After watching the viral video of the Obamaphone lady in October, I thought to myself — we are in a lot of trouble.
It forced me to consider just how literate are the voters and people of the US. It’s very hard to tell given so few studies nail it down to specifics. For some reason the federal government does not want to get an exact account of how many illegal immigrants we have or how much illiteracy there is in the US.
The census bureau delves into high school graduation levels, but not literacy rates. Perhaps because literacy and immigration and the problems of inner cities are connected. Such studies would not interest the multicultural US elites who do not really want to know the truth. In order to come to some conclusion about how educated the people of the US might be, one is forced to do guess-and-by-golly observations regarding why so many Americans seem so dumb, crude, and uncivilized.
As I discovered, educating for dumb and a dumber in the US goes back some time in our history.
Up until the late 1800’s a good education in the United States could be obtained without government interference or oversight. Surprisingly, 50 percent of a population of 3 million in 1776 were indentured servants and 20 percent were African slaves. Yet during that time 600,000 copies of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense had been sold in the United States and had been read by countless Americans.
By 1812, with a population of approximately 7 million, Pierre DuPont wrote in Education in the United States, “…that out of every 1,000 persons fewer than four can’t read or do numbers.” He attributed this fact to traditional dinner table debates over passages read from the Bible. In other words, children learned how to read with an understanding of what they were reading and they knew their numbers. All this education took place at home or in one room school houses, or “Dame Schools,” primarily taught by women. The children who came out of these schools grew up to be self reliant and individualistic, in marked contrast to the Prussian system which produced an obedient, collectivist trained populace..
Implementation of the Prussian System was to become the goal of Edward Everett, America’s first PhD. As Governor of Massachusetts, Everett had to deal with the problem of the influx of poor Irish Catholics into his state. In 1852, with the support of Horace Mann, another strong advocate of the Prussian model, Everett made the decision to adopt the Prussian system of education in Massachusetts. Unfortunately for the children and poor Irish Catholics of Massachusetts and elsewhere, the system produced a willing, cheap labor force with minimal reading and numbers skills. The Everetts of the world understood that people who could read and understand are dangerous because they are intellectually equipped to find out things for themselves, thus becoming a threat to already established power elites.
Shortly after Everett and Mann collaborated to adopt the Prussian system, the Governor of New York set up the same method in 12 different New York schools on a trial basis. Incredibly, within two weeks he declared the system a total success and took control of the entire education system in the State of New York. In a “blitzkrieg” action with no debate, public hearing, or citizen involvement, government forced schooling was on its way in America.
The Results of the Prussian System
The history of American education since the acceptance of the Prussian system is checkered with failure and elitism. From the time of John Dewey, who felt people should be defined by groups and associations and who believed that people who were well read were dangerous, to our own era, U.S. education has suffered. We have, in this day and age, the disheartening statistics showing 33 percent or our nation’s college graduates can’t read or calculate well enough to perform the jobs they seek.
Working against the concepts and principles the Founding Fathers provided in the Constitution, the Prussian system has produced a gradual but statistically provable decline in literacy and intellectual capability of typical Americans. We can track the five different stages that American education has gone through: 1750-1852—The idea of government controlled schools was conceived; 1852-1900—It was politically debated in state legislatures; 1900-1920—We had government controlled industrialized factory modeled schooling; 1920-1960—Schools changed from being academically focused to becoming socialized; and 1960 to the Present—Schools became psychological experiment labs.
In the year 1941 the Defense Department was preparing for World War II. In testing 18 million men between 1941 and 1944, the Defense Department found 96 percent of those tested were literate. During this same period, among African Americans who were tested—the majority of whom had only three years of schooling—80 percent were found to be literate. By literate we mean that Americans, both white and black, could read with understanding.
During the Korean War the Department of Defense tested three million men for service and only 19 percent were found to be literate. In less then 10 years there had been a 500 percent rise in illiteracy. Perplexed, the Defense Department investigated and found that the same test had been used during the two wars and the only difference was that those men and women tested during the Korean War had more schooling—at a significantly higher cost.
Twenty years later, around 1970, the same test was used at the time of a new war. Among the Vietnam draftees and enlistees who were tested for literacy only 27 percent were found to be capable of reading with understanding the material which they needed in order to serve in the armed forces. Again the major difference between American soldiers in the 1940’s and the 1970’s was more schooling for the latter group at a higher cost to the taxpayers.
Consider that the billions of taxpayer dollars were spent over the time period from the 1940’s to the present increased by some 350 percent with totally unacceptable results despite all the increased spending. In 1996 statistics prepared by the National Association of Education for Progress showed that some 44 percent of African Americans could not read at all. The same set of statistics shows that illiteracy among whites has quadrupled. Incredibly, educating Americans continues to cost massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to achieve unacceptable and devastatingly poor results.
Manipulating for the Collective State
As education expert and author Beverly Eakman states in “The Culture Wars: “… Americans bought critical changes in behavior, beliefs, and worldviews. By applying advertising and agitation in just the right proportions, our adversaries learned they could create a mob mentality and suppress independent thinking. Technically, this is called the science of coercion. If done properly, one can fool nearly all the people all the time.”
Mastery Learning, Outcome-Based Education, School-to-Work, Goals 2000, Profiles in Learning – all fads and educational trends put into operation in the nation’s school system since the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Now, those of you who have followed along thus far are asking: What does all this have to do with Emmanuel Kant, Hegel, Marx, the Frankfurt School of Sociology, Freud, Jung, Adler, Rogers and Maslow and the price of tea in China?
All these things are connected because they betray and explain a mindset. A worldview, a philosophy that seeks to shape humanity, the individual as a moral relativist, undiscerning, while building a thought pattern that denies or deconstructs facts – even those in math and science.
Because children are not given the grounding by doing the hard stuff of learning, the memorization, the drills, the creation of pattern and discipline, they will never be truly free to THINK on their own. Without the base, the technique, someone will always be manipulating or recreating them according to the latest fad, trend or totalitarian frame of reference that intellectuals usually succumb to.
According to Bev Eakman, one of the techniques that the educational mind Gestapo uses is that “Teaching techniques were … OBE [Outcome Based Education] inspired: cooperative learning, multi-age grouping, minimal failures, constant retesting and remediation, teachers as coaches or facilitators, inclusive classrooms, and the vacuous mantra, ‘All children can learn [at a high level].’ ”
The problem is that for most children, especially recent immigrants, inner city kids, and some rural areas, education is not obtained at a high level. Pew Hispanic Research claims that 75 percent of Hispanics graduate from high school. Meantime, American born black males have a 47 percent high school graduation rate. What this means is we have a home grown lower class that is ill educated and ill prepared in an era when college grads are flipping burgers and driving cabs. The outlook is not good and Obamaphone lady may be the new normal.
The cost to America of the under or ill educated can’t be measured in just dollars and cents. While the economic cost is monumental as indicated by the $30 billion annual Department of Education budget and billions more spent by local communities, the lack of results for the dollars we spend is catastrophic. We are paying billions to maintain a system which is ineffective and dangerous—because it is not teaching people the critical intellectual skills which are crucial to making economic and political decisions for themselves.
What is the answer? While the privileged class may choose to send its children to private schools, most Americans have only one option, public education. Public schools are the country’s largest employer and the largest mediator in contracts. Unfortunately, the public education establishment is so powerful it can outlast public outrage. Consequently Americans face a dismal educational future unless we insist on parental choice. Until then there is little likelihood that a Prussian inspired educational system will change and deliver the desired results—a literate, intellectually capable citizenry.