The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

 The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

It’s no accident that America’s schools have slowly eroded and that the intelligence of the average American has become so debilitated. American learning has plummeted and public school performance has nose-dived ever since the middle of the twentieth century because that has been the plan all along.

Some thirty million adults in the U.S. do not have the skills to perform even the most basic tasks such as adding numbers on a bank slip, identifying a place on a map, or reading directions for taking a medication. Eleven million Americans are totally illiterate in English.

Only twenty-nine percent of Americans have basic reading and computing skills. One out of every twenty Americans lacks the ability to understand what is going on in the world or to develop an informed opinion for voting.

 Thinking American citizens must always be aware that what goes on in this society is the result of the planning of its rulers; they create precisely the social, psychological, economic, and ideological conditions which will realize their goal of obscene wealth for themselves and impoverishment, homelessness, and death for the working class. With an illiterate, uneducated American citizenry, unable to understand what’s happening in the world, it’s no wonder that a fascist corporate cabal has been able to take over the United States.

In every culture, the public meanings, ideas, and skills transmitted through educational institutions (schools, academies, monasteries, universities) and through the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, Internet) have always been determined by 1% of the ruling elite (politicians, financiers, warriors, priests, scholars, scientists, corporations).

In most cultures, the “ruling ideas” have fostered violence and class warfare. In only a few instances throughout history have the “ruling ideas” fostered the betterment of common people and society at large. One example of such a benevolent era was the eighteenth century Enlightenment, which encouraged humans to develop broad understanding in all fields of knowledge. Highly educated, intelligent groups in Europe and America developed toward a democratic way of life, created constitutions, and founded institutions for public education.
Culture as a creation of humankind is a neutral element–it can be used for positive or negative ends. Through the process of acculturation, the process beginning at infancy by which human beings acquire the culture of their society, individuals are stamped with social norms.

Vested, moneyed interests have constantly sought to demolish the American traditions of democracy, plotting to destroy the enlightening “diffusion of knowledge and the free exercise of reason.” Their method of rule is not by “consent of the governed” or rational discourse, but by arbitrary dictate of a tyrant’s despotic tactics.

Predictably, the very people who place American presidents, senators, and representatives in power, through the use of their multi-billion dollar fortunes, are the same moneyed interests that have deliberately destroyed American education. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, Browns, Harrimans, Du Ponts, and other ruling families want obedient, efficient workers, not thinkers.
As early as 1913, cabal leaders made it clear that they wanted American schools to produce compliant laborers, not “authors,” “poets,” or “men of letters.”

Clearly, the rulers not only did not want to make “philosophers” of the working class, they wanted them trained so they would not even think for themselves. So they have deliberately devastated the American mind through:

•             Funding universities and scholars that carry out the devastation of the
American public education system in particular and American intelligence in
general

•             Developing programming (brainwashing) strategies using all media types, but
especially television

•             Imposing miseducation and brainwashing to destroy American citizens’ ability
to think for themselves

•             Subjecting American public education to a series of failed experiments, from
“look see” reading to the “new math”

•             Redefining key concepts so that the public school students no longer
understand the fundamentals of a democratic society

•             Turning what is called “education” into nothing but training

•             Deluding Americans–especially the young people–into mistaking technological
savvy for intelligence

Democracy requires an electorate that understands what is actually happening in the world, beyond what the corporate media tell us is happening. If American citizens receive an effective education, they learn to inform themselves and can see through the propaganda, the dictatorial actions, and the outcomes of the non-constitutional acts of their rulers.

Beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, American ruling groups and their think tanks, began to create a pseudo-educational system which produced students who were no longer capable of understanding key concepts such as “freedom,” “government of the people,” “critical and analytical thinking,” etc.

America today is a combat zone where a War Against Intelligence is constantly being waged. Unfortunately, the ruling elite are currently winning: Americans are progressively losing their ability to understand what is happening in the world around them. Americans are unable to see that the ruling classes are using the pretext of the war against terrorism to destroy essential constitutional liberties. Billions of dollars have been stolen by the wealthy in a bailout scam, while the working class is devastated through unemployment and home foreclosures. A poor person is jailed for a $20 theft, but a plutocrat is allowed to steal the pension fund of thousands of workers without penalty.

The cabal attacked American learning through the Education Bill signed into law by President George Bush in January, 2002. The bill essentially equates education with training for high test scores. Those who benefit most from this law are not students or teachers but the publishers of textbooks and companies that carry out testing.

The US Supreme Court delivered the coup de grace to American education: on June 27, 2002, the Neanderthal majority in the court ruled that the government may give financial aid to parents so they can send their children to religious or private schools. Our tax dollars can be used to fund training in any religious or political ideology imaginable. Granted, public funds since the 1950s have been used exclusively to dumb down America, but tax dollars did not go to support ideologically-based schools that were totally inimical to American values.

The US Government and various private organizations are primarily funding Private Roman Catholic and Protestant fundamentalist schools that teach unthinking obedience to authoritarian leaders. This catastrophic blow to American education will enable a school voucher system which will siphon off public school funds into the coffers of the Catholic Church and other private schools.

Republican supporters of the voucher hide the fact from the public that the crisis in the schools is largely the product of decades of federal, state and local spending cuts, tax breaks to big business and attacks on teachers’ and other school employees’ wages and working conditions.

Privately-run schools will continue to screen applicants and reject any student they deem unacceptable. While the language of most voucher programs prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin, these schools can reject students based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, ability to pay, behavioral issues or academic or physical ability. They would be under no financial pressure to provide help for students with special needs, since it is more costly to provide care for special education children, and most private schools are not staffed to handle them.

The newly-sanctioned voucher system will intensify class and social distinctions. The top schools will be reserved for the wealthiest layers of society who can pay to send their children to elite private schools and academies. Next below on the totem pole will be the private and for-profit schools for middle-class and working class children, whose parents will have to work longer hours and go further into debt to scrape together thousands of dollars to pay tuition costs. At the very bottom will be the public schools, left for the poorest and most disadvantaged working class students. Unable to do little to help working class youth develop learning skills, the role of these schools will be little more than training lower-class students for low-paying jobs.

Beginning at the time of the American Revolution, part of the genius of the nation had been the right to public education, based on the idea that all children, regardless of economic or social status, race, religion or ethnic background, be guaranteed government-paid, quality education. Founding fathers such as Jefferson favored the establishment of government-funded “free schools” in opposition to the aristocratic system in Europe, where education was limited to the wealthiest layers of society and largely overseen by the Church.

In the nineteenth century these democratic principles were advanced by such reformers as Horace Mann, who wrote in 1848:

If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former.”

In the early part of the twentieth century, the working class took up the fight for public education, which was inseparable from the campaign against child labor. However it was only through the civil rights struggles, from the 1930s through 1960s, that universal access to the public schools was fully achieved.

Now, in the twenty-first century the right to sound public education for the working class has come into collision with the plans of the criminal elite for a society primarily for the benefit of the wealthy. The rampant growth of class inequality has produced a state of affairs that is fundamentally incompatible with democratic principles, which are based on the equal rights of all citizens.

The whole issue of public money for ideologically-based schools will prove extremely divisive throughout the nation. The Republicans, the majority of who support vouchers, will use the issue as a way to attack any Democrat who opposes vouchers as a tool of the teacher unions.

Americans are rapidly losing a sense of the traditional American values. Anti-intellectual, racist or right-wing multiculturalism has replaced education, bought-and-paid-for-politics has replaced democracy, funneling billions to the fat-cats has replaced statesmanship, and attacks on constitutional liberties has replaced political and judicial oversight.

The federal No Child Left Behind law (NCLB), which went into effect in 2002, and the ongoing “Race to the Top” campaign are both ploys by political pundits to reduce learning to mere memorization of inert content in books approved and published by Neoconservative plutocrats. NCLB and “Race to the Top” allows ignoramuses pretending to be teachers and scholars to create spurious content and evaluation instruments that indoctrinate students in reactionary principles. The pretence is that this policy makes schools “accountable.” What this actually means is focusing most of the teachers’ and students’ attention on state standardized testing and results: memorization.

The law requires all schools to test students in grades 2-12 in reading, math and science. Each state chooses its own test and standards of proficiency. Schools that don’t show that students are making “adequate yearly progress” toward achieving proficiency are subject to federal sanctions, including loss of federal funds, providing free tutoring, allowing students to transfer to another school, and if all else fails, a complete restructuring of the school.

Evaluation of teachers and students must be based on a clear understanding of what genuine education is:

  • Radical change in a teacher’s and a student’s thought and behavior
  • Ability in critical thinking: thinking for oneself based on understanding
    of evidence as opposed to mere authoritarian assertion
  • Self-awareness: cognizance of one’s beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Critical consciousness: awareness of the world

The ravages that the neoconservative establishment has wreaked on the public school system are so fundamental that we cannot rejuvenate it. We must create our own private “commonwealth schools” within a cooperative commonwealth community, to help us regain our sense, our ability to see what’s happening, and our intelligence. When our nation was founded, education was carried on primarily through just such private home schools where Americans learned the values of a democratic way of life.

As some are warning, any government system–public schools or voucher-based private schools–carries government control with it. Since the neoconservative establishment is using the voucher system to gain total ideological control of private schools, we must create private “commonwealth schools” within cooperative communities without resorting to vouchers.

Americans are currently in such a debilitated state of ignorance and egomania that our only hope is creating a small, experimental community in which to:

  1. Educate our young people in progressive awareness
  2. Work toward a commonwealth
  3. Develop a Saving Remnant

Education must become the transmission of true human understanding to future generations. This will require a group of people assisting others to see that current “politics” and “education” are actually counterfeits of real social values, and developing cooperative communities which will create genuine educational institutions that will provide students insight into what is actually occurring in the world.

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