The Education Reform Racket

By:  Sam Blumenfeld
The Education Reform Racket

Education reform in this country has essentially been a giant racket, deceiving the American people into thinking they are getting better education for the nearly $1 trillion spent in the last 50 years. But American children are worse off than they were before.

A “racket” according to my American Heritage Dictionary is “a dishonest business or practice, especially one that obtains money through fraud or extortion.” Extortion is defined as “an illegal use of one’s official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage.” The verb “to extort” means “to obtain from another by coercion or intimidation.” The word "extort" is derived from the Latin torquere, meaning “to twist,” as in twisting someone’s arm to gain compliance. The word “fraud” is another beauty. It is defined as “a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.” In other words, a fraud requires deception, and deception is a key strategy of the progressive movement.

Prior to the advent of the progressives in the early days of the last century, American educators were honest, conscientious public servants dedicated to the betterment of their young charges. Teaching was considered a sacred calling in which the future happiness of American children were in the hands of their educators. Public schools were controlled and funded by local citizens and the school house was considered a symbol of government integrity, patriotism, and concern for the children of the community. The public school was “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and parents were respected by the educators and vice versa.

But all of that changed in a slow process initiated by the progressives. It was started in 1898 by John Dewey who advocated a radical change in American primary education from its emphasis on literacy — reading and writing — to a new emphasis on socialization. He wrote in his essay, The Primary Education Fetich:

It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years. The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activities at this time. Thus language is not primarily the expression of thought, but the means of social communication.... If language is abstracted from social activity and made an end in itself, it will not give its whole value as a means of development.... It is not claimed that by the method suggested, the child will learn to read as much, nor perhaps as readily in a given period by the usual method. That he will make more rapid progress later when the true language interest develops ... can be claimed with confidence.

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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)

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