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Failure of our public schools did not just happen by accident

Here’s a great question to discuss over coffee: Why do students in the U.S. test below every other first world country? They do, you know.

While I was thinking about that this morning (over a cup of Starbucks) I determined that there would have to be a reason why our students test at third-world levels in several categories (and do not excel in a single one!). I came up with a number of possibilities. There may be more, but I think my list is fairly exhaustive.

Americans are simply genetically inferior

That would be a plausible explanation, were there not significant evidence to refute it. First of all, it was not always that way. From our inception through the first half of the twentieth century our sublime ignorance was not obvious. It would be ludicrous to think that suddenly some sort of gene-germ infected our population.

We do not spend enough money on education

That sounds almost reasonable at first glance. However, there are too many examples of schools that spend less, yet they test well. For instance, I served on the board of a Christian school for six years. We spent about one-third as much per student as did the public schools in our area, yet our students tested well above the students from the public schools (99 percentile). So, it can’t be the amount of money spent.

Family breakdown has destroyed education in America

It’s quite possible, if not altogether likely, that the disintegration of the family unit has contributed significantly to the demise of education in the U.S. This is evidenced by the fact that the public schools have become practically as significant a source of physical nourishment for children as are the family units in our cities. Ideally, the public schools should be able to concentrate on education, not on feeding programs.

So, while I do believe there is a relationship between family failure and poor education, I am not ready to state which produces the other. Because, even in the more affluent neighborhoods the products the public schools are turning out most often do not test on a par with the smaller inadequately-funded private schools, or with public schools in other first-world countries.

If there were no other possible reasons for the failure, I think that we might want to take a closer look at the disintegrating family structure in America. However, there is another significant causal aspect—and it begs attention.

Failure of public education was by design

We could continue to look for reasons, and we might even find some that seem plausible. However, when the very architects of our public school system tell us that they were intentionally designing a school system that would fail to educate our children, why do we need to look further?

On the surface, what I have just written seems insane. Well, it feels that way to me as well. But that is exactly what has happened. And the founders of the progressive education movement readily admit it. Not only do they admit it, but they think it was the right thing to do.

Paul Blanchard was one of the staunchest followers of John Dewey, the acknowledged founder and architect of progressive education. In 1976 Blanchard wrote in The Humanist: “ I think the most important factor moving us toward a secular society has been the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until he is 16 tends to lead toward the elimination of religious superstition.”

Paul Blanchard was a very bright man—a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, and Union Theological Seminary. But, much like Charles Darwin before him, Blanchard was left bitter after failing in Christian ministry.

There was a time in our history when we were the best—when we were the smartest. There is a reason for that. I’ll give you a few examples, and quotes of interest.

  • 106 out of the first 108 institutions of higher learning in this country were established as Bible colleges. These included Harvard, Yale, Princeton, William and Mary, and on, and on, and on.

  • "Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” —Jonathan Dickinson, first president of Princeton

  • "Religion is the basis and foundation of government.” —James Madison, fourth president of the United State

  • “Instead of the ill-advised hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can only reach with determination for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently pushed away. … Man has forgotten God, that is why this has happened.” —Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

  • “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?” —Thomas Jefferson

  • This list could go on virtually forever. But just remember that it was Thomas Jefferson, the superintendent of the New York Public School system (and later President of the United States), who declared that the Bible should be the principal text used for study in New York City schools, and it was Thomas Jefferson who hired (at government expense) ministers of the Gospel to go west and help settle it.

  • One of my all-time favorite fun movies was “Knight and Day,” with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. I don’t recall a lot about the movie itself, but it repeated one line several times, and that is what I remember. Cruise, in explaining to Diaz the value of traveling with him, held out his hand at chest height and said: “With me.” And then he held it at his knee, and said: “Without me.”

With me/Without me. I think that is what God is telling us right now with regard to our deplorably failed schools.

Begin praying for revival today. Return to God. This country will cease to exist as a viable entity on the world stage if we do not act quickly. The salvation of our nation will not “just happen,” anymore than the demise of our schools “just happened.” We need to design the school system for success. And it must start now. Paul Blanchard, while an intelligent man, was a bitter and failed man. He and his despicable ilk intentionally set up a system that ran counter to the way our nation was founded. He designed it for failure.

We must have revival.

My book, WIND, is the roadmap for this revival. It is available from Amazon, and Kindle. Please consider buying it. Whether or not you get the book, I will provide one article on this site every week until we have revival. If you like it, email the link to a friend, and put it on Facebook.

You may email your thoughts and comments to good.schools@gmail.com. If you choose to email me, please know that I might print some or all of your thoughts on this site. If you don't like what I advocate, let me know.

Mike Carrier, M.A., NYU

Comment:

Regarding the above post, I received the following comment: I asked my grandson (college sophomore) about your book (WIND). He just laughed. He said that it was nothing more than a catalog of microaggressions. It has no place in this country anymore. I don't think that he will be reading it. I had never heard that term before--microaggression. Do you know what that means? And why he would think that WIND contains them? (Gerald R.)

My response: That is an interesting comment. Originally, the term microaggression was used to define hurtful comments aimed at an underrepresented minority (URM). A common example for this is, “You don’t even seem black to me.” That is definitely a demeaning comment, and one that should be pointed out. But college students today filter all thought through a microagression filter, and anything that runs counter to their myopic views is labeled microaggressive. Whereas college students used to relish free speech, today they seek safe places where only non-threatening safe speech is permitted.

I think that microaggression would make a suitable topic for one of my articles. Look for it in the coming weeks.

Thanks for your comment.

Click here to buy WIND on Amazon Kindle. ($2.99)
Click here to buy WIND on Amazon (Print Book). ($14.99)

Buy and send copies of WIND to your children and grandchildren. It will make them angry (at first), but in the end they will thank you.

Read previous posts:

Failure of public schools (5-13-16)

Trump/Hillary/Biden/Sanders (5-6-16)

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Some thinkers have already written America off. For instance, in 2008 Fareed Zakaria wrote a New York Times Best Seller entitled The Post-American World in which he outlined just such a scenario.

According to many academics and philosophers (such as Mr. Zakaria), America’s role as a leader in the world is on the wane. Even some of our current political leaders are looking to the rest of the world for guidance through our tough times. They are speaking as though America’s best days are long gone.

Well, perhaps they are right. Maybe it is time to give up and bow down to what the world wants us to do; to surrender our liberties, and our leadership. Perhaps it is time for capitulation.

But, we do have a choice. And the choice is clear and real. In earlier times, when faced with similar circumstances, America (and other God-centric countries) simply heeded the imperative stated in the Old Testament: "If . . . My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:13-14).

Nothing could be more clear, or more simple. Within that short statement resides all that is required of us to find our way back. It has worked before, and it will work again.

This book explains in clear terminology how you can do your part to help bring about the restoration of our country through a Third Great Awakening.

WIND is a call for national revival—a clarion call.

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*Corrections of WIND.

*WIND Vol. 2 is not yet available, but if you would like to preview a chapter of it you may: "Revivals in History--The Correct View"