People are beginning to wake up to the fact that American education has changed drastically. At first we watched academic performance decline, the quality of instruction decline, behavior decline, the overall quality of high school graduates decline and we reacted with a collective shrug. Now the decline has become a dive propelled further downward by an ideological agenda.
Passé are virtues like patriotism, responsibility, honesty, courtesy, obedience, chastity and reverence. The new virtues are environmental consciousness, multiculturalism, opposition to patriarchy and white privilege, anti-colonialism, forced economic equality and transgender advocacy.
Math and sciences are now taught as the white man’s means to oppress and marginalize people, especially people of color. Climate literacy not only teaches that mankind is destroying the earthy but teaches the children that entire economies must be redefined, that fossil fuel use must end and that they must be activists and leaders for environmental justice. Activists and agents for the left are also teaching our children that must, in the name of social justice, eliminate oppression and achieve equality in the distribution of goods and wealth among all groups in society.
In many ways, the trend in education leans pro-socialist, anti-free market. Educators are eliminating competition, awarding trophies for participation rather than winning, and rejecting letter grades in favor of performance reviews. Curricula are replacing hard sciences and mathematics with social studies. History is taught less and less, and when it is, it is of the “Thanksgiving celebrates genocide” type, demonizing Western civilization. Schools have banished God from the classroom in favor of a humanist, secular doctrine such as gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual freedom and abortion.
Today’s educational framework affords no place for the mind. The concept of mind always demanded discipline on the part of the individual if the fruits of his intellectual processes were to command the attention and respect of his fellows. But in today’s denial of mind, the new keys to man’s personality are assumed to be composed exclusively of emotional factors, psychological “adjustment,” and materialistic creature necessities.
As Will Durant noted in The Story of Civilization, it is easily subject to destruction by forces external and internal: natural disaster, disease epidemic, financial exhaustion, mental decay, moral decay, leadership decay, decline in family, class wars, revolutions. These are some of the ways in which a civilization may die, he wrote: “For civilization is not something inborn or imperishable; it must be acquired anew by every generation, and any serious interruption in its financing or its transmission may bring it to an end.”
Civilization must be acquired anew by every generation. And the main factor in doing that is “education, which may be defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.” That is what education is: the passing on of civilization from one generation to the next. These evils that the devil has shoehorned into our educational system will destroy civilization in a single generation!
The choice between government-imposed tyranny and self-responsible freedom is always but one generation away, depending upon whom we invite or allow to inculcate our children, our most precious heritage and responsibility.
J. Gresham Machen said it well: But while tyranny itself is nothing new, the tyranny of the scientific expert is the most crushing tyranny of all. That tyranny is being exercised most effectively in the field of education. A monopolistic system of education controlled by the State is far more efficient in crushing our liberty than the cruder weapons of fire and sword.
The education system doesn’t need tweaks and fixes, it needs a serious overhaul. What is at stake is far more than just increasing reading or math test scores. Without a well-educated population the American advantage in just about every field will continue to erode. The world may be in the hands of the current power elite, but the future is in the hands of the next generation. No country serious about its future can afford to forget that and no patriotic policy maker should ignore that.
The lowered ethical standards of our age have been matched by a decline of intellect. Today, we place progressively less faith in man’s intellectual powers, substituting a faith in institutionalized arrangements and methods. If we would help our young to develop and implement proper values in their lives, we must first recover the intellectual integrity to distinguish between good and bad. Such intellectual integrity rests upon a firm belief that man can think, and that no genuine substitute exists for human thought. George Charles Roche III