At some point, even progressive educators have to look around and say, "Wow, we really made a mess of things"

Education: the Silence of the Shepherds


By —— Bio and Archives February 20, 2015

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In her book “Credentialed to Destroy”, Robin Eubanks concludes: “In tracking both the reading wars and the math wars, it became undeniably clear that there was a consistent conscious pattern to reject what had been proven to work well for most students.”

I would add, not just in reading and math but in all academic subjects. Apparently, our Education Establishment won’t rest until they have achieved total mediocrity, all the while pretending they have given us higher standards.

Do you need Thomas Paine to tell you there is a “Crisis”? Do you need a weatherman to say which way the wind blows?

In fact, some of the country’s best and brightest have been shouting the same warning for more than sixty years. Take a few minutes to savor these book titles. They tell the whole sad story of American educational decline:

1951: Quackery in the Public Schools, Albert Lynd
1953: So Little for the Mind, Hilda Neatby
1953: Educational Wastelands: Retreat from learning in our public schools, Arthur Bestor
1955: Why Johnny Can’t Read / and what you can do about it, Rudolf Flesch
1955: Retreat From Learning / why teachers can’t teach, Joan Dunn
1957: Bending the Twig / the revolution in education and its effects on our children, Augustin Rudd
1958: Brainwashing in the high schools / an examination of eleven American History textbooks, E Merrill Root
1958: Reading: chaos and cure, Sibyl Terman and Charles Walcutt
1970: Programmed Illiteracy in Our Schools, Mary Johnson
1973: The New Illiterates and How To Keep Your Child From Becoming One, Samuel Blumenfeld
1981: Why Johnny Still Can’t Read / a new look at the scandal of our schools, Rudolf Flesch
1984: N. E. A. / Trojan Horse in American Education, Samuel Blumenfeld
1985: Illiterate America, Jonathan Kozol
1990: Tenured Radicals / how politics has corrupted our higher education, Roger Kimball
1991: Ed School Follies / the miseducation of America’s teachers, Rita Kramer
1991: The Conspiracy of Ignorance: The Failure of American Public Schools, Martin L. Gross
1992: War Against The Schools’ Academic Child Abuse, Siegfried Engelman
1995: Illiteracy in America, Edward Dolan and Margaret Scariano
1996: Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add, Charles Sykes
1998: None Dare Call It Education: What’s Happening to Our Schools & Our Children?, John Stormer
1999: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Charlotte Iserbyt
2002: Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, John Taylor Gatto
2003: The Victims of Dick and Jane, Samuel Blumenfeld
2004: The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, Bruce N. Shortt
2007: The Great Reading Disaster / Reclaiming Our Educational Birthright, Mona McNee and Alice Coleman
2010: The Education Enigma / what happened to American education, Bruce Deitrick Price
2013: Credentialed to Destroy: how and why education became a weapon, Robin Eubanks
2014: The Cult of Common Core / Obama’s final solution for your child’s mind and our country’s exceptionalism, Brad McQueen
2014: The Catastrophic Decline of America’s Public High Schools: New York City, A Case Study, Jeffrey Ludwig

That’s almost 30 books, one every other year. (I apologize for the similar books that were omitted.) And all that time, the great universities, the famous newspapers, the big networks, the pundits we see on the talk shows – almost all have looked the other way. Almost all have played a game of see no evil, hear no evil, and especially say no evil about our corrupt Education Establishment.

When lambs are silent, we are not too surprised. They don’t know what is happening to them. But what about the Silence of the Shepherds? How do you explain that? What has happened to the people who should be protecting us from these barbarians inside the gates?

Even at this late date Bill Gates puts in hundreds of millions of dollars to push Common Core on the country even as the country says we don’t want this garbage. And Jeb Bush still jumps up and says, “Yeah, I want to push that on you. I’m all in for that.”

Think of a really big circus. This little car rolls in and all the clowns sprawl out and run around. They spend their entire careers—busy, busy, busy, busy, busy— trying to destroy traditional education and replace it with John Dewey’s plan for turning the country into a socialist experiment. Thanks, John, you get the Schmuck of the Century Award.

At some point, even progressive educators have to look around and say, “Wow, we really made a mess of things. Millions of ordinary kids can’t even read. Isn’t that a bit much, even for us? Maybe we need to back up…”

If they haven’t got the self-awareness and graciousness to do this, then the rest of the country should move to indict the whole conspiracy on RICO grounds. Meanwhile, our shepherds should get busy guarding the flock.

As Samuel Blumenfeld so beautifully summed up K-12 education in a recent video: “The whole system is criminal from top to bottom.”

NOTE: all books mentioned above can be found on Amazon and in many cases purchased for pennies. See my Amazon list of “40 important books about education,” which contains a blurb about most of these books.


Bruce Deitrick Price -- Bio and Archives | Click to view Comments

Bruce Deitrick Price has been writing about education for 25 years. He is the founder of Improve-Education.org. His fifth book is “THE EDUCATION ENIGMA—What Happened To American Education.” More aggressively than most, Price argues that America’s elite educators have deliberately aimed for mediocrity—low standards in public schools prove this.
Bruce can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
(For information about his novels, see his literary site Lit4u.com.)