Recently I learned that long time economist Thomas Sowell is retiring from his position as a syndicated columnist. Curious, I flipped through an archive of his many columns and stumbled on one entitled Education: Then and Now, written in early 2006.
One paragraph in particular caught my eye. Like many of the older generation, Sowell notes that the education he received in the New York Public School system of the 1940s was stellar and well-rounded, a far cry from that experienced by children enrolled in the New York Public Schools of the late twentieth century:
“Some years ago, when I looked at the math textbooks that my nieces in Harlem were using, I discovered that they were being taught in the 11th grade what I had been taught in the 9th grade. Even if they were the best students around, they would still be two years behind — with their chances in life correspondingly reduced.”
Sowell’s words are reminiscent of those from another individual well-acquainted with the New York Public School system: former teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto. In his book, Dumbing Us Down, Gatto declares:
“Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric textbook from 1850 and you’ll see that the texts were pitched then on what would today be considered college level. The continuing cry for ‘basic skills’ practice is a smoke screen behind which schools preempt the time of children for twelve years….”
So why were the students of previous generations able to handle such difficult material? According to Gatto, the answer is simple: they didn’t have a school system which put every student in the same little box. Instead, children were encouraged to learn when they were ready and at the pace which they desired:
“[T]he truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these things – it really isn’t very hard.”
The investigations of Sowell and Gatto confirm what many Americans have long feared, namely, that the content in the classroom has been “dumbed down.”
But Gatto also hints at an interesting solution – which many of us never hear – when he suggests that the way out of this problem is to get children out of the institutional mode of schooling.
Do you think he’s on to something? Would we see a natural genius and a quest for learning spring out of many children if they were not consigned to a classroom and the learning level appropriated for their age?
Republished from Intellectual Takeout.
Annie is a research associate with Intellectual Takeout. In her role, she writes for the blog, conducts a variety of research for the organization’s websites and social media pages, and assists with development projects. She particularly loves digging into the historical aspects of America’s educational structure.
For one thing folks, educating children is detrimental to the UNITED STATES CORPORATION, and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INC. which surreptitiously pretends to be our National Government instead of a Republic. You see folks the last thing the Corporate Government wants is for the people to figure out that they have been scammed and converted to monetary assets from which the STOCK HOLDERS of the corporation are making a fortune, and that is just a minuscule of the methods they have in place to brain drain the people while constantly lowering their standard of living and being subjected to ever more STATUTES instead of Common Law.
The list of tyrannical control over our lives is nearly endless and getting worse every year. Take this to the bank folks, WE WILL NEVER IMPROVE EDUCATION UNTIL WE GET RID OF THE CORPORATE GOVERNMENT AND RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! There is one lady who has detailed all of this information on the method of governance (Anna von Reitz ) and there is one man who has unraveled their financial manipulation (http://cafr1.com/ ) So instead of just complaining, go to these two sites and see for your self how we have been screwed and how to return to honest governance.
Only a fool is sure of anything. A wise man (or woman) keeps guessing and keeps learning, especially via reading!
Frank Li, Ph. D.