The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America
Chapter 1

The Sowing of the Seeds: Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries


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There is... a false education god whose idolators are legion, and whose cult influences the entire educational system. This is language study—the study not of foreign language, but of English; not in higher, but in primary education… The plea for the predominance of learning to read in early school life because of the great importance attaching to literature seems to me a perversion. (John Dewey)
This chapter begins with a discussion of the semantic redefinition of learning. For example, we are given the 1927 definition, which describes "The drawing out of a person’s innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc.", and the 1934 redefinition, which speaks of the "modifiability in the paths of neural conduction" and the "situation-response formula."

The author mentions that "Education in the twenty-first century will, for the majority of youth, be workforce training. Thus, the need for Pavlovian/Skinnerian methodology based on operant conditioning which, in essence, is at the heart of the above dehumanizing definition of education."

We are next provided with a chronological description of influential writings and events that have led us to our current predicament:

In 1762, a book called Emile is published in France by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He proposes the idea of a "social contract," promotes "permissive education," and argues that "religion should not be a guiding principle in education ."

In 1832, Wilhelm Wundt is born; he is the founder of experimental psychology. Wundt believed that you should only pursue things you can measure, quantify, and scientifically demonstrate. This obviously excluded the human soul, and he proposed that "psychology concern itself solely with experience." He believed that human actions are actually always just reactions.

A quote is provided from the book, The Leipzig Connection: The Systematic Destruction of American Education, stating that

"To the experimental psychologist… education became the process of exposing the student to “meaningful” experiences so as to ensure desired reactions… If one assumes (as did Wundt) that there is nothing there to begin with but a body, a brain, a nervous system, then one must try to educate by inducing sensations in that nervous system. Through these experiences, the individual will learn to respond to any given stimulus, with the “correct” response."

This led to many undesirable things, including "schools oriented more toward socialization of the child than toward the development of intellect; and for the emergence of a society more and more blatantly devoted to the gratification of sensory desire at the expense of responsibility and achievement."

We learn from author Dennis Cuddy that John Dewey, the so-called "father of modern education," was not only a follower of Wundt, but a Fabian Socialist who wanted to condition students "for a new social order."

In 1862, we have the first experiment with "outcome-based education" in England. "Teacher opposition resulted in abandonment of the experiment." This consisted of a "payment for results" system, where the teachers were paid based on student performance, and required "teaching to the test," so the results could be measured. It is noted that this is alive and well today in the form of Mastery Learning, the father of which says that "the purpose of education is to change the thoughts, actions and feelings of students."

We are instructed to consult the glossary to make sure we fully understand the terms Mastery Learning, Direct Instruction, Outcome-Based Education, and Effective Schools Research, before proceeding with the book any further.

Direct Instruction is also known as "Reading Mastery," "has traditionally been used with special education students," and "requires teachers to teach from a script and to use hand signals and sounds to punctuate the “learning” process." A paper was presented at the 8th Symposium on Behavioral Modification, entitled "Direct Instruction: A behavior-based model for comprehensive educational intervention with the disadvantaged." Uses B.F. Skinner's "operant conditioning."

Effective Schools is a system with three primary programs, focused on "behavioral change" and "sociological factors" to produce "predictable" results."

Mastery Learning teaches to the test, specifies "learning objectives," reinforces "correct responses," and uses "frequent and consistent rewards." Like Direct Instruction, Mastery Learning uses B.F. Skinner's "operant conditioning."

Outcome-based Education is a synthesis of Mastery Learning and another program called Competency-Based Education. OBE claims that "learning conditions" are "maximized" by, among other things, "Establishing a school climate which continually affirms the worth and diversity of all students," "continuous assessment," and "Having staff and students both take responsibility for successful learning outcomes." OBE also includes rewards in the form of "Certifying educational progress whenever demonstrated mastery is assessed and validated."

In 1874, we have the birth of Edward Lee Thorndike. He studied under Andrew C. Armstrong and Charles Judd, who were Wilhelm Wundt's first students. Thorndike stated that psychology was the "science of the intellect, character, and behavior of animals, including man." He began studying psychology with chickens, and "was the first psychologist to study animal behavior in an experimental psychology laboratory and… apply the same techniques to children and youth." His "primary assumption was the same as Wundt’s: that man is an animal, that his actions are actually always reactions, and that he can be studied in the laboratory in much the same way as an animal might be studied."

Thorndike defined teaching as "the art of giving and withholding stimuli with the result of producing or preventing certain responses. In this definition the term stimulus is used widely for any event which influences a person—for a word spoken to him, a look, a sentence which he reads, the air he breathes, etc., etc. The term response is used for any reaction made by him—a new thought, a feeling of interest, a bodily act, any mental or bodily condition resulting from the stimulus. The aim of the teacher is to produce desirable and prevent undesirable changes in human beings by producing and preventing certain responses."

In 1896, John Dewey, the father of "progressive education," published a book entitled Psychology, which became "the most widely-read and quoted textbook used in schools of education in this country." The University of Chicago, funded by the Rockefellers, established a laboratory, called the Dewey School, for him to experiment with his psychological notions. "There he had put into actual practice three of the revolutionary beliefs he had culled from the new psychology: that to put the child in possession of his fullest talents, education should be active rather than passive; that to prepare the child for a democratic society, the school should be social rather than individualist; and that to enable the child to think creatively, experimentation rather than imitation should be encouraged."

We read that Dewey wanted to "build the curriculum not around academic subjects but around occupational activities which provided maximum opportunities for peer interaction and socialization" in order to change society from individualism to socialism.

The chapter closes with a quote from John Dewey, where he condemns the "false education god" of focusing on teaching children to read and write.
Speaking of "a society more and more blatantly devoted to the gratification of sensory desire at the expense of responsibility and achievement," we must judge our modern experience by this measurement. Is this who we are? Do adults spend enormous sums of money and time on escapism via video games and other things? Do we see memes on social media deploring responsibility, and expressing a desire to never grow up? Indeed, you can probably think of many more examples yourself.

This same quote also speaks of "schools oriented more toward socialization of the child than toward the development of intellect." This is very telling in light of the fact that modern homeschoolers meet the frequent argument that children belong in public school because "they need socialization." The best response, of course, is that most of us were sent to the principal's office for "socializing." But what is really meant is that they will not receive indoctrination into the new social norms and values being crafted by those in control. And, of course, that's exactly why many people homeschool.

The English "payment for results" system that had teachers paid according to student performance has been revived in our own day in programs like No Child Left Behind. The included "teaching to the test" is a very familiar phrase in discussions of modern education, mostly because this type of teaching results in students cramming information into short-term memory just to pass a test, and not storing it long-term.

As we read about these educational systems, it can be hard at first to recognize what is so bad about them. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that we were, ourselves, raised in this system. However, if we remain focused on true principles, we can keep ourselves from being deceived. One truth is that humans are not animals, constantly reacting to stimuli, but have a higher ability to reason and take action. The irony of these men making such claims about humanity is that they are humans, themselves. New psychological ideas, for instance, don't just spring forth as a natural reaction to stimuli. What is true in their theories, though, is that if you treat humans like animals, they will act like animals.

Another truth is that when you learn and live by principles, you are no longer reactionary. Principles enable humans to take action that goes against stimuli. For instance, the man who receives a "stimulus check" from the government and sends it back. A reactionary man would simply take the money, but principles demand that we not take doles, that we not allow the government to devalue our currency, and that we not accept the redistribution of wealth, by whatever scheme it has been sold to the public. What this amounts to, then, is that these educational methods are actually deliberate miseducation in order to achieve a desired result.

Dewey's claim that "education should be active rather than passive" actually shows that he intended the school system to be used for what we would today call "social justice." His comment "that to prepare the child for a democratic society, the school should be social rather than individualist" also reveals Marxist leanings that undermine our Constitutional Republic. Once the majority of the public clamors for the slavery of Socialism, we will have forever lost the protections of the Constitution, and the freedom it once enshrined.

On the subject of Marxism, or "dialectical materialism," it should be noted that Skinner's "operant conditioning" actually reinforces selfishness and materialism by tying education to personal gain and rewards. True freedom often requires selflessness, as exemplified by the Founding Fathers, who literally risked everything to establish our Constitutional Republic. They were traitors to the king of England, which carried multiple penalties including disembowelment, beheading, and being drawn and quartered. Many lost property, as well as loved ones. One man's sons were murdered by the British because he refused to withdraw his signature from the Declaration of Independence. These weren't merely reactions to stimuli, but deliberate actions based on principle.

We must also remember that the Founding Fathers were some of the wisest men to ever live, and they received the most basic education imaginable. But, being taught to read, they were able to educate themselves, and being taught the Bible, they were able to reason using true principles.

These things are also grounded in false Darwinist theories about the modern generation always being somehow more "evolved" and "sophisticated" than previous generations, and that "new ways" are inherently better than "old ways."

The Mormon Angle

It should me remember that Joseph Smith only had a formal education equivalent to the modern Fourth Grade, but since he was taught to read, he was able to continue his education by reading and studying with others, such as a rabbi who taught him Hebrew.
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