One of the major forces which allowed communism to rise in China was that Chinese educators had been teaching the “benefits” of this ideology in schools for years before it was implemented in government. In fact Karl Marx included the top ten communist goals in his “The Communist Manifesto”. Number ten on that list was, “free education for all students in public schools”. America has had this for quite some time, and the quality of American education has been declining ever since. No longer can American students compete in Math and Science with foreign industrialized nations, but this is in part because of an influential American philosopher John Dewey. According to Thomas Sowell in his article “The Role of Educators”:
John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.
But obviously whether or not that change is positive depends on who is placed in the classroom, and the goals of the government who placed them. Indoctrinating youth to believe everything the government feeds them is not education. Education is teaching children how to think critically about particular issues, whether or not that issue had been discussed in class. Teachers should not be telling students what to think, they should be telling students how to learn.
Even in the absence of formal indoctrination, the dumb-ing down of our education system furthers the goals of creating a mass of easily controlled peasants who will react to circumstances based on what they have been taught. With the power to teach centralized in the hands of the state, we can be sure that the masses will react just the way the government wants them to. But at the same time children are being turned into mold-able clay, they are being robbed of true education, and robbed of the opportunity to contribute productively to their communities and the world–as well as robbed of the opportunity to live a happy comfortable life with the products of their labor.
According to the documentary “Waiting for Superman”, until 1970 United States public schools were the best in the world, but there wasn’t much global competition. Education was in that time considered a ticket out of poverty. Now out of 30 developed countries the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science with the 5% best students performing 23rd out of 29 developed countries. When it comes to math skills the United States is almost dead last but when asked to rank the confidence in their math skills 71% of American students were confident they got good scores on standardized tests in math—could this be the effect of the politically correct “everyone wins”, “we are all special” ideology? High Tech Industries in America cannot find enough skilled laborers to fill their needs which contributes to our outsourcing problem, and is also why you see immigrants to the U.S. employed in many high skill jobs involving math, science, technology, and medical care.
This decline in quality education can be traced back to the implementation of “free education in all public schools”. According to Charles Murray in the article “Do We Need the Department of Education” appearing in “Imprimis: A Publication of Hillsdale College”:
The overall data on the performance of American K-12 students give no reason to think that federal involvement, which took the form of the Department of Education after 1979, has been an engine of improvement…
A study by the Department of Education published in 2001 revealed that the gap grew rather than diminished from 1986 [between high poverty and low poverty schools, despite more money spent on high poverty schools]…
In summary: the long, intrusive, expensive role of the federal government in K-12 education does not have any credible evidence for a positive effect on American Education.
This further brings into question the true goal of American public education. Apart from China, Thomas Sowell shares another historical anecdote about the destructive role of state education:
In France between the two World Wars, the teachers’ union decided that schools should replace patriotism with internationalism and pacifism. Books that told the story of the heroic defense of French soldiers against the German invaders at Verdun in 1916, despite suffering massive casualties, were replaced by books that spoke impartially about the suffering of all soldiers — both French and German — at Verdun.
Germany invaded France again in 1940, and this time the world was shocked when the French surrendered after just 6 weeks of fighting — especially since military experts expected France to win. But two decades of undermining French patriotism and morale had done their work.
It may be time to rethink American education. The teachers union and government are working lockstep to ensure the money keeps flowing to state educators, and that the children produced fit the government’s view of an ideal citizen–essentially the opposite of the Founding Fathers’ view of an ideal citizen. Many like to use children shamelessly to sell their own political agendas, it is time we stand up for the true interests of our children.