The Radical Transformation of Education

“Education: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.”   Ambrose Bierce,

For over a decade, Dr. James Pesta, associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, has been polling students about their attitudes to Western Institutions, history, culture and values. Surprise!  Ignorance abounds at our universities. 

In one survey for instance, Pesta asked his students to define capitalism and socialism. The majority used words like greedy, selfish and unfair to describe capitalism while a shocking 83% defined socialism by using words like fairness and equality.  Guess that explains Berny Sanders. To prove how uneducated they were Pesta says none of his students could explain Marxism, socialism or capitalism in a sentence. 

In another survey, snowflakes only knew Thomas Jefferson as a slave holder rather than as President. They overwhelming believed “that slavery began in the United States and was almost exclusively an American phenomenon.” Between 60 to 70% had no idea that slavery was a worldwide phenomenon involving people of all races or that it is still practiced in some nations.  As to confirm Pesta’s findings, students and faculty at UVA in Charlottesville wrote a letter to the University’s President Teresa Sullivan, urging her to “cease quoting Jefferson,” a difficult task considering that he founded the University, purchased the land upon which it is built, and designed its curriculum, governing structure and many of its buildings.

According to Pesta, in recent years he has noticed shift in the student’s responses to his questions. Before the new millennium, the students were historically ignorant, but not politicized. “Their ignorance was accompanied by a basic humility about what they did not know.” Recently however, he has “noted a sense of moral superiority in not knowing anything about our ‘racist and sexist’ history and our ‘biased’ institutions.

Not only can’t they recall many historical facts, and know little if anything about the founding fathers or our founding documents, they are “strident about the corrupt nature of the Republic, about the wickedness of the founding fathers, and about the evils of free markets. Most alarmingly, they know nothing about the fraught history of Marxist ideology and communist governments over the last century….”  Nor do they want to know because they know everything, just ask the delicate little creatures.

In an interview with Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media, Pesta explained that the multicultural liberal mindset “is throughout all the schools, from kindergarten all the way to graduate school.” The monolithic control of universities and public schools by liberal progressives has “shifted the curriculum,” replacing good history books with textbooks like A People’s History of the United States, which is nothing but a cartoon anti-history of the United States written by anti-American Marxist Howard Zinn, who once remarked: “Objectivity is impossible, and it is also undesirable. That is, if it were possible it would be undesirable, because if you have any kind of social aim, if you think history should serve society in some way; should serve the progress of the human race; should serve justice in some way, then it requires that you make your selection on the basis of what you think will advance causes of humanity.”

According to Daniel Flynn at the History News Network, if you’ve read Marx, there’s really no reason to read Howard Zinn’s book. The first line of The Communist Manifesto provides the single-bullet theory of history that provides Zinn with his narrative thread— “The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle.” It is the all-purpose explanation of every subject that Zinn covers. On other hand, why study history when theory has all the answers?

Thanks to the left, children never learn the Christian roots of Western culture; they never learn the ideals of the Constitution and the American founding. Instead they are indoctrinated daily to the left-wing agenda of colonialism and slavery, to the corruption of capitalism and the joys of Marxism.

Pesta, in an interview with Gary Benoit at the New American, said that far “too often today’s public school students are taught what to think as opposed to learning to think for themselves.” Often, what they are taught clashes with the values of their parents. Homeschooling reinforces the idea that parents should be the first and most important filter, one that protects their child from ideological indoctrination and the one-sided, politicized spin of the left. Homeschooling can provide not only a solid education but instill critical-thinking skills, something missing from public education.

Of course America should struggle with its historic failings, but we’re not unique. “In the broader current of world culture, you will find that our sins are in some ways pretty moderate compared to much of what goes on in the world. Without historical context, history is just politics,” Pesta concluded. “We’ve transformed the teaching of history into a political act, not a historical act. We want students to respect certain groups and condemn others. What we should be doing is teaching them how to understand history on its own terms.”

A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated that the United States is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation will not surpass the preceding generation in terms of schooling.   Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the OECD, told the BBC News: “It’s something of great significance because much of today’s economic power of the United States rests on a very high degree of adult skill–and that is now at risk.”

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