May 27, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Public Education is the Primary Factor in the Perversion of our Culture and History:
"Dissident Mama" Writes: “I Don’t Love Public Education”
Back on May 13 of this year MY CORNER took a look at our educational system, and what we might call our “educational crisis.” [see: http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/05/may-13-2018-my-corner-by-boyd-cathey.html] Perhaps the most successful myth that has been foisted off on a gullible citizenry is that the education of our children, specifically from kindergarten through high school, is the responsibility of the “public,” that is, of the government. And implicit in that assumption is that the natural rights and duties of the family over the education of its offspring must in nearly all situations take a back seat, must be diminished and not interfere with the prior and dominant role of the state.
By and large, since the early 20th century this myth, this assumption, has been considered undebatable truth. No one, not even most resolute conservatives, will question its basic veracity and the resulting need to continue funding, to showering with taxpayer dollars, what has become the most expansive and most successful conquest of the revolutionary managerial state in its advance to complete control over our society.
Yes, illegal immigration may eventually change the cultural and ethnic make-up of America, and, yes, our overextension in foreign military adventures may get us into unwinnable wars and eventually wreck our economy. But none of that would be possible or successful without the operation of the government-run “public education system” and the ideological—yes, ideological—indoctrination that the system has progressively engineered over the past century and a half.
That is not to say, certainly, that there haven’t been dedicated teachers or that there haven’t been selfless and dedicated educators and administrators who really did concern themselves with the proper education of our young. My mother was a teacher during the 1930s (graduate of North Carolina State University) who actually went back when I was in high school to get a Master’s degree in reading and teach several additional years. Like thousands of other dedicated teachers, she was no apparatchik or agent of the managerial state, she was not a revolutionary seeking to indoctrinate her students and “free them from the tyranny of the traditional family.” She believed in imparting the essentials of those subjects—reading, good writing, simple arithmetic, and logic—that she understood came to her as a concession from parents So thought most of my teachers both in grammar and high school, as I suspect believed many, if not most of the teachers half a century ago.
But that, you see, is the problem. Our public education system contained in its very foundation those principles which would eventually bring it to where it is now. If back when my mother was teaching the idea that schools were still an extension of the family was still held to be true, the ineluctable basis of state/government control was nevertheless implicit…and ever expanding in scope and authority.
How many American citizens would—today—suggest that our public schools are “an extension of the family,” much less really believe it?
No; our public education system has become increasingly, without doubt, the major vehicle, the major crucible, for the creation of progressivist revolution—whether it be the observed actions, for example, of those frenzied and unhinged students in Broward County, Florida, reacting (on gun control) after a mass school shooting, or less visibly, the multifaceted efforts at “socialization” of students concerning racism and gender. After all, those rabidly radical college students at Berkeley and other major universities did not just arrive tabula rasa—they were carefully groomed and prepared before college, in our primary and high schools.
On several occasions in MY CORNER and in various published articles in journals I have cited and quoted the great Southern writer and philosopher Robert Lewis Dabney [see, for example, “Robert Lewis Dabney and His Attack on Progressivism,” The Unz Review, October 9, 2014, http://www.unz.com/article/robert-lewis-dabney-and-his-attack-on-progressivism/], in his famous debate with Virginia’s first Superintendent of Public Instruction William Ruffner in the 1870s. Dabney understood where the mania for taxpayer-funded “public education” would lead, and he warned of its consequences.
Here is what I wrote on May 13, summarizing Dabney:
…how is it possible to educate a child if the moral and ethical values of religion are not taught but proscribed, for did not “public education” directly imply such avoidance? Given the developing status of relations between church and state and changing constitutional interpretations, the state could not endorse one religious belief over another. Thus, Dabney observed, state-sponsored education tended to become secularized. But if education were not Christian, then it would inevitably become anti-Christian. Could education really be education if it educated “the mind without purifying the heart?” In Dabney’s view: “There can be no true education without moral culture, and no true moral culture without Christianity.” The Achilles’s Heel of state-supported public education, in addition to its assertion of state rights over parental rights in a child’s education, was its inevitable and systemic use by “demagogues, who are in power for a time, in the interests of their faction.”
Dabney and the partisans of privately-supported and family-controlled education lost that debate, practically speaking. And with the advent of social and political Progressivism in the early years of the 20th century, public education was seen as a key, in many cases, the key to the future, to better jobs, to success in life, to prosperity, in fact, to real happiness.
Nevertheless, even with the totem of “free public education” firmly fixed in the public mind as absolutely essential and its centrality in any political election program or campaign—not to mention the billions of dollars to be spent by both by local and state authorities and the Federal government—nearly every study, almost every report card on education, both K-through Grade 12 and college, indicates an inverse proportion of results to expenditures. It seems the more money we spend on what is called “education,” the worse our schools and colleges become, at least in those basic skills that the educational process is supposed to implant.
But despite that disastrously failing academic report card, for the proponents of progressive public education the past century’s educational history has been extremely successful. For our state-run educational system has been almost completely converted into an ideological hot house, a Dr. Strangelove laboratory, the graduating products from which become the willing recipients of the venomous cultural Marxist pablum fed to them on the college level, and future voters who pull the Democratic voter lever and who militate in the growing armies of those who demand an “end to (white) racism” and “white supremacy,” “full gender equality” (including the full embrace of everything from transgenderism, same sex marriage to gender fluidity), “open borders” to all immigrants, direct action on supposed “climate change,” and the “suppression of hate speech” (which will mean whatever the latest dominant narrative says it is).
And lest we think this contagion uniquely located just on the ostensible “Left” in the American political and cultural spectrum, its effects are felt nearly as strongly in what passes for intellectual thought on the conservative (pseudo) “right,” especially among the dominant Neoconservatives, who claim to represent the “conservative opposition.”
Pick just one “darling” of so-called “conservative college youth,” Ben Shapiro, for example, or the omnipresent Jonah Goldberg. I have written about both of them at some length and the horrendous damage, the incredibly destructive and, yes, inherently Leftist (often thinly disguised) narrative they spew forth before such audiences as Young Americas Foundation and the College Republicans. Shapiro, in particular, has taken it upon himself to appear on dozens of college campuses [see, on Jonah Goldberg: http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/april-26-2018-my-corner-by-boydcathey.html and, more particularly, see on Ben Shapiro: http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2017/09/september-27-2017-my-corner-by-boyd.html]
Last August 17, 2017, for example, Shapiro wrote that Pat Buchanan, because he did not believe the airy Neocon assumption that the words in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” meant absolute equality in birth and opportunity (a demonstrable historical and metaphysical falsehood that the Founders rejected), was—and I quote—“a white supremacist” and worse, by implication a racist and, by association, an “anti-semite” (surely the coup de grace from Shapiro, who never misses an opportunity to ostentatiously wear his yarmulke and complain that he is the nation’s number one target of “anti-semitism”) [see: https://www.dailywire.com/news/19908/pat-buchanan-goes-rails-believing-all-men-are-ben-shapiro; see also the excellent critique of Shapiro at VoxDay, May 25, 2018: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-historical-revisionists.html?m=1]
How does Never Trumper Shapiro’s gross ignorance of American history and the American Founding, and his explicit acceptance of the Marxist template differ from his supposed opponents over on the “farther Left”? Not much…yet he has become a major voice, an icon, for “conservative youth.”
So much for efforts by such “conservatives” to convert the programed automatons extruded out with groans and grunts by our public education system.
Such displays should convince us of the utter decay in our educational structure and the need not for “reform,” but a total rethinking and dismantling.
One of the finest and most cogent examinations of our public educational system I have read recently appeared on that excellent blog site, “Dissident Mama” [see: http://www.dissidentmama.net/] by a fellow North Carolinian, whose analysis while concentrating on what has been going on in the Tar Heel State, also delves into educational theory and practice, and the history and deeper questions that should provoke us all to resolute action [see: http://www.dissidentmama.net/i-dont-love-public-schools/] Her essay is excellent, and I urge you to read it, as well as the other items she has authored.
Here is the essay, “I Don’t Love Public Schools,” in full:
I don’t love public schools
I have a degree in journalism from a prestigious university, and if I ever made $50k+, I would’ve had to have become an overworked, married-to-her-job newsroom editor (and by “work,” I mean all 12 months of the year). My husband is a highly accomplished software developer and feels extremely blessed to get a 3% cost-of-living raise annually, of which his politically correct company did not bestow upon rank-and-file employees this year.
Yep, these are the same activists who have the backing of supposedly limited-government Republicans. I mean, public schools are an idol of worship. It’s why teachers are constantly pulling on heart strings. Such selfless public servants!
We’re giving “so much of ourselves for your children (yet) being paid next to nothing,” wrote one hysterical teacher in a He then complains in fanatic form about the trials he incurred due to a busted air conditioner and a kid with a broken arm. Boo-freakin-hoo.
“We call this life,” he said. But “the difference is that I am working a job that most see as a valuable resource of utmost importance, and I cannot pay for anything.” The self-proclaimed #MeToo-styled victims known as sniveling public-school teachers don’t know how good they have it … or do they?
The drama queens not only get good pay for 9 months of work, they reap the benefits of being part of the NC retirement system plan in which employers contribute 17.3% and employees contribute 6%. These “hurting” teachers are also eligible for medical, vision, dental, workman’s comp, disability, and life insurance plans.
What’s love got to do with it?
Yet, they want more, and want to attain it through the same tactics used by the globalists and their infantile “March For Our Lives” dupes. Ditch school. Have families pick up the slack. Rant and bully. Wallow in the nauseating lauding of their cause. Well, that doesn’t sound much like love to me. Sounds more like bureaucratic privilege.
Show me the money
each of my three children, I’d have 26,061 of my own dollars back in my pocket to use for their real education.
Forget NAXALT, focus on the big picture
promises are, in fact, a myth.
Prussia, pedagogy, & progressivism
The highly centralized system is a manifestation of the , which was implemented in Massachusetts in 1852 at the behest of influential “education” reformer Horace Mann. This was the birth of modern compulsory education as we know it, in which was mandated and kindergarten was introduced.
Also borne out of this progressive movement were teacher colleges (known as “normal schools”), national standardized tests, national curriculum, including heavily secularized instruction, salaries via taxation for the professionalization of teaching as a public service, teacher certification, and funding to build schools. Whatever it takes to have “Free education for all children in public schools,” as the 10th plank of states.
The above image is from written in 1918 by Vermont-born “educator” Thomas Alexander. “The elementary schools of Prussia have been fashioned so as to make spiritual and intellectual slaves of the lower classes,” he continued.
So the school system “must impress upon the youth how Prussian kings have continually taken pains to better the conditions of the working class from the time of the legal reforms of Frederick the Great down until today.” Just trick people into loving their own oppression, and maybe one day they’ll even view it as a “human right.”
Tyrants, tutors, & talents
People had to be convinced that the “reform” was benevolent, a paternalistic social good, an “external form of liberty,” as Alexis de Tocqueville described in . It could be accomplished if only citizens came to think of their “tyrants” as “tutors,” the French philosopher said when warning of the great risks of embracing democracy. It reduces citizens “to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
Sadly, this sounds all too familiar (minus the industriousness part). But this mindset was a radical departure from traditional American education, which had produced virtuous fruits before the schooling of mass dependency. “America was literate beyond anybody’s wildest dreams, and not merely book-literate,” explained John Taylor Gatto, former public-school teacher in his book, .
“Americans were broadly proficient in the formidable ‘active literacies’ of writing, argumentation, and public speaking; things which had actually been a crime to teach ordinary people under British colonial rule.” People were smart, self-reliant, and quite capable of handling the responsibilities of liberty.
Foreigners like Tocqueville, who visited America in the 1830s, “were surprised and impressed with what the new [republic] demonstrated in action about the talents of ordinary men and women abilities customarily suppressed in Europe among the common classes,” Gatto continued. This included virtual across-the-board for women born around 1810, remarked Rutgers professor Jack Lynch.
From the Founding and through the early 19th century, education in America was mostly voluntary and private, and was working splendidly without “free common schools.” It was “, entrepreneurial, and driven by the demands of individual parents and local communities, not school districts or states,” commented Neal McCluskey, education policy analyst for the Cato Institute.
A putrid petri dish
That is, until the end of the War Between the States. This is when Mann’s New England model – which had already been adopted in various forms throughout the North – was forced upon the South and then spread like a disease across the across the country, leaving a path of socialist decay in its wake.
“The transformation of school from a place of modest ambitions centering around reading, writing, arithmetic, and decency into a behavioral training laboratory ordered up by ‘certain industrialists and the innovative who were altering the nature of the industrial process’ (as Harvard president James Bryant Conant wrote), has acted to poison
the American experiment,” explained Gatto.
the American experiment,” explained Gatto.
The Union’s aim was realized: finally moving away from an “entrepreneurial economy to a mass production economy, which … wrenched the country from its freedom-loving course and placed it along the path toward industrial capitalism – with its need for visible underclasses and a large, rootless proletariat to make it work.”
Gone was the bottom-up methodology and classical content of traditional community-based and family-controlled education. Goodbye one-room schoolhouses. Hello putrid petri dish of social engineering pushed as Puritan work ethic. And this racket would eventually catapult the government and its “education” experts to a superior position over children than that of the God-given rights of the parents.
A Yankee coup
This takeover was a well-financed idea backed by the wealthy progressive modernizers and reformers, the of New England. In fact, Alexander was a professor at the George Peabody College for Teachers when he published his dissertation turned book. And Mann just so happened to be married to Mary Tyler Peabody.
New York’s Rockefellers were supporters of the Prussian schooling model over authentic education. And Scotsman-turned-Yankee Andrew Carnegie also believed that public schools should divorce the masses from those pesky notions of seeking knowledge, wisdom, and truth.
“Educational schooling, said Carnegie, gave working people bad attitudes,” wrote Gatto. “It taught what was useless, it imbued the future workforce with ‘false ideas’ that gave it ‘a distaste for practical life.'” You know, useless ideas like freedom.
Elitist pedagogue William Torrey Harris served as U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906. The Connecticut politician used Christianity to push for coercive schooling for American Indians in order to boost industry. “We must establish compulsory education for the good of the lower race.” Aw, aren’t progressives so sweet?
Similar to Karl Marx, Harris was a disciple of Prussian philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Harris “was intensely radical, regarding children as the absolute property of the political state, and he was a personal friend of Andrew Carnegie – the steel man who nourished a hope that all work could be yoked to cradle-to-grave schooling,” Gatto said.
And let’s not forget another Vermonter, John Dewey, who “asserted that an individual’s mind was essentially property of the larger society,” explained Brett Veinotte,
Be the 5%
It’s okay to fess up that you don’t love public schools either. Even if you’re one of the folks who likes to say “I’m a product of the public schools, but …” before bashing the government-schooling monopoly, you must stop giving the state any credit for your God-glorifying attributes, career success, healthy and responsible life choices, critical-thinking skills, or talents.
You attained those in spite of public schools. My guess is you, just like me, possess those character traits due to your familial upbringing, faith, personal research, continued lifelong learning, and real-world experience.
Admit it. You wanna be part of the 5% who refuse to be “subservient to the ruling house.” The statists will say you’re perpetuating “privilege,” and claim you’re or even . So what?
If you’re part of the 95% who are so bound in the chains of “servitude” that you think the rest of us are the unreasonable ones, well, we 5-percenters should call you out. We know the power elites believe that “Education has too much potential a control tool to be left to individuals, families, and markets,” said Veinotte, and that evil must be resisted.