Deliberat dumbing down: Making Johnny stupid
Last week, we began to look at a book entitled the deliberate dumbing down of america (Ravenna, Ohio, The Conscience Press, 2000) by educator Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt. The title has no capital letters, to dramatize the deliberate dumbing down of children in the nation’s government (public) schools. Again, the thing that makes Mrs. Iserbyt’s book so stupendous was her ability to plow through a couple of mountains of garbage extruded by the (mis)educators who are deliberately doing this, so you don’t need to guess what they mean. You can see for yourself.
This week, let’s look at some things they are doing. Please remember that when I use the word “they,” I am not necessarily talking about the teachers. Yes, many teachers in the government (public) schools are part of the problem, but many are not. The ones who are not do try to protect the children, even to educate them, but those good teachers do not run the schools and must do as they are told. No, we are talking about the administrators, the people who do run the schools, the academics who come up with the educational theories, the people in the state and federal departments of education.
For instance, in Conditioned Reflex Therapy, Andrew Salte writes this: “We are meat in which habits have taken up residence. We are a result of the way other people have acted to us. . . . Where there is a conditioned reflex, there is no will. Our ‘will power’ is dependent on our previously learned reflexes.” (P. 49) N.B.: All pagination is taken from Mrs. Iserbyt’s book.
This is what the (mis)educators think of your children. Your children are “meat,” lumps of quivering protoplasm in a petri dish, without soul, without will, without individuality, without choice. Would you bother trying to “educate” protoplasm in a dish? No, you would condition it, you would create reflexes that bypass the brain.
Another book Mrs. Iserbyt suffered through is William E. Martin’s Rediscovering the Mind of the Child: “A science of behavior emphasizes the importance of environmental manipulation and scheduling and thus the mechanization and routinization of experience. Similarly, it stresses performance in the individual. Doing something, doing it efficiently, doing it automatically – these are the goals. It is the mechanization of man …. The result is the triumph of technology: a push button world with well-trained button-pushers.” (P. 120)
The “mechanization of man!” Mechanical children who respond when buttons are pushed! Most parents probably still believe that their children go to school to learn “subjects.” No, in the government (public) schools today, what you may think of as learning is mere window-dressing, is coincidental, is a cover for the (mis)educationists’ real purpose. In his 1981 book, All Our Children Learning, Professor Benjamin Bloom wrote, “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.” (P. 160)
Notice, from their own mouths: Academic learning is not the purpose of education and the schools. Obviously, Bloom is unhappy with the thoughts, feelings and actions children learn at home. According to Thomas A. Kelly, Ph.D., in The Effective School Report, “The brain should be used for processing, not storage.” (Loc. Cit.) If your brain isn’t used for storage, you don’t and can’t know anything. You have no reservoir of learning. You are an automaton, trained, not educated, to respond to buttons.
Your Intrepid Correspondent was talking in a high school to a class of seniors about the career of Adolf Hitler, but there was a problem. I wasn’t discussing Hitler the way I was supposed to. For instance, I was explaining that Hitler was of course a far leftist, a Socialist, a National Socialist, that he believed in total government and therefore that he and the Communists were natural allies, an affinity that found expression in the Hitler-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact.
The immensely curious and fascinating thing about the confrontation was that these seniors could not understand what I was saying, not even enough to disagree. They never did figure out whether I was a good guy or not. They responded not to the ideas I was voicing but to the names I spoke. Whenever I mentioned Hitler, they booed. When I mentioned FDR, they applauded. I realized that the names were buttons. They had been trained, not educated, to respond when those buttons were pushed.
Much of this training derives from Harvard Professor B.F. Skinner, one of the (dead) gods of the (mis)educationists. Skinner trained pigeons for the military during World War II, and, “I could make a pigeon a high achiever by reinforcing it on a proper schedule.” (P. A-143) Skinner thought your child was nothing more than a pigeon. “For the purpose of analyzing behavior, we have to assume man is a machine.” (Loc. Cit.) “We want him [the student-Iserbyt] to come under the control of his environment rather than on verbal directions given by members of his family.” (Loc. Cit.)
How would all this play out in math, for instance? In December, 1928, O.A. Nelson, then a teacher of math, was invited to attend a meeting. John Dewey, founder of “progressive education” was there. Dewey of course was a Stalinist, as were the other leading “educators” present. Nelson tells us that he objected to the way they wanted to teach math. The man who had invited him responded: “Nelson, wake up! That is what we want. . . . a math that the pupils cannot apply to life situations when they get out of school!” Nelson comments: “That math was not introduced until much later, as those present thought it was too radical a change. . . . The radical change was introduced in 1952. . . . So, if pupils come out of high school now, not knowing any math, don’t blame them. The results are supposed to be worthless.” (Pp. 14-15)
The result is that The New York Times of August 31, 1986 reported as follows on a study conducted by the Educational Testing Service and the National Assessment of Educational Progress: “. . . In testing basic skills at various levels, the study found that one in three young adults with a college degree from a two- or four-year school failed to answer this question correctly: If one purchased a sandwich for $1.90, a bowl of soup for 60 cents, and gave the cashier $3, how much change should he receive? . . . (P. 238) Could you believe that a full one-third of college graduates can’t figure the answer?
Here’s just one example of what we’re talking about. One of my sons and I were next in line at a checkout counter in a huge chain drugstore. When your obedient servant worked a cash register a century ago, it showed the purchase price and we had to figure out the change. Today, it shows the cashier how much change to give. But it happened that the victimized government (public) high school teenager working the register accidentally hit the wrong button, so the amount of change she was supposed to hand the man in front of us disappeared from the screen.
The poor child stared at the cash in her hand that the man had given her and stared at the numberless screen, in a state of helpless terror and frustration. Would she be chastised? Would she be fired? She had no idea how to figure the change. The man ahead of us didn’t notice this little, heartrending crisis; he was looking around, oblivious, waiting for the cashier to put something in his hand, so there was a moment of respite before the approaching doom. But soon he would turn to find out what was happening and the sword would fall.
The son who was with me is today a handsome, hulking brute under whom the ground shakes when he walks. Some teenage females even think he’s a “hunk.” At the time, he was a pipsqueak, whose head barely cleared the top of the counter. At this crucial point in the melodrama, the pipsqueak piped up: “Thirty eight cents.”
Wondering, the benighted cashier gave the man ahead of us $.38 and held her breath. He looked at the coins, nodded and left. The pipsqueak had been right! Thirty-eight cents was the right amount! The cashier totaled our purchase, and we paid and walked away. As we did so, she stared at my son in continuing wonderment. How could this pipsqueak, barely tall enough to clear the counter, know the right change? Was he a dwarf? An elf? A disciple of Yoda in possession of occult knowledge? No, he was simply a normal child educated at home, who had never seen the inside of a “school.” The country today is full of academically challenged victims such as that cashier, and remember that she has been crippled by design.
What about reading? Thomas Sticht, Ph.D., says as follows (paraphrased from the Washington Post): “Ending discrimination and changing values are probably more important than reading in moving low income families into the middle class. . . .” How would you get into the middle class if you can’t read?
Always keep in mind that when George W. Bush talks about leaving no child behind, he is not talking about changing all this. He is talking about spending a lot more money to finance a lot more of it.
Again, to order Mrs. Iserbyt’s staggering book, send $39.95 (Maine residents add 5.5% tax=$2.19) plus $6.00 shipping and handling to 3D Research Co., 1062 Washington St., Bath, ME 04530. And be with your Intrepid Correspondent next week for more.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”