Uncle Sam Wants You to Stop Being a Dunce       The Destruction
of American
Education


And What We
Must Do About It

By Dr. Norman D. Livergood

"We are not speaking of education in the narrower sense, but of that other education in virtue from youth upwards, which makes a man eagerly pursue the ideal perfection of citizenship, and teaches him how both to rule and be ruled virtuously. This is the only education which, upon our view, deserves the name; that other sort of training, which aims at the acquisition of wealth or bodily strength, or mere cleverness apart from intelligence and justice, is mean and illiberal, and is not worthy to be called education at all."

Plato, Laws I, 643e


     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 has happened and is happening in America today. The capitalist cabal that now controls the U.S. has systematically destroyed American education in general and is currently attacking each academic discipline.

      Obama, the cabal puppet, has continued the Bush onslaught against public education and initiated two new attacks:

  • Common Core

  • Race to the Top

    Common Core is a cabal initiative to federalize all public and private education. "The controversial 'standards' scheme, known informally as 'Common Core,' is being foisted on state governments all across the country with a combination of taxpayer-funded bribes, outright deception, and federal bludgeoning. Despite America's long traditions of local governance and separation of powers, the Obama administration and its establishment allies in both parties are determined to get the standards rolled out nationwide. So far, their progress has been remarkable." (Source)

   Obama's "Race to the Top" initiative actually constitutes a race to the bottom for American students.
"The basic idea is to force state governments to compete for $4.35 billion in federal assistance, with the money going to those states which do the most to promote charter schools, utilize standardized testing, and weaken workplace rules for teachers. Essentially, the scheme sets up a bidding war among the states for desperately needed funds on the basis of an anti-public education agenda that has been promoted for decades by the right wing.
"Pairing the Democratic Party demagogue Sharpton with Gingrich is aimed at suggesting that a broad coalition has formed behind Obama's education agenda.

"Sharpton's role is to defuse opposition in largely African-American urban schools that will be particularly devastated by Obama's policies. Citing the 'achievement gap' that remains between black and white students, Sharpton now champions the same policies he opposed when they were put forward by the Bush administration." 1

          Under Bush II, the social sciences were 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 was what Jeb and his cronies said it was, and any disagreement with their "facts" was not to be tolerated.

Austerity: the New Excuse for Destroying Education

      The capitalist cabal's new scam is to decry the debts of the federal, state, and municipal governments and to claim that AUSTERITY (reduction of jobs and services for workers) and PRIVATIZATION (selling of public properties and institutions to capitalists) are the only legitimate solutions. The current fiscal crisis is the outcome of decades of tax cuts for the rich, expanded military spending, trillion dollar bankster bailouts, and the 2008 economic crash caused by criminally-created bogus financial instruments and un-regulated speculation.

      The capitalist cabal is destroying American public education by attacking its principles and infrastructure and also by brainwashing a dumbed-down American public to believe that the debt crisis demands that public schools be turned over (not necessarily sold) to private, free-market-oriented capitalist corporations.


"The ruling class in the United States is intensifying its campaign to dismantle public education.

"With the new fiscal year that began yesterday [7/1/2011], states throughout the country are slashing education funding, leading to the layoff of tens of thousands of teachers and the closure of hundreds of schools.

"Both the Democratic and Republican parties are using the fiscal crisis--the outcome of decades of tax cuts to the rich, the bailout of the banks, and an economic crash caused by rampant speculation--as an opportunity to undermine and eliminate public education."

Source


The Deliberate Creation of American Illiteracy

     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.

     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.

      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.
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

     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 obscene wealth for themselves and impoverishment, homelessness, and death for the working class. 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.

A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says the United States is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation will not surpass the preceding generation in terms of schooling.

Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the OECD, told the BBC News: "It's something of great significance because much of today's economic power of the United States rests on a very high degree of adult skill--and that is now at risk."


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.

Helen Keller       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.

     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 John D. Rockefellerof 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 moneyed 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.

      As early as 1913, cabal leaders made it clear that they wanted American schools to produce compliant laborers, not "authors," "poets," or "men of letters."

"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 that 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

    Training Serfs

  • Imposing miseducation and brainwashing 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

  • Deluding Americans--especially the young people--into mistaking technological savvy for intelligence

"Yes, young Americans are energetic, ambitious, enterprising, and good, but their talents and interests and money thrust them not into books and ideas and history and civics, but into a whole other realm and other consciousness. A different social life and a different mental life have formed among them. Technology has bred it, but the result doesn't tally with the fulsome descriptions of digital empowerment, global awareness, and virtual communities. Instead of opening young American minds to the stores of civilization and science and politics, technology has contracted their horizon to themselves, to the social scene around them. Young people have never been so intensely mindful of and present to one another, so enabled in adolescent contact. Teen images and songs, hot gossip and games, and youth-to-youth communications no longer limited by time or space wrap them up in a generational cocoon reaching all the way into their bedrooms. The autonomy has a cost: the more they attend to themselves, the less they remember the past and envision the future. They have all the advantages of modernity and democracy, but when the gifts of life lead to social joys, not intellectual labor, the minds of the young plateau at 18. The fonts of knowledge are everywhere, but the rising generation is camped in the desert, passing stories, pictures, tunes, texts back and forth, living off the thrill of peer attention. Meanwhile their intellects refuse the cultural and civic inheritance that has made us what we are up to now."

Mark Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation, 2007


Founders of U.S.     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.


"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."

Woodrow Wilson, 1909, then president of Princeton University


      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:

    Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt

  • 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.


"Wundt's theories had great appeal for the Rothschilds and . . . suited their plans for humanity perfectly. Wundt asserted that humans are devoid of spirit and self-determinism (and hence free will) and that man is just the sum of his experiences. This atheistic, materialist philosophy dominated his approach to study of the human psyche. Indeed in practical terms he virtually denied the existence of the psyche and this enabled him to reduce the study of 'man' to an external, physiological examination of stimulus and response. He said:
'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.'"

Ron Chapman, "Dumbing Down US Education: Part II--
Wundtian Psychology & Rockefeller Finance, Oct 29, 2009


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      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      J. McKeen Cattell served for three years as Wundt's lab assistant in Leipzig, receiving final approval for 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, which 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.

German moneyed interests installing Hitler as dictator      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 predatory 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)


"Still another Times editorialist, Thomas Friedman, begins a column on the desperate state of American education by quoting Bill Gates. Gates, Friedman informs us, gave a 'remarkable speech' in which he declared that 'American high schools are obsolete.' . . . What do our kids need to know today? As far as Friedman is concerned, whatever will get them hired by Bill Gates."
Mark Slouka, "Dehumanized: When Math and Science Rule the School,"
Harper's, September, 2009


education is mere training      This reduction of "education" to training, 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. . . A mindless mass follows its dictator 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.'"
why bother teaching them to read?      Because of this twisting of "education" into training, as a university instructor I was faced with students who had never learned to read, write, or think. They were 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 of illiterate people:
    • 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.

    The War Against Intelligence


    Follow the leader?      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 cabal is using the pretext of the war against terrorism to destroy essential constitutional liberties. Billions of dollars have been stolen by the wealthy in the bailout scam, while the working class is devastated through unemployment and home foreclosures. 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 cabal attacked American learning through 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: one of whom is Neil Bush, Dubya's brother. To see how these benefiting companies are directly tied to the Bush family, see below.

    There must not be public funds for terrorists or extremists      Now the Supreme Court has delivered the coup de grace to American education: on June 27, 2002, the Neanderthal majority in the court ruled that the government may give financial aid to parents so they can send their children to religious or private schools. 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. Obama and his controllers are funding 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.

    Justice Breyer      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 Stevens      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.

    Horace Mann      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.

    "[The Republican-dominated] Texas State Board of Education . . . filtered conservative ideology into many lessons, downplaying the importance of the civil rights movement while touting Newt Gingrich's 'Contract With America'; citing the "conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s"; recognizing the roles played by Phyllis Schlafly, The Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association; requiring students to read the speeches of Confederate President Jefferson Davis along with those of Abraham Lincoln; and recognizing country music as a significant cultural movement . . ."

    Miguel Perez, "Texas politicizing education," Creators Syndicate, 7/20/2010

    A new birth of freedom      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.


    Teacher/Student Evaluation

          The federal No Child Left Behind law (NCLB), which went into effect in 2002, was the cabal's strategy to reduce learning to mere memorization of inert content in books published by cabal fellow travelers such as Neil Bush. NCLB allows ignoramuses pretending to be teachers and scholars to create spurious content and evaluation instruments that indoctrinate students in reactionary principles. The pretence is that this policy makes schools "accountable." What this actually means is focusing most of the teachers' and students' attention on state standardized testing and results: memorization.

          The law requires all schools to test students in grades 2-12 in reading, math and science. Each state chooses its own test and standards of proficiency. Schools that don't show that students are making "adequate yearly progress" toward achieving proficiency are subject to federal sanctions, including loss of federal funds, providing free tutoring, allowing students to transfer to another school, and if all else fails, a complete restructuring of the school.

          Evaluation of teachers and students must be based on a clear understanding of what genuine education is:

  • Radical change in a teacher's and a student's thought and behavior

  • Ability in critical thinking: thinking for oneself based on understanding of evidence as opposed to mere authoritarian assertion 2

  • Self-awareness: cognizance of one's beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses

  • Critical consciousness: awareness of the world

    "Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers--those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential--and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point."

    Chris Hedges, Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System, truthdig.org, 4/10/2011


    What We Must Do

          The ravages that the fascist cabal has wreaked on the public school system are so fundamental that we cannot rejuvenate it. We must create our own private "commonwealth schools" within a cooperative commonwealth community, 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. Since the demonic cabal is using the voucher system to gain total ideological control of private schools, we must create private "commonwealth schools" within cooperative communities without resorting to vouchers.

          Americans are currently in such a debilitated state of ignorance and egomania that our only hope is creating a small, experimental community in which to:

    1. Educate our young people in progressive awareness

    2. Work toward a commonwealth

    3. Develop a Saving Remnant

          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 cooperative communities which will create genuine educational institutions that will provide students insight into what is actually occurring in the world.




    Notes:

    1 Obama's public education race to the bottom

    2 To test for genuine understanding--beyond mere memorization--a test must go beyond the True or False or Multiple Choice formats. Authentic understanding of ideas can be evaluated using Agree or Disagree tests. The student does not merely indicate whether an answer is true or false or delineate what she takes to be the "right" answer. The student is asked whether a statement agrees or disagrees with a particular reading, which tests her understanding of the material. Examples of such tests:


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