Indoctrination, not education
By Alan Caruba
The President's education plan, with or without vouchers, suffers from an essential defect. In the U.S. Constitution's enumeration of its powers and responsibilities as regards "raising revenue" (Article 1, Section 8) you will find no mention of "education."
While education is a national priority, it is more properly a priority of the parents of students, their teachers, and local school boards. The flaw in President Bush's education plans is the US Department of Education, an agency that since the 1970's has racked up a dismal record when it comes to educating the nation's youth. The "national standard" of education being discussed ignores the most fundamental issue. Under the DOE a deliberate plan to dumb down American students has been in place for decades. No one seems willing to discuss this.
We should not support the President's plan because it will expand the powers of the Department of Education. Forget the rhetoric of block grants and other forms of slippery bookkeeping jargon and logic designed to make this palatable. "Accountability" and "Leave no child behind" are political slogans that have helped ruin schools by diverting attention from the entrenched subversion of our schools.
Individual States are, in reality, the conduit for the programs designed by the federal Department of Education. Federal programs are intended to subvert the teaching of the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic, along with history, civics, and science. The problem is the top-down federal programs and other changes in American life such as the trend to litigate against the disciplinary powers of school authorities that have severely undermined the ability of local schools to achieve their intended goal.
· It is not the government's job through Outcome Based Education to shape the opinions, personalities, and values of students. That's the job for parents.
· It is not the government's job to set up health facilities in schools and insist that millions of students be required to take mind-altering drugs like Ritalin.
· It is not the government's job to send so-called social workers into the homes of parents, threatening to take their children from them.
· It is not the government's job to create School to Work programs as if students are mere economic units whose skills are to be pre-determined as to what occupation they will enter upon graduation. That's what the former Soviet Union did and that's what occurs in Red China, Cuba and other Communist nations today.
Since the 1960's, the federal government, in league with the all-powerful teacher's unions, has so transformed our schools that, by any standard and all current test scores, they have been degraded to the point where American students score well below those in other nations in almost every area of knowledge.
The Department of Education and the teacher's unions have ruined our nation's schools. Everyone knows it. Parents under the current system are powerless. In the schools, the principals and teachers are powerless to deal with disruptive students, to separate the slow learners from those who can progress at a faster rate, to avoid having disabled students mixed in so as to diminish the teacher's attention to the rest of the class.
Why do you think that tutoring services outside the school system are a booming business these days? Desperate parents spend money out of their own pockets to get the education for their children that the nation's schools are not providing. Millions more parents have turned to home schooling in order to insure their children receive the education public schools cannot and will not provide.
They do so to insure that their children grow up with the values that are prohibited in today's schools. These children uniformly score better on the same tests given those currently suffering from the lack of a real education they should receive in the schools.
The power to educate children must and should be returned to where it was before the tentacles of the federal government and the teacher's unions turned our schools into shooting galleries and indoctrination centers where environmentalism, global government, and sexual behavior are on the curriculum as the prime objective of a student's education. All signs point to the fact that the President is, in fact, a captive of the education establishment's rhetoric. If he is, you can bet the nation's mainstream media will be as well.
Giving tests in school is the oldest and best way to determine the progress of students. National standards that determine the federal and state funding of school districts, their budgets, the pay teachers and administrators receive, can only lead to schools that devote an enormous amount of the school day "teaching to the test." It's not the scores that matter; it's who sets the standards. Right now it is the "educrats" in Washington, DC.
Current curriculums and the way they are implemented insure that all students are indoctrinated to give the "right" answers to the questions determined by someone in Washington, DC, not the local school board, not the teachers, and not the parents. All real power has long since shifted to the Department of Education and this is why our schools are in wreckage.
It's easy to condemn the Democratic Party, controlled in large part by the teacher's unions, for embracing the President's and previous proposals for education in America. At its heart, it is a socialist concept. What is frightening is that Republicans have, since the 1960's, embraced it as well, oblivious to the true intent of "modern education." It must stop.
Title 1 and other programs provide the chokehold on education in America today. It controls school lunches, in-school healthcare programs, and pushes the concept of "at risk" children. This opens the door to a wide variety of abuses including the prescribing of mind-altering drugs, inappropriate physical exams, as well as permitting social workers to invade homes to enforce these programs.
Until Title 1 is dismantled and removed, the President remains as much a prisoner of the education establishment as everyone else in America. Right now, those with the least power are the parents of America's school children.
The history of the effort to model America's schools after those of the former Soviet Union is largely unknown to Americans. This is why they need to take back their schools. This is the new American Revolution.
Alan Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center and writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Center's Internet site which can be found at http://www.anxietycenter.com/. © Alan Caruba, 2001.
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