“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” — Frederic Bastiat
Back in the day when I was going to school things were much different with the education delivery system and the results were better. I went to a public school from kindergarten to grade 4 and then to parochial school from grades 5 through 8. My final four years were spent in a public high school.
For this blog post I will focus on the yeas spent in public high school so we can look at apples compared to apples. First of all he high school I went to was in Parma, Ohio a middle class suburb Cleveland. Today Cleveland has one of the worst school systems in the United States ranking right up there with Detroit and Washington, D.C.
In the years 1950-1954 Parma was a community comprised of middle class blue and white collar workers. The average income was around $4,500 - $5,500 per year ($37,400 - $45,700 in today’s dollars using the government CPI inflation calculator).The average cost of a new house was $11,500 ($95,500), a new Chevrolet $1,950 ($16,200) and tuition to Harvard University $800 ($6,600) per year. Of course these CPI numbers do not take in account increases due to location, added amenities and technology, and the greed of the universities due to the availability of government money from the Department of Education.
The President of the United States was Dwight Eisenhower and Democrats were in control of Cleveland, but Ohio was a Republican state. The interstate highway system was still a dream of President Eisenhower, but the Ohio Turnpike, a toll road financed with private money, was one year from completion. The Korean War had ended during my high school years, but selective service was still in effect. The Cold War was prominent in people’s minds and there was fear of nuclear Armageddon.
The Department of Education was years away so there were no regulations or mandates from the federal government. Education standards were set by the State of Ohio and all decisions regarding the implementation of these standards were left to the local school boards. Schools were financed through local property taxes and the sale of bonds approved by the local voters.
Parma Senior High School had a mixed curriculum to serve the needs of the local community. There certain mandated subjects such as English, Math, General Science, History, Geography, Civics and Physical Education. There were also two alternative tracks, one aimed at preparing students planning to go college and industrial arts for students wishing to enter the trades. The school also offered course in homemaking and secretarial skills such as typing and bookkeeping. Students on the college track needed to take Latin, a foreign language, English literature, chemistry, physics, biology and advanced mathematics like trigonometry and calculus. Students wishing to pursue a course of study for entry into the trades were offered courses in welding, auto shop, electricity, drafting, and wood shop.
The school had a dress code and strict discipline. You could be expelled for bad behavior and there were several mandatory parent-teacher conferences each year. There were quarterly reports card using an alphabetic grading scale, i.e. A to F. Other items such as citizenship and aptitude were also graded. Teachers gave out grades and comments for each test so you knew exactly where you stood in relation to the class. There were no “feel good” classes and we recited the Pledge of Allegiance or Preamble to the Constitution each morning. To my knowledge there were no left-wing teachers with anti-American philosophies. In fact some of my teachers were WWII vets who had become teachers under the GI Bill.
This is the way it was. The education deliver system worked. Some of my classmates went on to college to become doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, teachers and scientist. Others entered the trades and became auto mechanics, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, electronic technicians, office managers and bankers. Some entered the military and went on to serve the country. Military service was looked upon as an honorable pursuit.
As for myself I did not have the money for college, but through night and college extension classes along with two year correspondence in surveying and highway engineering I was able to rise with some prominence in my chosen profession.
Sometime in the 1960s all of his changed. A new breed of teachers and academicians came on the scene. The college and university class rooms were being taken over by left-wing, anti-American and Marxist professors, many of whom were Red Diaper Babies. As the Vietnam War escalated these professors became more vocal in their Marxist and anti-American rhetoric. They began preaching social and economic justice and more reliance on government. Capitalism was looked upon as evil. Even the small business owner or entrepreneur was looked on with scorn as these purveyors of social justice and progressivism gained a louder and louder voice in our institutions of higher learning and society in general.
Chuck Rogér writes in American Thinker; “In the 1960s, America's education schools began conditioning teachers to peddle impossible social and economic theories to captive human sponges in K-12 classrooms. Since then, teachers taken in by progressive indoctrination have been planting fallacies in students' minds using a pernicious device: the "deconstruction" of reality.”
“Deconstruction aims to disassemble traditional Western culture and replace that culture with a collectivist utopia operated under rules set by the deconstructors. Between Inauguration Day 2009 and the January 2011 GOP House takeover, a congressional wrecking crew led by President Barack Obama did an amazing amount of deconstructing.”
“The ouster of much of the wrecking crew in last November's election was a small step toward stopping America's descent into a utopian hell. But it is the 2008 election of a full-bore statist and the statist's still decent approval rating which suggest that too many Americans embrace socialist-collectivist promises. Such naïveté and ignorance of socialism's miserable track record are stunning.”
“Though naïveté will always afflict some people, ignorance can be corrected by objective education and heightened awareness. One thing is certain. The nonstop flow of pre-primed, left-indoctrinated university graduates must be stopped, which means that the K-12 education system which feeds the universities must be rehabilitated.”
“Cleaning up K-12 requires understanding how schools devolved into left-wing ideology centers.”
“Starting in the 1960s, academics took heightened interest in Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci's cultural Marxism. Members of the political class glommed onto the resulting "social justice," affirmative action, "diversity," multiculturalism, political correctness, and other malignancies spawned by cultural Marxism. Progressive politicians came to view society as a hodge-podge of racial, ethnic, gender-based, and now also sexual orientation-based groups locked in zero-sum combat with Western whites.”
“Generally speaking, cultural Marxism's indoctrinees have learned to view morality and knowledge as "constructs" and social and economic power as commodities to be transferred from "oppressor" to "oppressed." Progressives routinely label minorities as oppressed and anything that benefits minorities as moral. Such thinking dominates the Democrat party platform.”
“In embracing Western middle class deconstruction, universities took a radical left turn. To ruinous effect, the radicalism gradually descended below freshman level. Cultural Marxism entered high school, then middle school, and now infests elementary schools as well as preschools. One illustration of the use of anti-wealth, anti-American fallacies in K-12 classrooms is the showing of the virulently anti-capitalist video, The Story of Stuff (a video promoted by Glenn Beck’s nemeses Cass Sunstein). The video presents baseless, hysterical vitriol as fact. For instance, schoolchildren are told that:”
“extraction is a fancy word for natural resource exploitation, which is a fancy word for trashing the planet. What this looks like is we chop down trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out the animals.”
“Thousands of schools and churches have the video, while "hundreds of teachers" have required students to view the propaganda on the Internet. Googling the phrase, "The Story of Stuff," nets 2.2 million hits, and though the web buzzes with concern over exposing schoolchildren to the video's venomous distortions, interspersed amid the alarm is a shocking amount of gushing praise.”
“What motivates such praise? What motivates teachers to bias students against capitalism? Answers lie within education schools which influence K-12 teachers and curricula.”
So what is Cultural Marxism? In the 1920s and 1930s Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, who argued that traditional values must be obliterated in order to free "oppressed" social groups, called for eliminating social decorum and glorifying perverse behavior in order to destroy the Western middle class and collapse society from within. Translated into today's terminology, the plan prescribed the commandeering of news and entertainment media, religious and financial institutions, organized labor, health care, and education.
Gramsci's cultural Marxism began to reach throughout society when Frankfurt University's Institute for Marxism — renamed the Institute for Social Research and informally called the Frankfurt School — fled Nazi Germany, took up temporary residence at Columbia University in 1933, and then, during World War II, began using Gramsci-derived "critical theory" to "deconstruct" American society. German-born philosopher-writer Herbert Marcuse and other Marxists carried cultural Marxism beyond Columbia, and progressives adopted the disease as a weapon of "change" to be deployed within the education system.
Education system, indeed. The Frankfurt School's specialty was political correctness. The goal was to control social discourse on culture, politics, and economics and hush debate over middle-class moral decay. A critical tactic dictated by political correctness -- demonizing people who question progressive wisdom -- is illustrated by today's Democrats and media calling tea-partiers racists and extremists for wanting to shrink government. The same kind of one-sided thought control renders schoolchildren captive to left-wing agendas.
In the mid-1950s, Marcuse drove political correctness to new depths, proclaiming it unacceptable to criticize any manner of sexual behavior. Marcuse's Eros and Civilization urged people to engage in "perversions" to soften the sting of capitalism's alleged enslavement. The new and improved political correctness became a darling of progressive education schools, rounded out the arsenal aimed at mainstream America, and ushered in early-childhood sex education that facilitates premature and unhealthy sexual experimentation.
Since the 1960s, Gramsci's ghost has been creeping throughout education schools on the backs of the rabid academic herd. A list of ideological progeny reads like a "Who's Who" of collectivist ideologues: Pentagon bomber William Ayers, anti-homework and anti-competition preacher Alfie Kohn, America-hater Noam Chomsky, communist Van Jones, and progressive Bible-thumper George Lakoff, to name a few. Education, social studies, and literature curricula burst with gibberish on social, environmental, and climate justice as well as multiculturalism, diversity, moral relativism, and moral equivalence — all derived in some way from cultural Marxism.
Though cultural Marxism has gained momentum in education for forty years, the freedom-loving, self-reliant character of a reawakened America soul can stop the disease cold. So camouflaged has been the use of Gramsci's brainchild that most education school indoctrinees — K-12 teachers -- have never really weighed the consequences of conditioning students to reject a moral and prosperous America. While education is home to a disproportionate number of anti-capitalist and often anti-American progressives eager to "change the world," the majority of teachers are traditionalists unconsciously following the herd. Loud and informed parents can sound the necessary wake-up call.
Parents have long known that something was wrong but have accepted the deterioration of children's morality and common sense for the sake of the "tolerance" that progressive educators demand. The self-censorship inherent in political correctness has silenced parents for fear of being branded "intolerant," "mean," "overly judgmental," or, heaven forbid, "conservative." Meanwhile, the accountability-killing approaches of John Dewey, Gramsci, Ayers, Kohn, and other leftist zealots have subverted school curricula and programmed collectivist robots to fill positions of influence in government, society, business, and education.
But there is something else besides simple cognitive dissonance that moves progressive educators to promote cultural Marxism. What motivates someone to knowingly push collectivist approaches that cause guaranteed economic devastation and misery? In truth, the progressive psyche houses the unbridled arrogance required to believe that students indoctrinated by progressive teachers will be the first kids in the history of the world to march forth and tease beautiful miracles from ugly theory.
Rogér continues; “Social justice education deemphasizes knowledge retention and the development of traditionally productive skills. The theory's fanatical adherents maintain that teaching American history to blacks and Hispanics is oppressive. It's also oppressive to force blacks to "think like whites." "Diversity consultant" Glenn Singleton teaches that blacks must be excused from developing "annoying white characteristics, such as being 'task-oriented' and 'intellectual.'" Together, government dependency and social justice education have fashioned a super-progressivism turbo-charged by cultural Marxism. Stunted black academic achievement and disintegration of the black family are but two of the many devastating results.”
“In truth, disintegration of not only the black family but of wholesome tradition itself begins in preschool, as discussed in my introductory analysis of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky's influence on early childhood curricula. A study by Stanford education professor David Labaree frames the scope of disfiguration of America's education curricula. Education schools fit "solidly in the progressive camp." Teachers are conditioned to "integrate the disciplines," use "socially relevant themes," and push morally relativistic versions of "community, cooperation, tolerance, justice, and democratic “equality" in ways that make the concepts appear noble, indeed innocent.”
But there is no innocence in the effects of the progressive conditioning of teachers. More K-12 students than ever are now being manipulated through lesson plans warped into platforms for moralizing against capitalism, the white middle class, and America. The deconstruction of American society is proceeding. The ghosts of Gramsci, Dewey, and Vygotsky are probably smiling.
In the final analysis, though progressive educators cling to cultural Marxism, Gramsci's middle class-slayer, most teachers don't believe that Western society is bad, America worse, and capitalism the worst. Teachers need to gather their wits and consider the professors who taught you to fill students with contempt for the Western middle class. The professors harbor contempt for you, the Western middle class teacher. Parents need to abandon their silence and support teachers who want to abandon fear in order to join you in bringing a close to the darkest decades in the history of American education.