The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America
Chapter 3

The Troubling Thirties

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The builder of this new world must be education… Plainly, the first step in the case of each country is to train an elite to think, feel, and act internationally.
Summary
We begin this chapter with a quotation from Paul Mantoux, a Frenchman, which you can read in the excerpt above. Many collectivists fell in line, publishing things like Brave New World, Dare the School Build a New Social Order?, Toward a Soviet America, and The Humanist Manifesto. Most surprisingly, "Herbert Hoover proposed a Research Committee on Recent Social Trends to Implement the Planned Society." These are discussed below.

Unfortunately, as in previous generations, the general public was unaware of what was transpiring.

In 1931, John Eugene Harley published a book called International Understanding, with a foreword by Paul Mantoux which contained the excerpt above, and a discussion about the need to "train an elite to think, feel, and act internationally" so that this group of elites can "spread its influence over the masses, who can then support them in their turn," and admitting that to create a "new world" "one would have to change human nature" through the field of education. This book was published by Stanford University.

Brave New World was published by Aldous Huxley in 1932, and a professor from Columbia University Teachers College published Dare the School Build a New Social Order? This professor, George Counts, had "[traveled] back and forth to Russia" with other American educators, who "became completely convinced that the Soviet Communist system was the ultimate system." Counts' aforementioned book calls for an end to property rights and abandoning individualism for collectivism, and disparages capitalism, saying that its days are numbered.

1932 also sees Communist William Z. Foster publish his book, Toward A Soviet America. In his book he called for:

a U.S. Department of Education; implementation of a scientific materialist philosophy; studies revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology; students taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and general ethics of a new socialist society; present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy. The whole basis and organization of capitalist science will be revolutionized. Science will become materialistic, hence truly scientific. God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools.

The author notes that everything Foster called for has come to pass, and that what he refers to as "Scientific pedagogy" is actually OBE/mastery learning/direct instruction of Pavlov and Skinner.

1932 also has President Herbert appointing a Research Committee on Recent Social Trends to Implement the Planned Society. It isn't funded or approved by Congress, nor does the committee report to either Congress or the American public. Author Maureen Heaton referred to this committee as "the largest community of social scientists ever assembled to assess the social condition of a nation."

This year, we also have the NEA creating the Educational Policies Commission (EPC) "for the purpose of changing the Goals for American Education." In 1944, this group releases Education for All American Youth, which tells the story of how the "Planners" solve everyone's problems by "involving citizens in cooperation for the goals of the planners," (The author notes that this was renamed "participatory democracy" in the 1960's.) These goals are achieved by implementing, in part:

  • federal programs for health, education and welfare combined in one giant bureau 
  • Head Start programs 
  • getting pre-school children into the system 
  • teacher participation in curriculum decisions 
  • youth services through a “poverty program” 
  • removal of local control of political and educational matters “without seeming to do so” 
  • sex education

Also in 1932, the Progressive Education Association's Commission on Relation of School and College initiates the Eight-Year Study. Wilford M. Aikin was chairman of the Commission, and also authored a book about the study's beginnings and purposes. Funding came mostly from the Carnegie Corporation and General Education Board. "[T]he Eight-Year Study laid the groundwork for many of the education "reforms" and innovations we are encountering today."

The author notes that "the Eight-Year Study was foundational to outcome-based education and proposals to remove the Carnegie Unit." The Carnegie Unit is the traditional "unit" when taking college classes, and it traditionally represented the mandates of most state constitutions "that the state is responsible to provide and make available educational opportunities to all its citizens. The removal of this unit has been a central feature of current OBE/ML reform plans which reflect the philosophy that the state must guarantee that all citizens receive and achieve an educational outcome determined by the state. A change from "inputs" to "outputs."]

In 1933, the original version of the Humanist Manifesto was published. "Co-author John Dewey, the noted philosopher and educator, called for a synthesizing of all religions and a 'socialized and cooperative economic order.'"

There follows a lengthy quotation from Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time Has Come by Onalee McGraw, Ph.D., which details Humanist beliefs and contrasts them with Judeo-Christian values. "At issue is the basic concept concerning the nature of man and the 'rules' by which men govern themselves individually, in society, and in government." The case is made that secular Humanism does not belong in schools because it is a religion, as declared by the Supreme Court in 1961.

Also in 1933, Dr. Paul Mort, chairman of the Progressive Education Association, wrote an article entitled "National Support for Our Public Schools" in which he lamented the fact that, due to the Depression, "schools have been reduced to the task of dishing out traditional subject matter."

This same year, Dr. George Hartmann, professor of educational psychology at Penn. State, wrote an article entitled "A New Definition of the Educated Man," in which he argues that "the main earmarks of the educated man" are the spirit of "radicalism" and a desire to remake society. He says that "One of the most subtle and pernicious [obstacles to society] is the view that the aim of education (or life, for that matter) is the development of the individual’s personality as such… For good or for ill, we must cease training people for what they are going to do, and point out instead what they should do." He acknowledges that there will be opposition to the required "indoctrination," but calls those objections "silly." Since children are going to have an "indoctrination of attitudes" anyway, it is up to the more enlightened educators "to ensure that the right ones are established." Finally, he mocks anyone who isn't thrilled by "the ultimate prospects of a single world government, the abolition of war and poverty, the enhancement of beauty in daily life, and the enlightened practice of eugenics[1] and euthenics."[2]

1934 brought us Conclusions and Recommendation for the Social Studies, published by the American Historical Association and funded by the Carnegie Corporation. "Professor Harold Laski, a philosopher of British socialism, said of this report: 'At bottom, and stripped of its carefully neutral phrases, the report is an educational program for a Socialist America.'"

The Commission in charge of the report stated that besides textbooks and other standard educational considerations, it was "impelled to consider the condition and prospects of the American people as a part of Western Civilization merging into a world order." Their tasks were driven by "the obvious fact" that America is "embarking upon vast experiments in social planning and control." Other statements include:

  • "a new age of collectivism is emerging"
  • "the efficient functioning of the emerging economy and the full utilization of its potentialities require profound changes in the attitudes and outlook of the American people, especially the rising generation—a complete and frank recognition that the old order is passing, that the new order is emerging"
  • "Organized public education… is now compelled… to adjust its objectives, its curriculum, its methods of instruction, and its administrative procedures to the requirements of the emerging integrated order."

In 1939, WWII began and Hitler published Mein Kampf. A lengthy quote from Hitler's book is here provided, in which he describes how "Academic school training, which today is the be-all and end-all of the State’s entire educational work, can be taken over by the populist state with but slight changes." He also outlines his belief that children forget much of what they're taught, and should therefore instead be taught as little as possible, and later trained for the workforce. The author points out that Hitler's views "bear a striking resemblance to Theodore Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools’ philosophy of “less is more” and to the 1988 Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Robert Muller World Core Curriculum in use in Eugene, Oregon and elsewhere."


Footnotes:

[1] Eugenics is "a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population, historically by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior or promoting those judged to be superior." (Eugenics, Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics, accessed 2021-02-24.)

[2] Euthenics is "the study of improvement of human functioning and well-being by improvement of living conditions." (Euthenics, Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthenics, accessed 2021-02-24.)
Analysis
The book Dare the School Build a New Social Order? by George Counts also contains the following, which we would like to address:

Whatever services historic capitalism may have rendered in the past, and they have been many, its days are numbered. With its dedication [to] the principle of selfishness, its exaltation of the profit motive, its reliance upon the forces of competition, and its placing of property above human rights, it will either have to be displaced altogether or changed so radically in form and spirit that its identity will be completely lost. 

Collectivists like Count refer to capitalism as "selfishness" in order to draw the discussion away from true principles. While there is the possibility for selfishness under capitalism, as in all things, it is certainly not a requirement. The true principle upon which the individualism of capitalism rests is that of stewardship, which provides the individual an opportunity to prove himself, to better himself, and to earn a sense of satisfaction from his labors. These are proven by the returns a man sees after his efforts.

Under collectivism, a man is denied the opportunity to exercise any agency, he is not free to pursue his own interests, and the fruits of labors are not his own. Therefore, there is no incentive left but to avoid death or harm inflicted by the state. As we read about in chapter 9 of The Price, collectivism breeds slaves who only do what is demanded of them. Why? Because you never see any benefits from your extra work. What's an extra hundred pounds of potatoes, when they will go into the collective pot, your rations will never go up, and the elite described by the educators are the only ones who benefit. As in Orwell's Animal Farm, only the pigs eat jam and sleep in beds. This is true today and it has been true in every collectivist state, ever.

Under collectivism, people are seen merely as "human resources" to be consumed as other resources, like wood or metal, in the pursuit of the state's agendas. This term was deliberately chosen to replace personnel.

One also wonders why "reliance upon the forces of competition" would be objectionable, since these forces actually serve to protect the general consumer when there is no government meddling, such as regulations, lobbying, and so forth. If another man can do the same thing more efficiently, less expensively, or more reliably, this will either drive his competition out of the market, or drive them to improve so they can continue to compete.

Finally, does capitalism honestly place "property above human rights"? This is another silly distortion designed to appeal to the "bleeding heart" and bypass logic and reason. True principles make it clear that "property" actually represents life, since it is only through the expenditure of one's time (one's life) that one can obtain property. This makes property equal to life, because that is what it represents; you exchange your life (ie, your time) for property.

We can only assume the complaint of "property above human rights" is in relation to punishment for theft, or for one man "having" while another "has not." It is unjust, however, to take my life (ie, my property) and give it to another. Under the Constitution, all men have equal opportunity, but they are not guaranteed equal things. Why? Because the only way to provide that is to violate the actual human rights–property rights, in this case–of others.

As we look at the goals of the Educational Policies Commission, some may wonder what is so bad about programs like preschool and Headstart. They are specifically chosen for implementation because they achieve several Communist goals. For one thing, they remove the child from the influence of its parents. Under Communism there can be no authority but the state. Secondly, they put children, from the earliest ages, into government indoctrination centers.

So-called "sex education" is intended to instill a carnal mindset in youth, leading them to teen pregnancy, which typically leads to either abortions or being on the dole, reliant on the state. Either way, true principles are thrown out the window. Which principles? Self-control, abstinence, the purposes of sex beyond mere pleasure, the sanctity of life, and responsibility for one's actions.

The other goals give the state full control and facilitate the redistribution of wealth.

John Dewey's call for a synthesizing of all religions reflects the atheism of Humanism by implying that there is no actual truth, and that if religion is to be kept, it should either be transformed into a useful tool of the state or made completely irrelevant.

Hitler's book also includes a tacit admission that people will object to his idea of teaching children as little as possible by saying: "Yes, but the object of the amount that was learned was not simply to put a man in possession of a great deal of information later, but to train his power of intellectual absorption, and the thinking power, particularly the power of observation of the brain." He admits that this is true, but only "in part." We have been led so far astray from what actual education is, that many of us today would unfortunately agree with his assertions. While we could certainly decrease the burden of schoolchildren by eradicating all of the Communist indoctrination, and decrease the tax burden on parents by the associated decrease in funds required, we don't want to teach children as little as possible but instead return to "[training] his power of intellectual absorption." The true goal of education should be to teach children how to think and not what to think!
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