So Very Wrong, So Very Right……………………………………….p. 3
Academic Quackery……………………………………………………p. 4
The Tragic Dilemma of Public Education…………………………….p. 7
An Insupportable Premium on Public Service………………………..p. 10
Parochial Schools Detrimental?…………………………………………………..p. 12
To the Point – User-Friendly…………………………………………p. 16
A Host of Heroic Whistleblowers……………………………………p. 17
“Free education for all children in government schools.” (From the 10th of the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto; 1848)
“Does someone say … he [a teacher in a state school] is teaching some purely secular course, without any such maiming of his subjects or prejudicing of Christianity? If his teaching is more than a temporary dealing with some corner of education, the fact will be found to be that it is tacitly anti-Christian; overt assaults are not made, but there is a studied avoidance which is in effect hostile ….” (Robert Dabney, as quoted by Marvin Olasky on p. 32 of the Aug. 24, 2002, issue of World magazine)
“Whoever fairly faces the question must admit that the same set of arguments which condemns a national religion also condemns a national system of education. It is hard to pronounce sentence on the one and absolve the other. Does a national church compel some to support a system to which they are opposed? So does a national system of education. Does the one exalt the principle of majorities over the individual conscience? So does the other. Does a national church imply a distrust of the people, of their willingness to make sacrifices, of their capacity to manage their own affairs? So does a national system of education.” (Auberon Herbert, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays, LibertyClassics, 1978, p. 73)
Addendum to the compilation beginning on p. 17: The Twelve-Year Sentence – Radical Views of Compulsory schooling, edited by William F. Rickenbacker (Open Court Publishing, Inc., 1974) contains useful bibliographical material, both legal and general. Also, a good organization with which to become familiar is the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, founded in 1994.
The current staff of this bimonthly publication of the RLC is R.E. Wehrwein (editor), Derek Wehrwein, and Shannon Steensma. Subscriptions are $10 per year. The editor’s addresses are 1121 S. Jefferson St., New Ulm, MN 56073; [email protected]
— www.reformationlutheranconference.org –
Featured in this issue are four articles that Prof. Egbert Schaller wrote on education. We reprint them in the order they appeared in the Northwestern Lutheran (WELS): 4-23-50, 1-28-51, 6-17-51, 3-17-57. All appeared under the heading, “From a Wider Field.”
That Prof. Schaller could be profoundly wrong in a matter of truly fundamental importance is shown by the half dozen places in these articles where his assumption that state-sponsored education is a necessity becomes apparent. Even two generations ago, this is virtually inexplicable, given the great perception with which he otherwise comments on education.
“Public education is necessary lest a large portion of the nation’s youth grow up, not only godless, but illiterate as well,” he wrote in 1951 (p. 12 below). A mere four years later Rudolf Flesch wrote on p. 2 in the opening chapter, entitled “A Letter to Johnny’s Mother,” of Why Johnny Can’t Read – And What You Can Do About It: “What I found is absolutely fantastic. The teaching of reading – all over the United States, in all the schools, in all the textbooks – is totally wrong and flies in the face of all logic and common sense. Johnny couldn’t read until half a year ago for the simple reason that nobody ever showed him how. Johnny’s only problem was that he was unfortunately exposed to an ordinary American school.” In 1981 this was followed by the same author’s Why Johnny Still Can’t Read – A New Look at the Scandal of Our Schools. Note also: “… The literacy rate in Massachusetts has never been as high as it was before compulsory schooling was instituted. Before 1850, when Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to force children to go to school, literacy was at 98 percent.” (Sheldon Richman, Separating School and State, 1994, p. 38)
Why shouldn’t education be an entirely private matter? In fact, how dare the state be involved in it, since it is an essentially religious (or anti-religious) undertaking?
On the other hand, the key to understanding how public education has become prevention of education lies in recognizing the conspiratorial machinations of self-appointed elites to control and remake education. In this direction we are so very rightly pointed by Prof. Schaller, who rendered the great service, in the article immediately following, of quoting someone who could see where blame needed to be fixed already in the middle of the last century. – R.E. Wehrwein
Thousands of Lutheran children are looking forward to their graduation from eighth grade, and their parents are viewing the prospects of enrolling them in available high schools, come autumn. Other thousands of little Lutherans are impatiently awaiting the dawning of their first day in the grades after vacation months are again past. Our church has often spoken to parents and children of the Christian education obtainable through church-supported parochial schools and high schools.
Mr. Albert Lynd recently made some comments in this connection, and his views are interesting. Mr. Lynd, a former history teacher of Stanford and of Harvard, at present is an advertising executive, and has served on the school board of a small town in Massachusetts.
In an Atlantic Monthly article he states that our public schools today are controlled by what he calls academic “quackery.” He takes a very dim view of the average quality of public school instructors, but asserts that the fault lies, not with the teachers, parents, or school boards, but with “the super-professionals who determine the kind of education to which your child must submit … the professors of education in the larger universities and teachers’ colleges.” The chief failing which Mr. Lynd sees in public education is the lack of “culture,” both in the pupils and in the teachers. This is allegedly to be attributed to the professors in the schools which train teachers … schools which Mr. Lynd calls “intellectual bargain basements.”
Those are harsh words; we do not venture either to refute or to support them. We desired, for reasons quite other than his, to lead our readers up to the suggestion offered by Mr. Lynd to parents desiring an adequate education for their children: “Mortgage your house and put your youngster in one of the good private schools, where the best teaching today is done by high-quality liberal arts graduates ….” May we say that it is not necessary to mortgage your home in order to send your children to one of our fine Lutheran schools? Perhaps there is a Lutheran parish school in your congregation or in your vicinity. And as for high schools, your pastor will direct you to the one nearest your home. Then prepare to enroll your child there. To neglect an opportunity for Christian education is to place a mortgage upon the spiritual future of our youth.
There is the story of the man who complained that he just couldn’t see the woods from his window because there were so many trees directly in the way. The peculiar blindness from which he suffered is rather common even among intelligent people – so common, in fact, that we speak of it proverbially as “not being able to see the wood for the trees.”
This affliction is a notorious defect among many who speak with ponderous authority or with sprightly energy in matters pertaining to the Church, as the following item reveals. A survey of religious conditions in Great Britain was conducted among Methodist pastors in that country. Religious News Service reports the results. “The pastors agreed that ‘much dogmatism’ has disappeared and church union … is now nearer consummation.” (Italics ours.) This is listed as a favorable change since 1914 or thereabouts. We shall come back to this finding in a moment. But the pastors also found adverse effects and changes which are to be deplored. Here they are:
“Congregations are smaller, have a smaller proportion of men and young people, and there has been a decline in the number of lay workers.
“There is much less Bible reading and consequently less scriptural knowledge.
“There are fewer prayer meetings, and there has been a marked decline in the number of class meetings ‘which used to be such an outstanding feature of the life of the Methodist Church.’
“Many parents lack strong ties with the Church and are careless of their children’s needs, so that the youngsters do not even possess the background which their elders had.”
Now what could be the cause for these adverse changes, this lessening of spiritual character and activity? The pastors thought hard and then laid the blame at the door of “the growing secularization of life, and the influence exerted by the radio, the cinema, television, and the automobile. Also, the ‘increasing entertainment at week ends,’ which has had the effect in some families of ‘lessening powers of personal concentration on spiritual values, causing less churchgoing’.”
So we come back to our little story about the woods and the trees. The pastors rejoiced that “much dogmatism” had disappeared. There is a dogmatism of the wrong kind; but we won’t go into that, because it evidently is not what these pastors meant. They found, rather, that pastors and congregations are no longer insisting so strictly on certain dogmas, or doctrines, anymore. They do not teach and confess so positively as formerly. They no longer say so definitely: This is divine Truth. Thus saith the Lord. This change in policy will, of course, have brought “church union” much nearer consummation; for when churches no longer teach Biblical doctrine with authority, agreement in doctrine is no longer important.
Nothing will empty churches more effectively, or turn men away from the Gospel more quickly, or destroy the practice of Bible reading more thoroughly, than the apostasy of pastors and congregations from the study requirement which St. Paul laid upon Timothy: “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” [I Tim. 4:16] Why search the sky and the earth, why look into every automobile and weekend party, for causes of the sad changes in British Methodism and elsewhere? The answer lies before men’s eyes: less doctrine.
Significantly the report continues: “The pastors noted that the fear of death and hell played a prominent part in religious life earlier in the century. This fear, they said, was the keynote of much preaching and a big influence in the attitude of the average man toward religion.”
The jailor at Philippi, who had a real taste of the fear of death and hell, really enjoyed the blessed preachment of the apostle Paul. Death and hell, as well as the Cross of Christ, are doctrines. Doctrines are facts, are the ultimate realities in our lives, to be proclaimed, known, understood, dealt with, and believed by the power of the Holy Spirit at work through them. “To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” Is. 8:30.
The kind permission of Northwestern Publishing House to
reprint these NL articles is gratefully acknowledged.
A most interesting story is found written in the reports that have come from the five-day sessions of the Mid-century White House Conference on children and youth, held in Washington early in December. This was the fifth of a series of such meetings held approximately every 10 years since 1909, when they were originated under President Theodore Roosevelt. This conference brought together 5,000 delegates representing many organizations that deal with youth and educational problems – educators, physicians, probation officers, clergymen, and parents. The purpose and goal of the meeting was in part expressed in the following: “To consider how we can develop in children the mental, emotional, and spiritual qualities essential to individual happiness ….”
With such a goal before the delegates, it was self-evident that they would find themselves confronted with the key question in education: the importance of religion in the child’s development.
As was likewise to be expected, the conference found itself sorely divided on the approach to this problem. After hearing youth representatives bear witness that they needed spiritual guidance which was not offered them in the schools, after hearing the Rev. Dr. Buttrick warn that our education is secular and that young people were becoming corrupted by a philosophy of materialism, and after agreeing that religious education is a must for every child, the delegates received a resolution calling upon the schools to offer community-wide religious education “in keeping with the laws of the state and the desires of the parents” – and promptly voted it down.
Then, by a vote of 1181 to 682, the conference adopted a substitute resolution which reads as follows: “Recognizing knowledge and understanding of religious and ethical concepts as essential to the development of spiritual values, and that nothing is of greater importance to the moral and spiritual health of our nation than the work of religious education in our homes and families and in our institutions of organized religion, we nevertheless strongly affirm the principle of separatism of Church and State which has been the keystone of our American democracy and declare ourselves unalterably opposed to the use of the public schools directly or indirectly for religious educational purposes.”
The adoption of this resolution was a notable victory for the forces of constitutional democracy. Advocates of religious instruction sponsored by the state and the public school system have taken to excusing the loss of the first resolution by saying that it was hastily drawn up and poorly worded. While this may be true, the overwhelming adoption of the second resolution, as quoted above, leaves no doubt as to the mind of the assembly. It realized that religion is essential in the education of the child, but that the public schools cannot offer this necessary factor without destroying themselves and the religious freedom which is more important to us than secular learning itself.
If it is true, as has been said, that these White House conferences have in the past exerted a profound influence on child life in this country, we have reason to hope that this conference by its action will help prevent the success of those who are determined to make the public schools an agent of religious training. It is gratifying to see that, in this age of utter religious confusion, when not a few even of the nation’s religious leaders quite evidently do not know what true religion is, there can be found a huge assembly from all walks of life and shades of religious thought whose majority remains sober enough to realize that only the Church, never the State, must seek to offer training in spiritual truths and values.
At the same time, the conflict at the conference points up the tragic dilemma of public education. It must, and yet it cannot, truly educate. Men must denounce education without religion, yet must offer the very thing they reject as futile and dangerous. The conference was warned that “the United States is in danger of raising a generation of atheists” in its schools; yet it cannot offer the power which will prevent this. It cannot offer the Gospel of Jesus Christ, partly because this would be a denial of the rights of non-Christian citizens, and partly because the Gospel would certainly be corrupted and made worse than useless if administered by governmental agencies and under their regulations. And so the conference, keenly aware of its failure in achieving the goal set, must suffer itself to be condemned by Cardinal Spellman as “antireligious,” when actually it wrestled with an impossible purpose and a problem insoluble by the means at its disposal.
The charge of the conference “that the churches are failing to reach the nation’s children with adequate and effective religious education” sounds a bit plaintive; its appeal that “churches of various faiths coordinate, strengthen, and expand their religious services and activities for people of inadequate income” does not touch the real heart of the difficulty. For the failure of the churches lies not merely in their limited coverage of the nation’s youth, but also in the crazy-quilt training program which the dominant position of the State in the educational field has forced upon the churches. This program tries to make an educational success of the often contradictory combination of Sunday school, release-time instruction, and public schooling, a system which so easily departmentalizes religion, makes it a secondary consideration, and hinders it from permeating the entire life of the child. But at least the eyes of the conference delegates were gazing in the right direction.
The State has erred in assuming that it can discharge the task of education. The churches have failed in surrendering that responsibility to the State. Of approximately 1,400 Protestant parochial schools in our land today, almost 90% are found within the Synodical Conference. It is in this department that the churches most need to “expand their religious services and activities.” To the extent that public [this word seems out of place – RW] education of the young can be taken over by the Christian Church, to the extent that the Savior Jesus Christ is its center and object, to that extent only will America be able to train future generations to meet life and death with the weapons and bulwarks of the spirit.
But such a prospect, unfortunately, seems remote. Too many churches have forsaken the revealed Gospel, the power of God, for a synthetic religion of social uplift and economic betterment; they have embraced fanatically the causes of race relations, United Nations policy, and atomic warfare strategy. They have devoted themselves to the mint, anise, and cumin, but have abandoned the weightier things of God’s Word. It is not likely that they will renounce their present devotion and give themselves expensively to the enormous assignment of rearing a nation conscious of the One Thing needful. Nevertheless we testify to the desperate need of Christian education in the hope that some may listen; and we value the force with which the debates and resolutions of the mid-century conference gave expression to that need.
Although the last word in the case has by no means been spoken, even after two months, most of the evidence seems to be in hand and thus permits some comment at this time on one of the most interesting and thought-provoking church-state conflicts to arise in many a day. Most newspaper readers have read brief accounts of this issue. Mr. Robert Shorb teaches in the high school at Boone, Iowa. He is an instructor in the vocational machine shop. He is 33 years of age, a veteran of World War II, is married, and sends his son Michael, age 7, to Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Parochial School in Boone.
In April, the school board discovered this fact. The board advised Mr. Shorb that, while there was no law governing the situation, the board had a “gentleman’s agreement” that they would not retain teachers whose children attended parochial rather than public schools.
After some reflection and consultation, Mr. Shorb advised the board that he could not allow his contract to be renewed on any such terms. The board regarded that as a resignation or a rejection of contract renewal and considered Mr. Shorb’s services terminated as of the end of the present semester.
Very briefly all was quiet, and then the matter exploded. Everybody began talking at once, and Boone became a sharply divided town. The position of the board was that Mr. Shorb was not fired, but declined renewal of contract. The attitude of those opposing the board is that the board has violated the constitutional right of an individual to worship as he pleases and to educate his children as he chooses. The board’s attitude, as expressed by its president, Mr. Doran, is “that anyone teaching in the public schools owes allegiance to them.”
Mr. Shorb is greatly to be admired for the courage of his convictions; and in that respect we can only say that we wish there were many Lutherans of equal staunchness. Surprisingly enough, Mr. Shorb has found more than admiration in other quarters. Quite apart from his own church, powerful voices have been raised in his behalf. The newspaper Boone News-Republican explained in an editorial: “Undoubtedly he (Shorb) wanted a renewal of his contract but he refused to let the school board tell him to which school he could or could not send his children. Let’s see, now, what were those four freedoms again?”
The board got a jolt when the Boone Junior Chamber of Commerce adopted a vigorous resolution condemning the action of the board and demanding reconsideration. A two-hour public hearing was the result, at which two attorneys spoke for Mr. Shorb and the audience was vocally in sympathy with the teacher. However, the board refused to reconsider its ruling. It was reported that the American Civil Liberties Union is “looking thoroughly into the matter,” and may step in with legal action. Glenn L. Archer, executive secretary of Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State, released a statement sharply criticizing the board for its action. Mr. Shorb, incidentally, is now fighting his case, and further developments may have occurred before this page reaches our readers.
As might be expected, some irresponsible things were allegedly said on both sides of the case. Feelings always become bitter when religious convictions are involved. Mr. Shorb has been accused of “caustic remarks.” The president of the board is quoted as suggesting that Mr. Shorb’s opportunity for a position elsewhere might be made doubtful. Such expressions are unfortunate and obscure the issue.
What is the issue? The board says it is not religious. It is a matter, they declare, of allegiance. The school supports Mr. Shorb, so Mr. Shorb ought to support the school. As board member Mrs. Sutton put it: “Mr. Shorb is criticizing our schools when he sends his boy to a parochial school.”
Just what loyalties have the public schools a right to expect of the citizens? Is it wholesome to air that question? We support many government projects with our taxes. Presumably these projects are in the public interest, and we finance them. Certainly we pay dearly for public education, because it is a necessity. A citizen may even enter into the service of such a public agency and contribute what he can to make it serve a good, useful purpose. But the citizen still owns the public school, and the public school does not own the citizen. The obligation of loyalty runs the other way. Any public service which takes captive the personal, private rights of any citizen becomes a tyrannical monster.
We cannot always regard as adequate any governmental project which we support. We can recognize the need of the public school system without considering it desirable for our own children. This may seem contradictory to some; but it is not so. Life presents many analogies. There is war, for example. No one wants it, no one ever really wins it, everybody loses by it; yet there are times when the utter need of self-preservation makes it unavoidable, and we ourselves enter into the service of war. This does not mean that we want it for our children.
Public education is necessary lest a large portion of the nation’s youth grow up, not only godless, but illiterate as well. Yet for the making of a Christian citizenry, which is what we want for our children and what our country needs, the public school system is in its very nature not equipped, for it cannot and does not operate with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If we have something better, we use it. This must not deprive us of any intrinsic rights which we as citizens have in the public school system. Let the Boone school board by all means inform Mr. Shorb that his services are no longer needed, if they have found a more suitable instructor for the machine shop. But to demand his child as the price for a contract is to put a premium upon public service which is insupportable.
Just at a time when thoughtful people of evangelical Christian confession in increasing number were beginning to recognize the value of Christian day schools as agencies for the training of a truly Christian citizenship and for the development of Christian congregations that have solid confessional strength, along comes a prominent Lutheran leader and publicly deplores the spread of the parish school idea.
To say that it was in all the papers may be saying too much. But certainly it was reported in most newspapers around here because that is the kind of news which the world delights to hear. There was no lack of publicity for those quoted remarks of Dr. Oscar Benson, president of the Augustana (Swedish) Lutheran Church: “I am also disturbed very much by the tendency of Lutheran churches everywhere to establish parochial schools.”
That was the sentiment which prevailed at the annual meeting of the National Lutheran Council. The Council is an association in which eight Lutheran church bodies are represented, among them the American Lutheran Church, the United Lutheran Church, and, of course, the Augustana Synod. The news reports imply that it was due largely to the influence exerted by Dr. Benson that the resolution adopted by the Council rapped the Christian day schools so hard, allowing only that “under special circumstances parochial schools have a place.”
The thinking of Dr. Benson is indicated in his assertion that in many areas of our country the promotion of parish schools “has tended to stifle and vitiate the ability of the public schools to get the kind of support they need.”
It is only fair to say that this complaint was directed chiefly at the Roman Catholic Church. And it is true that, in seeking recognition of its right as the “only true Church” on earth, the Roman Church holds to certain principles which are not encouraging to public education as we have it in our country. In part, the conflict between the Roman Catholic views on education and the educational efforts of the government is due to the arrogant claims of the Papacy. The encyclical of Pope Pius XI, dated Dec. 31, 1929, established the Roman Catholic attitude that “it is especially the duty of the state … to promote the education and instruction of youth … by favoring and aiding the work undertaken by the Church (Roman Catholic, of course) and the family .…” Unless the state is willing with its funds and facilities to foster the educational interests of Rome, it often receives hostility rather than support from the Roman hierarchy.
But Dr. Benson’s attack on parochial schools goes far beyond this point of conflict. He is opposed to the growth of the parochial school system; and the National Lutheran Council has gone on record favoring public schools as the “chief instrument of general education.” This demonstrates a lack of Christian insight so profound that those afflicted by it must be prepared to forfeit all right to our regard as leaders in the Christian Church. If, instead of being able to quote them with approval, we call on the Pope himself to refute their position, it will merely serve to show that they have brought Lutheran theology’s name to a new low.
It is contrary to fact to suggest that Lutheran parochial schools are detrimental to the public school system. Lutherans who enjoy the privilege of offering their children an integrated, sound Christian education in a private school will be the last people to neglect the obligations they have toward the state schools. They willingly* bear a double burden: that of maintaining their own school and that of paying their full share of taxes toward the public school. They know full well that they are unable to offer private schooling to all children, yet they understand the right of every child to an education. And does nobody want to acknowledge the substantial support which parochial schools offer the public school system in their very existence? The dignified clerical gainsayers of our day schools might have very undignified faces if they were to look at their tax bill after all parochial schools closed their doors and transferred their children to the doorstep of the public school system, which even now is overcrowded.
Although public education is necessary, it suffers from a weakness which renders it unfit to be the “chief instrument of general education.” There is nothing that can be done about this without destroying God’s order in Church and State and without destroying religious freedom; and one would expect every Lutheran leader worthy of the name to realize this far better than Pope Pius XI, whose words we must quote with approval: “… Every form of teaching children, which, confined to the mere forces of nature, rejects or neglects those matters which contribute z
*Because the word “unwillingly” appeared here in the original instead of “willingly,” a correction was prominently displayed in the very next issue, March 17, 1957, p. 83: “In the March 3 number of the Northwestern Lutheran there occurred a most unfortunate typographical error. Since the appearance of the word ‘unwillingly’ for ‘willingly’ flatly contradicts the author’s meaning in a very important point, we think it necessary to reprint most of the paragraph from the feature in which the error occurred ….”
with God’s help to the right formation of the Christian life, is false and full of error; and every way and method of educating youth, which gives no consideration, or scarcely any, to the transmission of original sin from our first parents to all posterity, and so relies wholly on the mere powers of nature, strays completely from the truth.”
Whatever false and harmful conclusions the Pope may draw from that premise, the premise at least is wholly true, as is also the following: “The family, then, holds directly from the Creator the duty and the right to educate its offspring; and since this right cannot be cast aside, because it is connected with a very serious obligation, it has precedence over any right of civil society and of the state, and for this reason no power on earth may infringe upon it ….
“From this duty of educating, which especially belongs to the Church and the family, not only do the greatest advantages, as we have seen, emanate into all society, but no harm can befall the true and proper rights of the state, insofar as it pertains to the education of citizens, according to the order established by God. These rights are assigned to civil society by the Author of nature himself, not by the right of fatherhood, as of the Church and of the family, but on account of the authority which is in Him for promoting the common good on earth, which indeed is its proper end …. Therefore, as far as education is concerned, it is the right or, to speak more accurately, the office of the state to guard the priority right of the family by its laws, as we have mentioned above; that is, of educating offspring in the Christian manner, and so of acknowledging the supernatural right of the Church in such a Christian education.”
If we can forget that “Church” as used by the Pope means “Roman Catholic Church,” and substitute in our minds the meaning “Christian Church on earth,” we can say that his excellent words put certain “Lutheran” theologians to shame.
Behold, Mr. Editor, what a long letter I have written you. It sounds more like a lecture than a letter, I’m sorry to say; but that’s the way it is. One never knows when one gets on a subject like this. By the way, in case you want to check, all papal quotations are taken from Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma, 1955. Cordially yours.
USER-FRIENDLY Live long enough, and you’ve heard it all before. z “The motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and … in a few years it will supplant the use of textbooks.” So said Thomas Edison in 1922. Twenty-three years later, a Cleveland school administrator, William Levenson, predicted another scenario: “The time may come when a portable radio receiver will be as common in the classroom as is the blackboard.”
In the 60s psychologist B.F. Skinner said: “With the help of teaching machines and programmed instruction, students can learn twice as much ….” More recently President Clinton campaigned to enthusiastic audiences on the pledge of: “A bridge to the 21st century … where computers are as much a part of the classroom as blackboards.”
So where’s the wave of creative and brilliant students entering, or leaving, college? Three years ago the Department of Education demonstrated that more than half of American college graduates cannot read a bus schedule. Nor could they figure out how much change they should get after putting down $3 to pay for a 60-cent bowl of soup and a $1.95 sandwich.
Wild enthusiasm for the latest technology, grandiose promises that are not realized, and then the lucrative cycle starts all over again.
The church is not immune to this morbid fascination for the latest novelty, and the notion that faster and easier is better. People drag their computer lingo with them as they search for a “user-friendly” church. A place that offers entertaining and diversionary activities to people who are not interested in religion in the first place.
Prayer, Scripture study, and a sanctified life require time, effort, and self-discipline. There’s nothing colorful or mechanical about commitment to the will of God or personal penitence.
Information is not education, and tools of the trade are not the trade. As the shop teacher said: “I teach carpentry, not hammer.” No replacement has yet been found for an inspired, inspiring teacher who has in his heart a love for his students and his subject. He’ll do just fine with a computer at hand, and do just as well with a piece of chalk.
The answer, by the way, is 45 cents.
Reprinted with permission.
Few people have a greater claim to our admiration than the many courageous individuals over the decades who have labored to expose the forces out to capture our educational system. Let’s meet a few of them.
Charlotte Iserbyt, born in 1930, was uniquely positioned during Reagan’s first term to gain an understanding of what was happening. Supplementing this knowledge with additional research, she produced the monumental compilation, perhaps unmatched as a documentary record of the subversion of American education, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, which can be accessed on the Internet. (The individual she names and quotes at length on p. 110, after being baptized and confirmed in the Wisconsin Synod, was thereafter in the Missouri Synod and again the WELS before becoming a member of Mighty Fortress Orthodox Lutheran Church in Anaheim, Cal., both when it was in the Illinois Lutheran Conference and later when it became independent. She now has church at home.) On p. 48 you will learn how Senator Norman Dodd’s research for the Reece Committee resulted in his being warned that he would be killed if he proceeded with his investigation of the Ford Foundation as outlined.
Iserbyt’s website on American Deception should also be consulted.
From Beverly K. Eakman we have Educating for the ‘New World Order,’ Microchipped, Cloning of the American Mind, and Walking Targets, not to mention many speeches and articles.
Still another indefatigable researcher is Berit Kjos. Communist infiltration of the churches is discussed in parts two and three of her Internet article, “Real Conspiracies.” Manning Johnson’s 1953 testimony is quoted: “The plan was to make the seminaries the neck of a funnel through which thousands of potential clergymen would issue forth, carrying with them, in varying degrees, an ideology and slant which would aid in neutralizing the anti-Communist character of the church and also to use the clergy to spearhead important Communist projects …. This policy was successful beyond even Communist expectations.”
Sam Blumenfeld has written The New Illiterates, Is Public Education Necessary?, NEA – Trojan Horse in American Education, and other books. In the preface to the second-named (p. ix), he writes: “But one question particularly intrigued me. Knowing that our country began its remarkable history without public education – except for some local common schools in New England – and that the federal Constitution did not even mention education, I was curious as to why Americans had given up educational freedom for educational statism so early in their history, adopting the notion that the government should assume the responsibility of educating our children. I thought I could find the answer quickly and put it in an opening chapter. Instead, it took me four years and twelve chapters to get the answer.”
Blumenfeld has focused much attention on teaching reading. “For example, I tutored a Boston University medical student who had been taught to read by Dick and Jane at an expensive private school. He hated to read and didn’t know why. … He simply had no idea what an alphabetic writing system was about. It took him several weeks before he finally understood that the alphabet was a set of symbols representing speech sounds.” (Internet article, “Why America still has a reading problem – and it has nothing to do with ‘dyslexia’.”) “‘Last July there was an article in the Boston Globe about Boston’s reading problem,’ says Blumenfeld. ‘Mayor Menino had launched a literacy program five years ago in an attempt to wipe out illiteracy among Boston’s school children. Now five years later, they’re still talking about this reading problem. The educators now tell us that they have a new “balanced” reading program which combines whole language with phonics. That’s the worst of all possible worlds because you totally confuse a child as to what kind of reading system we have.’” (Internet article on Sam Blumenfeld, “Reformer of the month.”)
Let’s Kill Dick and Jane by Harold Henderson and The Great Reading Disaster by Mona McNee and Alice Coleman are important recent books dealing with the teaching of reading.
John Taylor Gatto, born in 1935, and a public school teacher for three decades, pulls no punches in his various books, as can be seen from passages from Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992). “Kept contained, the occasional teacher who makes a discovery like mine is at worst an annoyance to the chain of command (which has evolved automatic defenses to isolate such bacilli and then neutralize or destroy them). But once loose the idea could imperil the central assumptions which allow the institutional school to sustain itself, such as the false assumption that it is difficult to learn to read, or that kids resist learning, and many more,” xiii. “Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric textbook from 1850 and you’ll see that the texts were pitched then on what would today be considered college level,” 13. “School has become the replacement for church in our secular society …. You must understand that first and foremost the business I am in is a jobs project and an agency for letting contracts,” 19. “… Thousands of humane, caring people work in schools, as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions,” 25. “For 140 years this nation has tried to impose objectives downward form a lofty command center made up of ‘experts,’ a central elite of social engineers,” 33. “… Think of the New York City public school system, where I work, one of the largest business organizations on planet Earth. While the education administered by this abstract parent is ill-regarded by everybody, the institution’s right to compel its clientele to accept such dubious service is still guaranteed by the police. And forces are gathering to expand its reach still further – in the face of every evidence that it has been a disaster throughout its history,” 65. “What, after all this time, is the purpose of mass-schooling supposed to be? Reading, writing, and arithmetic can’t be the answer, because properly approached those things take less than a hundred hours to transmit – and we have abundant evidence that each is readily self-taught in the right setting and time,” 67. “But lying for personal advantage is the operational standard in all large institutions; it is considered part of the game in schools. Parents, for the most part, are lied to or told half-truths, as they are usually considered adversaries. At least that’s been true in every school I ever worked in,” 71. “… A move seems to be afoot to do the reverse, to enlarge substantially the bite that schooling takes out of a young person’s family time, community time, and private time. Trial balloons are floated about constantly in the press and on TV …,” 73. “It [mass schooling] has been picking our pockets just as Socrates predicted it would thousands of years ago. One of the surest ways to recognize education is that it doesn’t cost very much …,” 77. “Don’t be panicked by scare tactics into surrendering your children to experts,” 103.
You’ll also want to become familiar with Gatto’s An Underground History of American Education (2001). Rob Shearer’s May 20, 2009, review of his most recent book, Weapons of Mass Instruction (2008), can be accessed on the Greenleaf Press website. Perhaps this will further whet your appetite: “Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone …,” xxii. (This brings to mind the statements of J. Gresham Machen (Education, Christianity, and the State, p. 126): “What is the explanation of this emptiness of American life? The explanation is that the average American is not educated. An uneducated man shrinks from quiet. An educated man longs for it.” Machen lived from 1881-1937.) “Two congressional investigations, one in 1915 and one in 1959, came to the identical conclusion that school policy in the new pedagogical order was being deliberately created far from public oversight …,” 3-4. “How many schoolteachers were aware of what they actually were a part of? Surely a number close to zero,” 6. “As I’ve grown older I’ve come to believe that good teachers are more dangerous than bad ones. They keep this sick institution alive,” 82. “I can’t believe that centralized schooling is allowed to exist at all as a gigantic indoctrinating and sorting machine, robbing people of their children,” 86. “School disconnects, as it was charged to do. … Children are divided from their families, their traditions, their communities, their religions …,” p. 130. “To learn to read and to like it takes about thirty contact hours under the right circumstances, sometimes a few more, sometimes a few less,” 152. “We [teachers] must behave like noble termites, tunneling the current structure until it dissolves of its own dead weight: we must encourage schoolpeople to sabotage the system while pretending not to,” 154. “… I concluded long ago that some deliberate intent was (and is) at work on the school institution, that it operates far from public access, and until it is confronted the term ‘school reform’ is meaningless,” 179. “But then, parents have had no significant voice in school for over a century,” 195. – Compiled by R.E. Wehrwein