This will come as a surprise to you, everything about the nation’s educational system does, but Congress back in 1970 recognized that the federal government is supposed to have limited authority when it comes to education. An amended General Education Provisions Act specifically articulated a “Prohibition against Federal Control of Education.
It forbids the federal government from exercising any “direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration or personnel of any education institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system.”
The loophole through which the subversion of our education system was accomplished was federal funding of “research” and “development.”
By the 1980’s (see the previous two editions of Warning Signs for a look at the 1960’s and 1970’s by clicking on the Archives below) the effort to turn schools from places where students actually learn something to places where their values, beliefs, and cognitive skills were determined by “Outcome Based Education”, behavior modification programs. The objective of these programs is to turn students in to little citizens of a one-world government where they are mere economic units, not individuals, nor people who give much thought to individual liberty.
Individual liberty was the reason the American Revolution was fought and is the philosophical basis for every word in the US Constitution. A generation or two of Americans who are systematically robbed of any knowledge of this are ripe for an authoritarian takeover.
The father of this movement is Prof. Benjamin Bloom and his book, “All Our Children learning”. Published in 1981, it is the bible of OBE. In it he says, “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings, and actions of students.” No, the purpose of education is to provide students with a sufficient knowledge of basic skills in writing, reading, arithmetic, as well as history and the sciences. Thus prepared, they are likely to be the kind of citizens that will question efforts to deprive this nation of its sovereignty in favor of a world government run out of the United Nations.
It gets worse. Writing in The Effective School Report, Dr. Thomas A. Kelly, Ph.D., stated that “The brain should be used for processing, not storage.” This is the view of education that says you prepare students to take a test determined by federal standards of what they should know. The student is merely to process predetermined bits and pieces of information. The best example of this is the rat’s maze where the rat learns to follow a specific path to get a piece of cheese.
This is a simplified explanation of why today’s children have difficulty acquiring and retaining a body of useful, long-term information such as multiplication tables or who the nation’s presidents have been, the 50 States of the Union, when the Civil War was fought, where India can be found on a map, the names of the earth’s oceans, et cetera!
The whole movement to utterly change the direction and purpose of our nation’s schools picked up momentum in the 1980’s and, sorry to say it, it occurred on Ronald Reagan’s watch. The harsh truth about the subversion of the nation’s schools has not been a Democratic or Republican program. It has occurred no matter who was in office or who controlled Congress. It happened because few politicians were paying any attention to what was really occurring over at the Department of Education.
In her book, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”, Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt, says, “The real purpose of this project was to propose a radical redesign of the nation’s education system from one based on inputs to one based on outputs.” It switched, in other words, from a curriculum of content a student was required to learn, to a series of answers the student was supposed to repeat when tested. Or as Iserbyt explains it, the system turned away “from one oriented toward the learning of academic content to one based on performance of selected skills, necessary for the implementation of school-to-work” The schools, with direction from the DOE and grants from major foundations, as well as input from corporate leaders, were redesigned to produce workers.
Well, what’s so bad about that? We need workers. Ask anyone responsible for the management of any size organization, from a local bakery to a major corporation, what their primary problem is and they will tell you it’s finding good workers. That is to say, finding people with even the most basic education or skills to perform any job with a minimum of competency. That is the result of the education system that has been foisted on this nation.
Take away their pocket calculators and the newest generation of workers cannot add or subtract. Take away “spell check” on their computers and they are helpless to spell accurately. These are basic skills Americans used to learn in one-room schoolhouses heated with a wood-burning oven. They could also tell you the branches of the US government and a whole lot more than today’s graduates.
In the 1980’s the DOE says Iserbyt, “effectively transformed the essential character of the nation’s public schools from ‘teaching’—the most traditional and conservative role of schools—to ‘workforce training’—perceived as liberal and ‘progressive.'” It is a particular irony that one of Ronald Reagan’s campaign platforms was the abolishing of the Department of Education. He was right. He didn’t do it.
What, in fact, happened was that control of the schools and their curriculum’s increasing moved up the decision-making ladder away from local school boards and even state education departments. Administrators and teachers were delighted with this because it eliminated the “meddling” of locally elected and locally responsible school board members.
The instrument for this was the development of a “Course Goals Collection” completed by the DOE in 1980-81. “The collection consists of fourteen volumes with 15,000 goals covering every major subject taught in the public schools from K-12.” Remember that 1970 prohibition on any federal government involvement in instruction? Nobody else did either.
In 1981, 70,000 copies were distributed, despite the fact that only approximately 16,000 school districts existed. And you wonder why every state now has the same goals? With remarkable success, Outcome-Based Education became the way American students were to be trained to believe the same things, have the same values, and to ignore those they were taught at home.
This is important because values are supposed to be the job of parents. Some parents are Catholic. Some parents are Protestant. Some are Jewish or Moslum. Some are liberal and some are conservative. Their values no longer seem to matter. That’s why there no longer is a moment of prayer in any school in America. That’s why the school day often does not begin with the salute to the flag or a recitation of a pledge of allegiance. Much of the day is spent “teaching to the test” whose standards were determined in Washington, D.C., not by the parents, not by the local school board, not by anyone you know!
How was this achieved? Because, according to a 1981 report by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, “Federal funds account for approximately ten percent of national expenditures on education. The Federal share of educational research and related activities, however, is ninety percent of the total national investment.”
Thus, as Iserbyt notes in her book, “just about everything that goes on in the classrooms of American public schools, with the exception of salaries, school buildings, buses, and the purchase of equipment, is either a direct or indirect result of funding by the U.S. Department of Education as research!”
It should come as no surprise that, by the end of the 1980Õs, writing in the January 25, 1989 issue of Education Week, Chester E. Finn, Jr., the former head of the DOE’s research branch, would tell business leaders that he favored a “national curriculum.” Flashback to the congressional prohibition on a curriculum determined at the federal level. Consider it null and void. The people in the DOE obviously did.
Little wonder, too, that in 1989, then-President George H. Bush unveiled “America 2000” (now known as “Goals 2000”) to the National Governor’s Association that virtually set in concrete the whole behavior modification movement that has been foisted on the American education system.
That same year, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Elementary Global Education Framework was announced. Its goals were to create “Human beings whose home is planet earth, who are citizens of a multicultural democratic society in an increasingly interconnected world, and who learn, care, think, choose, and act, to celebrate life on this planet, and to meet the global challenges confronting Humankind.”
NO! We are talking about AMERICAN students going to AMERICAN schools in the sovereign nation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We are not sending kids to school to become citizens of the world, programmed to deal with global challenges, i.e., threats to the environment that require we all cut back on the use of energy or pick up the bill to bring developing nations up to speed. That is exactly the game plan of the United Nations and the worldwide conspiracy of socialists masquerading as environmentalists.
That is, however, what is going on in our schools TODAY. That’s why President George W. Bush’s proposal to throw $5 billion at those schools, presumably to teach a subject, reading, they should already be teaching, is a continuation of the same bad ideas that president’s since Eisenhower have been rubber-stamping. And then ignoring.
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The series is Copyrighted by Alan Caruba, 2001. Any use of the series, in whole or in part, must contain attribution to the author, The National Anxiety Center, POB 40, Maplewood, NJ and/or the Center’s URL, www.anxietycenter.com.