What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
This year, Congress will be evaluating whether or not the No Child Left Behind Act should be renewed, as the Act comes to the end of its five-year term. What progress has this ludicrous legislation achieved? For starters, 4 out of 5 schools aren’t achieving the standards it mandates. Now there’s progress!
What’s more ridiculous are the hollow promises extended by hopeful politicians who promote educational goals and offer (false) hope to concerned parents. Experience overwhelmingly shows that the government is an absolute failure in this department.
Why should it be any other way? Do we expect the government to do much better? In a day when so many Americans are shirking personal responsibility and accountability, is it any surprise that parents defer the education of their children to a state-sponsored system?
Up until last month I home taught a woman who teaches in elementary school. Equally appalled with the No Child Left Behind Act, she would tell me unbelievable stories of the tasks assigned to her under the umbrella of this legislation. The end product of leaving no child behind, she would say, is accomplished in our schools by dumbing down lessons, spending more time on struggling children, and homogenizing educational challenges. In an effort to leave no child behind, the average and above-average students suffer.
One author comments on the educational pursuits of the State, reminding me of Orwell’s Animal Farm, with the pigs snatching the young pups away from their mother to brainwash them into strict obedience and willing compliance. The article discusses the contrast between today’s family situation and that of the 1960s, where mothers stayed at home and assisted their children in their educational and recreational pursuits, rather than working full time and farming the kids out to other providers:
The reason one salary will no longer support a family with a car and a free-standing home is because Americans have been progressively impoverished by the purposeful government policies of inflation and higher taxation. Basically, mom now works to pay the higher taxes on dad’s inflation-devalued salary.
In other words, day-long day care for 5-year-olds receives its real electoral support because parents want some relief from the expense of child day care for 5-year-olds, which has been made necessary by the fact that both mom and dad now have to work outside the home to fund day-long government day care for 6-to-18-year-olds.
Compare this to the days before 1960, when economic necessity under a far smaller government required most people to marry before having children and moms could generally afford to stay home with their young kids.
What on earth could convince young parents that the current system — which produces high school graduates increasingly devoid of complex literacy — is somehow better? Nothing could possibly achieve this fantastic result except the most massive, dedicated, and successful archipelago of government indoctrination camps ever devised.
Gatto’s The Tyranny of Compulsory Schooling offers a similarly startling look at the current state of our education. It’s a few pages long, but well worth the read. Coming from a retired teacher of 30 years, it presents an insightful glance at what our educational system really is.
Whether the President likes to admit it or not (and of course, he won’t), our education system is pretty messed up. We are handing out diplomas to many lazy, ignorant teenagers who lack any real-world knowledge. I know, I was one of them.
- Citizens must get the federal government out of the education-administration business, however long it takes. If the statists insist on forking over largesse, they can cut checks to the states. Let the attorneys general in the states fund more inspectors general, if they’re concerned about malfeasance.
- Enhance private education on the grand scale. This will require great citizen courage because the state won’t willingly give up its power. But we have a place to stand with non-federal charters and plain old school raisings — like barn raisings.
- There must be lots of boomers out there who fall in with these recommendations. Let that be the start of something big.
- Anytime your confidence flags, read John Taylor Gatto.