In the first part of this article we wrote about crimes committed by the educators against individual children. But these same educators are also guilty of crimes against the nation. Indeed, back in 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education produced its long-awaited and by now totally ignored report entitled "A Nation at Risk." It was chaired by David P. Gardner and included such prominent members as Nobel prize-winning chemist Glenn T. Seaborg; A. Bartlett Giamatti, President of Yale; Gerald Holton, Professor of Physics at Harvard; and Annette Y. Kirk, wife of conservative author Russell Kirk. The most famous statement in the report accused our educators of outright treason. It said:
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.
This harsh indictment was handed down 29 years ago, and the schools have only gotten worse. Dumbing down an entire nation is certainly a crime of such magnitude that it is barely understandable. What kind of Americans would have dreamed up such a plan and callously implemented it, knowing full well that it would undermine the nation’s economic and cultural health as well as inflict untold mental suffering on millions of Americans who are now adults trying to cope with the handicaps their schools gave them?
Six years later, on May 3, 1989, Secretary of Education Lauro Cavazos released the Education Department’s sixth annual report. The news was grim: The high-school dropout rate was up again; SAT and ACT scores were still far below their 1960s peak. The dropout rate in the schools of Washington, D.C. was 44.5 percent. Cavazos remarked quite bluntly:
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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)