Sunday, August 30, 2020

Being an old complaint, doesn't make it less valid, or less dangerous - Education or School Systems pt 4

If you complain about our school systems' failures, one common response that you're likely to get, is:
"Oh, that's such an old complaint, people have always been saying the schools are failing, every generation repeats it."
, which has some truth to it, but like the crack that 'It's not paranoia if people really are out to get you', if you look at the history of the school systems since we instituted them, they actually have been getting measurably worse and worse (by their own criteria) at delivering the Education they promised from the very start, and while progressively delivering less and less of the quality they promised, they've been doing more and more of what they weren't supposed to be doing unto us at all. That those failures have been occurring consistently, nationwide, over successive decades, is an indication that the problems with our school systems have far less to do with the incompetence or bad intentions (though, some of that surely exists, see previous post) of particular localities, administrators, teachers, students, or parents, than it has to do with the fundamental changes to why, what with, and how, we've expected our school systems to 'educate' our students.

Because the problem is systemic in nature, it can't be solved by trying to treat the endless series of bad effects it spawns as if they were isolated bugs to be fixed & forgotten. A consequence of not seeing that our school systems problems are inherent in its very design - in both theory and structure - is that we enable those fundamental flaws to hide safely behind the far more visibly distracting effects of 'we've gotta improve our reading and math scores!', and each such 'fix' leads to still worse problems, each inviting still further fixes, and all serving to make the system which actually caused them, to grow ever more stronger and entrenched. We've taken up that invitation and we've travelled so far down that path, that the actual problems have become more hidden, harder to identify, and easier to mistake as being problems of policy only - hence the ever growing number of gilded Band-Aids we've applied to the arterial bleeds in the quality of We The People's education.

To be fair, it wouldn't be easy to compare our traditional system of education, to the 'progressive' school systems that replaced it, even if we tried - and oh, we have tried. On this one issue, the problem doesn't come from the 'Progressive Education' side of the comparison, as they've always favored having as much of a uniform, centralized, common set of 'standards' as they could possibly get away with - that's their selling point, there's little to no difficulty finding schools that are representative of 'progressive' practices, to compare to the practices of traditional education. The problem comes from trying to find even a single representative example from the side of traditional education, that you'd compare it to. Even in those aspects you'd expect to be fairly easy to compare, in their books and so forth, what would you compare a Common Core 'Social Studies' textbook to....Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War"? de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America"? Even the textbook histories of the 1904 (I've got my Grandpa's school textbooks - here's a link to a later edition of the American History, and English History, which are already showing the 'progressive' factoid'izing of history, but are still vastly superior to what we have today ), were vastly different in form and quality and are not very comparable. And if we skipped over comparing the actual materials used, and tried comparing a measure of their respective results, such as with this often meme'd quiz from Salina, Kansas, in 1895 , that comparison would also leave you with a false impression (more on that in a moment).
Is it just about the questions?

One of the problems is that even if you could find the graded quizzes used in that particular school, or even a list of the materials and lessons used in getting them, it was very likely not what was used in the next school down the road, let alone in the next town or state. And before you decide to score that as a point for the 'Progressive Education' side, it is extremely important to point out that that was not a bug, but a feature of the traditional system of education, and one of its most important and valuable features, at that. In each location, the individual parents and trusted advisers, in conjunction with the teachers they hired, decided upon what materials would be used, to what extent, and what results were expected of them, and that varied as much from location to location as the people in them did.

If that traditional feature still seems buggy to you, consider the cases of (picking a few names out of a very stuffed hat)... George Wythe, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Frederic Douglass... hugely well educated Americans such as these, came from wildly differing educations, which were drawn from widely varying materials and means, which were selected by their parents, or advisers (living or authored), as it seemed would be best suited to help them to achieve a common goal of becoming educated. Do you recall from a few years back when Finland was all the rage in 'how to do school!' circles (I touched on what usually went unsaid on that in this post, pay especial attention to the comments)? Funny thing about that, if you bothered to look past the meaningless distractions of giving teachers a 'professional salary', insurance, etc., and looked at what the teachers themselves said they actually did which made a difference in educating their students, they attributed it to teachers having full control over their classrooms, beginning with the material they chose to teach from (they had general cultural targets they had to prepare their students for, but weren't told what materials to use or how to get there), the only classroom tests they used were those they themselves devised, if and when they saw a need for it, and they had close one-on-one relationships with the student's parents, and the teacher had final say on who was disciplined, why and how, and who remained in their classes.

IOW, with at least some participation and consent from parents, their teachers were given the power to Teach by those with the proper power to give it to them, and their students, if they were willing, were able to learn. Predictably, shortly after the international spotlight fell upon them, and the proponents of centralization began to realize that a feature such as that was most definitely a bug in their systems, those conditions in Finland began to degrade. Similarly, go ask a teacher in your nearest school (public and even private) how free they are to select the materials, methods, tests & policies they'd prefer to teach to their students with (Hint: Not very).

While the material that was used by traditional educational methods could include classical texts, and/or various 'Primer's, and/or the Bible, and/or Shakespeare and/or a myriad of other options, the students who could and would learn to read and think through them, would learn through them to recognize what was admirable and what was tragic or despicable, as well as how to recognize what scenarios were more easily resolved with mathematical solutions and how to reach them and how to recognize the difference. By various non-standard means and materials, traditional schools gave students a familiarity with, and an interest in pursuing on their own, what Thomas Jefferson referred to as,
"...the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
, which informed their understanding of their nation's history, culture, and government. They were able to do that because they weren't told through a rigid chain of command - of legislators, regulators, administrators - that micro-managed teachers & students on what to 'think' with, and how. Simply having the important goal to become educated, and not confusing that goal with meaningless distractions such as getting high test scores (a very recent, and poor, innovation of progressive school systems) or developing workforce or social 'skills', they - parents, teachers, students - were able to decide on the most effective means of reaching it. And as acquiring the basic elements of the Three R's ('reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic') were necessary, they were quickly gotten out of the way with simple, proven methods, so that the primary goal could be reached. The fact that our school systems fail so miserably at even imparting the basic abilities of the Three R's today - despite a century of their 'Top Men' devoting ludicrous amounts of time and resources to over-thinking how to remake the wheel into glitteringly dysfunctional blocks (see 'See & Say') - and even after making that secondary skill into a primary objective, our colleges routinely have to provide remedial classes in those basic skills to incoming students before they can begin any of their other classes.

That an endless series of 'school reform!'s have consistently failed to ensure that even college bound students have rudimentary abilities in basic skills (let alone the level of education those skills should have led them into), is telling you a lot about our school systems today - how closely are you listening?

And here we begin to see what is comparable between these two systems of education, and that is their approach to education. But before getting into those comparisons, first there's another matter we need to flesh out, which is what I hope you're wondering right now: "what do you mean by 'educated'?" I can't tell you how many people - including teachers, administrators, and politicians promising to 'fix things' - that I've stumped with that basic question. Would you go to a doctor who was unsure what was meant by Health, and couldn't tell you what the medicine he was prescribing you was, or why?

To thumbnail my answer to that once again, is that what I'm good with, generally speaking, is what was once understood as being the purpose of educating students, that being to help students develop into well informed individuals with an intellectually integrated understanding of the habits, knowledge and aims of Western Civilization (Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian), with a strong emphasis on striving to live up to its ideals of truth and justice, for the purpose of enabling a student to become a virtuous and independent person capable of living a good life, in a society blessed with liberty. A person so equipped was self-evidently a benefit to themselves & their community, because they tended to be more consciously capable of distinguishing, and choosing to do, what was wise and true. That, and not the schools they attended or degrees accumulated in them, that marked them as being Educated.

Having that goal - or not - is what most defines the two systems approach to education, and I think that will become more clear by asking a question about that oft meme'd quiz from 1895 Salina Kansas, and looking at two different answers to it:
'How many of us can even understand the questions that the Salina, KS quiz is asking, and why is that?'
, keep your response in mind a moment, as it'll make a good lens to view the matter through. I contend that there is one answer to that, and that to see it as being multiple problems that need to be fixed, means missing the systemic nature of the problem, and locks us into ever worsening results.

Giving us a fine example of missing the systemic for its effects, is Snopes's attempted 'debunking' of the Salina KS quiz. What's painfully obvious, in typical Snopes/Fact Checker style, is that they don't debunk the quiz at all, but instead only complain about it. They complain that those who promote it only do so in order to make us all feel '...dumber than an eighth grader...', and then they take the modern pivot of faulting the quiz for all that it doesn't cover. That's an important point, and a big clue to the systemic problem involved: Their 'debunking' is reflective of the 'progressive' belief that school should 'teach' students everything that they think might be useful to know, and what student's should & shouldn't think about it with, and that teaching students a lessor quantity of those 'things', means they've received a lesser quality of education, which is simply not so. Quantity does not equal, or create, Quality.

That 'Pragmatically Progressive' approach towards useful effects, random and un-integrated facts, socialized approval, and various & sundry useful skills, led us in our initial turn to using education to accomplish numerous other goals than actual education (which goes at least back to Rousseau), and soon ceded more and more ground to the immediate benefits of teaching 'useful skills' to students so they could go out and get a 'good job' sooner and boost the economy. That ushered in the full 'Progressive Education' which began to deliberately, not just turn our focus away from the ideals that America was formed from (and which formed its Founders), but to actively oppose them. Information Skills without the wisdom to employ them well, is a dangerous plan - see the fires in our streets for reference - and yet it forms the nucleus of our school systems.

That approach of seeking to cram minds full of useful facts, and a failure to differentiate between the higher or lower value of the information peddled without concern for wisdom, invokes an educational equivalent of Gresham's Law ('Bad money drives out good') and is what first progressively inflated our school systems' curriculum with extraneous subjects of Home Economics, 'Health', Civics, which led to woodworking, shop & automotive class, and a series of still more irrelevant classes, until the perennial point of 'falling test scores!' reached maximum volume, and those classes (some of which were at least somewhat useful) were dropped, and those classes which had originally begun as having some value and relation to what had been taught in traditional education, and had already been gutted to make room for the 'useful' classes, were then stuffed full of random 'noteworthy' trivia that could be drilled in and scanned for in a relentless series of testing, all of which means packing heads with ephemeral information without wisdom, in order to nudge up test scores and unwisely expand and entrench the school systems even further.

The traditional approach, OTOH, intended only to equip their students with those fundamentals that they truly needed to know, in order to be able to learn and do whatever else they would find worthwhile later in life, and to want to continue doing so, long after they'd left school behind.

And that brings us around to what the actual problem is - the nature of our school system itself.

The System
The process of our slipping further and further from focusing on delivering those traditional capabilities, is what people have been complaining about for generations, and each attempt to fix the problem has failed, because the problem is that in treating the effects, rather than their causes, we cause still more & more of its effects. Central to the actual problem inherent in our schools systems, is the fact that the cause which our our forebears created them to address, wasn't Education!

Our first school systems were created to assuage the fears which the proto-progressives had about the new immigrants flooding into the country (you know, the dreaded Irish, Italians & Slavs, who jarred their uniform sensibilities), which prompted them to propose forming a mandatory system of uniform, centralized, school systems, with which to control and shape the populace - in the 1830's, and that's how old the complaint is that our school systems are failing our students and our nation.

Almost immediately, people attempted to repeal the new school system's structures, but it was too late, as I noted in this post:,
"...Only three years after Massachusetts created their first school board as an entity with the political power to 'oversee' their already existing system of public education, some state representatives, such as Allen W. Dodge, saw what was happening, saw where it would lead, and attempted to put an end to it. As you can see from this snippet of his reaction then, their concerns then, weren't too far from our concerns now:
“After all that has been said about the French and Prussian systems, they appear to your Committee to be much more admirable, as a means of political influence, and of strengthening the hands of the government, than as a mere means for the diffusion of knowledge. For the latter purpose, the system of public Common Schools, under the control of persons most interested in their flourishing condition, who pay taxes to support them, appears to your Committee much superior. The establishment of the Board of Education seems to be the commencement of a system of centralization and of monopoly of power in a few hands, contrary, in every respect, to the true spirit of our democratical institutions; and which, unless speedily checked, may lead to unlooked-for and dangerous results.”[emphasis added]
Sadly, they failed to discontinue the imported experiment of politicizing public education, which is exponentially worse today (still, there's no time like the present to correct an old mistake). I highly recommend reading his full report "Report on the expediency of abolishing the Board of Education and the Normal Schools".

With political power established, the new purposes of 'educational systems', began to leap from the state level, to the national level, through a number of national education reform efforts, such as The Morrill Act (1863) which established a Federal role in education, and set up the first prototype for the Dept of Education, as well as what I noted above, the NEA's "Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education" (1913), which set about to dumb down, the already pro-regressively stunted, though vastly superior recommendations, of the earlier "Report of the Committee of Ten", under the chairmanship of Harvard's president, Charles Eliot, in 1893, which they found to be too concerned with content and ideas...."
Of course the new schools were supposed to continue teaching students what they would have learned in traditional education, but as the purpose for doing so had changed, the process became one that was performed more for appearances sake, as cover for doing what they were primarily intended to do: Rid students of their 'otherness', and reform them, and their parents, into a more uniform and controllable people. What that 'otherness' was, has shifted wildly over the nearly two centuries from then to now, from the 1830's creation of school boards & districts to control and change unfamiliar immigrants into more useful people, to the post-Civil War Morrill Act's efforts to 'educated the rebelliousness out of them' and put their focus on job skills, to the 'Progressives' who wanted to reshape and reform Americans into what they thought would be a new & improved model of humanity, or the other typical pretexts of "We need to keep up with the new century!...We need to keep up with the Germans!... We need to keep up with the Russians!... We need to keep up with the Japanese!... We need to keep up with the new century!...", our school systems' powers have grown, and have greatly intensified since the opening of the 20th Century, but their goal at least, has not changed in the least.

That primary non-educational goal has led to nearly two centuries of complaints about the poor quality of our schools and their graduates, and they fail even in that for many of the same reasons that authoritarian & socialist efforts lead to police states with little freedom, and markets with a poor quality of products, and vast shortages - it's not because their people are unintelligent, but because the very nature of their systems will not allow liberty and quality to flourish. The Top-Down, centralized, uniform, series of 'standards' and orders, prevent individuals from thinking and acting upon their ideas, and so they eliminate freedom, and deliver little more than an abundance of chaos.

Not only are teaching those traditional timeless principles and truths not the purpose of our school systems today, they couldn't be achieved within today's school systems even if they tried, as a century's worth of reform efforts have surely proven. Education is neither a scientific experiment nor an industrial product nor a tool of societal reform; it cannot be measured on scales or in beakers and cannot be produced in a factory using uniform materials, methods, tools and shift schedules, and no amount of strategic changes can make that so. It requires intelligent people with an achievable goal in mind, who are able to think and act as they see is best, and understand that they are responsible for their choices and actions.

And so after decades of buying time by laughing off people's concerns and fears about our school systems, we've actually reached a point today where transmitting those timeless principles and truths are no longer even pretended to be the purpose which schools are understood to exist for - not even just for appearances sake - to the point that today parents are even warned against listening to their students lessons, or again even to tutor their children so that they don't fall behind.

The problems caused by our school systems may have been less apparent two hundred years ago, but they've been inherent in the nature of the system since its start, and only needed today's circumstances to draw their worse effects out into the open. Their combination of cause & effect has naturally, and swiftly, devolved into the politically correct grab bag of vapid virtue signaling that can be found on the 'About' pages of just about any school or school district's website. Again, this is less an issue of teachers and other people involved in the process (though there's blame to go around there as well), than it has to do with the nature and design of the systems itself.

It is not a healthy system and neither teacher nor student, should be sent back into it.

The 'Old Complaint' is an ongoing threat
The 'old complaint' about schools failing, was, seen over time, the incremental shockwaves of the progressive loss of one layer after another, of what made us civilized Americans of Western Civilization. While at the time people snickered that:
"Not knowing the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, isn't the end of the world!"
, and of course it wasn't. Neither was it when they next said,
"Not knowing the names of the Presidents, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the Declaration of Independence, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the Constitution, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing how to read, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the details of history, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing how to add, subtract, multiply & divide, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the proper use of grammar, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing proper manners, isn't the end of the world!"
None of those alone was 'the end of the world!', but just as the old saw about the man who, falling off the top of the Empire State Building, is heard to call out: "So far, so good!" as he falls past each floor, such an optimistic focus upon the moment, is misplaced. All of those facts and ideals which we've progressively lost, one after the other, across time, has meant the end of that world which America could exist in and be understood by Americans. The loss of why and how we once educated ourselves, has progressively transformed us from being an America where our youth were expected to help the elderly cross the street, into an America where it is not unexpected to see our youth berate and even assault the elderly for attempting to cross the street, to which a large number of 'Americans' will applaud.

That is what the world looks like, when those purposes, ideals, knowledge and habits are lost to those inhabiting it.

The nature and means of the ideas of schooling that we've saddled ourselves with today, as a result of its non-educational designs, has been the cause of those effects that are disintegrating the whole of what was once understood to be important to be taught and learned. Such means and purposes as these, were and are the very means of detouring teachers and students alike from doing what they once did and should still do. Where we are now, is only the hell that all such roads eventually lead people with little more than good intentions, to.

So stop already.

I would not send a child, or a teacher, to school today. Period. Why would you?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Educational Sleight of Hand Inflaming America - Education or School Systems pt 3

So I've given my unpopular opinion over the last two posts, that our situation with the schools being closed has been the best thing that's happened in 2020, and that if we know what's best for us, we should see to it that they stay closed. Why? So we can begin correcting the century old educational error that has led to the chaotic society we are living in today, and start getting back to providing students with educations that are good in more meaningful ways than just a GPA.

Three reasons I've gone into (so far) for how our schools have loosed the chaos:
  1. America and its school systems are incompatible. America was founded upon the discovery of timeless and self-evident truths, and abstract principles of individual rights, property and the Rule of Law, to secure Liberty for all; while the 'Progressive' experiment in reforming our school systems was driven by Pragmatic tenets (one of Pragmatism's key founders was 'Progressive' education reformer, John Dewey) which dismiss 'Truth' in favor of what seems to work, and rejects abstract principles for guiding right action, in favor of trying whatever seems will have the power to 'work' for the 'greater good' (at the moment). In their founding ideals, America and its school systems are fundamentally opposed to each other.
  2. The Pro-Regressive repurposing of education as a means to 'getting a good job', has always carried with it the belief that 'the masses' are unfit to receive the same education as 'their leaders', and should instead forego that in favor of being trained to perform ''specific difficult manual tasks'' - at the opening of the 20th century that meant helping to support the economy by preparing 'the masses' to operate machinery in factories, and here in the 21st Century it means preparing 'the masses' to support the economy by developing their STEM and computer skills.
  3. Our school systems were designed to assure that govt experts (themselves) would have more power to control what students learn, than their parents. Seeing their surprising success as early as 1909, one designer delighted that "... Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent...", and in 2020, amidst the virtual classes & Covid-19 lockdowns, they're still very much concerned to maintain their power to 'teach' "...the messy work of destabilizing a kids racism or homophobia or transphobia..." in their classes, free from parents overhearing or interfering with them even in their homes.
It is with that in mind, and a great deal more, that I listen to the reactions of those who, shocked at my unpopular opinion, typically reply to me that:
"Surely what they're missing out on, outweighs whatever harm they might be exposed to?!"
I try not to show how shocked I am to hear what seems like such a willful exercise in denial, which otherwise responsible people seem to think expresses a 'reasonable' concern. My guess is that, like an audience caught up in the spectacle of a magic show, they fall for the magician's misdirection and fail to see the hand that's making their valuables disappear from sight. Answering that question, requires focusing upon at least two of those points that we're meant to miss.

To take the least obvious point first, to the extent that some good material might make it into what is taught within our school systems, I remind you that all those 'good lessons' will be conveyed and refracted through the pragmatic lens (at best) of a long line of textbook developers, superintendents, curriculum writers, testing algorithms, administrators, and finally at the end of that line, teachers, to present what is by that time a distorted - at best - picture of reality as the background for those 'good lessons' to be conveyed to the students. Also worth noting, those who will be most affected by the distorted views in these lessons, will be those students who're conscientiously making a serious effort to earn good grades. What good can that do?

What distortions? Examples abound for those interested in looking, but there happens to be an especially clear example of the sort of distortions I'm referring to which is fully on display today, in the controversy over what was initially presented as being 'important!' history, with the the New York Times endorsing the "1619 Project" of Hannah Jones. What the "1619 Project" shamelessly presented as being factual, was quickly exposed as being riddled with biased opinion, inaccuracies, and outright lies, which the author and her corporate sponsors soon employed their command of rubberized words to twist their original intentions for it, into being a work of historical 'journalism', not history, which they had only presented so as to counter what they saw as being an existing 'historical narrative'.
School sponsored Communist Clubs
- what could go wrong?

I wonder if the same thing occurred to you about that, as occurred to Legal Insurrection, who replied:
"...Why not counter the other narrative with history if that narrative is wrong? Shouldn’t the nation’s shared memory be historical facts?
Jones also said they “explicitly stated” their aims in the piece. The last sentence of the introduction (my emphasis): “On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”
Truthfully. When I read “truthfully” I expect facts and history.
Even if Jones wanted the 1619 Project to be a “work in journalism” she chose the wrong term. Journalism, like history, should report the truth. Not your truth. Not alternative facts...."
The gist of the lessons that the "1619 Project" is peddling, are not unusual or random one off's of happenstance; sure its tawdry nature may push its message more explicitly than most, but similar messages are implicit in essentially all 'social studies' today (and especially over the last 30 years), and have been progressively lowering the bar of what's 'acceptable' in the classroom and society for over a century.

If you're still not seeing it, then we need to focus on the other sleight of hand obscuring your view, that being:
What do you imagine a 'good' education to be?
As noted in the first post, a good education needn't be an extensive one, and until our time, a good education would have been widely recognized as being one that conveys an essential body of knowledge and general understanding which aims that student towards living a life worth living, and equips them with the intellectual means for living it well, as well as to unlock a lifetime of ability and interest in continuing their own education after leaving school - Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. OTOH, a student who has learned an extensive amount of material, even earning several degrees, but in the process has been led to misidentify a handful of good ideas as being inconsequential or even bad, or has been led to misidentify bad ideas as being good, then despite all the learning they have accumulated, what they have received is a bad education, and their lives will, over time, veer further and further from the bullseye.

To quote someone who once said something, "...what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul..."?

For those of you who do associate learning large quantities of material, and the accumulation of numerous degrees with being a 'good' education (and you are sadly in good company), you should keep in mind that there was a certain western European nation of the 1930's that was considered to be 'highly educated' by that same criteria, even as they plunged the world into war. The once uncontroversial fact is, that having learned to put little or no value on what puts the Good in 'good', is a product of a bad - AKA: 'Progressive', education, and that message more than resonates with, and is promoted by, that same long line of textbook developers, superintendents, curriculum writers, testing algorithms, and administrators (the institutionally blinded leading the soon to be blind), and seeing a disturbingly large number of professors and teachers, who also approve of the riotous violence occurring in our cities.

With all of that in mind, my answer to the question of "Surely what they're missing out on, outweighs whatever harm they might be exposed to?!", is an emphatic: No.

If you still don't see it, it is difficult to see how you see that, when surely you are able to see the fruits of at least five generations of this living educational experiment, who've been rioting in our streets on a nightly basis for months now. Notice also, that they are doing so with the general approval and support of millions more who've 'somehow' learned that damaging or destroying property and lives can be called 'peaceful', when they're directed towards the ideals, laws, heritage, statues & persons, which once were valued by Americans.

Again, in their ideals, America and its school systems are fundamentally opposed to each other, and the hostility that so many students bear towards The West in general, and towards America in particular, is not the unexpected side effect of, or somehow strangely learned in spite of the 'education' our school systems provide them - that systemic maleducation is inherent in the nature of their systems and is their intended product. If you object to that, I've got to ask, on what basis do you do so? On the basis of what you wish our schools were, or on the basis of the 'lessons" they actually are, and are visibly & intentionally furthering?

America's patience is going to make it late for its own funeral
If you think I'm being too hasty, well I'm sorry but I've got to point out that it is you who are clearly tardy, and tragically, inexcusably so. When this was reported (outside the establishment news) three years ago, it was already several years late in pointing out that numerous public schools across the nation had already been openly hosting Communist Clubs for officially approved of after school activities:
"...Officials at Edina Public Schools confirmed the existence of the club.

"We did have a Young Marxists Club last year," said Susan Brott, Director of Communications & Community Engagement at Edina Public Schools. "I think that was the first year they had it."

School officials said all clubs are student generated and led by faculty advisors. Clubs are not automatically approved. There is an application process, as well protocols and guidelines that must be followed upon creation of a club. Symbols deemed "inappropriate" by school officials are not permitted, for example.

"So long as everyone is welcome to join, clubs are generally approved," Brott said..."
Apparently the irony of saying 'everyone is welcome' in regards to 'clubbing' around an ideology that brutally consumed the lives of many tens of millions of people across the 20th Century, is lost on that school's Director of Communications & Community Engagement - though her irony deficiency is widespread amongst numerous school districts across the nation. And if that's not obvious enough, simply pay attention to the evidence of those tearing up our streets and tearing down our statues: Clearly, whatever lessons our schools are teaching kids in what they should know of history, grammar, math, art & literature, are being massively outweighed by the uglier lessons which are far more thoroughly, frequently, consistently and effectively, teach students and teachers alike in such demoralizing ideals as these:
  • that 'truth' is relative;
  • the expectation for someone to make a moral choice is an unrealistic expectation;
  • that 'cancelling' and treating strangers like dirt is acceptable if it furthers your ends for 'the greater good';
  • that uncivil behavior and violence can be called 'peaceful protesting';
  • that it's possible to respect 'human rights' while actively destroying the property of actual human beings whose lives depend upon it being secured; lives secured and depend upon;
  • that people can be presumed to be good or bad based upon skin color or wealth;
  • that America is evil.
Believing just one of those tenets is corrupting to the mind of the person thinking with them. Look at the faces of those who've taken these ideas into their minds - believing that - not dropping out of school, or getting poor test scores - is what constitutes a bad education.
Professors, graduates, students, Left & Right... 'educated'

And those beliefs and messages are widely accepted - again, the '1619 Project' is unusual only in how blatantly they state their beliefs - and are treated in our school systems as if they were admirable ideals which your A+ Students will be encouraged to study hard and get their A's in, and consequently be the most harmed by. There should be no surprise that such 'ideas' as those lead to professors of "American Literature and Composition” who loudly proclaim "F*ck every single cop", and how could you possibly think they'd lead to anything else but that?! You might want to think about that, as you urge your child to "work hard and get A's".

That is the nature of our school systems, and the education that it intends our students to learn - it just is. We are long past the point where you send your child into their classrooms and be surprised when they come out having no regard for what is right & true, condoning or actively forcing their positions upon others and forcefully silencing other views, judging people as being good/bad based upon their wealth & skin pigmentation, disrespecting property and individual rights, and hating the West in general and America in particular.

Open your damn eyes. Especially as there are finally viable alternatives, such as 'Pandemic Pods' & 'Micro-Schools' springing up from coast to coast (though don't take your eye off the material being taught from) - more on that in a bit.

I don't know anything at all of a preacher named Voddie Baucham, other than several friends have sent me a quote attributed to him (which I haven't been able to source), but while I might very well disagree with some or most of what he has to say, on this point at least, he is exactly right:
“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” — Voddie Baucham
Are there still good teachers in our schools? Of course there are. My question is why?! Why are they still there? And why would you want to send either students or teachers back into such a system as that?

We'll get into some of the excuses most often given to that question, whether of 'old complaints' or blaming it on management, in the final two posts.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

'Democratic education' for the humane enslavement of the people - Education or School Systems pt 2

In the previous post, I gave my unpopular opinion that Schools are closed: Why undo the only bright spot in 2020?, and pointed out that the nature of the 'Progressive' redesign of our school systems over a century ago, was systemically in conflict with the nature of the principles which had made America an exceptional nation. With the nature of that experimental system they put in place, it shouldn't be surprising that many graduates of our school systems have lacked a reverence for this nation, or that many of them can be found in many American cities tonight, rioting in the the streets. What should be a little more surprising though, is that 'Progressives', then and now, have enjoyed a degree of popularity with those they termed 'the masses'.

The Progressives in general though, and John Dewey in particular, were adept at making their ideas sound appealing to the 'democratic' public, yet while fans and foes of their ideas still debate the merits and dangers of what was actually meant by some of those theories, Dewey's fellow leaders in 'Progressive' education mostly agreed about how best to put those ideas into practice, and they consistently revealed a shared disdain for 'the masses' of the public they supposedly thought and cared so much about.

For instance, Woodrow Wilson, when still president of Princeton University in 1909, advised the Federation of High School Teachers as being an critical purpose to their teaching:
"...We want one class of persons to have a liberal education and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks..."
, a view which was also echoed by James E. Russell, head of Columbia University Teachers College, who gave a speech there in 1905 called "The Trend in American Education", where he expressed his equally 'pragmatic' concern that:
"...How can a nation endure that deliberately seeks to rouse ambitions and aspirations in the oncoming generations which in the nature of events cannot possibly be fulfilled ? If the chief object of government be to promote civil order and social stability , how can we justify our practice in schooling the masses in precisely the same manner as we do those who are to be our leaders?..."
Such sentiments, recently hinted at with 'the soft bigotry of lower expectations', were commonplace amongst the 'Progressives' writings and speeches of the time (and which is still alive and well in our time), and in case you missed the relevance of their intentions to you today, the information age equivalent of fitting 'the masses' to perform 'specific difficult manual tasks', is exactly what is behind the current rage to train 'the masses' in STEM skills, and not in that understanding which our Founder's generation formed themselves, and our nation, through - how could 'the masses' possibly understand Aristotle and Cicero, etc... (as those of the Founder's raised and taught them by their Mother's in the backwoods did - see George Wythe), for the Pro-Regressive's, such a thing was inconceivable.

Where such contradictory ideas as those would be a problem for a traditional American's principled thinking - civil war not being out of the question for how to resolve them - it's not at all problematic for the pragmatist (see previous post). For the pragmatist who upholds no principles, and values only doing what empirically 'works' for their own 'expert' purposes, promoting 'Democracy!' to the masses, while using political power to see to it that those masses are trained so as to be easier to be controlled by 'their leaders', was (and is) not a problem for them at all - after all, as they'd tell you: it works.

What I'm hoping is becoming unavoidably clear to you, is that this 'Progressive' understanding was exceedingly common to those who designed the components of our 'modern' school system's, and their theories shaped its districts, buildings, schedules, curriculum, textbooks, tests and standardized tests... which we still 'enjoy' today. That understanding drove our school districts so far from Jefferson's hopes for providing a sound education under local control, to the point that school systems felt justified in seeking and wherever possible taking control over your children, as was expressed by yet another leading 'Progressive' school reformer of the time - yet another that you've probably never heard of (though he had a great deal to do with the life that your education shaped) - as Elwood P. Cubberly, who in 1909 delighted over the fact that
“Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”
Yes, 1909 was a long time ago, but their intentions were not trapped in the past, and though the past may be forgotten by most of us today, the processes which they set up back then are still actively operating upon us today, and the goal of our school systems from their inception at the opening of the 20th Century, are still largely the same goals and guidelines (though perhaps worded differently) of our school systems here in the beginning of the 21st Century, and they still forcefully shape the actions and intentions of those studying or teaching within them. It should be no surprise to anyone, that a system designed to slyly reform a people into an ideal they weren't fully aware they'd bargained for, would devolve into a system which would support evermore radical ideas being promoted to students without their parents knowledge as their expertise determined was for the 'greater good', such as was recently tweeted out by this teacher in Philadelphia,
"So, this fall, virtual class discussions will have many potential spectators - parents, siblings, etc. - in the same room. We'll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work?..."
UPDATE: If you thought that was a one off, or a 'Big City' issue, that's not the case. Here we have a school district in Tennessee, Rutherford County Schools (RCS), that intends to parental signatures on forms, promising not to 'monitor' their children's virtual classes at home:
““RCS strives to present these opportunities in a secure format that protects student privacy to the greatest extent possible, however because these meetings will occur virtually RCS is limited in its ability to fully control certain factors such as non-student observers that may be present in the home of a student participating in the virtual meeting,” according to the form.
“RCS strongly discourages non student observation of online meetings due to the potential of confidential information about a student being revealed.””
I repeat, the issues are not due to particular rogue bureaucrats, administrators or bad-apple teachers, the issues are systemic./

That tactic of misleading and patronizing parents (whether of the traditionally minded in 1909, or of the non-woke today), of eagerly assuming proprietary control over their children today, as noted above with Elwood P. Cubberly a century ago, as well as with castigating our society about its perceived 'inequities' and unfair 'privilege', as Dewey himself often had
"...But, most of all, the present industrial constitution of society is, like every society which has ever existed, full of inequities. It is the aim of progressive education to take part in correcting unfair privilege and unfair deprivation, not to perpetuate them...."
These are not new developments! Yes 1909 was a long time ago, but last week wasn't! What this Philly teacher tweeted - and the rest is worse, and is surprising only if you haven't been paying attention - is not anything meaningfully different from what was said a century ago, he's just saying it more rudely and crudely than those who put us on the path to where we are today. The reason why the 'Progressives' of 1909, and the Woke-Folk of 2020, are substantially the same, is because their purposes, problems, attitudes and goals, are systemic to our school system - then, as now.

Yes, there is a systemic problem facing America today, but it has little to do with racism, and everything to do with how our school systems were designed to transform our understanding of ourselves, and of our form of self government, by the means of a reckless experiment that we allowed them to perform upon us in our own government's schools. A bad education is a dangerous thing, and that system which had begun in earnest with the Morrill Acts of 1863 was fertilized with pragmatism by 'Progressives' and, fully entrenched by 1900, bore fruit fast. By 1918, every state in the Union had adopted laws establishing compulsory education, and it should be no surprise that similar sweeping changes followed from fellow 'Progressive's Teddy Roosevelt (R) & (as POTUS) Woodrow Wilson (D), in the form of their Administrative State (now that was bi-partisanship!), as after all, for those who no longer felt fully responsible for what was most valuable to their lives - their children - what fuss would they, or could they, raise over such trifles as undermining their individual rights through a federal Income Tax, the Federal Reserve, Prohibition, or how Senators should be elected?

The effects of those experimental lessons have progressively damaged us in the one area that a nation built upon ideas cannot long survive - our understanding of ourselves. The systemic structure that they reformed our ideas of education and school into, have had a profound effect upon your parents, yourself, your children, and our society, and whatever their intentions might have been and may still be, the fruits they've borne have been disquiet, death and destruction, and it is folly not to judge our school systems by that!

The problem is systemic, it is not simply the fault of teachers; sure there are bad teachers, but there are far more better ones in our school systems, who the system doesn't permit to function fully, or allow to simply teach. The consequences of that century old decision are simply not sustainable, and we cannot afford to let pass on this golden opportunity to put an end to it - by a weird twist of fate and providence, our school systems have been closed - for your sake, for the sake of your children and their teachers, we should keep them closed.

As is proven daily by the well educated 'peaceful protesters' burning down our cities and stopping citizens at gun point on our streets, the 'progressive' experiment in Education has failed, - by their fruits you shall know them - what's your excuse? It's time to correct our mistakes, and surprisingly, we have the opportunity to begin doing so now, and that must begin, as it began back then, in the schools - keep them closed! Close the schools, promote and allow the other options, such as Micro-Schools, which good teachers and concerned parents are driving, and enable their students to be educated as they could and should be.

Keep our school systems closed so that students can get a good education.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Schools are closed: Why undo the only bright spot in 2020? - Education or School Systems pt 1

Back to school time? Really?! Don't get me wrong, there are few things more important to our lives and society than getting a good education, and conversely, few things that are more harmful to our lives and society than having a bad education. Yes... there's a 'but' coming, but it has nothing to do with the Coronavirus/Covid19, lockdowns or masks, and everything to do with an abundance of evidence that our school systems, even by their own criteria, have been producing progressively more students who are badly educated, in both rich & poor schools across the nation, and are doing so despite ever expanding systems and rising funding for them. What this indicates is that this issue is not solely a fault of particular parties, administrators, programs, teachers or parents, but is something that is systemic to our school systems as a whole - and that's traceable back to an error we made over a century ago. Mindful that people 'are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable' and will ignore such facts and their consequences for as long as they are able to, I hereby declare my unpopular opinion:
Schools being closed has been the best & brightest spot of 2020 - why on earth would you want to reverse that?
If my opinion shocks you more than the facts that gave rise to it, it seems to me that should shock you about yourself even more, for given the importance of an education, isn't it foolish to expect good education to come from an inherently bad educational system, and even worse to persist in ignoring and promoting it? Whatever feelings you may have on the matter, I strongly suggest that you take this time to give careful consideration to the nature of our nation's school systems, and to whether or not they are fit to send either students or teachers back into, and why.

Assuming that what you mean by Education, is something more than getting a 'skilz certificate' for the job market, what's more important to a good education than test grades, is that it conveys an essential body of knowledge and general understanding which aims that student towards living a life worth living, and equips them with the intellectual means for living it well (does your school do that? These closures have seen alternatives to private and home school springing up across the nation and perhaps involving teachers you already know and trust in the form of Micro-Schools, and more, which can do that). A bad education, OTOH, requires only that students be led to misidentify a handful of good ideas as being inconsequential or even bad, or that bad ideas be misidentified as being good, to aim them towards preferences which conflict with or contradict important general truths. Do only that, and no matter how many good grades, test scores and degrees they get, the arrow of those student's lives will, over time, veer further and further from their proper target (does your school (hello '1619 Project', Common Core, etc...) do that?).

Of course I recognize that the unexpected closure of our school systems is without doubt posing a great disturbance and inconvenience to most, yet it's nevertheless a rare and great opportunity to correct the mistaken experiment that We The People instituted into our school systems over a century ago, and as the opportunities to correct errors such as that are so very rare, we should take advantage of it now, while the current crop of experimenter's ambitions are surprisingly (and temporarily) aligned with our own best interests - keep our students and teachers out of the schools!

The mistake I'm referring to here, was a spectacularly costly one we made in altering the nature of our school systems at the opening of the 20th Century. The fact that we chose to do so - with the very best of intentions - doesn't alter the fact that what we chose, has subjected generations of our students to an unwise experiment; one which the Pied Piper of Progressivism, John Dewey, termed an experiment in a more 'progressive education',
"...The school is often called an experimental school, and in one sense that is the proper name. I do not like to use it too much, for fear parents will think we are experimenting upon the children, and that they naturally object to. But it is an experimental school—at least I hope so—with reference to education and educational problems...."
, and the high school and college graduates and in many cases even teachers, who are currently burning up our cities and tearing down our statues, should be evidence enough that the experiment has gone horribly wrong, and so we should take this opportunity to end it and, repeat after me: keep the schools closed!

Though those particular effects may have been unintended, what Dewey and his fellow 'Progressives' (and he was only the most recognizable face of a large movement) intended their experiment to accomplish, was - flowery language and aspirations aside - to de-emphasize (read: progressively phase out) the methods, memories, habits and ideals that Western Civilization in general, and America in particular had developed from, from the minds of those currently living in that same civilization and under its finest system of government. Well, in case you're curious, what a person is like once they've had most of their knowledge and regard for the manners, morals and civic responsibility typified by traditional Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, removed from them, it turns out they look a lot like people who'd riot in the streets and beat people for disagreeing with them. The reformation of our school systems was a mad and dangerous experiment to perform, but Dewey and his fellow Pro-Regressives (what else do you call people who promote reverting to barbarism?) were full of confidence and lacking in any fear that their good intentions could possibly go wrong - something which someone who paid more attention to history might've called hubris. Thomas Jefferson, for one, would have warned, did warn us, that it is a dangerous matter for a people to become ignorant of who they are and where they came from, because ,
"...If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be..."
Jefferson had urged the importance not only of passing on vital knowledge to the next generation, but also of setting up a suitable system for the transmitting of it, that would keep the schools, their content, and the control of them, as close to those utilizing them as possible (best described by a later term, 'Subsidiarty', where decisions should be made at the lowest possible level or closest to where they will have their effect), as he saw both to be vitally important to providing a good education. And while he did propose to use government to establish a system for creating and maintaining schools (and I'm uneasy with even that), but he did not intend for govt to be involved in education itself, as he was intently focused upon having a limited government, and an educated citizenry's role in how to preserve both, as he put it: "...I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength..."::
"...“1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it.”....”
The 'Progressives', OTOH, opposed both of his points. They preferred consolidation to subsidiarity - it is a feature of their systems, not a bug, that the 'local school districts' they lured the people in with, have consolidated down from 117,108 school districts across the nation in 1939, to just 14,176 in 2014, even as our population has tripled in size. They also much preferred to focus their attentions upon developing 'socialized skills', over giving 'too much' attention to the quality of a students knowledge, for as Dewey often put it,
"...The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness..."
... remember that the next time you see one of those videos of college kids who don't know who America fought in the Revolutionary War or why but are all about a 'Green New Deal', do try to feel thankful that their ignorance was acquired 'unselfishly'. /sarc

The 'Progressives' intentions were from the start, to turn our attention away from, not only those republican ideals of limiting government's powers to upholding & defending individual rights, but away from the system which had made transmitting such 'facts and truths' to the next generation possible. Their new 'Progressive' system, which was very different from the nature of the schools that preceded it, no longer put as much stock in the 'facts and truths' of history, ethics & literature, or in having a solid foundation in how history developed through them - neither did it give much concern to what thoughts such a student was likely to be able to have that would be worth thinking, or worth thinking with, without a command of those 'facts and truths'. If you are one of those who want to keep the schools open, it's worth asking yourself, especially today, whether school systems that leave students without that deeper knowledge, and especially of the fundamentals, does it seem more likely that the thinking of those students it produces would be grounded in sound & solid truths, or serve as a means of echoing popular (to who?) slogans and feelings?

Isn't the answer to that what is all around us today?

But at the opening of the 20th Century, such concerns were still easily brushed off as being too fearfully traditional, too reactionary, to bother with. Reformers such as John Dewey, in his "The School and Society" (1900), dismissed people's concerns about doing away with what were understood to be the foundations of the traditional approach to education, with a patronizing sniff, noting that
"... first three years of a child in school are spent upon the form—not the substance—of learning, the mastering of the symbols of reading, writing, and arithmetic. There is not much positive nutriment in this...."
They recommended against instilling those habits of concentration and persistence, which traditional education taught students early on in order to unlock a lifetime of ability and interest in continuing their own education after leaving school, in favor of a more pleasing strategy of constantly stimulating and cajoling a child's attention (little short of begging for the child's approval) to their teacher's lessons. By means such as these, the student's mind which should have been inclined towards the consideration and reflection which deepens knowledge & understanding, was progressively led in a very different direction through various steps, short-cuts and follow-the-dots exercises, that lead the student around the bare surface of what they 'know', not finding 'selfish' interest and satisfaction in their knowledge, but doing what pragmatically 'worked' in getting the right responses and answers to satisfy someone else's questions; little different from awarding ribbons and scores for performing factoidial scavenger hunts.

The 'Progressive' is less interested in:
Johnny, after being taught and reading from quality material about the American Revolution, finds himself shaking his head and wondering:
'What must have gone through Washington's mind in leading his men to cross over the frozen Delaware, to attack the best soldiers in the world...?!',
than in getting 'scientifically' measurable results, such as:
Johnny, after being given a worksheet for the 'Social Studies: 'America!' textbook 'chapter' on the American Revolution,
Quiz: 'Did Washington cross the
A) Delaware,
B) the Susquehanna, or
C) None of the above
Johnny "... A? "
Teacher: "Good boy Johnny!"
Such Yes/No/Maybe uses of the mind, collectively serve to reduce Western Civilization's crowning achievement of a methodical method of Reasoning, to a sterile process of decision loops (which they wrongly imagine to be synonymous with Logic), and fill a student's head with 'strategies' and flowcharts they're told can be easily referred to later in life when they might find themselves needing to retrieve various data.

This is the sort of external approach, which leads (and led) to viewing masterpieces, newspaper articles and stock reports alike, as 'informational texts' to be examined by strategies of 'close reading' and shallow 'If this, Then that' flowchart steps, which are not teaching students how to be thoughtful, but how to process data and retrieve desired results, while avoiding any deeper thinking and in as showy a manner as possible.

It was that same tendency towards appearances over substance, which led to numerous other 'Progressive' disasters in 'education', such as the 'See and Say' method of sight reading over phonics, and various forms of 'New Math' over mastering simple fundamentals, and the ever popular mockery of logical reasoning that is 'Critical Thinking' (devised in 1943 by one of Dewey's admirers), which have left generations of student lab rats functionally illiterate and innumerate, and critically satisfied in their fondest opinions.

The unseemly fact is that the system which the 'Progressives' rejected and strove to progress us past, was one which understood that there would be no worthwhile thoughts to think of, without first having a deeper understanding of the material involved - that it took more than just having 'facts', and took more than simply storing and retrieving 'information', that instead, fully developing their understanding of concepts meant grasping how those facts and information fit together and served the nature of the concept at hand, enabling their knowledge to become known, an approach which led to more than simply having a head full of data, but a mind whose ideas are integrated so that the student has an understanding of how the world works and how they can face up to, and navigate through it.

That type of understanding does not, and cannot, come from being trained to scan for answers to 'fill in the blank' worksheets, or be assessed through multiple choice standardized tests. Teaching the 'facts' that George Washington crossed the Delaware and later won a war, is a very different thing, from conveying the understanding that because George Washington was the singular man that he was, men were willing to endure great hardships in following him across a frozen river and into battle, and to continue on risking their lives in fighting for the revolutionary ideal which they all shared, of eventually living their lives in liberty - the facts alone are truly meaningless. Such an educational system as the 'progressives' proposed, and which we still practice today, is not capable of bringing students into deeper understanding and wisdom, but is suited mostly to generating shallow feelings and opinions, which transform the human brain into a very expensive computer, filled with an ever growing number of bugs & glitches.

There's a reason for that. And why it is that people wonder why our schools seem overtly hostile to America, I think comes from their not really understanding one or both of them. One solid reason for why our schools cannot be 'reformed' to be compatible and friendly with the ideas that made America exceptional, is rooted in both of their foundings - but as giving a full answer to that would take several posts in itself, and this one is already bursting the seems of its HTML... maybe this thumbnailing of the matter will help:
  • America is a nation whose founders formed it upon timeless principles of Individual Rights that were abstracted from the moral choices involved in the nature of being human, that understanding those 'self evident truths' to be true of all people, required that everyone be treated equally under the Rule of Law, without regard to their wealth or status, under a representative government whose powers were limited to upholding and defending them - and that it would be unjust to do otherwise.
  • Our modern school systems were formed by 'Progressives' who were predominantly followers of the new philosophy of Pragmatism - which along with C.S. Peirce and William James, John Dewey was a co-founder of - and while they differed on points, in general it holds that Truth, as conceived of in traditional Western thought, doesn't exist, seeing 'truth' as being only what seems to work, and seeing Free Will as an illusion of environmental circumstances, pragmatism dismisses the concepts of abstract principles & principled thinking, advocating instead that people should do what seems to work best for them at the moment, and that government should have the power to do whatever experts see as being best for 'the greater good'. At the moment. For the moment. And something entirely different in the next moment.
Now are you beginning to see the problem?

Our school systems are systemically incapable of delivering the good education which America was founded upon and requires, because they were founded upon ideas that are diametrically opposed to each other! Those teachers who do manage to actually educate their students, do so by bucking the system - why would you want to send either students or teachers back into a system such as that?!

You don't have to look far to find evidence of these oppositions, they're right on the surface just behind the words being used. For instance, Dewey often urged that the new object of our "democratic" education was to teach every child "to perceive the essential interdependence of an industrial society" and always to develop "a socialized disposition", which meant in practice that they saw the purpose of their 'progressive education' as being more concerned with sociological and political concerns, than with the conceptual knowledge and wisdom which Jefferson advised as being vital for Americans to understand, and that too we see all around us in the world today.

Such confused purposes as these are systemic to our school systems, they do not lead to providing a good education, they at best lead to a system of mis-education, and as we'll see in the next post, that leads to even more perilously good intentions for a 'Democratic education' for the humane enslavement of the people, for the 'greater good'. Our school systems being closed has been the best & brightest spot of 2020 - don't reverse that, use it to reverse the errors we made so long ago.

Do that, and at least we'll prove that we've learned something good from this most costly lesson.