Skip to comments.Lies, Inc.: The Pledge Exposes The Failure of Government Schools
Posted on 07/01/2002 4:06:51 PM PDT by nunya bidness
The recent 9th Circuit ruling on the words under God stirred the country to debate the question of separation of church and state, but what hasnt been mentioned is the more glaring problem: the failure of the union of school and state. And in light of other court decisions, the future for government schools looks bleaker for students - whether they recite the pledge of allegiance or not.
The history of public or government schools in America shows the success and failure of the private versus government models. From the early colonial period to the revolution, parents had the greatest freedom to choose which form of schooling they wanted for their children. These included church schools, academies that prepared students for college, seminaries, dame schools for primary education, charity schools for the poor, and private tutors. Common schools, or grammar schools, were built in Puritan Massachusetts to inculcate the Calvinist Puritan religion in the colonys young. The irony is notable that the first public schools were in fact religious and the word God was probably mentioned several times a day prior to our flag ever existing.
In 1790, Boston laid the foundation for the first tax-funded school system. Primary education was still left to families private voluntary arrangements, and children had to be literate to enter the tax-funded grammar schools at age seven. There were no compulsory attendance laws, and private schools flourished alongside the new tax-funded schools. In fact, most parents preferred private schools to government ones.
Despite the growth of government schools, private schools were far more successful. During the early 1800s while common schools exploded over the northeast, secondary education, in the form of academies, received little public funding other than land grants. For the most part parents chose private schooling even with the availability of public funds. And literacy rose from 75 percent to 95 percent between 1800 to 1840.
The first official public school system was created in Boston in 1818 based upon a growing reform movement. The reformers argued for public funding and oversight by offering an emotional plea that poor parents couldnt afford to send their children to private schools, not to mention their obvious disagreement with the private schools on the issue of religious doctrine. Despite the fact that charity provided for education of the poor and despite a survey by the Boston School Committee which proved that 96 percent of the citys children attended school, and despite no compulsory attendance laws, the government school system was placed upon the countrys shoulders.
During the 1830s and 40s, public schooling found a champion in Horace Mann. A Calvinist at birth, he rejected it for Unitarianism, which at the time attempted to purge sectarian and divisive doctrine. He graduated from Brown University and became an attorney in 1825. He eventually became president of the state senate and focused his time there in the movement to concentrate control of education in the hands of the state.
The movement was based on the concept of uplifting character and was implicitly religious. However, the conflict between the forms of faith which would define character in the eyes of the state brought about the eventual total control of education. Manns goal of unifying local school systems under central control was to have the effect of unifying society with the added benefit of unifying the various faiths. It was a success and failure in both matters respectively.
The organizational model was based on the Prussian system of state-controlled education extending from the lower grades through the university level. Schools were established, supported, and administered by a central authority. This authority supervised the training of teachers, dictated mandatory attendance, and punished parents for withholding their children from school, and established uniform curricula.
Mann knew they couldnt wrestle local control from an independent populace so he and his supporters succeeded in extending the states role in defining what would be taught in schools and how it would be administered. Authority was granted to the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837 with Mann sitting as the boards first secretary until 1848. During his tenure he implemented three key objectives: state collection of education data, state adoption of textbooks (through state approved libraries), and state control of teacher preparation through teacher colleges.
Although Mann was not the father of public education, he was instrumental in its growth not only in size but in power. And while his intentions were rooted in religious belief, he alienated and eventually subjugated all faiths by unifying the matter under the greater faith, namely the state.
The period between the 1850s to today was of the greatest acceleration towards public schooling and away from our devout roots. Government schools homogenized faith while ignoring the conflict it created when children of many faiths were brought together under one roof. This led to the Philadelphia Bible Riots, the beatings of Catholic children, the official denigration of immigrant values and lifestyles, and laws that forced the Protestant Bible on all families. Indeed, while control over the content of what would be the chosen faith of the state created turmoil, the solution was no faith at all.
The first states to write laws to specifically exclude religiously affiliated schools from sharing in the public school fund were the states of Ohio and Massachusetts in 1851 and 1855, respectively. In 1835, Michigan was the first state to constitutionally prohibit the use of public funds for the benefit of religious societies or theological seminaries. Wisconsin followed suit in 1848. In 1864, Louisiana banned the use of government funds for any private school. And between 1868 to 1900, 14 more states amended their constitutions to prohibit any appropriation of funds for religiously affiliated private schools. In addition, seven other states adopted constitutional amendments limiting the use of school funds to public schools only.
Today, nearly 90 percent of all children are in government-run schools. 1size="3">
The pledge of allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist, in August 1892. As the chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education for the National Education Association, he prepared the pledge for the public schools' celebration of Columbus Day, along with James Upham. They both worked for Daniel Ford, publisher of The Youths Companion, the leading family magazine at the time.
President Harrison made a proclamation that on the 21st of October, 1892, the people honor "[t]he system of universal education [which] is in our age the most prominent and salutary feature of the spirit of enlightenment, and it is peculiarly appropriate that the schools be made by the people the center of the days demonstration.
The theme was that the public schools were the one characteristic institution which linked all neighborhoods together in the United States and thus furnished a common bond for a national celebration. The program was to honor Columbus landing in the new world, but, even more, to honor the American public school as the fruit of four centuries of our history and the institution most truly representative of American ideals.
Bellamy addressed the crowd that day with the following:
"One institution more than any other has wrought out the achievements of the past, and is today the most trusted for the future. Our fathers in their wisdom knew that the foundations of liberty, fraternity, and equality must be universal education. The free school, therefore, was conceived as the cornerstone of the Republic. Washington and Jefferson recognized that the education of citizens is not the prerogative of church or of other private interest; that while religious training belongs to the church, and while technical and higher culture may be given by private institutions - the training of citizens in the common knowledge and the common duties of citizenship belongs irrevocably to the State.
"We, therefore, on the anniversary of America present the Public School as the noblest statement of the principle of enlightenment which Columbus grasped by faith. We uplift the system of free and universal education as the masterforce which, under God, has been informing each of our generations with the peculiar truths of Americanism. America, therefore, gathers her sons around the schoolhouse today as the institution closest to the people, most characteristic of the people, and fullest of hope for the people...
"We, the youth of America, who today unite to march as one army under the sacred flag, understand our duty. We pledge ourselves that the flag shall not be stained; and that America shall mean equal opportunity and justice for every citizen, and brotherhood for the world."
The pledge was changed in 1923 from my flag to the flag of the United States of America. And then in 1954 the words, under God, were added by congress. President Eisenhower signed the proclamation on Flag Day of that year. 2
The reason for the addition of the words under God is where the debate begins and the effect of the addition is what the court rested its decision on. But whats missing from the pontificating on both sides is the most obvious concern - not the separation or unification of church and state, but the total monopoly on education at the hands of a central government.
Alberto Luzárraga wrote of Antonio Gramsci, a near-famous Italian Marxist:
So what is Gramsci all about? Well, lets start with his concept of "hegemony" a word frequently used by people not noted for their love of hundred dollar words. For Gramsci,"hegemony" is not mere dominance by force. Rather, it is the set of ideas by which dominant groups in a society secure the consent of subordinate groups to their rule.
Note the emphasis on consent. A governing class must succeed in persuading the governed to accept the moral, political and cultural values suggested by those in power.
Gramsci noted that this is the way "bourgeois societies" ruled. Extreme measures were only used when there was rebellion against the established mores.
Therefore his conclusion was: Let's do the same and capture the minds of the population, as well as the institutions of the bourgeoisie, and do it with ideas that we will present as "common sense". The implementation will be through intellectuals and figures of influence gained to the cause by vanity, convenience or ambition and a by a new element, intellectual operatives that work with the people. All of it, coupled to constant use of the media.
In his words: "the mode of being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in eloquence, but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organizer, "permanent persuader" and not just a simple orator".
Gramsci understood what Marx did not understand: Economic crises by themselves would not subvert capitalism, because capitalism always managed to overcome the crises and emerged stronger. Another theory was necessary for a different reality. One that recognized the importance of culture and ideology, and methods that went beyond the coarser forms of Marxist class struggle. Methods that would be efficient in capturing power in a western society. Methods that would fit the use of mass media because they were subtle and persuasive. If you gain the minds you gain the bodies. Even a partial victory is useful, because it weakens and diminishes your opposition. size="3">3
Americans will always have faith. For some it will be faith in a God that probably doesnt care if hes owned by the state. For others it will be the state itself. However, put the two together and, here on earth, the state always wins. Because if you put your kids' lives in the hands of the government, the government has proven that it doesnt want your kids praying to another God.
Still worried about the pledge?
1 The Case for Choice in Schooling: Restoring Parental Control of Education - Matthew J. Brouillette, 2001
2 The Pledge Of Allegiance: A Centennial History, 1892 1992 - Dr. John W. Baer, 1992
3 GRAMSCI AND THE U.S. BODY POLITIC - Alberto Luzárraga, 2000
June 28, 2002
This is a great article on the history of public education. I will bookmark it. Now, as for homeschooling. How far does that go? K-12? If so that is feasable but many parents do not have the education themselves for home schooling much less the time or devotion to do it. That being said, there is a real need for competition with the public school system and that will come only with some type of voucher system. Absent that there needs to be the political will to shut down schools that serve as indoctrination centers and warehouses.
As far as vouchers are concerned you can bet that between the public school administrators and the teachers unions they will fight the loss of funding tooth and nail.
Well the USSC just pulled a few of their teeth. LOL
Maybe so but these Unions will not go down without a fight
I just found out recently that the President of the Teachers Union in Philly is also associated with the Teamsters .. and there is a crowd many here are afraid of
I did see that the court ruled that kids did not have an expectation of privacy and that, as such, they could be tested for drugs and their records could be released.
The thing that struck me in reading the history of public schooling was how the schools were religious but that the bickering about which faith was the "right" one ultimately led to the loss of any faith in school.
|We are "One Nation Under God" !
I'll Bump To That !
It looks like the left is attacking our country !
Public schools need to be abolished and all funds which are directed to them need to be returned to the people post haste. Now's the time to do it.
Romans 13, notwithstanding.
Homeschooling can be from k-12, yes. The commitment to school one's child at home rather than in a public setting is great. We're finishing our 6th year homeschooling and have no regrets or reservations of continuing on to 7th. There are about 1.7 million homeschoolers in the United States at present. That figure is growing by 10-15% yearly. I would venture to say that the desire and interest to homeschool is obviously growing. These particular parents seek the best for their children. In their case, homeschooling is the best.
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has stats on nat'l test scores of homeschoolers compared to their public schooled peers. In addition, there are stats on parents who don't hold a college degree...their children still exceed the nat'l testing by 20-30%. Same goes for those with parents holding advanced degrees.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of avenues to use in making the schooling experience enriching and worthwhile. The one on one tutoring alone makes all the difference. More difficult classes can be conducted using cd-rom/video, internet class, coop class, or attending class at the local junior college. Most homeschooled youth become self learners....lifelong learners.
I lead a homeschool support group of 34 families. The education levels of the parents run the course of barely a high school diploma to a PhD. The commitment to their children is the same. Devotion to their children is paramount.
God doesn't need the state. Do you need God in school?
And what is this danger you speak of?
Funny story ... my poor cousin who got brainwashed by the liberation theology set at Boston College once cited a guy named "Anthony Gramsci" she'd learned about in her class on Capitalism to buttress her argument on economics during after-supper discussion one night.
See the word hegemony.
HomeSchooling goes K-12; in addition, most homeschooling courses are sufficiently flexible to easily allow "dropping into" a Religious or Private School and/or "dropping out" into Homeschooling therefrom (I speak from familial, albeit not personal, experience). Homeschooling courses do not, however, usually integrate as easily with Publik Skooling... too much "culture shock" and disparity in Educational Quality.
If so that is feasable but many parents do not have the education themselves for home schooling much less the time or devotion to do it.
Combined Federal, State, and Local spending on Publik Skooling amounts to over $7,000 per-child, per-year... and with the passage of the Kennedy/BushJunior "education" bill, expect the pig-trough to get even fatter.
Just return that money directly to the parents via the abolition of the Property, Sales, and Income Taxes which support Publik Skooling. If you want to do so in a manner which "helps" the poor, you can abolish the Sales Taxes first... oh, and abolish State Lotteries also, which amount to a "tax" on the Poor to subsidize Middle Class schools.
A fairly-high-grade (substantially better than Publik Skool, anyway) Private Religious Academy education in a Classical format (Greek, Latin, Logic and Rhetoric included in the basic curriculum) can be had for 60-70% the cost of Publik Skooling... $350 to $400 per month -- again, I speak from familial experience on the matter. Just give Parents back their money; those that have the time and ability to Home-School may keep the cash, those who lack the time and ability to Home-School may spend less money on a better Private/Religious product.
That being said, there is a real need for competition with the public school system and that will come only with some type of voucher system. Absent that there needs to be the political will to shut down schools that serve as indoctrination centers and warehouses.
Yes, the Political Will is grossly lacking at this time.
Actually, I think it means that it is time for a new RazorMouth article....
How could they get any WORSE? Let them call it secular humanism. At least there'll be no question that they're immoral cretins and they won't give Christianity a bad name.
You nailed it brother, from another direction of course. Most of the "right" are busy obsessing over the removal of the words "under God" from the pledge, which is (of course) the main issue here. However, in this piece you have attacked this whole subject from a different angle. What has been missing in previous opinion columns is this extensive background. The "how" of how we got to where we are today, with a court that would dare eject the name of our Creator. Each day I wake up surprised that we, as a nation, have fallen so far since our break from king George a mere two hundred and twenty six years ago.
Great research man. I was totally unaware of the origin of the public school system.
Sheesh. You belong in syndication.
I disagree. You are basically giving Uncle Sham permission to seize your money, then give you a few coupons in return with the understanding that if you qualify (Lord only knows what THAT would entail) you can send your children to a private school - which in turn would become subject (since they're taking coupons from Uncle Sham) to any kind of rules (like this revised Pledge) that Uncle Sham may decide to pass.
So in reality, you would end up with more of the same. No thanks.
I love that phrase and it is so appropriate. Thanks, I'll be using it from now on anytime I can.
God doesn't need the state. Do you need God in school?
And what is this danger you speak of? The inclusion of a Deistic philosophy in this country's founding was not, as had constantly been the case in the past with state/religion co-ops, to control the masses, but to control the government. Our Liberty here is predicated on its pre-existing the formation of our government, that it is given to us by our (unnamed) Creator. By effectively shutting out even the slightest mention of a Higher Authority than the State from "acceptable discourse", we make possible the day we effectively deny the basis for our freedom, for our self-government.
The inclusion of a Deistic philosophy in this country's founding was not, as had constantly been the case in the past with state/religion co-ops, to control the masses, but to control the government.
Our Liberty here is predicated on its pre-existing the formation of our government, that it is given to us by our (unnamed) Creator. By effectively shutting out even the slightest mention of a Higher Authority than the State from "acceptable discourse", we make possible the day we effectively deny the basis for our freedom, for our self-government.
Anna, you're soaking in it. That was my point.