For years I have been telling parents and educators that the kind of reading difficulties afflicting perfectly normal children in our schools today are being caused by the teaching methods and not by any defect in the children themselves. The educators have been telling us for years now that the reason why so many children are having problems learning to read is because of a learning disability they've been born with.
In fact, the official position of the federal government on this issue is summed up in the 1987 Report to the Congress of the Interagency Committee on Learning Disabilities which defined "Learning Disabilities" as follows (p. 222):
The 1850 edition of Noah Webster's Dictionary defines "rote" as: "To fix in memory by means of frequent repetition." That certainly is the essence of what we mean by rote memorization. My 1988 dictionary, however, defines "rote" as: "A fixed, mechanical way of doing something." That definition misses the mark of what memorization is all about. The true purpose of rote memorization in education is to create automaticity, so that, for example, when a child sees a letter or group of letters he or she automatically says the sounds. The child does not have to think about it. The response is automatic.
Repetition, in fact, is not only the easiest way to learn something, it often is the only way to learn something. Today's public educators, of course, look down on rote learning and consider it akin to a form of child abuse. Imagine, forcing a child to actually memorize something! They see rote learning as an old-fashioned teaching method associated with birch rods, dunce caps and other quaint paraphernalia of the strict, disciplinarian educational practices of the past.
Have you ever wondered why it was that for a couple of hundred years before the Founding of the United States, and for nearly two hundred years after the Founding of the United States the Bible was permitted, even encouraged to be taught in America’s schools? I think we all know the answer: parents and educators understood what the American Founders understood, that a true education was not just about developing smarts, talents, and skills that enable graduates to make a living — as important as that was and is — but about developing the moral wherewithal to apply these same smarts, talents, and skills in ways that bless rather than curse themselves, their families, their communities, and their nation.
The idea that there is little or nothing to be learned from "Old Dead Guys" is a pretty ridiculous notion. In the first place, everything we have today was built on their shoulders. They labored and toiled, they investigated and invented, they suffered and died. There is so much we can learn by studying their lives, because they experienced it all: from birth to adulthood to old age to the final journey into eternity.
The U.S. Department of Education has created the largest computerized database of personal information on American students ever gathered by any government in history. The exact personal and intimate facts in this database are outlined in the Student Data Handbook for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (NCES 94-303), released in 1994. Comprised of 228 pages plus about 100 pages of appendices, this handbook can be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Education. Send for your own copy and prepare to be appalled. Or just read this article and find out what to do.
Angry that his children's private school closed because most parents couldn't justify paying the government for public school and then paying again to send their children to private school, libertarian activist and attorney James Ostrowski responded to the closure by publishing a book Government Schools Are Bad for Your Kids: What You Need to Know, in which he gives the history of public education in America and the negative side-effects of such schooling.
In 1955, the most significant book about American education, Why Johnny Can't Read, by Rudolf Flesch, was published and caused quite a stir, rankling the entire education establishment. Now under the auspices of the federal government's Department of Education, education is no more better then it was back in 1955 — in fact it has worsened with students garnering lower test scores and the dumbing down of the curriculum, distorting truth and omitting key history.
Next to morality, The John Birch Society believes that education is the most important element of a free society. It is imperative that we see to it that the voice of parents in their children's education remains free and unabridged by government usurping, if liberty is to prosper. For it is only through education can there be a well-informed populous. With the help of God, education is the key to a better world. As Robert Welch, Founder of the John Birch Society, noted, "Education is our total strategy and truth is our only weapon."
This article first appeared as "An Excellent Project for All" by John F. McManus in the JBS Bulletin, July 2010.
In 2004, Congress enacted legislation requiring all publicly funded educational institutions to provide students with instruction about the U.S. Constitution. The law (Public Law 108-447) specified that it should be given on September 17, the date of the completion of the Constitution in 1787.
This week (week of July 26, 2010) Glenn Beck is featuring on his TV Show the radical manifesto from June 1969, "You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows." Here is an article from American Opinion, The John Birch Society's magazine from 1959 to 1985, "Who is Paying for the Student Revolutionary Movement" by Gary Allen, published in the November 1970 issue. This article is must reading for those following Beck's revelations about the Weathermen this week. It shows just how much financial support for the student radicals in the 1960s and 70s came from the American establishment, and how the revolutionary strategy then as now was "pressure from above, pressure from below."