Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The gummint skools

"That biological parents are the enemies of their offspring"

A Dec. 31 Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial detailed some of the $7 billion in spending the members of the 2007 Nevada Legislature have already proposed - all while earnestly bleating that no tax hikes will be required. "Atop the list," we noted, "is a mandatory program to round up all of Nevada's children and lock them away from the subversive influence of their biological parents in day-long, tax-funded baby-sitting centers, not at the age of 6 (which is bad enough), but at the age of 5."

A well-intentioned soul objected that the "references to all-day kindergarten in Sunday's lead editorial are so sarcastic that few readers will give them credence." But no sarcasm was intended. Those interested in the history that backs up that brief reference might start with "The Tyranny of Compulsory Schooling," a speech by former multiple-year New York City (and state) PUBLIC SCHOOL Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto. There you will find:

"Sweden, a rich, healthy, and beautiful country, with a spectacular reputation for quality in everything, won't allow children to enter school before they're seven years old. The total length of Swedish schooling is nine years, not twelve, after which the average Swede runs circles around the over-schooled American. Why don't you know these things? To whose advantage is it that you don't? ..."

Then, explaining why our government seeks to get it hands on our kids at a more formative stage, purposely seeking to divorce children from the subversive influence of their own biological parents, Mr. Gatto details the Prussian connection. After that German state's "humiliating defeat by Napoleon in 1806, a new system of schooling was the instrument out of which Prussian vengeance was shaped, a system that reduced human beings during their malleable years to reliable machine parts, human machinery dependent upon the state for its mission and purpose," Mr. Gatto has learned. "When Blucher's Death's Head Hussars destroyed Napoleon at Waterloo, the value of Prussian schooling was confirmed. ...

"By 1905, Prussian trained Americans, or Americans like John Dewey who apprenticed at Prussian-trained hands, were in command of every one of our new institutions of scientific teacher training: Columbia Teacher's College, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, the University of Wisconsin, Stanford," Mr. Gatto continues. "The domination of Prussian vision, and the general domination of German philosophy and pedagogy, was a fait accompli among the leadership of American schooling. "You should care about this for the compelling reason that German practices were used here to justify removal of intellectual material from the curriculum; it may explain why your own children cannot think. That was the Prussian way - to train only a leadership cadre to think.

"Of all the men whose vision excited the architects of the new Prussianized American school machine, the most exciting were a German philosopher named Hegel and a German doctor named Wilhelm Wundt. ... G. Stanley Hall, one of Wundt's personal proteges (who as a professor at Johns Hopkins had inoculated his star pupil, John Dewey, with the German virus) ... shrewdly sponsored and promoted an American tour for the Austrian doctor Sigmund Freud so that Freud might popularize his theory that PARENTS AND THE FAMILY WERE THE CAUSE OF VIRTUALLY ALL MALADJUSTMENT (emphasis added) - all the more reason to remove their little machines to the safety of schools. ...

"Teacher training in Prussia was founded on three premises, which the United States subsequently borrowed. The first of these is that the state is sovereign, the only true parent of children. Its corollary is that BIOLOGICAL PARENTS ARE THE ENEMIES OF THEIR OFFSPRING. When Germany's Froebel invented Kindergarten, it was not a garden for children he had in mind but a garden of children, in which state-appointed teachers were the gardeners of the children. Kindergarten is meant to PROTECT CHILDREN FROM THEIR OWN MOTHERS. ...

"The best-known device to break the will of the young, practiced for centuries among English and German upper classes, was the separation of parent and child AT AN EARLY AGE. Here now was an institution backed by the police power of the state to guarantee that separation. ..."

The theory is advanced that mandatory government day-care for 5-year-olds is necessary to ameliorate the burden of day care expenses on young parents. (Were you under the impression they were going to teach them to read? Current pedagogical doctrine is dead-set against that, since the educrats don't want the kids to actually escape at any earlier age from the other end of the indoctrination tunnel, let alone discover that reading real books is actually easy and FUN, which might encourage them to run about reading stuff other than their tedious, dumbed down, government-assigned pabulum.)

In fact, the real purpose here, in addition to severing at the earliest possible age the subversive impact of parents teaching kids to question authority, is to expand the beneficiaries of the teacher full employment act by an additional 10 percent - new recruits to join the endless chorus of whining that our graduates only get dumber every year because these union members are "underpaid."

Why do young parents need to pay for day care? Because two full-time salaries are now required to support a family, leaving no parent at home with the kids during daylight. This was not true in America until the 1960s. What changed?

The reason one salary will no longer support a family with a car and a free-standing home is because Americans have been progressively impoverished by the purposeful government policies of inflation and higher taxation. Basically, mom now works to pay the higher taxes on dad's inflation-devalued salary.

What do those taxes support? In addition to the expanding Social Security and Medicare Ponzi schemes - wealth transfers to further fragment the family by encouraging grandma and grandpa to live independently near their money somewhere in the Sun Belt - the main beneficiary of all that extra tax loot are the monstrously expanding government monopoly youth propaganda camps, which teach our kids wacko new environmental and social doctrines, while substituting sound bites about "dead white slave-owners" and the (mythical) wise ecological husbandry of the noble, peaceful Red Man for any detailed knowledge of our true political, philosophical, and technological history.

In other words, day-long day care for 5-year-olds receives its real electoral support because parents want some relief from the expense of child day care for 5-year-olds, which has been made necessary by the fact that both mom and dad now have to work outside the home to fund day-long government day care for 6-to-18-year-olds. Compare this to the days before 1960, when economic necessity under a far smaller government required most people to marry before having children and moms could generally afford to stay home with their young kids.

What on earth could convince young parents that the current system - which produces high school graduates increasingly devoid of complex literacy - is somehow better? Nothing could possibly achieve this fantastic result except the most massive, dedicated, and successful archipelago of government indoctrination camps ever devised. "It's very useful for some people that our form of schooling tells children what to think about, how to think about it, and when to think about it," Mr. Gatto concludes. "It isn't very healthy for families and neighborhoods, cultures and religions. But then school was never about those things any-way: that's why we don't have them around anymore. You can thank government schooling for that. ...

"I think it would be fair to say that the overwhelming majority of people who make schools work today are unaware why they fail to give us successful human beings, no matter how much money is spent or how much good will is expended on reform efforts. This explains the inevitable temptation to find villains and to cast blame - on bad teaching, bad parents, bad children, or penurious taxpayers." Instead, Gatto urges us to consider the possibility that "School may be a brilliantly conceived social engine that works exactly as it was designed to work and produces exactly the human products it was designed to produce" - fragmented adults who can't imagine how to survive without the state.

Educrats and their enablers may express outrage at Mr. Gatto's research. But significantly, few of them will actually allow themselves to read their esteemed former colleague at any length (his greatest book, The Underground History of American Education, can be downloaded online for free), let alone look up, read, and evaluate his references. For you see, they don't teach them to do that any more, in the schools.


Now a cloak of invisibility falls on British school standards

By Chris Woodhead

When Labour won the 1997 election the prime minister, much to my amazement, decided both to keep me in the post of chief inspector of schools and to continue the rigorous approach to testing and school inspection the Conservatives had introduced in the late 1980s. That approach was beginning to deliver, and I was happy to stay. By autumn 2000 when I decided I could no longer continue in the post it had become clear that any commitment to rigour was fast declining.

Last week it disappeared completely. The secretary of state for education, Alan Johnson, announced that the government is set to abolish the national curriculum tests children currently take at 7, 11 and 14. Instead, they are to be assessed when they are “ready”, and, if the school does not like the result, then the child can be tested again until, presumably, the desired score is achieved.

This decision is the final nail in the coffin of school accountability. Nobody will know quite how the tests have been administered, and it will be impossible to compare one school to another. At secondary school level “personalised learning” will lead to students taking GCSE and A-level exams at different times. So here, too, comparisons become difficult.

Johnson, of course, pretends otherwise. League tables, he blusters, will still exist. Parents will still be in a position to make an informed choice about the school they wish their child to attend. It is nonsense, of course.

The truth is that ministers will no longer have to face the annual humiliation of admitting that they have failed once again to hit their self-imposed targets for improvements in literacy and numeracy. They will no longer have to try to persuade us, as Jim Knight did last week, that the appalling fact that only 45.3% of 16-year-olds achieve five good GCSE grades including English and maths is actually good news.

What a U-turn. At the beginning Labour made it clear that mastering the basics — being able to read, write and do sums — meant more than anything else. But last week’s revamped government league tables based on five good GCSEs tell a different story. It’s disgraceful that after 10 years fewer than half of 16-year-olds are reaching basic standards in English and maths.

At some schools the difference made by including English and maths in the GCSE tally is stark. At Madeley court comprehensive in Telford, for instance, just 16% of pupils got five good GCSEs including English and maths last year. Before the basic subjects were included in the scoring, the figure was 82% (boosted by entering pupils for a controversial GNVQ in information technology, which counts as a ridiculous four GCSEs).

Parents are expected to make sense of this kind of swing in fortune. They are meant to ponder new “value added” league tables which purport to register how successful schools are in teaching children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds or ethnic minority families. No grammar school appears in the top 100 schools in this league table, and schools which languished at the bottom of the conventional table now shoot miraculously to the top.

Confused? So am I, but don’t worry. We are meant to believe a new educational dawn is about to break. Free from the burden of external scrutiny our teachers will focus on the needs of each of the 30 children in their class. They will adapt the boring constraints of the national curriculum to the interests of each child. Learning is to be “personalised”. Creativity and innovation will flourish.

In some schools, perhaps; in most, I suspect not. The truth is that the government has given up. It has abandoned the reforms which, in time, would have improved education.

Schools, like children, need challenge. Transparency matters. How, after all, are problems in failing schools going to be solved if we do not know which schools are failing? Who really thinks that real teachers in real classrooms can or should respond to the individual needs of each of their pupils? The truth, of course, is that learning cannot be “personalised”. Learning French grammar is learning French grammar. Full stop. Good teachers will help individual pupils overcome their individual problems as they always have, but beyond this platitude the concept of “personalisation” has no meaning.

The rot began with David Blunkett, who, for all his tough public talk, was never comfortable with “naming and shaming” failing schools and who oversaw a review of the national curriculum that emphasised the teaching of “learning skills” over the mastery of factual knowledge.

In 2000 my successor as chief inspector, Mike Tomlinson, announced that in future inspection was to be “something we do with schools rather than to schools”. The school was to be a partner in its own inspection, but, Tomlinson added defensively, “the rigour and objectivity of inspection” will not be affected.

It has, of course. In 2005 a new system of inspection based on the school’s evaluation of its own performance was introduced. The period of time the inspectors spend in the school has been reduced to a day or two. Most teachers will not even see an inspector. So much for rigour and objectivity.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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