Conservatives welcome and encourage outside-of-the-box thinking resulting in creative approaches to problem solving… solutions based on sound, sensible factual evidence. Unleash Americans’ can-do spirit and get government out of the way. It’s how we solve problems. It’s about freedom and personal liberty.
Progressives, on the other hand, believe more government control is the answer to every question as they tend to base decisions on emotional rhetoric and knee-jerk reactions – which only serve to make problems worse. This is true at all levels of government – all the way down to your local town and school boards.
For too long, public education in this country has been controlled by Progressives. From the class room to the board room we have serious problems. The pat response from the Progressive education establishment is to blame everything from low student performance and test scores to budget woes on a need for more money. This is nothing more than a diversion. Throwing money at problems does not make them go away.
“Drowning in Money, Thirsting for Achievement We would be happy to wager on what is the most commonly cited “problem” with American education: insufficient funding. In their book Education Myths, Dr. Jay Greene of the University of Arkansas and his coauthors call this the “Money Myth.”
The pervasiveness of this assumption that schools are inadequately funded says more about the state of our public thought about education than anything else,” they write. “It is simultaneously the most widely held idea about education in America and the one that is most directly at odds with the available evidence.”—Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform by Dr. Matthew Ladner, Andrew T. LeFevre and Dan Lips, 16th Edition, American Legislative Exchange Council (2010)
The United States already spends more on education than nearly any other country in the world. Yet, embarrassingly, our students rank mediocre in global comparisons. The 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) global rankings of 15-year old students are dismal for the United States. In mathematics, Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea ranked top honors, while our students scored below average with a dismal showing at 32nd behind Luxembourg and Hungary. We fared somewhat better in science, considered to be average at 23rd, behind Hungary, Belgium and Iceland while Shanghai-China, Finland, Hong Kong and Singapore topped the category. Once again rated average, the US students tied at 15th with those in Poland and Iceland in reading, as Shanghai-China, South Korea, Finland and Hong Kong rated top of the class.
What does this say about our children’s… and our nation’s future?
A stunning infographic puts the issue into perspective by comparing total annual spending and student performance in the United States with eleven other countries: Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Finland, Mexico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Without a doubt, the US spends far more per school-aged child than any other country. Yet, we are at the bottom of the heap in educating our children to become competent in both science and mathematics… why?
Clearly, more money is not the answer as it does not equate to better educated students.
Certainly, we are blessed with many high quality, dedicated teachers. I don’t believe the majority of teachers are the problem. So let’s put the blame where it belongs: the problem with public education is wasted money and the philosophy of Progressive Education.
Globalism is the New Patriotism
We can thank Progressivism for infecting public education with political correctness, multiculturalism, globalism, environmental justice, and social justice. As these causes and the promotion of Progressive beliefs have commanded more classroom attention, students have lost precious time necessary to learn the basic skills key to becoming well educated: how to read, perform mathematics without the aid of a calculator and develop vital language arts skills of spelling, proper grammar and cursive writing. To gain an appreciation, knowledge and sense of pride for our own history, the benefits of a science curriculum based upon facts to spark students’ intellect and an understanding of economics have been lost… at least in public schools driven by administrators or staffed with activist teachers who believe in and promote Progressive Education.
It also explains why so much effort and expense is directed at Professional Development in public schools guided by Progressives – and especially so in situations where much of the staff has achieved occupational longevity. The younger teachers were indoctrinated into the theories of Progressive Education while at the Universities. Professional Development is about controlling teachers rather than actually improving student learning. It is the re-education camp for experienced teachers, those who actually understand how to perform their job and do it well.
“When school boards spend thousands of tax dollars to send teachers to education conferences around the country, they have a reasonable expectation that the attendees will bring back knowledge and skills that will be put to constructive use in the classroom. That is not necessarily what the boards are receiving in return when they send teachers to conferences on multiculturalism and so-called social-justice teaching. At many of these gatherings, teachers are being urged to go back home and work for an anti-free-market, redistributionist social agenda rather than teaching children the academic fundamentals.
…A network of academics and organizations including former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, Howard Zinn, and Milwaukee-based Rethinking Schools are leading advocates for extremist “social justice teaching” in the nation’s public schools.”–Multiculturalism and “Social Justice” in American Public Education by Robert Holland and Don Soifer, Lexington Institute (11/2008)
Experiential learning, project-based, community service or service learning projects and the collaborative approach to education are reshaping students’ views, replacing individualism, personal achievement and independence with an acceptance of mediocrity, communitarianism and equality at the cost of liberty. It’s a forward sounding agenda being sold to the uninformed as “21st-Century Skills”. Another popular theme is “student-centered” learning, which, in reality, seeks to make them equal with their teachers in directing their own education, as a not-so-subtle means to overthrow their perceived oppression of traditional education and the teacher-student relationship.
However, these ‘new’ ideas in education aren’t as they seem. Within the education industry, it’s just the window dressing. Pull back the curtain and you’ll find the specter of Critical Pedagogy, with roots deep in Marxist revolutionary theory, cultural studies, feminist studies and liberation theology. It’s goal is societal transformation and the promotion of Radical Democracy through a bedrock belief that Capitalism is exploitive, so must be replaced with Socialism.
“To challenge educands with regard to their certitudes is a duty of the progressive educator. What kind of educator would I be if I did not feel moved by a powerful impulse to seek, without lying, convincing arguments in defense of the dreams for which I struggle, in defence of the ‘why’ of the hope with which I act as an educator?
What is not permissible to be doing is to conceal truths, deny information, impose principles, eviscerate the educands of their freedom, or punish them, no matter by what method, if, for various reasons, they fail to accepts my discourse – reject my utopia.”—Pedagogy of Hope by Paolo Freire (1921-1997), Brazilian Marxist, educator and influential theorist of Critical Pedagogy
The delusional basis of Critical Pedagogy is the belief the oppressed must rise up to become liberated – and it is the educator’s job to indoctrinate students. It develops within the student a belief system focused on inequality, exploitation, oppression and domination in relationship to race, ethnicity, class and gender. Students are conditioned to view their nation and culture negatively. They’re taught to hold oppositional values, attitudes and behaviors, cultivating a mindset necessary to facilitate the leftists’ desired revolution. Critical Pedagogy is about questioning and challenging authority – be it historical figures, governmental, political, corporate, societal, religious, within education… or even their own parents.
No aspect of traditional American values is off-limits.
In our universities, colleges and public schools, it is the institutionalized planting of seeds of discontent, watering with sermons admonishing deeds of injustice… until rebellion blooms. The fruit of Critical Pedagogy is on full view within the cult of the Occupy Movement.