It has been said that one can build a crooked house on a strong foundation, and the house will stand. Conversely, one can build a well-crafted house on a substandard foundation, and the house will fall. Consider public schooling in America, for it is doubly flawed — a crooked structure atop a crumbling foundation — and its collapse is inevitable. The flaws are too many; reform is a pipedream; gravity is a force too powerful to be resisted.
When we apply an architectural analogy to schools and schooling, we better understand the problems, as well as the eventual repercussions, of the public education system.
Legislators, far removed from the various ‘construction’ sites, unable to conceptualize the goals and processes of the project, and lacking consistent, unifying blueprints, have developed top-heavy, illogical, unmanageable warehouses. Their policies have crafted an infrastructure that lacks symmetry, balance, and effectiveness. If this ‘house of errors’ does not topple due to its defective construction, then it will fall because of its fractured and damaged foundation. Federal regulations have called for counterproductive and unnecessary repairs — repairs, which replaced the solid materials and intelligent constructs found in prior schooling designs. Poorly conceived mandates have demanded that all foundations be modified using mortars developed from weak and destructive elements.
Consider schooling structures of the past. Buildings were well crafted using local workmen applying local wisdom. Roofs were steep to speedily shed rain, snow, and ice, thus lengthening the life of the shingles, saving the community frequent and costly repairs. Windows were tall and numerous, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Easily maintained heating systems warmed the buildings, using readily available and inexpensive fuels. Hundreds of those buildings still stand and house families, township halls, community centers.
Education in these earlier structures was based on values, strengthened by familial and neighborhood loyalties, bound with mortar made of honor, decency, and hard work. This strong mixture cemented and held the foundational ‘stones’ — literacy, arithmetic, core knowledge, true U.S. History and government, philosophy, classical rhetoric and literature, problem solving. Costs and curriculum were choices made by parents and neighbors. The structures were solid; both in the framing, and in the integrity of the principles underlying the educations that children would receive within those walls.
But strong local cohesiveness threatened to undermine a federal government intent on overstepping its Constitutional limitations, and violating the Original Intent for this United Sovereign States of America. Legislators, pretending to be architects, designed ‘consolidation’ and set the stage whereby children’s ties and loyalties — to parents, to communities, to churches — could be broken.
First, the effective one-roomed schools — strong in design and solid in foundation — were closed and the children sent to ‘big’ schools of 4—8 rooms in neighboring small towns. Sometimes the people were allowed to believe that a ballot mattered, but despite the outcome of the election, and the objections of the electorate, forced consolidations continued to close schools and reduce the number of autonomous school districts.
When this unnatural state of hauling children ten and more miles from home for schooling was in place, and without an uprising of the populace, the next wave of consolidations began. Those 4—8 room schools were closed, and the students were sent to schools twenty, thirty miles from home. Currently, another round of consolidations is being ‘forced’ — this time by new federal laws, so laden with requirements and restrictions, that smaller districts are unable to maintain ‘legality’ unless they consolidate with larger school districts. Citizens are no longer accorded even the pretense of voting on this issue. ‘Local’ school boards, gagged and shackled, make the ‘decisions’ to further separate children from their families. It appears that the ultimate goal is for an America divided into only a few, probably less than ten, educational regions. How far from you will they bus your children then?
The goal of these anti-family and constitutionally unlawful actions — consolidations, Goals 2000, School-to-Work, No Child Left Behind — is to leave no child who might miss indoctrination towards a ‘changed America’ in its new and global role.
Neighbors, no longer bonded together around the neighborhood school, will be less likely to form groups, alliances, even militias, to resist the final stages in the takeover of public education — of public life — by the federal superstructure.
Families separated and fractured by busing and consolidation; children exposed to values contrary to the teachings of the homes; churches with messages marginalized — will all be weakened and less likely to lead the way in raising up children to be individuals with strong characters, and insisting that this be accomplished within schools based on strong foundational values.
Hours that children should spend with parents where love, trust, beliefs and values should be taught and modeled, are spent, instead, on long bus rides with unworthy peer groups, exposed to filthy language and inappropriate behaviors. On these buses the children are transported to and from the crooked (literally and figuratively) buildings that house the indoctrination centers that fail to teach reading and math; fail to provide knowledge and educations; force children to spend unproductive years without even learning how to understand, claim or protect their God-given rights.
These crooked structures certainly fail in the opinion of the population, but are great successes in the eyes of the socialist/communist architects and central planners. Unwieldy ‘dormers’ are added — new-new math; whole language; rewritten history; misleading government; misused special education classes; wasted literature classes; wasted grammar classes; wasted educational chances. Then follow the inevitable additions, built onto already overburdened, deteriorating foundations — alternative high school programs; unwed teen parent programs; adult education programs; punk prisons (whose inmates end up consolidating with the massive state and federal prison systems.)
Dangerous additions, attached to crooked buildings, set upon compromised foundations. None based on dignity, freedom and legality. None that can be repaired, reformed or salvaged. None strong enough to resist the powerful pull of gravity.
Considering the rate at which it is disintegrating, the public education cartel cannot continue to stand much longer. We have our child out of public schooling and he is kept at a safe distance from the decay. Have you yet taken steps, or made plans, for your children’s escape to safety at home, or within real schools founded on strong ethics and principles? If not, you may want to act soon. Every day of a child’s life is precious, and every lesson learned should be parent-approved and sensitively taught.
Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is an educational consultant, homeschooling mom, and public school special ed teacher. She is available for presentations, inservices, and workshops.