Most voters today no longer remember a time when the tenets of “progressive education” were not part of their everyday lives. It no longer seems strange to the average parent, for example, that what once gave America its cohesiveness, as well as its economic and cultural “edge” over other countries, is largely missing from the school environment and curriculum.

The parents of the Baby Boomers reacted too late once they started noticing the disappearance of “a common body of knowledge … that common group of heroes and villains, images and values, of which national spirit is born,” as the late historian Henry Steele Commager described it. In its place came a leftist mix of progressivism and psychology, eventually marketed as “functional literacy.” Today, this psychologized progressivism has impacted every facet of society. Having been institutionalized in classrooms, and passed along to society via newspapers and newscasts, popular magazines, entertainment, and the arts, it is taking on new life in the voting booth.

This is the sixth segment in a series on K-12 education.  Although John Dewey, the originator of “progressive education,” defied most of the cultural, moral, and economic norms of his era, his message nevertheless somehow mainstreamed its way into K-12 schools nationwide. Dewey characterized himself as a “democratic socialist.” Over the years, his writings increasingly underscored an aversion to the free-market system; an abhorrence of religion, especially Christianity; a distaste for educational basics such as reading and writing; and finally, in 1928, an admiration for Soviet schooling — for the creation of what he called a “collectivistic mentality.” Given the traditionalistic norms of the 1920s and 30s, the likelihood of his affecting a sea change in education seemed about as likely as the United States replacing the Constitution with Shariah law. Then again, strange things happen, and not usually by chance.

Throughout Dewey’s voluminous writings, two themes recur: that education and learning are interactive processes, which had some basis, and that the school itself is a social institution through which social reform can and should take place, which paved the way for political opportunists.

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History reveals a bias against two icons of Americans: Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson. The "Race: Are We So Different?" display — developed by the American Anthropological Association — takes what the museum’s website calls “an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.”

Visitors to the museum first encounter a five-minute video at the front of the hall, in which a number of controversial assertions are made: for example, that Christopher Columbus “colonized and conquered” the native Indians, and that Thomas Jefferson (as shown in the presentation, left) was merely a racist “slaveholder.”

The narrator of the video asserts:

Race is a powerful idea that was invented by society.

Officials in Michigan have finally ended a lucrative scam: attending college and collecting food stamps on the grounds of need. College kids in Michigan have been cheating the taxpayers by claiming they were too poor to buy food.

No longer. The Detroit News reported on Monday that Human Service Director Maura Corrigan has tossed 30,000 college students off the food dole, which will save the state $75 million annually.

Naturally, food stamp devotees want as many college students on the program as possible. But almost everyone, including Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Mayor of Detroit, knows that using food stamps while in college is a scam on the taxpayers.

FreedomProject Education, the educational arm of the American Opinion Foundation, responded to requests by parents and teachers to create a curriculum that provides “a classical education in the tradition of America’s Founders.” On September 6, the FreedomProject will be launching its online curriculum through FreedomProject Education for students in grades 9 through 12.

Alan Scholl, Executive Director of FreedomProject, explains,

Each student will be an educated citizen who is well-prepared to maintain our God-given freedom. Our curriculum will teach students how to reason, discern, and decide. Clearly, this is missing in today’s education efforts as parents and teachers are clamoring for our materials, which they cannot get elsewhere.

According to the FreedomProject Education website, “FPE is the culmination of the principles for which our founding fathers stood, taught and delivered in a cutting-edge online learning environment.”

Pro-gay groups have turned to a popular children’s television show to push their agenda further: Sesame Street. Following New York state’s legalization of same-sex marriage, some "progressive" (formerly called "liberal") groups are feeling emboldened and have now advocated Sesame Street to push the envelope further. Change.org is asking Sesame Street to find a way for Bert and Ernie to “tastefully” tie the knot. Change.org, an advocate of “social change,” has posted a petition on its website for the creators of Sesame Street to hold a same-sex marriage for Bert and Ernie in a “tasteful way.” The petition reads:

 

Now that children in New York are learning that a couple named Bruce and Trevor can “marry,” they’re going to learn the fine art of unrolling condoms and using contraceptive foam.

That’s the latest from leftist Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New York, where the Department of Education has mandated that all school children get sex education rammed down their throats, regardless of parents' objections. Furthermore, he’s aiming the program at blacks and “Latinos,” whom he has singled out for special help, along with leftist billionaire George Soros, with his “Young Men’s Initiative.”

Parents Have No Choice

According to the New York Times, the mandatory nature of the program merely reprises something the Empire State had done before. The curriculum is mandatory for middle- and high-school students and “includes lessons on how to use a condom.”

In September JBS affiliate FreedomProject Education will launch its online "21st Century Classical Education" for grades 9-12.

Three hundred sixty six years ago today a man was born who became one of history's foremost explorers of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. His name was Eusebio Francisco Kino, and a statue honoring his contributions to what became the state of Arizona now graces National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building. This little-known American hero began his life in the small town of Segno, Italy. He was educated in Austria, joined the Society of Jesus in 1665, and departed as a missionary for Mexico in 1678. For the next 33 years until his death in 1711, Father Kino dedicated his life to developing civilization in the uncharted wilderness of the new world.

 

The state of Wisconsin is seeking relief from the No Child Left Behind education reform law after the Obama administration announced it would permit states to receive waivers from the strict testing requirements under NCLB. In an announcement made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday, Duncan indicated that states would be allowed waivers if they utilize other accountability measures. Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers and Governor Scott Walker immediately jumped at the opportunity. They created a task force that represented a number of state education interests in order to find alternative accountability measures that would best suit Wisconsin’s interests.

According to Evers, No Child Left Behind, George W. Bush’s signature education law, is broken.

Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute concurs.  Citing a study conducted by Jaekyung Lee at Harvard in 2006 using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Coulson explains:

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