There’s a world-class understatement.
First, the good news: The nation’s eighth-graders are doing better in history class. Now, the bad news: They’re not doing much better. Gains in test scores are small, made by the lowest performers, and only 17 percent of those tested are “proficient,” or competent.
It gets worse. Only 12 percent of high-school seniors, who are getting ready to vote for the first time, have a proficient knowledge of history. If you’re looking for a tinsel lining, you could point to 20 percent of fourth-graders who are described as proficient, but that means eight of 10 haven’t learned very much during their tender years in the classroom
The standardized test results known as the “nation’s report card,” issued by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, are based on tests taken by thousands of schoolchildren in both private and public schools. Such dismal percentages once sounded alarms for parents and teachers, but now mostly get a bored yawn. What else is new?
The next paragraph give us the Quote of the Day:
“We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” says historian David McCullough in The Wall Street Journal. “I know how much these young people — even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning — don’t know. It’s shocking.” McCullough, who has lectured on more than a hundred college campuses, tells of a young women who came up to him after a lecture at a renowned university in the Midwest. “Until I heard your talk this morning, I never realized the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast.”
This, from a high school graduate – not one of those who dropped out.
And this ignorance is no accident:
McCullough has learned first-hand how formidable the obstacles have become. Emotional appeals in politically correct courses — women’s history, African history, environmental history — take the place of chronological and conceptual study across the educational arc from tiny tots to graduate students.
From the early grades, our children learn how horrible slavery was, but spend little time studying the how, why and when we righted that wrong and the wrongs that followed. Who we are comes from what we reject as much as from what we embrace.
The problems with our schools run deep, not only affecting how the next generation is learning to make reasoned choices in determining public policy, but how ignorance undercuts pride and patriotism, the sense of America’s core identity. It’s not merely academic.
For the past ten years or more, virtually every glimpse into American students’ views on citizenship has revealed both a lack of understanding and a lack of interest. An American Enterprise Institute study earlier this year found that most social studies teachers doubted that their students grasped core U.S. citizenship concepts such as the Bill of Rights or the separation of powers. A recent Department of Education study found that only nine percent of U.S. high school students are able to cite reasons why it is important for citizens to participate in a democracy, and only six percent are able to identify reasons why having a constitution benefits a country. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has reported a decades-long, step-wise decline in interest in political affairs among college freshmen—from over 60 percent of the population in 1966 to less than half that percentage in our current period.
Remember, it was award-winning educator John Taylor Gatto who said that the education system changed radically beginning in 1965. There was a goal:
For the past ten years, our research team at Stanford has interviewed broad cross-sections of American youth about what U. S. citizenship means to them. Here is one high school student’s reply, not atypical: “We just had (American citizenship) the other day in history. I forget what it was.” Another student told us that “being American is not really special….I don’t find being an American citizen very important.” Another replied, “I don’t want to belong to any country. It just feels like you are obligated to this country. I don’t like the whole thing of citizen…I don’t like that whole thing. It’s like, citizen, no citizen; it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like to be a good citizen—I don’t know, I don’t want to be a citizen…it’s stupid to me.”Such statements reflect more than an ignorance of citizenship—though they may provide us with clues about the source of students’ present-day lack of knowledge. Beyond not knowing what U.S. citizenship entails, many young Americans today are not motivated to learn about how to become a fully engaged citizen of their country. They simply do not care about their status as American citizens. Notions such as civic virtue, civic duty, or devotion to their country mean little to them. This is not true of all young people today—there are exceptions in virtually every community—but it accurately describes a growing trend that encompasses a large portion of our younger generation.
And it has been going on long enough that it affects not only the current generation, but their parents. By all means, please read my April, 2006 essay, RCOB™. Salon.com contributor Nina Burleigh was shocked, shocked to discover that the Narrowsburg, NY public school she enrolled her five year-old son into taught patriotism!
I cringed as my young son recited the Pledge of Allegiance. But who was I to question his innocent trust in a nation I long ago lost faith in?
Shocked and upset to the point that she felt it necessary to indoctrinate her five year-old herself:
…to counteract any God-and-country indoctrination he received in school, we began our own informal in-home instruction about Bush, Iraq and Washington over the evening news.
Nina was relieved when she moved away from Narrowsburg:
Now it has been almost a year since my son scampered down the steps of Narrowsburg Central Rural School for the last time. We’ve since returned to the city, driven back to urban life more by adult boredom than our children’s lack of educational opportunities. Our son is enrolled in a well-rated K-5 public school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side;not surprisingly, the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer part of his morning routine. Come to think of it, and I could be wrong, I’ve never seen a flag on the premises.
No, I imagine not.
Is it any wonder that our public schools are turning out this product? They’ve been at it since 1965. In 1985 Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov named it “ideological subversion:”
To change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite of their balance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country.
It’s a great brainwashing process which goes very slow, and it is divided in four basic stages. The first one being demoralization. It takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years it takes to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy.
In other words, Marxism-Leninism is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged or counterbalanced with the basic values of Americanism, America patriotism.
It’s been forty-five years since 1965, and it’s still ongoing with no end in sight. More Bezmenov, and remember this was twenty-five years ago:
The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people… the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.
The demoralization process in [the] United States is basically completed already. For the last 25 years… actually, it’s over-fulfilled because demoralization now reaches such areas where previously not even Comrade Andropov and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success. Most of it is done by Americans to Americans, thanks to [a] lack of moral standards.
As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures; even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show him [a] concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it, until he [receives] a kick in his fat bottom. When a military boot crashes his… then he will understand. But not before that. That’s the [tragedy] of the situation of demoralization.
So basically America is stuck with demoralization and unless… even if you start right now, here, this minute, you start educating [a] new generation of American[s], it will still take you fifteen to twenty years to turn the tide of ideological perception of reality back to normalcy and patriotism.
The next stage is destabilization. This time [the] subverter does not care about your ideas and the patterns of your consumption; whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby doesn’t matter any more. This time—and it takes only from two to five years to destabilize a nation—what matters [are] essentials: economy, foreign relations, [and] defense systems. And you can see it quite clearly that in some areas, in such sensitive areas as defense and [the] economy, the influence of Marxist-Leninist ideas in [the] United States is absolutely fantastic. I could never believe it fourteen years ago when I landed in this part of the world that the process [would have gone] that fast.
The next stage, of course, is crisis. It may take only up to six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You can see it in Central America now.
And, after crisis, with a violent change of power, structure, and economy, you have [the so-called] period of normalization. It may last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda. When the Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia in ‘68, Comrade Brezhnev said, ‘Now the situation in brotherly Czechoslovakia is normalized.’
This is what will happen in [the] United States if you allow all these schmucks to bring the country to crisis, to promise people all kind[s] of goodies and the paradise on earth, to destabilize your economy, to eliminate the principle of free market competition, and to put [a] Big Brother government in Washington, D.C. with benevolent dictators like Walter Mondale, who will promise lots of thing[s], never mind whether the promises are fulfillable or not. He will go to Moscow to kiss the bottoms of [a] new generation of Soviet assassins, never mind… he will create false illusions that the situation is under control. [The] situation is not under control. [The] situation is disgustingly out of control.
Most of the American politicians, media, and educational system trains another generation of people who think they are living at the peacetime. False. [The] United States is in a state of war: undeclared, total war against the basic principles and foundations of this system. And the initiator of this war is not Comrade Andropov, of course. It’s the system. However ridiculous it may sound, [it is] the world Communist system (or the world Communist conspiracy). Whether I scare some people or not, I don’t give a hoot. If you are not scared by now, nothing can scare you.
But you don’t have to be paranoid about it. What actually happens now [is] that unlike [me], you have literally several years to live on unless [the] United States [wakes] up. The time bomb is ticking: with every second [he snaps his fingers], the disaster is coming closer and closer. Unlike [me], you will have nowhere to defect to. Unless you want to live in Antarctica with penguins. This is it. This is the last country of freedom and possibility.
It hasn’t gotten to everyone, but it’s reached enough so that now our country is more divided than any time since 1860.
That was the goal. We’re “enjoying” the results, and they’re worldwide.