Our National Education System: A $49 Billion Dollar Disaster
By Alan Caruba
January 25, 2002
You had to know something was terribly wrong while you watched President George W. Bush stand at the podium and laud Sen. Teddy Kennedy. I thought he was going to stop talking just long enough to French kiss him. Nothing good can come of these two colluding on an education program and nothing will!
After you get through reading the 1000-page Education Bill, dubbed "Leave No Child Behind", you will have concluded that the Federal government is now so fully in charge of your local school system that you have only one option. You will either home school your children or you will turn them over to a system that so mirrors the Communist model for education, they will belong to Big Brother long after they have left home to create their own families.
We now have an education system in place designed to take control of children even before they enter the school system and to insure that everyone will have to conform to its dictates until they are in the grave.
Here's an interesting exercise. Sit down with a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America and see if you can find anything in it that actually authorizes the federal government to get involved in the education of children.
Article I, for example, spells out all kinds of things about the government, its composition of a House of Representatives and a Senate. By the time you get to section 8, it is quite specific about the powers of the Congress and no where-I repeat-no where will you find any reference to the financing of education.
The January 9th edition of Education Week, the bible of the education establishment, boasts the Bush/Kennedy education bill "sets in place requirements that will reach into virtually every public school in the nation." It goes on to note that "the mega-measure is accompanied by the largest dollar increase ever in federal education aid. The Department of Education's overall budget will rise by $6.7 billion in fiscal 2002 to nearly $49 billion." Let me repeat that: $49 billion dollars!
Among its mandates are grant money for programs "designed to prevent hate crimes", whatever that means. There will be money for "community-based organizations" that agree to government mandated "principles of effectiveness" if they provide pre-and-after school programs. This gobbledygook opens the door for all kinds of special interest groups to get into the education business. Those who offer tutoring services often find that public school administrators are totally indifferent to these programs, while private school administrators eagerly embrace them.
Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt is a crusader trying to alert Americans to the dangers of the education system put in place in the 1960's to totally indoctrinate every child passing through it. Here's what my friend thinks of the new education bill. It is "basically the United Nations' Lifelong Learning/Brainwashing Agenda under the umbrella of what will eventually be 'unelected' school and community councils which will make all decisions for us at the local levels." That's unelected, as in, undemocratic. Unelected as in representatives from non-government organizations that have environmental and other socialist agendas.
The end result is already on display. In Minnesota, children have to choose their job/career track in the 8th grade! While you were picking out a training bra or dreaming about getting a really cool tattoo some day, did you have even a clue what you would be doing for a living? There are people in their twenties and thirties still trying to pick out a career track and others in their forties changing from one career to another, either voluntarily or via the pink slip. Your government, however, requires 8th graders to make this choice so it can neatly allocate them into quotas for a Soviet-style workforce. What is the difference between Minnesota and Cuba in this regard? None!
Don't worry, by the time your kid reaches 8th grade, he or she will have been so indoctrinated it won't matter what your expectations for them may be. Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt asks, "How can parents have a say in how their children are educated when the federal government is mandating testing of children's attitudes and values?"
Fully sixty percent of the test items on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are about attitudes! And you thought the government was testing to see if they had learned anything about history, literature, geography or science? Too late! What they have learned and what they are being tested for are the attitudes the government wants them to have. Not yours.
Writing in 1998, Lynne Cheney, an expert on education who is also the wife of our Vice President, pointed out the essential problem with the program described above, called "School to Work." The program, warned Cheney, doesn't "just direct job choices. They also inculcate attitudes." However, "predicting workforce needs is an iffy business." Thus, "redirecting schools to prepare students for jobs that central planners recommend does not guarantee the economic well-being of those students, and can even be a hindrance." Cheney added that "School to work materials frequently insist that all courses, even those in elementary school, relate to the world of work." This is right out of every five-year plan ever concocted by the former Soviet Russia.
This kind of government mini-management of what every child must learn runs contrary to the real goal of education which is to produce good citizens capable of making their own choices, having been provided with accurate information about American and world history, literature, science, geography, and the fundamentals of mathematics. This core education, available in the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s, produced generations of Americans who built this nation even if they literally studied by candlelight.
While you're being told that it's all about insuring children learn to read by a certain age or have good math and science skills, the real curriculum is about instilling government-approved attitudes about a range of topics that parents often find appalling. These include environmental, spiritual and sexual issues. The worst part of this is the fact that conservative Republicans, including Ronald Reagan, have gone along with this for decades. All but 33 Republicans voted for the new education bill. Its greatest cheerleader has been George W. Bush.
A still greater, more dangerous, intrusion between you and your child is the introduction of in-school health clinics that will deal with your child's physical and mental health. Don't expect them to ask for your input. Intimate physical exams are the order of the day and, if there's a bit too much energy, fidgeting, whatever, Jeannie or Johnny gets put on a regimen of Ritalin or some other mind-altering drug to keep them docile. Just try to stop this and you might find yourself in court for child abuse. What if they're sexually active? The clinic may just decide that condoms are the best answer. Same-sex preferences? That's okay too.
Doesn't anyone wonder why our schools have become places where kids now routinely shoot and kill their teachers and fellow students? Why are students engaging in sexual "experimentation" earlier and earlier? Why a black market in mind-altering drugs like Ritalin and Prozac has expanded to the schoolyards of America? Why our schools become such dangerous places to send our kids? Schools are beginning to resemble minimum-security prisons with metal detectors, security cameras, and required drug testing programs. None of this existed in the pre-1965 school systems throughout this nation.
The Bush/Kennedy program, called "Leave No Child Behind" was described by The New York Times as "a breathtaking intrusion of the federal government on state's control of education." Breathtaking, indeed. If the federal government controls the states' departments of education, than your state controls your local board, and that means you and the parents of the other kid in school have no say whatever. In reality, this massive program should be called "Leave no one alone."
And this has become a very costly enterprise. The property taxes of every homeowner keep going up and up in order to fund this education monopoly that appears to be answerable to no one.
Over the years, parents have been initially baffled when their kid comes home all stressed out about the rain forests or decides to become a vegetarian. We have a whole generation or two of brainwashed environmentalists because the schools have been turned into factories that turn them out like pop-tarts. Do they have a clue about real science? No. Do they have any grasp of geography? No. Can they spell? No. Do they know the difference between the Civil War and the Revolutionary War? No. But they do know that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were "slave owners." They "know" a lot of things that just aren't true.
Their ignorance doesn't matter to the schools because it's not what they know that matters to the federal government and Education Establishment. It is what they think. It's whether they have been conditioned to trust Big Brother and do whatever Big Brother says. That's why the testing is so vital. And, please, don't talk to me about school choice. All schools, public and private, are going to teach the same curriculum to achieve the same required results. Otherwise those federal dollars go bye-bye. That's what happens when the federal government controls the schools instead of local communities!
Do you ever wonder why home-schooled children consistently do better academically than those passing through this mind-numbing system? It's because they concentrate on the basics, on facts, on multiplication tables, on spelling things correctly, on learning how to express themselves, not to please Big Brother, but to please their parents.
Until the 1960's this was the way most schools taught children. After that, the "change agents" took over, transforming the children so they would be ready for a world without borders run by a megalith called the United Nations. Who created the UN? Soviet diplomats aided by members of the US Department of State, all but one of whom was later found to be a member of the Communist Party USA and a secret agent.
Is this all part of some plot or conspiracy? Certainly, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt's book (over 500 pages) documents the relationship between Soviet-style education and the one that has been slowly imposed on the United States. Others argue that it is simply the result of the juggernaut of an increasingly powerful Education Establishment based on a mandatory system, a monopoly that has tapped into federal tax dollars. The problem remains the same. Parents have few real choices at this point other than to educate their children at home if they wish to avoid what everyone, including many concerned educators, agree is a failed system.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
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