Skip to comments.How Schools Hold Children Down
Posted on 09/20/2012 2:58:23 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
Behold the mighty Gulliver, in the prime of his life held down by a few dozen strands. This has always been an arresting image. It seems paradoxical that such little ropes could restrain this gigantic creature. But lets imagine that instead of rope tied to pegs, we use piano wire secured to metal beams. Then you realize that probably even a mighty athlete could be firmly secured with ten or twenty wires.
Its simply a matter of having the right restraints cleverly arranged. You have to make sure the wires press down on the right parts of the body.
Lets consider the typical child in the typical school. What would you have to do to make sure that, education-wise, the child was adequately restrained?
(Do you wonder why anyone would want that? Some political philosophies demand that citizens be kept under control. Some ideologies insist that all runners run at the same speed, otherwise the race isnt fair. Some people are ruthless control freaks. Some elitists want everyone else kept in their place. Some pundits say, blame dumbing-down on greedy corporations. It turns out that there are many forces working against genuine education, and here are some of their techniques.)
Suppose you could keep a child from reading right away. Indeed, many of the early Progressive educators believed that reading shouldnt begin until fourth-grade, so they were very comfortable with reading retardation. G. Stanley Hall, the professor who mentored John Dewey, thought that illiteracy was a satisfactory outcome for ordinary children. Parents, of course, didnt buy this malarkey; they were always pushing for literacy. What could Progressive educators do?....
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But thats just a start. How would you keep a child from doing arithmetic? Numbers are everywhere: clocks and calendars, road signs and speedometers, buying things and counting change. Probably most kids would learn a good deal of math if you just left them alone. Here is the genius of New Math (and the later variation called Reform Math) -- it never left children alone. Even as these pedagogical interventions refused to teach mundane useful math, they relentlessly forced children to wander helplessly in advanced math. This was quite a clever trick. Most of the parents didnt know much math; so they were cowed into silence by constant references to algebra, geometry, statistics, set theory, engineering, trigonometry, pre-calculus, base eight, place value, properties of operations, and lots of other jargon. Who could be against such wonders? These programs (New Math and a dozen varieties of Reform Math) were brilliantly designed. Children went all the way through high school, arrived at college, and still couldnt multiply 7 x 6 without a calculator. (One persistent problem was that some children have a knack for math. How could such naturals be slowed down? Simple. You make all of math instruction revolve around verbose word problems. These kids havent been taught to be good readers. Of course they will struggle with word problems. Problem solved.)
All right, now at this point the children dont have both arms, so to speak, but theyre still running loose, theyre seeing, hearing, talking. Educationally speaking, they are much too active. If teachers merely discussed interesting facts, these children could still learn a lot. So that had to be stopped. The name of this technique is Constructivism (or the Discovery Method). In this vacuum-friendly pedagogy, teachers dont talk about interesting facts. They are forbidden to do so! Rather, the children are supposed to discover facts for themselves. As they can hardly read or count, they will discover facts only in a very rudimentary sense. Still, they are made to seem busy all day. This keeps the parents at bay.
No reading, arithmetic, or knowledge. You underestimate the commitment of our Education Establishment if you think they stopped here. No, they came up with many more devices for making sure that the education-elevator remains permanently on the first floor.
Self-Esteem, for example, dictates that children should not be allowed to feel badly about themselves. If some children learn more than others, the ignorant children will lose self-esteem. This evil cannot be permitted. The key is to make sure that everything is taught to everybody at the same low level.
Cooperative Learning, another leveling device, has been remarkably successful at eliminating some of the last vestiges of traditional education. Children work in groups of about six. All children are doing essentially the same thing; typically they are engaged in a project. Usually it will be something that sounds very grand, for example, Environmental Priorities in the Third World. The big feat here is that the children will use Google to find enough phrases to create a portfolio or poster listing those priorities. What each child actually understands might be very little; what they remember next year might be close to zero. But if every child has a high opinion of himself, and parents think, look at this fancy stuff my kid is working on, thats enough. Meanwhile, children never learn what it means to be independent and self-reliant.
With the technique called Learning Styles, children are divided up according to a new sort of racism: you have kinesthetic learners, auditory learners, visual learners, and many other kinds. Teachers expend a great deal of time and energy trying to figure out what kind of learner each student is, so they can tailor their lessons to fit various sorts of brains. Teachers are already exhausted before the first instance of teaching takes place. Learning Styles is something like karma and astrology combined. If you had a past life as a lion but your moon is in Taurus, no one can be surprised if you dont succeed. Learning Styles is an all-purpose alibi when schools do a bad job.
Another determinist technique is called Prior Knowledge. This one is particularly bizarre. The central premise is that children know lots of old stuff, and it will surely get in the way of learning new stuff. There is almost nothing anyone can do. The old stuff will sit there like an overturned truck in the middle of the road; traffic cant advance. The teacher must be very careful to catalog this old knowledge and struggle bravely to escape from its grip. But according to some theorists, Prior Knowledge is like having a genetic defect. Youre stuck with it. (Note that the central trick in ALL of these techniques is to make sure the victim is at fault. The deep problem usually turns out to be something in the childs past or in the wiring of his brain. Certainly, schools cannot be held responsible if children show up with genetic defects.)
Still another cornucopia of bad outcomes is made possible by a relentless emphasis on guessing and fuzziness. Close is good. The one correct answer is never glorified, indeed it is scorned. Children are told to indicate various ways of possibly trying to find an answer. These hapless children are expected to use context clues, picture clues, and prior knowledge. They should talk it over with their group, and take a shot. If they can show any reason at all why they came up with the answer they did, they can get an A. (Now just for fun, imagine that each of these children actually knew the right way to find the answer, and then found it. Think how satisfying that would be for them. But this sort of euphoria might encourage children to be more serious about their education, exactly the opposite of the desired goal.)
So you see, its just one wire after another stretched tightly and tautly across the bodies and minds of the children. Each of them is a little Gulliver tied down by a swarm of lilliputian con artists.
Heard a presentation by William R. Coulson years ago in Springfield, Illinois regarding the “self-esteem” kick indiced by Carl Rogers and his ilk; adopted by most if not all public schools with programs like D.A.R.E. A real eye opener.
“Suppose you could keep a child from reading right away. Indeed, many of the early Progressive educators believed that reading shouldn’t begin until fourth-grade, so they were very comfortable with reading retardation.”
I debated not pinging you, because you’d probably pick up a semi-auto and deal with the problem (like I want to do).
In any case, I doubt there are any parents (other than minorities that simply don’t access this site or others like it) that don’t know that kids will get TOTALLY SCREWED OVER by today’s public (and, unfortunately in many cases, private) schools.
The parents here that keep putting their kids on that “Nice Yellow Bus”, on this site, know EXACTLY what they are doing to their kids. It’s really sad. Horribly sad if they’re not doing anything to EDUCATE their kids outside of ‘school’.
It’s more important that the chilrun know that peanut butter sandwiches are racist than it is to be able to read.
Yep——John Dewey was a Fabian Socialist who forced Moral Relativism into the schools,—so God and Absolutes out. That helped to eliminate perfection and self-esteem and Right and Wrong——enough to demoralize and confuse children. They were taught pagan ethics which clashed with the morality at home which created tension in families and a disrespect of parents. (Christianity is not “cool”—it is stupid.)
Actually, Dewey made children HATE true education and Christianity-—it was bigoted, boring and uninteresting. Peer pressure is used for “group think” training—through humiliation. Kids are conditioned into dependency-—infantilism. (John Taylor Gatto).
Learning and history should always be fascinating and children should be taught to be independent thinkers-—not collectivisits-—children LOVE to learn and are naturally competitive, and are so curious. There should be awards for excellence and striving.
Children today pick up horrible habits, rude, vulgar behavior and addictive personalities——and are corrupted by Sex Ed and other worthless, degenerate ideas that are force fed to them by perverts like Billy Ayers and Marcuse who designed curricula.
Back to Basics is a must....Rhetoric would be nice and I would literally burn all public school books-—they have BF Skinnerean psychology built in so the children think “correctly” about certain subjects, like global warming, homosexuality, promiscuity, etc.
Planned Parenthood should NEVEr be allowed into the schools—or Sex Education programs which are literally corrupting children’s worldview as I speak. Sex Ed will shape their morality—into one which eliminates morality from the Sex Act. It is intentional....study Lukacs and his plan (Sex Ed) to collapse Western Civilization. They have done it to the Swiss already.....they are in their end days because they are destroying the morality of their future generation. Public Virtue is necessary for a civil society.
"Learn almost anything for free"
People wonder aloud how American voters could be so ignorant as to elect a Communist poseur to the highest office in the land. Herein resides the answer. For decades we’ve entrusted education to pseudo-psychologists whose aims are not to instill virtue, but to leave the children to their own devices in a “non-judgmental” environment, all the while robbing them of the intellectual tools to prosper and serve both family and neighbor.
Yes, you and savagesusie are correct. What I’m trying to add to the discussion is an explanation of the everyday classroom methods that make collectivist schemes possible.
All the things I talk about—Constructivism, Cooperative Learning, and the rest—are not only openly discussed, they are bragged about. Teachers actually believe they are using the latest and best ideas.
You can look back to 1935. The tone of contempt for phonics was total. Meanwhile, Look-say was praised as modern, scientific, easy, great for kids, etc.
In general, I believe that if our Education Establishment likes something, it’s probably poison. If they ridicule something (e.g., John Saxon’s approach), you know that it’s gold.
For thousands of years in Western Civilization, the only reason for education was to instill Virtue. Without Virtue in people, there is no civil society.
That ended with John Dewey, who threw out God and Ethics-—for moral relativism of Marx and Darwin. (No right and wrong except for radical egalitarianism which is the only good).
All people in Western Civilization knew that Justice (public virtue) was essential to all civil governments, since the Greek Masters, but then Dewey kicked our the Classics and Great Books and philosophy for ideas of Marx—who wanted to abolish all history and knowledge and family, so that the state could shape and form the little minds of children so they become perfect little automatons——all exactly the same—with no differences. Destroy the individual, for the collective. You can kill individuals for the good of the whole. Who decides “general welfare”-—whoever is in power, on whatever they “feel”. Of course, totalitarian govt. is the only possible one because all thoughts and ideas have to be totally controlled since most ideas they force, go against the very Nature of man.
These inhumane and irrational concepts are forced on children-—the idea that there is no Right and Wrong except what “feels” good-—is to make them into complete slaves. Knowledge is Power—True Knowledge of the Classics and Great Books are denied.
Worse than that—they teach cognitive dissonance....teach lies so that the very foundation of “knowledge” will have such a faulty base that there will be no possibility of Logic and Reason when they grow up. They fill their heads with mush-—like there are no Natural Laws-—Cause and Effect-—because everything can come from absolutely nothing (Darwinism) and men can marry men-—destroying any understanding of human nature and evil.
Another pernicious movement was “7 Intelligences” — I sat through endless professional developments covering this stupid topic. The schools skewed it by insisting that ALL children were geniuses at at least one of Gardener’s intelligences, if not two or three — and that ALL of the intelligences were (of course) equal. This didn’t help kids with math or English — he may have lagged in those fields but was a “genius” at something nebulous like ‘interpersonal relations’ — well, to pursue any type of career, one must still be able to read and compute!!
As for math - where my son difficulty with high school math was that some teachers insisted on teasing out problems into seven, eight or nine different steps — demanding that kids show EACH step in the process and write about HOW they arrived at each step. My son found this tedious and a huge waste of time — he often refused to do all of the steps (because he didn’t need to) — and skipped four or even five of them — and still got the right answer — but was marked down because he “didn’t show all of the steps!” We were furious - and this was in advanced math classes — this slows down the entire class and frustrates the faster students.
Fortunately, his Algebra II teacher - who has since retired — let kids solve problems their own way!! My dad was a college math and physics teacher and said THIS was how math and physics were moved forward, by those who ‘thought outside the box,” looked at things a little differently and solved problems their own way — not all kids think alike, one size does not fit all and kids SHOULD be encouraged to be creative, not to follow pat formulas — same with writing,(but that is for another post).
I’m dropping my youngest off tomorrow to start his freshmen year of college — major? Engineering, of course!
#5. Democracy and Education by John Dewey:
Heres a name that isnt mentioned much anymore, but Deweys influence in the first half of the 20th century was enormous. In this 1916 work, Dewey (the father of progressive education) denounced education that focused on traditional character development and the accumulation of hard knowledge (i.e., facts).
Instead, the secular humanist advocated teaching thinking skills, with little concern about what is right or wrong. We are still paying the price for such idiocy today, nearly 100 years later.
That is great that it is listed as one of the “Worst Books Ever”. It has corrupted so many children and destroyed so many lives-—many more than Hitler ever destroyed and Stalin if you start counting abortions. Dewey should have been hanged from the highest tree, along with Stalin and Hitler and Pot and Mao.
That is how little I think of that evil person after reading many books about and by him.
Ideology is the most important element in a child’s life. It determines absolutely everything they do and think. It shapes their entire worldview—the way they see human beings and reality.
It is so vital....and parents leave it up to strangers to plant a Godless, immoral, rudderless, evil worldview in their children. Parents have to wake up and take back their children from the State and TV. John Stuart Mill in “On Liberty” said that the State will make your kids slaves if they control education. Government should have no control of education of your children—NONE.
PS. I would burn ALL public school text books. They are soaked in BF Skinner psychology to produce collectivism and “group think”—where the state conditions them to “think” properly about sex, homosexuality, marriage, family, environment, etc.....all Godless, Satanism/Occultism.
That is my point.....the children are forced into an ideology with the public school indoctrination system. They can’t “think”. They are not taught Classical philosophy since Dewey destroyed America curricula in the public schools with the help of his little communist friends like Dr. Ruggs and Dr. Counts who wrote hundreds of textbooks.
All products of American schools today-—unless interference with great parents or a great teacher/s and Classical education, will be an ideologue. They will have NO knowledge of importance. No understanding of Aquinas, Thomas Reid, Locke, Hobbs, Blackstone, Cicero, the Greek Masters, etc. They will think exactly like the Marxist/Progressive/Fascist/-—pick any of the -isms of the Postmodernists.
Sorry if I wasn’t clear. That ideology of our children from the public school will make them as irrational as the Postmodernists. Ideology determines their worldview. It will determine how they see the world. It WARPS them-—because they can not think logically—in the classical sense.
Like I say, ideology determines everything that person will do, say and think-—just like it did Marx and Darwin and Stalin and Mao and Hitler and Mussolini.
You can’t reason with ideologues.
RE: “Deweys influence in the first half of the 20th century was enormous”....It continues THE SAME today.
All the people he trained went on to train the next generation that trained the one now. It’s like a religion, a cult. You can’t advance in this racket unless you drink Dewey’s Koolaid, which is just Socialism-on-the-Sly.
Bon, you ought to do a piece about your experiences with “professional development.” A big part of the racket. So-called PD makes a lot of money for the bosses and keeps the lower people in line.
“Quackery in the Public Schools,” 1951, by Albert Lynd, taught me this: Education is the only field where the practitioners never graduate but must go back every year for more schooling. In other words, Education professors created a system which guarantees them endless employment. This is a pretty irony: ultimate socialists turn out to be ultimate capitalists.
I’m a few years out from retirement — two kids in college, etc.
Yes, it NEVER ends — every year there is a “new, improved” program to replace the last failed program. I am told to clear out all notebooks, textbooks, workbooks from the previous year because a new program is being installed. What a massive waste of $$!! AND, so many of these programs are re-hashes of other programs, give new names and re-presented as we teachers whisper to each other (this is just like x program from before!!).
It IS a self-perpetuating racket! Oh, the stories I could tell..out of school of course. But, it will have to wait until I’m out and my pension is secured. The walls have ears at school, inside and out, and I am compelled to toe the company line — I need my job (I have dependents).
But, once the coast is clear...watch out!!
Oh, what the public doesn’t know!!
Our youngest son, who is now a Senior in college, LOVES that website! He thinks it’s the best thing around for homeschooling teenagers!
The only other person I would nominate would be Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the WWW. Which of course precedes KhanAcademy.org . . .
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