Another Reason To Dump Public Schools

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Down
Mississippi way, the high-school students don’t know third-grade
history and civics, and a news story about it sent up another flare
about American miseducation.

The
really frightening thing isn’t the ill-educated students, however,
but the ill-educated politicians and teachers who know as little
as the school kids.

If
you want another reason to flee the public schools, here it is.

The
Story

The
uncelebrated Mississippi Rep. Roger Wicker, the Associated Press
reports, asked some high school kids to name the unalienable rights
outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

Like
a teacher, the earnest Wicker prompted an answer by giving a little
of it.

“Among
these are life,” Wicker said, “and….” Wicker awaited the answer.

“Death?”
one numbskull asked.

“So
much for liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the AP writer wryly
observed.

Recent
testing, AP reports, revealed that 75 percent of fourth-graders
thought the president, not Congress, passes laws, while 25 percent
didn’t know the significance of July 4. Hilariously, some thought
it marked the end of the War of Northern Aggression. Fifty percent
of high-school seniors thought the Axis Powers were American allies
in World War II.

The
nut of the story?

Thirty
percent of fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders, AP reported, “could
not even show a basic understanding of civics at their grade level,”
according to the national testing in 1998. Ditto for U.S. history.
“They lack even partial mastery of fundamental skills.”

Politicians
Uneducated Too

Funny
thing is, Wicker doesn’t know much more.

Apparently,
he doesn’t know the Constitution does not give Congress and President
a role in public education. If he does, he is ignoring and undermining
the Constitution. Let’s prefer to think he’s misinformed.

But
Wicker, AP reports, is only following an ill-educated leader. The
president burbles about “no child left behind,” and expands the
federal education budget relentlessly. He has pressed for better
civics and history instruction since learning students had problems
with the Pledge of Allegiance and Gettysburg Address. What an irony
given the philosophical subtext to both: The federal government
is omnipotent.

We
have no room for an exegesis of the unionist Pledge, or the subtle
lies about our Republic’s history and political order promulgated
in Honest Abe’s dishonest oration. Suffice it to say, school kids
carry fables about both into adulthood and their lives as elected
officials.

And
no wonder, given this eyewash from an “American studies” teacher
at a recent confabulation of the National Education Association:
“I will not measure my success [if a student can] tell me Hamilton’s
financial plan, but [if a student can] tell me if [he] voted.”

Said
another, “If our kids walk out of our school systems without an
understanding of democracy, democracy will cease. That’s a scary
thing.”

No,
the “scary thing” is schoolteachers like this, and elected officials
who know less about the Constitution than 12-year-olds.

Mission
Accomplished

This
miseducation of American children, including those who grow up to
be congressmen and presidents, is no accident.

The
goal of government schools is not education, but inculcating blind
obedience and robotic loyalty to the State. Thus, the near sacrilegious
devotion to secular mythology in the Pledge and Gettysburg Address.

Disagree?
At the next family barbecue, suggest abolishing government schools
and Social Security.

Our
friendly democratist pedagogue agrees with educationists who say
education’s goal is making good “democratic citizens.” That’s code
for obedient, stupid taxpayers.

As
Rep. Wicker woefully learned, mission accomplished.

July
5, 2003

Syndicated
columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.

R.
Cort Kirkwood Archives


     

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