“The teachers’ unions, and those they represent, are the perpetrators of the failed American public education system.”
- Martin L. Gross, "The Conspiracy of Ignorance: The Failure of American Public Schools"
“No Child Left Behind” is a marketing slogan selling more federal control over education on the pretense that all children will be better educated. Do you believe it? Does anyone believe that because the federal government has a new expensive program children will get more learning than before from the same bad schools? Are we crazy?
The truth is that MOST children are left behind, and it's on purpose. Why? Because the goal is to offer only an eighth grade level schooling to all, no matter how old the children get. CAPT (CT's "exit exam") is an 8th grade level test, but they don’t give it until tenth grade. Dumbing Down is not a joke, it’s the national policy.
First, the government is not interested in providing the kind of education that most parents want for their children. While parents want their kids to be independent creative-thinking individuals, “the government wants children to become compliant human resources to be used by government and industry for their own purposes,” according to Charlotte Iserbyt’s book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. The Feds want uniformity -- a workforce and a military -- not an educated citizenry. When the schools say they are "successful," it means they are turning out obedient group thinkers.
According to the Hartford Courant (Nov.12, 04), “57% of CT Public school 4th graders read below the proficient level.” In other words, the majority are failing; most are left behind. Yet, the state claims CT schools are "#1 in the nation." That’s what people mean when they describe the school system as a culture of dishonesty: Massive failure is called “success.”
Local school boards were set up by the state in order to make sure its schools do what the government wants them to do. That means that there is no such thing as local control — local school districts are not run by the local school boards. The school board members merely masquerade as our representatives while, in fact, they obey the state education bureaucracy.
I’ve heard teachers say, “School is the real world.” Nothing could be more false. School, like prison, is intentionally separated from the real world. In fact, some people call school “day prison.” There is little connection between school and reality. Its rules are unknown in the real world; its deceptive and stressful culture must be unlearned after leaving school. Even most of what has been learned there needs to be forgotten in order to operate in the real world. In public schools, children do not even have civil rights.
Public schools claim to offer “education.” Yet what those schools are supposed to offer is schooling -- the basic academic skills. With those skills, we can get our “education” for ourselves, mostly from learning things that interest us. But schools now fail to do even their part for many kids -- few ever get real education because they are not taught the basic skills. Further, the schools make learning a bad experience and bad memory. That’s what many kids take with them in life – the hatred of learning. Each year in school prepares them only for the next school year, not for real life.
“Self-esteem,” there’s a buzz word. Schools promote self-esteem by false messages of achievement -- inflated grades and meaningless honor rolls -- instead of valuable and lasting accomplishments. It’s just another slogan.
If the government wanted the schools to be better, they would be. After all, there are plenty of decent schools they could copy. But since the system claims to be excellent, it’s clear that the government wants its schools to be exactly the way they are – mediocre and worse.
Because the public does not control “public” schools, they offer exactly what they are designed to offer: a minimum education with the maximum number of employees at the greatest possible expense.
Most children are left behind. That’s the plan. It’s working perfectly.
Ned Vare is a Yale graduate, an architectural designer, former school teacher, businessman, author. His articles appear on line at www.borntoexplore.org; he is an unschooling advocate.
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