the devastation of the American public education system in particular and American intelligence in general
     
  • Developing programming (brainwashing) strategies using all media types, but especially television
     
  • The imposition of miseducation and brainwashing tactics to destroy American citizens’ ability to think for themselves
     
  • Subjecting American public education to a series of failed experiments, from “look see” reading to the “new math”
     
  • Redefining key concepts so that the public school students no longer understand the fundamentals of a democratic society
     
  • Turning what is called “education” into nothing but training

Democracy requires an electorate that understands what is actually happening in the world, beyond what the ruler-owned media tell us is happening. If American citizens receive an effective education we learn to inform ourselves and can see through the propaganda, the dictatorial actions, and the outcomes of the non-constitutional acts of our rulers.

Beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, American ruling groups began to create a pseudo-educational system which produces students no longer capable of understanding such key concepts and factors as “freedom,” “government of the people,” “critical thinking,” etc.

“The economic well-being of the nation depends on the presence of a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long. Because men are naturally lazy they will not work unless forced by necessity to do so. The education of the poor threatens to rob the nation of their productivity. . .  Every hour those poor people spend at their books is so much time lost to society. Going to school in comparison to working is idleness.”

               Bernard de Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, 1714
              (the book which Adam Smith used as the basis of his
              1776 Wealth of Nations, the capitalist Bible)

The plutocratic cabal wanted a working class that was merely trained to do a particular job, not think about social or political issues. They created an educational system focused on training instead of learning, which took its lead from such physiological, materialistic “psychologists” as Wilhelm Wundt, G. Stanley Hall, James McKeen Cattell, E. L. Thorndike, and others. The primary ideas and practices of this group included:

  • A thing makes sense and is worth pursuing only if it can be measured, quantified, and scientifically demonstrated
     
  • Psychology, accordingly, should concern itself exclusively with human behavior–not with non-demonstrable entities such as “mind,” “soul,” “thought,” etc.
     
  • Public education must limit itself to training working class students to carry out whatever task they are given to do and to accept the commands of their superiors

This ruler-imposed system, enhanced by anti-intellectual activities such as minority-group studies and multiculturalism, produces uneducated and programmed students who understand almost nothing of what occurs beyond the propaganda and mythology of the political-financial leaders.
 

The First Casualties of the War Against the Mind

Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt had been a professor in philosophy and later rector at the University of Leipzig, in Germany, until his death in 1920. At the time, many Americans trained in Europe before returning to the United States to work in universities.

G. Stanley Hall was the first of Wundt’s disciples to return from Leipzig in 1883. Hall joined the faculty of Baltimore’s new Johns Hopkins University, which was being established after the model of the German universities. Hall organized the psychology laboratory at Johns Hopkins and, in 1887, established the American Journal of Psychology. In 1889, when Clark University was established in Worcester, Massachusetts, Hall was chosen to be its first president.

In 1892 Hall played a leading role in founding the American Psychological Association. Hall became known for his studies of child development and in 1904 published his two-volume Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relation to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion, and Education, welding experimental psychology to child education.

We can get a clear idea of the new meaning of Wundtian-defined American education by examining Hall’s definition of educational practice.

“We must overcome the fetishism of the alphabet, of the multiplication tables, of grammars, of scales, and of bibliolatry . . . it would be no serious loss if a child never learned to read.” (emphasis added) 

“Secret knowledge is the basis of all power. Your source of information depends upon who you are and what position you hold in society. Your source of information determines the reliability of what you know.”

                  Steven Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States

Hall considered American working-class children as a “great army of incapables, shading down to those who should be in schools for dullards or subnormal children, for those whose mental development heredity decrees a slow pace and an early arrest.”

 J. McKeen Cattell served for three years as Wundt’s lab assistant in Leipzig, receiving his Ph.D. from Wundt in 1886. Cattell’s primary interests lay in mental testing and in individual differences in ability. While at Leipzig, Cattell carried out a series of experiments examining the manner in which a person sees the words he is reading.

Testing adults who already knew how to read, Cattell “discovered” they could recognize words without having to sound out the letters. “Eureka!” he said to himself. “Words are not understood by a recognition of the image or the sound of letters, but are perceived as ‘total word pictures.'”

He jumped to the conclusion that you shouldn’t teach a child the sounds of letters and phrases as the first step to being able to read. You teach children how to read by showing them words, and telling them what the words are. This “breakthrough” of Cattell’s led to the adoption of a sight-reading method in many school systems throughout the United States. The result ever since has been increased illiteracy and has now become a national crisis.

Somewhat effective teaching occurred in the first half of the twentieth century in America, primarily because the nation was rapidly moving from an agricultural to an industrial culture and citizens respected and valued education. The Enlightenment ideal of an informed citizenry was still a powerful incentive, so high school civics classes taught the rudiments of what the American political system was supposed to be according to the federal and state constitutions.

However, except in a few instances, American students were never made aware of what was really going on in the world–in terms of the machinations of the demonic cabal. For example, the exposés of writers such as George Seldes or I. F. Stone would have been beyond the pale for most American schools. So Americans fought World War II ignorant of how U.S. companies had helped set up the Nazi regime in Germany and profited from its killing of Allied soldiers.

Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, American education began its rapid and almost total decline. In the latter half of the twentieth and now the twenty-first century, “education” has almost entirely been turned into mere training. The very definition of “education” has been twisted to make it appear to be training. For example,

  • The New Century Dictionary of the English Language (1927) defined education as: “the drawing out of a person’s innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc.–the channels through which those abilities would flourish and serve.”
     
  • Whereas, education was defined in An Outline of Educational Psychology in 1934 in these terms:     “Learning is the result of modifiability in the paths of neural conduction. Explanation of even such forms of learning as abstraction and generalization demand of the neurones [sic] only growth, excitability, conductivity, and modifiability. The mind is the connection-system of man; and learning is the process of connecting. The situation-response formula is adequate to cover learning of any sort, and the really influential factors in learning are readiness of the neurones, sequence in time, belongingness, and satisfying consequences.”

By 1968, John Goodlad, one of the educational establishment’s best known spokespersons, made it clear just what was important in “education.”

“The most controversial issues of the twenty-first century will pertain to the ends and means of modifying human behavior and who shall determine them. The first educational question will not be ‘what knowledge is of the most worth?’ but ‘what kinds of human beings do we wish to produce?’ The possibilities virtually defy our imagination.”

         “Learning and Teaching in the Future,” Today’s Education
         (journal of the National Education Association)

This reduction of “education” to neuron connection and behavior modification has now been completed by the most recent crippling of “education” as “work/study.” An article defining this destruction of education appeared in National Review in 1993, with a revealing title: “The Competitiveness Illusion: Does our Country Need to Be Literate in Order to Be competitive? If Not, Why Read.”

“Technological society turns out to work in the opposite way from that usually supposed: namely, by actually requiring less rather than more education of its workers. This is because modern industry depends on reducing human error, which means reducing dependence on the individual worker’s expertise and judgment. In building or maintaining electronic devices, workers who once installed or rewired electrical circuits now plug in modular components consisting of machine-printed circuit boards. . . The future role of literacy in the workplace has been succinctly stated by Pierre Dogan, the president of Granite Communications, a company that is now ‘developing software for hotel housekeeping.’ It seems that ‘so long as maids can read room numbers, they will be able to check off tasks completed or order supplies by simply touching pictures on the screen.” Dogan points out that ‘you can create a work program with prompting including iconic [picture] messages.’ In fact, he logically concludes, ‘you can use an illiterate workforce.'”

Because of this twisting of “education” into training, as a university instructor I was faced with students who have never learned to read, write, or think. They are the wounded, deformed casualties of the criminal cabal’s war against the mind. But the educational establishment doesn’t even recognize the devastated condition of American education. Many university professors, even full professors, cannot write or speak sound English. A department chair in a state university in California recently wrote a book, which he forced all students in the introductory class to buy, which contained over one hundred grammatical errors.

Quota hiring is rampant in higher education. Unfortunately, the ability to speak intelligible English is no longer required, and students suffer the consequences.
 

Critical Consciousness

As education is subverted into mere training, three essentials of intelligence are being lost:  

  • Critical thinking
     
  • Self-awareness
     
  • Critical consciousness

Critical consciousness is the ability to perceive social, political, and economic oppression and to take action against the oppressive elements of society, as delineated by the author’s recently published book Progressive Awareness.

The concept of critical consciousness (conscientizacao) was developed by Paulo Freire primarily in his books:

  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed
     
  • Education for Critical Consciousness

The tactics of critical consciousness and a pedagogy of the oppressed were first developed by Freire in his work with third-world people, helping them gain an awareness of world conditions while teaching them to read.

In the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire exposed our educational system as one in which:

  • The teacher is the depositor, the students are the depositories
     
  • The teacher issues communiqués (instead of communicating) which students passively receive, memorize, and repeat
     
  • Knowledge becomes a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those they consider to know nothing
     
  • Teachers and administrators choose the instructional program content and students adapt to it
     
  • “The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world. The more completely they accept the passive role impressed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them.”

Though Freire worked with various educators throughout the world, the concept of critical consciousness never had significant impact on pedagogical practice. In our current narcissistic era, schools at all levels teach students to pursue money and self-interest. As Gekko, the tycoon, says in the movie Wall Street, “Greed is good.” A critical awareness of what is happening in the world is decidedly not a part of the contemporary curriculum–from grade school to graduate school.

If you examine graduate courses on Global Economy, for example, you’ll not find a single mention of the terrible human costs: rising unemployment in the home economies, slave wages in the third world countries where manufacturing is relocated, runaway immigration, and a constant degradation of the environment.

Freire worked to help third-world people overcome illiteracy. Today, his insights can be applied to two different kinds illiteracy:

  • Those who cannot grasp the sense of letters or symbols
     
  • Those who can “read” (in the grammar school sense) but who cannot read: understand the meaning of the words they see
    • There are those today, for example, who “read” about such things as worker layoffs and American corporations relocating their manufacturing plants in China or Indonesia, but who do not understand the meaning of what they “read.”
    • Another kind of modern-day “illiteracy” occurs as people “read” or “hear” the “news” in newspapers or on TV, and allow themselves to be taken in by the propaganda that such “news” involves.

Now, more than ever, we need to begin developing a critical consciousness in all of us who are oppressed by this new imperialistic strategy of globalism. We’re up against a number of obstacles:

  • The lack of awareness that we are the oppressed
     
  • The lack of solidarity among the oppressed people
     
  • The loss of a common tradition of democracy and human rights
     
  • The indifference of oppressed people to their situation

Living in an age of repression, we become accustomed to it. So what if our schools no longer teach people how to read or think, no longer help students gain an understanding of why human liberty is so precious and precarious. Our movies, TV shows, and books present images of “cool,” illiterate, violence-prone savages dressed in the latest styles and exhibiting the popular ego-centered attitudes. Unable to understand the creativity of a well-written novel or screenplay, no longer capable of appreciating the depths of classical music, people today move in a grey world of ego-gratification and violence. Soon the false values become identified as the true, and we have movies such as Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, and As Good As It Gets touted as masterpieces.

We only gain awareness of the oppressive nature of contemporary society when we become the victim of unemployment or a mugging or some other mishap. Trained to be oblivious to the plight of others, we fail to see the hundreds of thousands who suffer from homelessness, lack of medical care, and wage slavery.

Since people are encouraged to pursue their own interests, there is no feeling of solidarity and hence no possibility of concerted effort to overcome the oppressive conditions. It seems perfectly normal that a two-class society is rapidly developing, with new billionaires being created every year while millions of workers are laid off, denied welfare, and their tax money stolen by wealthy looters in such scams as the Enron/Anderson swindle, the savings and loan fraud, the Mexican “loan” scandal, and the IMF repayment to wealthy investors who suffered from the Asian stockmarket crash.

We must begin to awaken ourselves to what’s happening in the world and taking action to overcome the oppressive conditions. And here Freire’s books are exceptionally helpful.

“Who are better prepared than the oppressed to understand the terrible significance of an oppressive society? Who suffer the effects of oppression more than the oppressed? Who can better understand the necessity of liberation? They will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through their recognition of the necessity to fight for it. And this fight, because of the purpose given it by the oppressed, will actually constitute an act of love opposing the lovelessness which lies at the heart of the oppressors’ violence, lovelessness even when clothed in false generosity.”

As oppressed people we must become aware of what has happened to us and develop our own sense of what it means to be truly human.

“How can the oppressed, as divided, unauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation? Only as they discover themselves to be ‘hosts’ of the oppressor can they contribute to the midwifery of their liberating pedagogy. As long as they live in the duality in which to be is to be like and to be like is to be like the oppressor, this contribution is impossible. The pedagogy of the oppressed is an instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are manifestations of dehumanization.”

As we begin to struggle against oppressive conditions, we must retain an optimistic attitude, with assurance that the struggle for freedom will ultimately succeed.

“In order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit , but as a limiting situation which they can transform.”

 We need to struggle against all the different forms of oppression:

  • External
    • Political: for example, making people think that politicians aren’t bought by big money
    • Economic: making people into wage slaves and creating increased unemployment
    • Military: creating huge defense budgets so the military-supply corporations make obscene profits
    • Informational: making people think that the false information they’re being given is true
        
  • Internal
    • Allowing ourselves to become people who want others to make all major decisions for us
    • Failing to keep ourselves informed about what’s happening in the world
    • Failing to become aware of our own prejudices and blind spots
    • Making ourselves believe that we can’t change ourselves and our world

Oppressors, persons who have become possessed (literally) with the idea that “having” is the ultimate value, lose the ability to think rationally over time. At present, the plutocratic elite is blind to anything but their own frenzy to gain more wealth and fame. They are unaware that they are creating the very circumstances of their defeat: a society in which larger numbers of people are falling into poverty, where people of all ethnic, gender, and religious groupings are beginning to see that their common enemy is the plutocratic, corporate-based plunderer class.
 

The War Against Intelligence

America today is a combat zone where the War Against Intelligence is constantly being waged. Unfortunately, the rulers are currently winning: Americans are progressively losing their ability to understand what is happening in the world around them. Americans are unable to see that the Bush administration is using the pretext of the war against terrorism to destroy essential constitutional liberties. Billions of dollars have been stolen by the wealthy while the working class is devastated through unemployment and lower wages. A poor person is jailed for a $20 theft, but a plutocrat is allowed to steal the pension fund of thousands of workers without penalty.

The Bush administration’s first attack on American learning was the Education Bill signed into law by President Bush in January, 2002. The bill essentially equates education with training for high test scores. Those who benefit most from this new law are not students or teachers but the publishers of textbooks and companies that carry out testing. To see how these benefiting companies are directly tied to the Bush family, see Updaes, below. 

Now the Bush-aligned Supreme Court has delivered the coup de grace to American education. Our tax dollars can now be used to fund training in any religious or political ideology imaginable. Granted, public funds since the 1950s have been used exclusively to dumb down America, but tax dollars did not go to support ideologically-based schools that were totally inimical to American values.

That’s the difficulty; we’ve lost any effective understanding of what American values are. So now, the fascist cabal is going to destroy any unity among Americans through this new educational anarchy. Bush and his controllers think that they’re going to be able to fund primarily, if not exclusively, private Roman Catholic and Protestant fundamentalist schools that teach unthinking obedience to authoritarian leaders. That’s their primary purpose for this catastrophic blow to American education. How they’re going to disallow public funds for the extremist schools–the Islamic fundamentalist madrasa, the Jewish anti-Islamic school, the right wing militia school, or any other ideologically-based fanatical school–remains to be seen.

Supreme Court Justice Breyer, who dissented from the 5-4 ruling, predicted that the decision would prove highly divisive in a country with “more then 55 different religious groups.” He foresees many struggles, asking, “How will the public react to government funding for schools that take controversial religious positions on topics that are of current popular interest–say, the conflict in the Middle East or the war on terrorism?” Precisely!

Justice John Paul Stevens, another one who dissented from the majority called the recent ruling “profoundly misguided.” He wrote, “Whenever we remove a brick from the wall that was designed to separate religion and government, we increase the risk of religious strife and weaken the foundation of our democracy.”

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court in a 1998 ruling allowed their voucher system to stand, some 6,000 students make use of the vouchers, worth about $5,000 apiece. This results in $30 million being funneled from the budget of the Milwaukee school district into the coffers of the Catholic Church and other private schools. With this new ruling, the program can now be fully utilized, so that 15,000 students can leave the system, cutting the funding of the public schools by $75 million.

Republican supporters of the voucher hide the fact from the public that the crisis in the schools is largely the product of decades of federal, state and local spending cuts, tax breaks to big business and attacks on teachers’ and other school employees’ wages and working conditions.

Privately-run schools will continue to screen applicants and reject any student they deem unacceptable. While the language of most voucher programs prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin, these schools can reject students based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, ability to pay, behavioral issues or academic or physical ability. They would be under no financial pressure to provide help for students with special needs, since it is more costly to provide care for special education children, and most private schools are not staffed to handle them.

The newly-sanctioned voucher system will intensify class and social distinctions. The top schools will be reserved for the wealthiest layers of society who can pay to send their children to elite private schools and academies. Next below on the totem pole will be the private and for-profit schools for middle-class and working class children, whose parents will have to work longer hours and go further into debt to scrape together thousands of dollars to pay tuition costs. At the very bottom will be the public schools, left for the poorest and most disadvantaged working class students. Unable to do little to help working class youth develop learning skills, the role of these schools will be little more than training lower-class students for low-paying jobs.

Beginning at the time of the American revolution, part of the genius of the nation has been the right to public education, based on the idea that all children, regardless of economic or social status, race, religion or ethnic background, be guaranteed government-paid, quality education. Founding fathers such as Jefferson favored the establishment of government-funded “free schools” in opposition to the aristocratic system in Europe, where education was limited to the wealthiest layers of society and largely overseen by the Church.

In the nineteenth century these democratic principles were advanced by such reformers as Horace Mann, who wrote in 1848:

“If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former.”

In the early part of the twentieth century, the working class took up the fight for public education, which was inseparable from the campaign against child labor. However it was only through the civil rights struggles, from the 1930s through 1960s, that universal access to the public schools was fully achieved.

Now, in the twenty-first century the right to sound public education for the working class has come into collision with the plans of the criminal cabal for a society primarily for the benefit of the wealthy. The rampant growth of class inequality has produced a state of affairs that is fundamentally incompatible with democratic principles, which are based on the equal rights of all citizens.

The whole issue of public money for ideologically-based schools will prove extremely divisive throughout the nation. The Republicans, the majority of whom support vouchers, will use the issue as a way to attack any Democrat who opposes vouchers as a tool of the teacher unions.

Americans are rapidly losing a sense of the traditional American values. Anti-intellectual, racist or right-wing multiculturalism has replaced education, bought-and-paid-for-politics has replaced democracy, funneling billions to the fat-cats has replaced statesmanship, and attacks on constitutional liberties has replaced political and judicial oversight.

Americans must now awaken to this horror and once again, if possible, create a public education system which will become the means to transmit to future generations an understanding of the hidden meaning of events and lost democratic concepts. If the ravages that the fascist cabal have wreaked on the public school system are so fundamental that we cannot rejuvenate it, we may have to create our own private “democracy schools” to help us regain our sense, our ability to see what’s happening, our intelligence. When our nation was founded, education was carried on primarily through just such private home schools where Americans learned the values of a democratic way of life.

As some are warning, any government system–public schools or voucher-based private schools–carries government control with it. If the demonic cabal uses the voucher system to gain total ideological control of private schools, we may have to create completely private “democracy schools” without resorting to vouchers.

Education must become the transmission of true human understanding to future generations. This will require a group of people assisting others to see that current “politics” and “education” are actually counterfeits of real social values, and developing institutions which will provide insight into what is actually occurring in the world.

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Author: Dr. Norman D. Livergood 
Source: The New Enlightenment 

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Recommended Reading

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Updates

  • 7/26/08: Literacy Debilitates Katrina Victims 
     
  • 5/3/08: Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger Destroys California Public Education; Supporting Privatization of Education 
     
  • 3/5/07: Textbook Propaganda 
     
  • 3/3/07: Utah’s 9/11 Attack on American Education 
     
  • 2/16/07: The “No Child Left Behind” Scam 
     
  • 8/22/06: Bush Family Profits from “No Child” Act 
     
  • 12/16/05: Even persons who have college and graduate degrees are illiterate! 
     
  • 12/15/05: National Assessment of Adult Literacy
     
  • 3/1/05: Bush Cuts Education Funds for Poor, Disabled & Immigrant Students 
     
  • 1/25/05: Bush Family Loots U.S. Education Funds 
     
  • 8/19/03: Learning to Be Stupid in the Culture of Cash 
     
  • 8/13/02: US “school reform” throws students into the street 
     
  • 7/6/02: Vouchers and Government Control
     
  • 7/1/02: US Supreme Court authorizes school vouchers: a simultaneous assault on freedom of thought and public education
     
  • 5/10/02: The Bush administration’s proposal for single-sex schools is a giant step backward in the struggle for girls’ and women’s equality
     
  • 2/2/02: How Neil Bush Hopes To Make Millions Off His Brother’s Education Program
     
  • 1/21/02: “Washington Post Company to benefit from Bush education bill,” By Margie Burns
     
  • 1/11/02: “Reading Between the Lines:” The New Education Law is a Victory for Bush — And for His Corporate Allies
     
  • BUSH WATCH Special Topic: EDUCATION
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