Our Enlightened Education

The Northwest Report
By: Robert F. Beaudine
December 21, 2010

The home schooling industry is enjoying a surge in popularity. Because of the time, effort, and additional expense involved, this prompts the question: Are more parents exploring this option because our public educational system has failed? This article will examine the progressive reforms of John Dewey and his fellow “Frontier Thinkers,” and the fundamental changes that altered the underlining purpose of our public education. This article will show that our public educational system has not failed. It has succeeded – brilliantly so – based upon the covert change in the ultimate purpose of public education.

John Dewey (1859-1952) was a progressive thinker. He was a philosopher, an educational reformer, and a prolific writer. When you read Dewey’s writings, it is obvious that John Dewey was also an ardent socialist. This explains why he became the president of the League for Industrial Democracy in 1939. This was the socialist American counterpart to the socialist British Fabian Society.[1] In 1950, he was named the honorary national chairman.

John Dewey published “My Pedagogic Creed” in 1897. Here he set his primary goal to be the destruction of the child’s individualism. This would enable the child to conform and get along with the group no matter what group he joined, especially that noble group called “citizens of the world.” Dewey had learned that it is difficult to produce good international socialists out of nationalistic-minded individualists.

All of Dewey’s early experimental schools were dismal failures, but he was forward thinking and not dismayed. In 1904, he went to Columbia University’s Teacher College to teach and write and experiment. There he schemed with other educational tinkerers called the “Frontier Thinkers.” At the forefront were Dr. George Counts, Dr. Harold Rugg, Dr. William Scott Gray, and Dr. Arthur I. Gates. Together, they destroyed traditional education and replaced it with their progressive reforms.

They used a three-prong attack. They promoted and then championed a new ideology in the training of teachers. They infiltrated the largest teachers group, the National Education Association. And they rewrote the textbooks. In 1932, Dr. Counts began indoctrinating teachers with his book, “Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order?” Dr. Rugg followed up in 1933 with his book for teachers, “The Great Technology.” These are blatant blueprints to socialize education and thereby socialize America.

Dr. Counts wrote, “The important point is that fundamental changes in the economic system are imperative. Whatever services historic capitalism may have rendered in the past, and they have been many, its days are numbered. With its dedication to the principle of selfishness, its exaltation of the profit motive, its reliance upon the forces of competition, and its placing of property above human rights, it will either have to be displaced altogether or changed so radically in form and spirit that its identity will be completely lost.[2]

Dr. Rugg wrote, “… through the schools of the world we shall disseminate a new conception of government – one that will embrace all of the collective activities of men; one that will postulate the need for scientific control and operation of economic activities in the interests of all people.”[3]

He proposed, “First and foremost, the development of a new philosophy of life and education which will be fully appropriate to the new social order; Second, the building of an adequate plan for the production of a new race of educational workers; Third, the making of new activities and materials for the curriculum.”[4]

In 1934, the American Historical Association produced a seventeen-volume study of American education. Dr. Counts was their research director. The last volume declared:

“Cumulative evidence supports the conclusion that in the United States as in other countries, the age of individualism and laissez-faire in economy and government is closing and a new age of collectivism is emerging.”[5]

The British socialist, Harold Laski, who later became head of the British Fabian Society, claimed that the study was simply an educational program for a socialist America.[6]

The “Conclusions and Recommendation” of this study proposed the innovation called Social Studies. This consolidated history, geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics into one composite course. The benefits are immediate. Because of the vastness of the material the basic truths of each of these subjects are obscured or at the very least, slanted.

Dr. Rugg then rewrote the textbooks. He produced fourteen social studies textbooks that actually offended the public because of its blatant socialistic propaganda.[7] Not to be deterred, the NEA then promoted the “Building America” series as replacements. Unfortunately, a few years later a Senate Investigating Committee condemned these books for their socialistic and anti-American slant.[8] Since then others more subtle and skillful have successfully completed this task.

Dr. William Scott Gray perpetrated another innovation that enjoyed immediate success. He had studied at Teachers College and eventually became dean of the University of Chicago School of Education. He was the author of those popular “Dick and Jane” series of readers first published in 1930. The NEA called Dr. Gray the eminent authority in the field of reading. Naturally, this endorsement contributed to the widespread adoption of these readers. Gray’s colleague, Dr. Arthur I. Gates of Columbia’s Teacher College came out with a similar series that same year called the “Program of Reading,” also approved by the NEA. This radical change in the teaching of reading reduced to relative obscurity the traditional method of phonics. And so, the untutored masses learned how difficult reading can become through the look-and-say method. Illiteracy soon abounded.

Dr. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss.) said in 1981 that he thought killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country. He was perplexed years earlier when his publisher sent him the approved list of words that he could use in his book, “Cat in the Hat.” His targeted age group had a spoken vocabulary of thousands of words, but they could read only 233 words. It is illogical to continue to support a theory of reading that doesn’t work, unless the aim is something sinister and hidden.

The established educrats lambasted Rudolf Flesch’s “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” which came out in 1955. The only argument they had was outrage that anyone would question their reforms. Phonics was simply outdated, period. Twenty-five years later when Flesch wrote “Why Johnny Still Can’t Read,” nothing had changed. Flesch called it reckless social engineering.

Americans aren’t taught this history because that would subvert the new purpose of our modern educational system. On the contrary, an enlightened society would naturally teach the history and the fundamentals of this vital institution. An enlightened society builds its cornerstone on education. It teaches the rising generation to revere its institutions and traditions by properly training them on their fundamentals and their histories.

The ultimate purpose of education should be to enlighten the mind and inspire the soul. This creates a dilemma. The accumulated knowledge today is so vast in all the various disciplines. This should arouse a public debate – one which never takes place except behind the closed doors of educational psychologists and philosophers: What core knowledge should be transmitted to our youth?

It would seem reasonable that our schools should emphasize the study of history so the rising generation would appreciate and understand the various fundamentals and underpinnings of their society, and why their traditions and institutions are worth supporting. Without historical understanding, the present age remains largely a mystery. Why? Because everything that exists today developed in the past.

History puts our world in perspective and broadens awareness by providing a means of comparison. Without historical understanding, your world-view will remain narrow-minded because you will not have the capacity to compare today’s manifestations with those in the past. History also broadens the range of human possibilities because it expands exponentially the number of potential role models. This is vital in today’s uninspired society.

When you study the history of our public educational system, it is apparent that its once-noble purpose has been subverted. When you look to our award-winning teachers, you get a glimpse of its replacement. Hale Edwards, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Riverside Middle School, was named Outstanding Middle Level Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies in 2007. In referring to her students she said, “I will do just about anything I can to help them become really good citizens of this planet and to know their place in it.”[9] (Italics added.) These teachers aren’t concerned with making good citizens of the United States. This doesn’t mean that Ms Edwards isn’t sincere in her task. After all, she is a product of our misguided education and has no idea of the true honor it is – or at least once was – to be a citizen of these United States. This is a direct result of her own historical training, which is now transmitted to our youth: Our history has been rewritten as one long story of suppression by elite white men.

It is apparent that the true purpose of education is to raise up submissive and compliant citizens of the world, to produce a herd mentality that doesn’t question the existing order, to produce a generation whose emotions can be easily swayed this way and that by the juicy slogans of advertisers, or the empty rhetoric of politicians. The two-prong attack of all totalitarian states is to eliminate individual moral responsibility and reduce critical judgment. Our public education has been instrumental in this success.

The tenth plank of the Communist Manifesto states, “Free education for all children in public schools.” The United States has not only implemented this plank, but we took it one step further and made public education mandatory. It is easy to change a nation’s traditions, institutions, and beliefs when you control its education. That’s why this was a critical plank in the Manifesto.

And what are some of the fruits of our public education? We now have an entire citizenry that hasn’t a clue that our country was founded as a constitutional republic, and that a democracy was considered one of the worst forms of government by our founding fathers.

We have a citizenry that can’t think independently. This explains one of the reasons why Greek and Latin are no longer taught to our youth. They would never consider searching the original sources to understand some of the early cultures of humanity. They have translators and textbook writers explain everything to them. They rely on “the experts” because that is so much easier, and ease has become the modern way of life.

We have a citizenry who thinks of education in strictly a utilitarian and materialistic fashion – so they can get a job and make money. That’s why their education ends when they begin a career. Our politicians reinforce this view. Whenever they speak of education, they usually speak of jobs, as if the marketplace determines what knowledge is most worthwhile.

We have an entire generation – our youth – who have been trained to believe there are no absolute truths. Allan Bloom opened his introduction to his seminal book on the demise of higher education, “The Closing of the American Mind,” with this sentence: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” With this core belief, our youth have rejected reason. Nothing is certain. They’ve been trained to follow whatever stirs their emotions. This is the fundamental tenet of progressive education: Truth is situational and changes with circumstances.

Because our students no longer have the capacity to express their individuality with independent thought, they express it outwardly with purple hair and piercings, tattoos and vulgar behavior.

Tom Brokaw called the greatest generation that generation that fought and came of age during the Second World War. (A future article will expose the complicity of the media in the campaign to reduce literacy and undermine our traditions and institutions. Why haven’t our reporters investigated the root causes of our dismal public education?) Of course, if truth is relative, he can say anything. But it would be false to claim as the greatest generation the one that fell asleep at the wheel when prosperity returned to our country. When prosperity allowed the leisure time for that generation to make a real difference, most opted to spend their leisure time in trivial pursuits. By their unwillingness to fight for freedom at home, they are directly responsible for the current state of affairs that exists today. It is a privilege to be a citizen of the United States, but this privilege comes with obligations. To safeguard our traditions and institutions as well as our freedoms, we must first understand them and their histories.

During the campaign, then-Senator Obama scoffed at the absurdity of abolishing the Department of Education, and his untutored audience laughed. It wasn’t funny, nor is it absurd, because that would be only the first step in reforming the brainwashing industry that is fed to us as public education. This is one thing Obama won’t really change, because his popularity is dependent upon his slick words firing up the emotions of the uneducated masses. To be fair, most of our politicians prefer the current system for the same reasons, except for Congressman Dr. Ron Paul who champions a different approach. He wants the federal government out of the education business entirely and the Department of Education dismantled.

Some misguided parents call public education a failed institution. Sure, it has failed our students, but it has not failed in its fundamental purpose. It has not failed our politicians, or the international bankers who prop them up.

((You can respond with an email: robert@baseduponalie.com))

With thanks; reprinted from Robert F. Beaudine’s blog.


[1] British Fabian Society, 49th Annual Report, 1932

[2] Iserbyt, Charlotte Thomson, “the deliberate dumbing down of america.” 1999 Conscience Press, page 19

[3] Rugg, “The Great Technology,” page 271

[4] Ibid, page 258

[5] Report, Special House Committee To Investigate Tax Exempt Foundations, 83rd Congress, 1954, pg 137

[6] “A New Education for a New America,” The New Republic, July 29, 1936, page 343.

[7] Report, Special Committee To Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations, 83rd Congress, page 150

[8] Ibid., page 154,155

[9] The Greenville News, December 14, 2007, page 10A


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