Thursday, March 31, 2011

Breaking the Chains – Our Rotten Common Core Part 3a

“ In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. ”
Thomas Jefferson, 10 Nov. 1798
What do you suppose Jefferson was referring to in the quote above? The Constitution?... or the paper it was printed on? What power does that have? I'll say... none. The Law’s only power lies in the hearts and minds of those who read and understand the constitution and insist that it be respected and followed, and even then it is powerless unless We The People insist our govt limits itself to only those powers which We The People have delegated to it – absent that, it is only paper. The only strength Jefferson’s chains can have is that which is derived from the understanding which you and I have of the constitution's meaning and purpose. That is the real strength of our Republic, and the only chains with which We The People can bind the powerful down.

This was of course the reason why Jefferson was so adamant that Education be spread across the land; our Republic cannot survive without it, but of course his idea of what Education was, bore little relation to what we think of it as being today, and in that the statist’s hacksaw has been busily sawing back and forth upon the links in Jefferson's chains. From the outright attacks and neglect of well over a century, our awareness of the common core materials, traditions and principles vital to Western Civilization and critical to our American way of life, have been damaged.

What do I mean by 'damaged'? Ask the nearest college graduate to name the key events and ideas of Western Civilization. Once you've failed at that, as there's a good chance you have, then try it again with a High School student. For bonus points, ask either one to name what Article's I, IIIII of the constitution primarily deal with.

That's what I mean by damaged. Our ability to not only understand what we read, but to know what we should bother to read; that has been just as weakened as Jefferson's chains themselves have been, indeed there is little difference between the two.

It may seem like I’m not getting to the point fast enough with these posts (here are parts 1 and part 2), but it's hard for me to see how you'd see the point clearly, if I rushed my way to it. How would you grasp the full meaning if I leave out the parts which the meaning is formed from? Ever seen a hill which you figured would be no problem to trot right up and probably not much worth doing? Then at the top of it, an hour later, winded, chest burning, you force yourself upright to look around and can't believe how far you can see?
The nature of how we've gotten to where we are is sort of like that. But not in a good way. I'm giving you key pieces in these posts, which in the end, will come together and give you the perspective to see quite a bit farther than you wish you could.

How we got where we are today, is the result of numerous well-intentioned, seemingly common sense decisions, made over the span of the last two centuries, progressively refined and reinforced with each passing decade, and are just this much short of our feeling their full power. The culmination of these rather blase decisions are what we are now feeling shake our common core, as an out of balance tire shakes its car to the point that it seems as if the entire car must fall apart – because of one simple balance weight lost. Those decisions begun way back then, changed our concept of Education and opened us up to a set of ideas that are fundamentally anti-American, ideas which incline those who hold them towards innocently seeking after the centralization of power over individual freedom, and through measures such as the industrial model school system, as seemingly common sense solutions. These ideas have quite naturally imposed their own Common Core Curriculum over that which is truly ours as Americans, and they are wiping us out, bit by bit, textbook by textbook and student by student.

Our alien common core has been steadily eating away at those chains which Jefferson had hoped would successfully bind the powerful down, and it has done so cheerfully, as if clearing away a tangle of wires instead of our lifeline. Today, not only are the powerful breaking free of their chains, but even your private life is being made a part of ‘valid’ public policy - parents are losing control the their children’s education and in some states even losing parental rights over their children for daring to refuse the indoctrination being imposed by their state, and the states are losing their sovereignty to the federal government – and the federal government is busily signing on to international policies and agreements which mean incrementally turning over control of not only our country, but that of our own lives and families to the approval of international bodies which will have power to adjudicate and enforce them, bringing us almost full circle around the the list of grievances Jefferson ticked off in the Declaration of Independence.

That’s the point.

Do you get it? Does it mean anything to you? Does it seem plausible?

Probably not.

Not without knowing what has gone into forming and supporting it, can you see what it will require of us… gimme a couple more posts. Well... what with the blog being down for a week... I had some extra time to think... yeahhh... so this post grew into two posts... so gimme a few more posts. For now, just at least entertain the possibility that our ‘new’ Common Core Curriculum is a central tool in what is effectively breaking down Jefferson’s, and our own, chains… and if that monster leviathan is successfully loosened… we’re doomed.


In this post we’ll start looking at some of those tools that have been beating against those chains the longest, and the perhaps surprising sources they have been swung from – not only our classrooms, but from the hands of some of our founders themselves, for what began with well-meaning private citizens, organizations, legislators and legislation, has been carrying us further and further away from our American roots, from their day, to ours.

A Scenic View Point
There may be no better vantage point for seeing that, and as a position to start looking back from, than the present one seen here with President Obama’s recent call for “remaking No Child Left Behind”:
“A budget that sacrifices our commitment to education would be a budget that’s sacrificing our country’s future. That would be a budget that sacrifices our children’s future. And I will not let it happen,” Mr. Obama said. “So yes, I’m determined to cut our deficits, but I refuse to do it by telling students here, who are so full of promise, that we’re not willing to invest in your future.”

One fact that few seem to be aware of, is the fact that the Dept of Education is legally forbidden from doing anything regarding the education of the children residing within the several states, which seems to be lost upon President Obama and most of his audience as well. From the legislation which established the Dept. of Ed, "Public Law 96-88, 93 Stat. 668, October 17, 1979":
"SEC1.0 3. (a) It is the intention of the Congress in the establishment of the Department to protect the rights of State and local governments and public and private educational institutions in the areas of educational policies ... The establishment of the Department of Education shall not increase the authority of the Federal Government over education or diminish the responsibility for education which is reserved to the States and the Iocal school systems and other instrumentalities of the States. (b) No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or schoolsystem, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, except to the extent authorized by law."
Well now, believe it or not, you are here and now an eye-witness to a hacksaw sawing upon one of the links in Jefferson's chains and you are seeing how it is accomplished right before your eyes; not by violating the law outright, but by ignoring it's clear intent (though truthfully, the Act's clarity is seriously muddled by other paragraphs), and with a liberal amount of spin, nuance and misdirection, it accomplishes the effect of enabling press conferences and policy statements to take on the power of federal mandates, without coming right out and wording anything that way.

Understanding a law, seeing that it's clear intent is visible for all to see, and seeing to it that Federal agencies comport with that, is a vital link in Jefferson's binding chains. But when Federal agencies know the wording and intent of the law which is to govern their activities, and they, and their chief executive, the President, set out to get around that in order to do what they prefer it said... and the people, and the people's legislators, say nothing - that link is broken clean through. You might be comforted seeing the lengths of chains looped all about... but such chains no longer hold anything together or bind anything down. They may still be a nuissance... but that's just the matter of a bit more sawing.

Without that link securely in the chain between the law, the constitution and the citizenry, defining whether or not it’s legal for Obama (or Bush II who initiated this version of it) to misappropriate funds (steal money) for those kiddies future (which they’ve no right to affect), they are exerting power which has not been delegated to them by We The People (Usurping, was the word the Founders had for it), and without popular outcry; then We The People's understanding of our place within the Republic is missing, the intent of the laws are simply ignored, and Leviathan can be seen working it's way loose.

Law is only law, if We The People are aware of it and insist upon it’s being followed and respected. Absent that, it’s simply paper, easily edited, reinterpreted, overridden and ignored, and that is one lesson that is no longer being taught in our schools. That should be an educational issue all its own, but for those speaking public words today, their promises are routinely seen to be more important than their reality – and believe me, that lesson is being taught and learned today.

It is in just this way that, in a nation based upon ideas, rather than geography, that education becomes revolution, which is something that those who've changed our form of Education have known all along.

Centralization… International Bachelloreatte, Common Core Curriculum Standards... a rot by any other name, is rotten all the same
A statement such as Obama made on reforming NCLB, became possible for a President to publicly make without concern for the reactions of legislators or the citizenry, because of those things which had begun to happen a century and a half earlier. There were some who saw things going awry, as I noted in the last post, but few I think realized the full dangers that would follow if those well intentioned actions were allowed to occur. Still though, there were many who saw at least some aspects of them, and they didn't much like what they saw.

The Atlantic Monthly, in June of 1882, said about the run up to the Morrill Act,
“The year 1862 will in this connection remain memorable in the history of American agriculture. The subject of a donation of public lands for the endowment of industrial colleges had been repeatedly mooted, and in 1857 a bill to that effect was brought before Congress by Mr. Morrill, of Vermont. But in the violence of political agitation at that time, and on account of the especial opposition to the exercise of power by the Federal government, it did not become a law. "
Now, looking at the dates you might think they’re talking only about the events and conflicts leading up to the Civil War, but no, that wasn’t the case. The first attempts to impose federal and state sponsored schools upon the public, an old idea which gained modern currency with Rousseau’s Emile and much popularity in Germany and France through institutions called “Normal” schools (more on them later), were met not only with loud and rousing objections by many, but in some cases even rioting.

But who, you and President Obama might ask, could possibly be against ‘Investing in young people’s future’?

Lots and lots of Americans, it turns out. Everyone from farmers, who didn’t want to pay for such folly, to College Presidents, who being the best Educated, could see pretty clearly what would follow from the Govt intruding into what they ‘should be’ teaching in their colleges. There were actual public Riots over the proposals being made to have the state or federal government get involved in such a thing, and significantly, it was the farmers, or their children, who were being targeted most by the new innovations in ‘education’. One of the biggest proponents of this new 'free public education', particularly education that would be more "suited to their aptitudes, interests and careers" of the little people, was a Professor named Jonathan B. Turner, who gave fiery speech’s proposing that the old, outmoded, ideals which colleges had been traditionally concerned with, you know, the best authors, the best materials and Art which Western Culture had to offer (which he was a professor of, btw), and in the original languages which insured that their full meaning would not be lessened, or even translations of them if need be; Turner insisted that in the name of ‘progress’, these treasures should be discarded as being worthless, traded in for more useful skills.

Turner, Morrill and the ‘new ideas’ people, wanted a new education, more focused upon practical concerns, heavy with new sciencyish-stuff like modern agricultural skills. According to them, that would form a far more democratic basis for American society, and they felt that these new, smarter, better colleges, should be funded by the federal govt, with strings attached, compelling the states to participate in them.
The majority of people saw this for the harebrained scheme it was, something that would consume their money and produce nothing of value in return. Most people at that time were still capable of realizing that 'free public education' actually meant that the public would not only pay for it but because the govt was involved, they knew they would pay far more for it than they should, and have less say over what it would consist of.

They didn't like that. They fiercely tried to stop it., as an article at “Northern Illinois University” titled ‘The People’s College (The movement behind the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862)’ notes,
"...But there was strong opposition to the public university system. Turner's barn and outbuildings were burned. A number of newspapers railed against the foolishness of what seemed like a Utopian idea and a perfect waste of money. Many farmers and most Illinois farmers believed no results would flow from such an institution that it would actually provide a way for its students to avoid hard, practical work with their hands..."
Although many college presidents, as well as many of the people, tried to oppose this movement, the rising popularity of the faux-science-ish proregressive movement combined with the persistent Republican Progressive Morrill, combined still further with the heat of the crisis of the Civil War, the Morrill Land Grant Colleges Act was passed down their throats.

The approving Atlantic Journal article continues,
“The subsequent events, leading to the civil war, created a strong popular tendency in the reverse direction, in the Northern States; and this, concurrently with the consciousness of the need of popular support on the part of the government, resulted in the passage by Congress, and approval by the president, of two measures most important to agriculture: the creation of the Department of Agriculture as an independent bureau, and the donation to the States of thirty thousand acres of public lands for each representative, for the endowment, in each, of at least one college for the endowment, in each, of at least one college, where the leading object shall he, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.

This beneficent act to promote the arts of peace, again championed chiefly by Mr. Morrill, and passed almost within hearing of hostile cannon, is entitled, whether by oversight or with a view to the conciliation of popular sentiment, A bill for the benefit of agricultural colleges, a title which does not do justice to its broad and liberal scope, and wise deference to the varied requirements of the different portions of the immense empire covered by its action"
A broad and illiberal scope, more like. ‘Liberal (learning) and practical (training)’ were once understood to go together not like ‘Ham and eggs’, but more like ‘Fire and ice’; a liberal education was understood at the Founders time, to be one that taught the ideas which freed a person from ignorance and enabled them to be moral, self-governing individuals. Such Educated people were supremely able to attain the training and skills necessary for the various pursuits and professions they might need in life or get them at Trade Schools – but the reverse is not nearly as true. Someone who’s education is entirely given over to skills and training alone is not freed by that training from their ignorance and passions, they are in fact bound tighter to their trade, and so they must be governed by others.

But such an understanding belonged to the old, outmoded view, which was also the view which produced our Constitution.

So what was the new view? From a biography of John Dewey,
""The higher education system was fundamentally changed over the next decades as a result of two fundamental challenges. The first was the democratic challenge to this older conception of education represented by the Morrill Act of 1862. The aim of this act, named for Dewey's fellow Vermonter, U.S. Senator Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898), was to authorize the use of Federal resources, through the sale of land, for the advancement of the practical possibilities of higher education - especially agricultural and mechanical. That is to say, its purpose was to connect the schools with the practical lives of the people and to advance the common good in a democracy. As the Act itself states, its aim is "to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life." The second challenge to the older conception of education was the scientific challenge, based on the research model of the German universities. This challenge resulted in the founding of the new research universities in America - for example, Hopkins (1876), Clark (1889), Stanford (1892), and Chicago (1892) - with their emphases upon the discovery of new knowledge through empirical research, and the advancement of graduate study in narrowly defined specialities under recognized authorities."(emphasis added)
These were not minor differences in approach, but initiated a wholesale revolution in the understanding of what Education was, what it was for, and how it could be accomplished. We'll look closer at those research universities later, but while the proponents of the new views noted they wouldn’t dream of harming “classical studies, and including military tactics” , their immediate intent and effect was to marginalize them and begin doing away with them both - after all, adding technological agricultural skills classes meant removing other classes… and the only other classes were “classical studies, and including military tactics”… go figure.
You can see the sentiment coming across in this (again from the Atlantic article):
“Since the new institutions could not be numerous or extensive enough to educate the industrial millions, it was argued that they must aim first of all to educate the leaders of progress, to whom the most thorough liberal as well as scientific training ought to be given.
 ...In their anxiety to protect the agricultural student from possible snobbish sneers, arising from the antiquated idea that all manual labor is beneath the dignity of educated men, they proposed to make that idea a determining factor in the choice of the location, connection, and organization of the new schools, by withdrawing them as much as possible from contact with the existing centres of high culture. In this dignified seclusion they hoped to convince the pupils, uncontradicted, of the dignity of labor, surrounding them with a dense agricultural atmosphere, through which no other rays should penetrate. It was even proclaimed in an agricultural convention that muscle must be put on a level with brain, and the sentiment was actually greeted with applause at first, though subsequently followed by energetic protest against such stultification of the cause of agriculture. "
The idea that the view of "manual labor is beneath the dignity of educated men" predominated in a nation built entirely through the manual labor of educated men, was an import of European views by those expressing them, and with a lot of what would in our day be called Spin. What they meant by "they hoped to convince the pupils, uncontradicted, of the dignity of labor", was simply as Turner said, that they wanted to maintain a soft bigotry towards workers "suited to their aptitudes, interests and careers", and hoped to convince their students who, usually schooled with some 'old fashioned' ideas, that higher learning was unimportant, and their new skills would be all they needed. Problem was that those students who did want to learn the new agricultural methods knew what they wanted, a simple Trade School, those who wanted an Education, were instead being given an early version of the diluted monstrosity which dulls minds nationwide today. But even for that, the new colleges were unequipped and unable to give it, as Professor Brubacher notes,
"Neither agriculture nor mechanics was at first prepared to prosper, educationally. Neither had approved courses of study, neither had a literature, neither had skilled teachers, and both were destitute of the matter and the methods of instruction. Added to this, there was no definite call for instruction in the industries. Many people from the industrial masses desired education, it is true, but not to increase their industrial efficiency. It was rather to escape from the industries into what they regarded as a life of ease in the professions.
 Without teachers, without matter, methods, or ideals, and above all without an enthusiastic clientele, — for farmers generally scouted at "book farming," — it is not strange that the "new education " languished. Mechanics, or, as it later came to be called, engineering, fared better than agriculture. The basis of its subject matter is mathematics. Its material was thus from the start more exact than were the chemical and biological principles on which agricultural science was later to develop."
Or as he notes in another book, Higher education in transition,
"How shall we summarize the significance of the land-grant colleges? They were among the first insitutions of learning in the United States to welcome applied science and the mechanic arts and to give these subjects a recognized place in the college curriculum. They fostered the emancipation of American higher education from a purely classical and formalistic tradition. President Welch of the Iowa State Agricultural College expressed this pragmatic philosophy in 1871 when he asserted "that knowledge should be taught for its uses; that culture is an incidental result." The purpose of Iowa State was defined as being tht of promoting "the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life."
 Finally, these colleges stood pre-eminently for the principle, increasingly so important in the twentieth century, that every American citizen is entitled to receive some form of higher education. Together with the first state universities and municipal colleges, the early land-grant colleges represented the force of democracy working as a mighty leaven in the world of American higher learning."
IOW, the purpose was to

  1. hijack those who wanted to learn a trade, and give them the 'lesson' that classical learning, and all of its virtues, were so much hogwash, and here's some stuff you can use.
  2. hijack those who wanted an actual Education to rise above the farms, and give them the 'lesson' that they have a place, it's on the farm, and give them the 'lesson' that classical learning, and all of its virtues, were so much hogwash, and here's some stuff you can use.
But keep in mind though, as even Brubacher points out,
"In the early days, one observer recalled, there were not enough textbooks on the subject to enable an American professor of agriculture to operate for thirty days!"
And (surprise) there were national scandals about how these new colleges which had nothing to teach, but were nevertheless eating up money quite well, meaning that, THE primary lesson they had to teach, was,

  • the 'lesson' that classical learning, and all of its virtues, were so much hogwash, get some skills and stay in your place.
Listen to any proregressive leftist (be they Democrat or Republican), talk about manual labor (other than in their speeches to labor crowds), as they speak of 'being forced to flip burgers', etc, and you'll hear all the proof of this attitude that you need. What their intent was, to keep the person formed by their environment, in their environment, though modified by experts, so that experts would be free to do what was best for them, and that included doing away with the very materials and ideas which had formed the supports of Western Civilization for centuries, the very knowledge and ideas which made their adored technology possible...



That's progress?

But wait... there’s less!
How could this happen? Where did it come from? Why the mania for such obvious cultural suicide? There are many reasons, but which can be boiled down to three 'root causes'... which I'll start getting into in tomorrow's post (and yes, I'll actually post it tomorrow), as well as how it began to be implemented, often by those who intended something else entirely.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just cause, and Justification for War, are just not the same thing

"Tyranny anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere"
Thaddeus Kosciuszko - Polish Lithuanian who served as a colonel in the American revolution

Battling tyranny is a just cause. Overthrowing a tyrant is a just cause. But being a just cause is not the same as being a justified cause or even a wise one. The fact that Qa’Daffy’s regime exists, is enough of Just cause for America, or for any other free or semi-free nation on earth, to invade and overthrow his regime. Whether or not it would be wise of them to do so, is a separate issue, and not the one I have with what's going on in Libya today. I also don't have an issue with whether or not the President can order a military strike upon Libya. Whether he should order a strike, when he should, and more importantly Why he should - or shouldn't - order such a strike, those are a bit closer to the mark for me.

But to get the little stuff out of the way first.

The President is the commander in chief of the military forces of the United States of America, and the militias of the several states, he is able to order military action, without congressional approval (contrary to what then Senators Obama, Biden and Clinton said of Bush), in order to do what he thinks is required to protect and defend America, Americans and/or their vital interests and property in the event of what he considers to be a credible threat to them.

There are of course serious concerns which come along with bestowing such power, as George Mason expressed in the ratification debates, he,
"... thought it would be dangerous to let him command in person, without any restraint, as he might make a bad use of it. He was, then, clearly of opinion that the consent of a majority of both houses of Congress should be required before he could take the command in person."
However as the Constitution was ratified, the decision was made that it was a necessary risk, as Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist #74, noted,
"...The propriety of this provision is so evident in itself; and it is at the same time so consonant to the precedents of the State constitutions in general, that little need be said to explain or enforce it. Even those of them, which have in other respects coupled the Chief Magistrate with a Council, have for the most part concentred the military authority in him alone..."
Mr. Spaight, in agreeing with Hamilton's argument during the debates for the importance of one man having undivided command of the military, he pointed out that the checks retained to balance such power,
"... that Congress, who had the power of raising armies, could certainly prevent any abuse of that authority in the President--that they alone had the means of supporting armies, and that the President was impeachable if he in any manner abused his trust...."

It is of course true that Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution gives Congress alone, the ability to declare war:
"To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;"
But using the military to defend America's interests as needed, especially in the face of a clear and present threat, is well warranted, justified, and in no way usurps Congresses authority to declare war. Congress never formally declared war on the Barbary Pirates, yet Jefferson did wage war against them ("...To the shores of Tripoli We fight our country's battles. In the air on land and sea...") - with Congresses authorization (though with much less a one than Bush had).

But that should leave everyone here wondering whether an essentially tribal civil war amongst people predominantly anti-American poses any threat, or concern, to the interest of America. Without that... the President's executive authority and position as commander and chief to call military action, is without justification.

It should be recalled by every citizen, every four years, that one of the primary responsibilities they have as citizens, is to gravely consider when casting their vote for a President, just who it is that they are seeking to give over command of the most awesome and destructive military force on the planet to, and do they feel justified in placing such power in the hands of that person.

Those who may have shown more concern for their candidates slickness, oratorical skills or their ability to either organize a community against banking, or as 'mavericks' passing laws limiting freedom of political speech, may now be questioning whether their candidate really warranted such power. They'd do well to remember their new found caution two years from now. And of course in this instance with Libya today, there still remain certain constitutional procedures to be considered and followed (none of which have to do with the 'War Powers Act'), especially as a 'kinetic military action' (WTF dishonest crap is that?!) might make it necessary to actually declare war, if in fact the act itself didn't already implicitly declare it (now that's an issue whose implications are ripe for debate).

I don't even think that our 'exit strategy' rises to the level of a primary issue... though it was one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard a leader say, one of the few times I've actually involuntarily shouted at the T.V. on hearing Obama's reply to the question of what our exist strategy from Libya was. He replied that our plan was,
"The exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment", ... and said he had "absolutely no doubt" that control could be shifted from the U.S. to other coalition members within days.

"When this transition takes place, it is not going to be our planes that are maintaining the no-fly zone," the president said earlier at a news conference. "It is not going to be our ships that are necessarily enforcing the arms embargo. That’s precisely what the other nations are going to do."
In other words, after putting some effort in for a few days, encouraging 'our allies' to join us, our exist strategy was to run away and leave it in their hands within a weeks time. This was as disgusting, infuriating, and as shameful a thing I've ever heard a 'leader' say in public. Not surprisingly his 'coalition' is falling apart, as Germany and other nations strategy is to head for the exits before being left holding the bag.

But even all of that is not the primary issue at the moment, not for me at least. It's not even these few questions, though I'd certainly like answers to them as well, such as

  • What was the Left’s issue with Bush invading Iraq?
  • Wasn’t it that people would be killed?
  • No blood for oil?
  • That it was an unjust war?
Using the criteria of the left, how does Obama's 'kinetic military action' not fail their tests and warrant immediate mustering of the ol' hippies walker's and new commie kids to march against it?

But, barring a couple odd Dennis Kucinich's & Ralph Nader's here and there, they have not protested and rioted and burned him in effigy, as they did with Bush, and so clearly those stated reasons could not have been their real motivation for opposing the war in Iraq. Also clearly, given the statement of Thaddeus Kosciuszko noted above, and the history of Saddam Hussein which made Qa'Daffy look like a piker, the Leftists problem with Iraq couldn’t have been that it was an un-just war; Saddam was a tyrant, and any free or semi-free nation on earth had just cause to invade and destroy his regime. But that was never seen or even considered by the left during the Iraq war (under Bush, at any rate), and so they cannot claim it's cover and pretext now. And given the fact that Bush received a set of over twenty resolutions from congress authorizing America to go to ‘war’, and the fact that few, left or right, were complaining that there was never any actual declaration of war made - still the case today - (which has been a bit of an issue with me), then the issue couldn’t have been that the Iraq war wasn’t justified… so what was the real problem that was a problem with Iraq, but isn't one with Libya?

Maybe the better question is, what is it that this ‘action’ has, that the Iraq war didn’t?

My guess is that this ‘action’ has the same thing going for it which the left didn’t object to when Clinton bombed Yugoslavia, which he also did by executive order alone, without congressional approval, just as with Obama today.

What is that you ask?

International approval, especially U.N. approval… that is their measure of ‘legality’ and worth.

But not just any approval, recall that the approval of nations who had recent experience with the oppression of tyrannies, Poland, Ukraine, etc, were discounted as having no standing among the 'old powers' of the world, France even denounced Poland as America's "Trojan Ass". No, the left is a bit pickier about whose approval it is they think is worth having. They prefer the sniffy set, France, Russia, China, and an international 'community' predominantly made up of thugs and despots little or no different from Qa'daffy. Why is that?

More to the point, why is it that the left doesn’t seem to give a fig for constitutional authority or even popular approval from Americans themselves or their representatives in congress…Bush lobbied congress for nearly a year to get overwhelming approval to 'go to war', Clinton and Obama did no such thing. U.N. popularity with among the 'in' crowd, on the other hand, that’s a biggee with them, for apparently in their eyes, if you’ve got that, you’ve got all you need to go to war with.

Let me be clear, our President has just cause to command the military to bomb every square inch of Qa’Daffy’s territory, but even so, he has not established a justifiable threat posed by Libya to America, which justifies our doing so, and there have been no constitutional procedures taken for authorizing it, there hasn’t been congressional approval sought or given, or even consultation, for sending our troops and treasure into battle against Libya.

There is no proper justification for risking our blood and treasure for the purposes of saving Libya’s people from their own government. When George Washington warned of alliances with European powers, he was speaking of making alliances with powers which we had no credible or vital interest getting involved with. I think he would have clearly seen the vital, unavoidable and very credible interests which we had for getting involved with WWII, and would at the very least have seen the basis for "temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies" as an argument for war with Iraq and Afghanistan... but... at this point in time, in this scenario, is there a credible interest or threat to America's interests, for expending our blood and treasure in Libya?

I'm not seeing it. Worse, neither is the President. All he can say, is that 'The international community has demanded it' Well I'm sorry Obama, but just where in the hell is it that our vital interests are under perceivable and credible threat, from a civil war in Libya?!

Forget all the procedural niceties, that is the real basis you need to have for taking our nation into 'kinetic military action' - that is the Justification which needs to be established for those who will see their loved ones wounded or killed, for those people will have the brutally real context for calling this what it is, War.
they are not your constituents,
they are not your vital concern,
they are not who you owe allegiance to (are they?) and
they have no part in the Constitution you swore to uphold and protect!
I'm willing to listen to a case being made for one, but so far all I've heard is that the U.N. community has demanded it... that it is our duty to resolve another peoples civil war - where are your vaunted 'lessons of Vietnam' now you hypocritical P.O.S? You want to risk our blood and treasure on a society which has no coherent structure whatsoever which could conceivably be called pro-Western, and for which there exists plenty of evidence for being anti-Western and anti-American, a society which cheered the release of the Lockerbie bomber... this is the society which justifies our military involvement in their civil war?! Sorry, NO, that IS NOT WORTH our blood and treasure, this 'kinetic military action' IS NOT JUSTIFIED.

I'd even be willing to consider that "Tyranny anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere", and that this action in Libya is somehow part of a wider and coherent plan to eliminate all tyranny... I probably still wouldn't agree, but at least that would show some hint of legitimacy and basis for an argument.

The cause, assuming that the cause is overthrowing Qa’daffy (and even that seems unlikely), is just, but it isn’t justifiable or justified under our constitution - such an action does not protect or defend the constitution or We The People, from whom all its power and authority is derived, which means that this is the arbitrary, non-retaliatory use of military force without even the pretense of having the legitimate authority for doing so.

And with that, I refer you back to Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s quotation above.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Should the Education of your children include educating the government about your private life? The Rotten Common Core pt 2

Question: Should the Education of your children include educating the government about your home, your possessions, your habits, your own educational history, profession, the types of media you possess in your home and other tidbits of information about your family?

That pursuit of information is key to what the process we call ‘education’ has evolved into and is involved in doing today, and not only is it not considered controversial, it has been a central aim of it for well over a century. A mover and shaker of the early 1900's who we left off with last time, Ellwood P. Cubberley, had long
"... portrayed education as the main tool of America's progress... "
, and the wrenches and screwdrivers of that tool set were rigorous testing and surveying and agitating for 'education' legislation. Now by that, Cubberley did not mean that 'Educated People' were the key to our progress - that I would have agreed with – no, he meant that the educational process, the operations of educational institutions, their scope and their reach into American life, was the main tool for transforming America into what the Progressive experts had determined America should be; and thanks to aspects of our modern “Common Core Standards” programs, those tools are now being taken to the next level, one Cubberley could only have dreamt of.

Keep in mind that Cubberley (who we'll dig into further in a moment) is the same fellow we left off with last time, who approvingly said that,
“Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”
Amazingly, some influentially uninformed people think there's no reason for concern here. For instance, a well meaning long time legislative wonk, Kerry Messer, said in a local print sheet that there's no reason for concern about Common Core Standards because there are no ties to Washington behind them,

"It is important to point out that these reforms have nothing to do with the social engineering found in the programs coming out of Washington D.C. I can vouch for the fact that these current education reform proposals have been promoted in Missouri for more than a decade, and bills can be found in the archives of past legislative sessions to demonstrate such."
No doubt, if you stick to the letter of the law and it's intent, you know, as congress rigorously does with Article 1, Section 8 of it's enumerated powers (ahem), looking no further than how one bill refers to another, it's possible to honestly become myopic enough to believe that these programs are actually separated. But for those who look a little further than the obvious, his statement is a bit like saying that two baseball fans who've never met couldn't possibly be concerned with gathering the same sorts of statistics...'RBI's? Error's?HRr's? Come on! They've never met and discussed such things! What are the odds!?' No doubt Mr. Messer is very well informed about the legislation involved, but he's miserably ignorant of the aims and scope of modern educational policies - we'll get to the details of those policies in a couple posts, but please, history first, then legislation.

The prevalence of such influentially uninformed people is exactly why learning the history of this mess, what we term 'Education', what it considers to be it's goals, and the thinking behind such things, is so important to get a grasp of. When founded on common core ideals, there is no need for direct plans or conspiracies to be laid between state and federal level, or private organizations and corp's, their common core goals will synchronize almost on their own; weirdly, it's the same reason the Free Market works so well, as if moved by an 'Invisible Hand', common interests and objectives move people toward shared goals without any need for knowledge of each other's interests or motives.

Gretchen at Missouri Education Watchdog, caught a whiff of this sort of thing when wondering why someone at the dept of health and human services would be googling her site, nosed about and found this interesting tie-in between her posts on Education and HHS legislation:
A question: are these the intended functions and constitutional responsibilities of the Federal government and the public schools?
New Heights participants may be eligible for educational, employment, housing, support services and information about community resources until their 20th birthday. Contact the Anacostia SHS office at 202-645-4040, or the Cardozo SHS office at 202-671-1995.
This is listed under the Health and Wellness section under the teen parent program information:


We have adopted DOH’s Wrap MC Condom program in all high schools, where trained school staff provide condoms to students as part of a comprehensive health education program for students in grades 9–12. Condoms are also available through the school nurse.

Visit the Department of Health for more information.
How did this sort of thing come about? To find out, let’s continue looking back in time into the ‘new’ ‘Common Core Standards’ and the changes which have been made in the meaning and purpose of Education, when & why those changes came about and whether or not they’ve produced the benefits promised.

Looking Backward
Last time we went over how the definition and purpose of ‘Education’ has been changed and split into tasks and skills, long before the mid 20th century, and how common core standards, the new tool for intensifying this redefinition, were themselves nothing new.

But that ain’t the half of it. The problem with writing on this stuff isn’t finding damning material, but deciding on only a few to use lest your post be mistaken for an encyclopedia, and then forcing yourself to leave out the more sensational material so you don’t look wacky yourself for mentioning them (factual though they are). Probably the best place to start this post, is by continuing on with Ellwood P. Cubberley, the premier early historian of American Education, he of the cheery thought:
“Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”
This statement wasn’t made recently of course, or even the 1960’s, but back in the supposed good old days of 1909, and it was not said as a warning but as something to be looked forward to. Cubberly was one of the key figures involved in shaping the modern educational system we're faced with today, his career began at the close of the 19th century and continued well into the 20th, as an online bio says:

"Throughout his career, Cubberley remained deeply involved in shaping national policy on issues from teacher certification to textbooks. He retired in 1933."
Lets take a few moments and look at the full passage which that line came from, his "Changing conceptions of education" – see if it doesn’t manage to raise a few more hackles for you:

The new period of advance which we now seem to be entering also bids fair to be very paternalistic, perhaps even socialistic, in the matter of education. The old principle, fought for so vigorously fifty or sixty years ago, that the wealth of the state must educate the children of the state, bids fair to be even further extended with a view to a greater equalization of both the burdens and the advantages of education. Poor and overburdened towns and districts will be supplied with sufficient means to enable them to provide a good school for their children, and the present great difference in tax rates, to provide practically the same educational advantages, will be in large part equalized by the state. There is, as yet, a small but a very significant tendency for the school to free itself from the financial control of the town board or city council, and to erect itself as an independent and a coordinate branch of the town or city government, responsible only to the people for its work and its expense. There are many signs of an increasing centralization of management which will ultimately lead to greater efficiency. Many options which communities have to-day will in time be changed into obligations. The state oversight of private and parochial education is likely to increase slowly, especially along the lines of uniformity in statistics and records, sanitary inspection, common standards of work, and the enforcement of the attendance laws. In particular, the attitude toward the control of the child is likely to change. Each year the child is coming to belong more and more to the state, and less and less to the parent. In all that relates to proper care, kindness, education, and advantages, the child belongs to the parent; but when neglect, abuse, and the deprivation of the child of any natural right takes place, the child belongs to the state. The right to reasonably good treatment, proper care, an education, protection from vice, and protection from labor beyond his strength and years, the state will soon guarantee.”
Perhaps Mr. Messer, and a few of our present legislators, might want to review that once more, paying close attention to the part beginning with "Many options which communities have to-day will in time be changed into obligations.".

Cubberly was not some fringe activist, he was a hugely well respected and influential force in early 20th century educational ideas and policies, a champion of a "paternalistic, perhaps even socialistic" spreading of the wealth around so as to use public schools to ‘improve’ society in the manner his progressive views endorsed – no matter whether or not the children’s parents and family agreed with those views and purposes... he was far too concerned about ‘democratic ideals’ to quibble over the pesky rights of individuals, and those ideas of his are still in the very much in the fabric or our ‘modern’ educational thought.

And lest the tone of the final passage, protecting children from abuse and so forth, cause you to drop your guard, note that ‘reasonably good treatment, proper care, an education, protection from vice’ are extremely subjective issues, which, as many a homeschooler parent can tell you, have often been used to intimidate them for daring to home school their children away from State approved education and have even been used in some states as justification for attempting to take their children away from them.

Not too long ago, I read a paper written by a prominent modern legal beagle, Kimberly A. Yuracko, a law professor at Northwestern University School of Law, in her paper "Education Off the Grid: Constitutional Constraints on Homeschooling", she says this:
"...It highlights the legal distinctness of parents and children and emphasizes that parental control over children’s basic education flows from the state (rather than vice versa). States delegate power over children’s basic education to parents, and the delegation itself is necessarily subject to constitutional constraints."
Repeat: States delegate power over children to parents—not vice versa. What that means is that you, as a parent, have only a secondary say over your child, let alone the mere education of your child, and as the paper makes very clear, that education's primary purpose and value is to make your child accept the 'truths' of moral relativism. That is the whole purpose of her paper; she says it doesn't matter if homeschoolers are better educated, or even if they are swell, outgoing members of society. Their primary purpose is to ensure that children get their minimum daily dosage of moral relativism as prescribed by Uncle/Nanny Sam, this was how,
"Cubberley portrayed education as the main tool of America's progress."
Got your attention? Then lets go back to the views that made our future.

Cubberly’s view, and that of many others, was that the schools were a way of transforming America away from what he and other progressives saw as being disorganized and inefficient (what you and I might call individuals 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness') into a nation organized along the proregressive vision for how it should be, one that is arranged and guided by experts who would improve our lives by making them more scientifically structured and efficient – removing salt from your diet, reducing your flush toilets for you, stuff like that - meaning less of a constitutional republic, and more of a democratic society, one that is free to pass whatever laws ‘the people’ (as determined by those same experts) required in order to be prevented from harming themselves (remember, Prohibition was a Progressive issue, as is the war on drugs, Trans-Fats, etc), where constitutionally protected rights take a backseat to legislated needs and wants.

His biographical summary notes that,
...He saw the rise of universal public schooling as a triumph of democratic forces. Cubberley saw educational systems as continually improving, and he associated the rise and refinement of education with America's continued progress.
There is a critically important point to be made here as it is so very easy to read malice and aforethought into their intent, but Cubberley, his compatriots then, and now, from Arne Duncan (well... maybe not Duncan... oops. See?) to Bill Gates, believe this stuff! Undoubtedly there are some cynics using it to ride the gravy train, but most of them, I believe, really do want to help you... the problem is that they want to help you by forcibly limiting or mandating your activities to those approved avenues which they believe will be best for you. And IMHO that makes them far more dangerous than simple thugs and power mad politico’s – they feel morally justified in whatever means their ends require of them to do - to you.

To those ends, Cubberley pushed everything from the use of I.Q. Tests (guess where assessment tests such as the ACT and SAT tests originated from) to wide ranging surveys in order to gather information on the schools and the communities they operated within, gathering quantitative data on students, teachers, schools and their communities in order to make them operate and progress, more efficiently. Cubberley worked tirelessly, wrote textbooks which sold millions of copies, spreading his ideas, including that of the need to marginalize the influence of local school boards – boards which would of course be made up of parents and community leaders – in favor of ‘experts’ in administration, again, to make things approach that progressive nirvana of 'efficiency',
Cubberley edited a series of textbooks for Riverside Press that sold more than 3 million copies... In his textbooks, he advocated autonomy for school administrators. Although school boards might set policy, they lacked expertise to run school systems and Cubberley believed they should give way to the administrator's expertise in day-to-day operations.
Those expert administrators of his would ideally collect information on students, teachers and “the world outside” reshaping school systems on the industrial production line model to promote the progressive ideal of societal efficiency, he,

… called for increased social efficiency in schools. He extolled the use of tests and measurements as techniques to measure educational efficiency and to provide scientific accuracy to education. He analogized the educational process to industrial production, in that schools should strive to maximize efficiency and product....
Always championing the use of public schools to ‘improve’ society in the manner his progressive views endorsed. As he put it in his “Changing conceptions of education

The school now shows signs of becoming conscious of itself in a new and a truer direction; its gaze is now outward instead of inward, and the relation of the school to the world outside has now become a question of the first importance in educational procedure. The school is essentially a time and labor saving device, created — with us—by democracy to serve democracy's needs. To convey to the next generation the knowledge and the accumulated experience of the past is not its only function. It must equally prepare the future citizen for the to-morrow of our complex life. The school must grasp the significance of its social connections and relations, and must come to realize that its real worth and its hope of adequate reward lies in its social efficiency. There are many reasons for believing that this change is taking place rapidly at present, and that an educational sociology, needed as much by teachers today as an educational psychology, is now in the process of being formulated for our use.”
And those under the delusion that ‘democracy’, in the hands of progressives, means greater liberty and freedom for you to do what you want, you had better have a look at what progressives mean by democracy,

“Our school curriculum bids fair, too, to experience many modifications during the next one or two decades, and chiefly along a line that will lead toward preparation for increased social efficiency. Much antiquated material, adapted largely to the needs of a society that has preceded us, will doubtless be eliminated. New subjects and new points of emphasis in old subjects, better adapting the school to our changed and changing social and industrial life, will probably be added. Our city schools will soon be forced to give up the exceedingly democratic idea that all are equal, and that our society is devoid of classes, as a few cities have already in large part done, and to begin a specialization of educational effort along many new lines in an attempt better to adapt the school to the needs of these many classes in the city life. City, town, and country schools alike have, in the past, directed most of their training to satisfying the needs of the children of the well to-do classes, and those headed for business life or the professions. More recently, most of the larger cities have provided some form of work leading to preparation for the executive positions in technical pursuits.”
That ‘antiquated material’ of a 'a society that has preceded us (aka America)' he mentions, would of course be made up of materials like the quality literature and histories of Western Culture in general and American history in particular, and the events and ideas which are critical to understanding our Constitution – the same constitution which continually blocked the 'education' legislation Cubberley and friends wished would enable them to impose their vision upon us, not only without interference, but with the aid and force of government mandate – for our own good. What you typically find in those who profess “Democratic ideals” is ultimately making it easier for those who are ‘inadequate” to serve the ideals and needs of those who are more efficient – also for their own good.

It seems obvious that Cubberley’s ideas would find themselves very much at home with issues such as Gretchen has been uncovering at Missouri Education Watchdog on the use of Longitudinal Data systems, they are the fulfillment of his ideas, which are designed to gather bits and pieces of data on not only your child's learning issues, but on your home, the materials and media within it, and on parents education, habits and beliefs – those things which you might have naively considered to be private, they consider to be ‘useful’ and fair game because of that.
“These agencies want to know information such as dental prosthetics, family income, gestational age at birth, number of teeth, weight, weight at birth....and on and on. Some of these questions pertain to educational concerns, but is much of this data pertinent for educational reasons?”
For Education? No.For the 'educational process' of transforming society? Definitely. "You got a problem wid' dat?!"

The Regressive Roots of Progressives
But again, the point I was making in the previous post, these changes not only didn't begin with our current Common Core Standards, or in the 1960's, or even 1900's, but even earlier still - they are not modern, they are not scientific, but are reactionary actions taken against those principled ideas which came before, because they came before. The changes which Cubberley was seeking and admiring were well under way by the time the 20th century opened up.

Here’s one example from a typically forgettable Baccalaureate Address seeking after a broader mission (go figure) for liberal education, delivered in Agricultural College Chapel (remember that word, ‘Agriculture’ it's going to come up a lot), Sunday, June 9, 1901, North Dakota. By an aptly named fellow, J. H. Worst, LL. D, regarding what he assumed to be ‘common’ ideas, which indeed were, sad to say, becoming all too common,
“... For many years progressive educators have been striving against the culture-alone theory and advocating the education of the whole man—hand as well as head, body as well as mind. As a result the ancient educational structure is pretty well broken down, and the erstwhile curriculum has become a reminiscence. Many wealthy parents still educate their children for the larger pleasure which they believe education of the old type will afford them in life, but parents generally have come to look upon life as a period of intense activity rather than a brief round of pleasure, and hence provide an education for their children that will fit them for the every day demands that duty or necessity may make upon them. Since it is a matter of common observation that wealth is easily dissipated, especially when inherited, farseeing parents prefer an education for their children that is adapted to some useful end rather than the education that is largely ornamental or fashionable.”
Translation: The wealthy are the only ones fit for the sort of Education your Founding Fathers found indispensable, the rest of your kids need to be fit to serve them, or as Wilson put it, they must “...forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.”

What he means by “… striving against the culture-alone theory and advocating the education of the whole man….” is that educating “hand as well as head, body as well as mind” can only be accomplished absent any coherent knowledge of his culture, particularly the ideas, principles and foundational epics, such as Homer, Virgil and the Bible – such ‘culture-alone’ information they believed would inhibit and confuse ‘progress’.

Never mind that the greatest progress in all of human history occurred beginning in 1776, precisely because of that 'antiquated cultural knowledge'. Arghhh.

The proregressives hit a full head of steam beginning around 1900, their ideas didn’t begin there, or even with those fellows I’ve mentioned so far, many people helped stoke the boiler for the progressive era’s steam, such as a fellow I mentioned at the close of the last post, Lester Ward, who ‘advanced’ ideas of social science and social justice and put some of the final touches on those ideas which became our ideas of what schooling was for - IOW, if you look into our newest common core standards, you’ll find that they are some of the oldest standards of them all.

The lever to which the power must be applied.
Who the heck was Lester Ward you might ask? Good question, but it’s unfortunately a question which is rarely thought of today, especially not thought of by legislative mavens like Messer, who unknowingly furthers those goals of his which have become so common today as to be nearly universally accepted as self-evident common sense.

There was a time was a time though, when they did still have to be careful how they spoke of them, as Ward, put it in 1897 in “Dynamic sociology

(“Wards Educational Theories” C.S. Mihanovich) Definition of Education:
"Education… may therefore be defined as a system for extending to all the members of society such of the extant knowledge of the world as may be deemed most important.

But the knowledge referred to is just that which is embraced in the word science, and the diffusion of it is the process which goes by the name of education.

If by the term education there can be constantly implied the two adjuncts, scientific and popular; if the word can be made to embrace the notion of imparting a knowledge of the materials and forces of nature to all the members of society, there can be no objection to the employment of this word education as the embodiment of all that is progressive.

Education thus defined is the available means of setting progressive wheels of society in motion; it is, as it were, the lever to which the power must be applied.”
Notice how carefully Ward minces around the word ‘education’? Almost as if he was holding up some sort of plague ridden rat? But by carefully redefining it from what some few remaining grand parents might still remember having heard about from their parents, he transforms it into a system whose purpose is to efficiently deliver useful facts as a means to applying the “the lever to which the power must be applied.” and reshaping society in the process. If you ever wondered where Cass Sunstein got the idea of ‘Nudge’ from, he learned his shtick from proregressive unfounding fathers such as this one. Keep that in mind as you send your kiddies off to school – especially in Wisconsin.

One admiring historian, Henry Steele Commager, described Ward, who we've forgotten today, as,
"In perspicacity, intellectual acumen, and imagination, he [Lester Ward] was the equal of Henry Adams or Thorstein Velben or Louis Sullivan, but he was better rounded and more constructive than these major critics. In the rugged vigor of his mind, the richness of his learning, the originality of his insights, the breath of his conceptions, he takes place alongside William James, John Dewey and Oliver Wendell Holmes as one of the creative spirits of Twentieth-century America."
Another even called him the “American Aristotle” grgqlskdulph (Sorry, I just threw up a little bit in my throat at that).

Ward's ideas were deeply influential and they helped to cement the ideas of Charles Pearce’s pragmatism (more on him and that later) into common cause with the body of Sociology, and the idea of an entirely new view of not only what they thought that education should be, but of justice as well. Ward was just one of many, but he became one of those without whom, we might not have had the proregressive era as we know and rue so it today. Ward, like his contemporaries such as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, came of age in the Civil War, and learned all the wrong lessons from it, thinking they were turning society away from the ideas which brought that conflict about, they instead spread the actual cause (statist power) still deeper and wider into the mind of our nation.

And as far back we've come, even still, we have not yet gone back to the source of the rot which pervades our ‘common core’ in education ... though we are coming to the point where a key source of the rot still visibly stood out, rather than blended in, stood out at least, for those who still had eyes to see and try to warn their fellows before it became too late.

Leaning Our Educational Ladders Upon The Wrong Wall
A popular essayist of the 19th century, Charles Dudley Warner, noted one of the critical issues which would probably do as much or more to un-Americanize America, than any other measure, legislation or constitutional amendment, the carrier of the virus which plagues us to this day. Warner wrote "The Novel and the Common School" on the subject of what was going wrong with education, which went a long way towards being able to pull the switcheroo between the materials which the Founders era understood Education to require, and the placebo items which creatures like Ward, Cubberley & later John Dewey would find so useful in nudging the American people out of their liberties - “Textbooks”.

Believe it or not, Education didn’t always involve the use of textbooks, they are a modern innovation and an insidious one, and there are few things more ably suited to destroying education more thoroughly than them.

Here’s a snippet from Warner’s essay on how he, who actually received something like an actual Education in his youth, thought about 'textbooks', and that was that he thought of them as robbing children of an Education, robbing them of a vital component of receiving an Education, that of having experience with the Good, the Beautiful and the True.
“The notion that literature can be taken up as a branch of education, and learned at the proper time and when studies permit, is one of the most farcical in our scheme of education. It is only matched in absurdity by the other current idea, that literature is something separate and apart from general knowledge. Here is the whole body of accumulated thought and experience of all the ages, which indeed forms our present life and explains it, existing partly in tradition and training, but more largely in books; and most teachers think, and most pupils are led to believe, that this most important former of the mind, maker of character, and guide to action can be acquired in a certain number of lessons out of a textbook! Because this is so, young men and young women come up to college almost absolutely ignorant of the history of their race and of the ideas that have made our civilization. Some of them have never read a book, except the text-books on the specialties in which they have prepared themselves for examination. We have a saying concerning people whose minds appear to be made up of dry, isolated facts, that they have no atmosphere. Well, literature is the atmosphere... No text-book, no one reading-book or series of reading-books, will do it. If the teacher is only the text-book orally delivered, the teacher is an uninspired machine... The teacher is to present evidence of truth, beauty, art. Where will he or she find it? ..."
When Education changed from teaching what a person needed to know in order to become a virtuous, self-governing person, referred to as “the culture-alone theory”, and changed over into being that of producing, factory like, efficient, skilled, new members of the workplace... we as a culture picked up and moved our ladders from the walls of those buildings filled with glorious stained glass windows that lifted your eyes towards the virtuous and saintly, and plopped them over onto that of an aging factory with little to see but a view of the skillful hucksters working the streets below.

Dudley wrote his essay decades before Woodrow Wilson came on the scene with his ‘of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."’, back in 1880, but even that is still not the beginning, still no golden era... not even close. If we go back a decade further to1870, digging around in commentary from folk 'back in the day' it will lead us into loads of material from folks such as this fellow, a Priest named Michael Muller, who wrote a very concerned book on the disturbing state of 'Public Education' with such a sense of warning and dread that’s hard to shake, this is just some of the first paragraph from the opening chapter of it,
“... principles are disregarded, and iniquity is held in veneration. We see nothing but confusion in religion, in government, in the family circle. Sects spring up and swarm like locusts, destroying not only revealed religion, but rejecting even the law of nature. Fraud, theft, and robbery are practised almost as a common trade... The illustrated press has become to us what the amphitheatre was to the Romans when men were slain, women were outraged, and Christians given to the lions to please a degenerate populace. The number of the most unnatural crimes is beyond computation. A wide-spread and deep-seated dishonesty and corruption has, like some poisonous virus, inoculated the great body of our public men in national, state, and municipal positions, so much so that rascality seems to be the rule, and honesty the exception. Real statesmanship has departed from amongst us; neither the men nor the principles of the olden time exist any longer...."
As you read it you're tempted to think he's going just a bit over the top, right? But ... well... seeing as how things have played out... maybe not. He continues in Chp 1,

"Now we cannot expect the people to set to work in earnest about stemming the torrent of the[Pg 15] great evils of the land, unless they are well enlightened as to the source from which they flow. This source is principally that wrong system of education introduced into this country about fifty years ago. At that time very few, perhaps, could foresee what effects it was calculated to produce. After a long trial, we can now pronounce on it with certainty by its results. The tree, no longer a sapling, can be judged by its fruits. These fruits have been so bad that it is high time to call the attention of the public to the tree...”
What is most interesting, is continuing in Chp 2, how he notes, with perhaps some quibbles this way or that, what would have been recognizable to members of the Founders era as being similar to what they were taught to think of as education:

“The term education comprehends something more than mere instruction. One may be instructed without being educated; but he cannot be educated without being instructed. The one has a partial or limited, the other a complete or general, meaning. What, then, is the meaning of Education? Education comes from the Latin "educo," and means, according to Plato, "to give to the body and soul all the perfection of which they are susceptible"; in other words, the object of education is to render the youth of both sexes beautiful, healthful, strong, intelligent and virtuous… Now the body is the dwelling of the soul—the palace of this noble king; the nobility of the soul must induce us to attend to its palace—to the health and strength and beauty of the body;—health, strength and beauty are the noble qualities of the body.

The noble qualities of the soul are virtue and learning. …

Learning is, next to virtue, the most noble ornament and the highest improvement of the human mind. It is by learning that all the natural faculties of the mind obtain an eminent degree of perfection. The memory is exceedingly improved by appropriate exercise, and becomes, as it were, a storehouse of names, facts, entire discourses, etc., according to every one's exigency or purposes. The understanding—the light of the soul—is exceedingly improved by[Pg 22] exercise, and by the acquisition of solid science and useful knowledge. Judgment, the most valuable of all the properties of the mind, and by which the other faculties are poised, governed and directed, is formed and perfected by experience, and regular well-digested studies and reflection; and by them it attains to true justness and taste. The mind, by the same means, acquires a steadiness, and conquers the aversion which sloth raises against the serious employments of its talents…”
It's not particularly important whether or not you agree with his assessment of what education should be, or mine, only that when you compare it with Lester Ward’s

“Education… may therefore be defined as a system for extending to all the members of society such of the extant knowledge of the world as may be deemed most important."
You see that there is a significant difference between these two views, the first, which reigned since the first English settlers on these shores, up until the early 1800's, giving way bit by bit until around the time of the Civil War, when the later, proregressive view came to the fore and has as the supreme goal of education in this land for well over a century, directing the minds, morals and actions of our people.

Try this thought experiment, I've tried it many times with people face to face, and the result is common; What is the initial reaction you feel when you read/hear the words "The Good, the Beautiful and the True"? Did you feel a little, almost involuntary 'tsk' or a mocking grin or an urge to roll your eyes? How about with "Vampires, zombies and corruption"? No eye roll? Hmmm does that seem 'Right side up' to you? Try it with some people you know... you might find the response interesting.

I'll leave it to you, for the moment, to compare the fruits of each.

But I'll ask you, do you begin to see why it is we no longer see things as the Founders of this nation did? Why it is that once "Self-evident truths" are no longer taken as even evidently possible? The outlooks generated by these opposing views of Education could not be more antagonistic to each other; the first holds the individual to be of value, and virtue is taken as their goal – the second holds that getting stuff in order to get other stuff, is the purpose and goal of all they might do.

Our current system of education is incompatible with the first goal for Education, because of what it believes an 'education' should be; and because of what it believes an education should be, our present system uses the materials it does, and the factory school process to stamp them, assembly line fashion, into the student laden conveyor belt classes and gathering passports stamped with grades so they can enter the workforce... with little or no conception of what freedom and liberty are, what they rely upon, or even of what their worth might be.

It was this period, around the Civil War, when the two visions for the Education of America, and so ultimately for America itself, came abreast of each other, and the older vision, the one which made our nation possible, was surpassed by the newer proregressive goals. Permit me another highbrow cultural allusion, from Star Wars, episode II, where the inexperienced Obi-Wan takes military success as victory:
Obi-Wan Kenobi: ... I must admit that without the clones, it would not have been victory.
Master Yoda: Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has!
Over the top? Mmmaybe, but something similar did happen with us, in that while the North won the war, the philosophy which drove the south - legislated rights, as opposed to Natural Law - won out in our philosophy and schools. The skills based view of education has served to drive a wedge between our founding principles and our ability to understand them and apply them - Self government is not for long compatible with the goal of ‘learning stuff to get stuff’, it is only compatible with a people who strive to be virtuous and independent people because that is seen as a priority goal and value to them.

Being a Catholic Priest, Muller’s identification of the problem – religion having been removed from the schools – isn’t so surprising, and you or I might differ with him on some details of that (though even from a secular point of view, there is more truth to that than not), but he does note a very critical ‘root cause’ of the issue with this:
“Another distinguished Professor published, in 1866, Lectures on the Physiology of the Nervous System, in which we find the following passage :
"We admit,' he says, 'without any restriction, that intellectual phenomena in animals are of the same order as in man....' 'As for free-will, we comprehend a certain kind of free-will in the more intelligent animals; and, on the other hand, we may add, that perhaps man is not so free as he would fain persuade himself he is.' And 'as to feeling the distinction between good and evil, it is a grave question, which we must first study in man himself!'"
Let it not be supposed that these principles are merely announced as abstractions; conclusions are drawn from them which must fill every thinking mind with horror. Eighty students of the Normal School, the great training institution of teachers[Pg 55] for the North of France, applauded such conclusions in a public letter.”
(he doesn't attribute it, but I believe he's speaking of William Wundt, and there's much to say about him...later)We’ll come back to this later, but Free Will, materialism, and the ‘Normal School’s are key to our issue.

The Hammer Of War
So now, finally, poking our heads back still another decade to 1862, we reach the first successful national push for these ideas - not the cause of them - but the combination of lever and fulcrum which allowed text-bookish nit-wits to unbalance the world and split our understanding of Education, here we even find the first source from which “Common Core Standards” find their source, which, then as now, the Federal govt sought to impose upon the states, with offers of help and federal dollars, in return for state compliance and... along with the means to begin imposing them.

For those who think the Dept of Education is a recent creation, no, it's not, only it's cabinet level position, the original Department of Education was formed in 1867 to ... (whadaya think?) the Dept of Ed site puts it,
"...collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. While the agency's name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 130 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues down to the present day..."
It certainly does, and the Morrill Act in 1863, and the second Morrill Act of 1890 gave the"Office of Education" responsibility for administering support for the forbidden fruit of the Civil War, our system of land-grant colleges and universities.

Professor Brubacher notes on pg 225 of his “Higher Education in Transition”,
“Opponents of the original Morrill Act had charged that it would only be an entering wedge for a vast extension of federal power. Subsequent events seemed to bear out this prediction. In 1854, President Franklin Pierce had vetoed a bill granting lands t the states for the benefit of the indigent insane which, from his “strict constructionist” point of view, seemed unconstitutional.…

… Although the Morrill Act granted large tracts of federal land to states willing to establish colleges of a specified type, there were strings attached. It was provided that none of the grant was to be used for the construction of buildings. Thus, the states would have to spend money of their own in order to take advantage of the act. Here was a beginning of the “matching dollars” concept, later developed to a much higher degree.
That concept of 'Matching Dollars' is key to how the Federal Govt still 'controls' states via golden handcuffs of Title I money - to the tune of some $14 billion - tied to "Common Core Standards', as Gretchen recently put it,

"...It's not as difficult as you may think. Dangle money in front of cash strapped states and tell them they won't get Title 1 money unless they sign onto standards. Pretend it's voluntary and just close your eyes to the fact that the Federal Government is designing curriculum. Presto. The Federal Government has now taken over education. ..."
There had been many previous attempts to establish something like national public schooling, but none got off the ground until the ‘lucky break’ of the Civil War, something which would not have surprised Heraclitus (“war is the father of all things,” ) in the least , and here it proved a perfect pretext for the very first strain of common core standards, and after Morrill failed with two previous efforts, vetoed by Presidents Pearce and Buchanan, the Civil War enabled him to put it through as a War Measure (!). Rep. Morrill said:

“The role of the national government is to mould the character of the American people." and that "Ignorant voters endanger liberty. With free schools in the South there could have been no rebellion in the future...when our youth learn to read similar books, similar lessons, we shall become one people, possessing one organic nationality."
Common Core Standards are nothing new, only the extent to which they are being imposed upon us is. Standards aren't themselves the problem, and that they are common is not even the problem; that they are arbitrarily drawn is the beginning of a problem; that they are measured by the federal govt and tie states to behaviors and actions and obligations through the carrot and stick of funding is more of a problem, but the real problem is the educational goals they serve - when the Federal Government sets out to 'mould the character' of the American people... that is the one thing you can be certain that will be accomplished... along with the mother of all unforeseen complications.

When the goal of our Education changed, from providing students with the information and understanding necessary to enable them to understand life and their place in it, so as to govern their own life; to being the goal of training you with beliefs and skills to accomplish tasks in common with everyone else... there are a number of changes which our moulds must follow.

When you are taught reverence for Truth, for nobility of soul, the cardinal virtues in the manner our Founders era was taught, knowledge and understanding becomes something vital to your own soul and happiness; your ideas and actions will tend to be internally driven and motivated. Such a focus of education teaches you to revere other peoples rights to act and revere truth as they see fit, as well.

But when taught that your driving focus, the supreme goal of your education, is to be the outward desires and goals for skills, know-how and other stuff, the fact that other people have so much of that other stuff is going to become an issue. You'll likely find it difficult not to notice that other people are... somewhat in the way of what it is that you want, how their private possessions and activities are interfering with your ability to know what there is to know. Even privacy, 'personal choices', are bound to become resented unknowns as well, in ways ranging from peoples diet choices, to flush toilets and religious convictions - what's not for the 'common good', is commonly resented.

And something else... those particular sets of useful skills which you are to be trained in are going to have to be chosen, and they are going to have to be chosen by those who govern you. And what do you suppose is the likelihood, that in and amongst those choices of what you’ll be taught to believe, will be a few tid-bits... oh... tossed in here and there, and arranged and presented... discretely no doubt... so that you, the ‘human learner’, will approve of being governed by those who are making those very agreeable choices about what you will be compelled to learn?

Before tisk-tisking me on that, you might want to check in on the School field trips made to the Wisconsin protests.. A system of education whose supreme goals are skills, and that knowledge which serves them, together with Common Core Standards set by the federal government with financial strings attached, are going to mould us even further into the people we have been becoming for over a century.

Are you happy with the trends of the last century?

We'll look at what began these changes, and then how well meaning legislators and legislation have been carrying us further and further from our American roots, from their day, to ours, in the next posts.