Establishment Mouthpiece: American Public Education is a “Failure”

In the United States, nothing marks you as an Establishment figure more than membership in the Council on Foreign Relations. Its membership roster is littered with former presidents, cabinet members, corporate CEOs, and the like. Its research arm continually publishes proposals for world government and all sorts of things that would centralize political power.

It seems (but only seems) like the CFR has now paused momentarily from its globalist agenda to note that tax-funded education in the United States has turned into a big flop. Its new report, “U.S. Education Reform and National Security,” contains quite a few doozies about American “educational failure.” Here are some findings from the report:

  • More than 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school in four years; for African-American and Hispanic students, this number is approaching 40 percent.
  • In civics, only a quarter of U.S. students are proficient or better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • Although the United States is a nation of immigrants, roughly eight in ten Americans speak only English and a decreasing number of schools are teaching foreign languages.
  • A recent report by ACT, the not-for-profit testing organization, found that only 22 percent of U.S. high school students met “college ready” standards in all of their core subjects; these figures are even lower for African-American and Hispanic students.
  • The College Board reported that even among college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards, meaning that more college students need to take remedial courses.

If that doesn’t ruin your day, the CFR’s recommendation to “remedy” this problem is to move toward a national curriculum that can be rammed down everyone’s throats (see, they managed to make an argument for more centralization out of this). There’s a nod to “enhanced choice and competition,” which probably means they’d like to see more charter schools, but not real competition.

About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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3 Responses to Establishment Mouthpiece: American Public Education is a “Failure”

  1. worldtake says:

    I think that parents need to be held responsible for this. Having televisions as faux parents dumbed down our generations, along with subsequent ones and now the twittering, texting and video game explosion has increased the shrinking of the world brain exponentially.
    If parents started receiving fines — kid gets an F $50. — for their kids poor grades then maybe they would stop them from using any of that junk until their grades improve. Teachers and schools are not the problem. Teachers, for the most part, cannot motivate children to learn. That must come from the home. Another thing:
    Kids can have fun in school, but learning to read, write and do math is hard work and is not fun.
    My marital arts master put it like this:
    “Mastery of anything that is worth learning takes lots of repetition of tasks that are difficult and not fun”.

    • Dr. J says:

      Ross, the breakdown of the home is surely a big factor in the decline in education over the last 50 years (the TV babysitter and latchkey kid are primarily the results of single parenthood). However, the teacher unions and school boards have been saying for decades that the problems can be solved if we just devoted more “resources” (money) to the schools. We’ve done that, spending far more per pupil in real terms than we used to (the lion’s share of the tax burden at the state and local level in most places is for education), but the problems remain and in many cases have gotten worse. These people can’t have it both ways. What exactly are the schools responsible for? If they can’t do their jobs, regardless of the reason, why not radically restructure them or just shut them down?

  2. worldtake says:

    I agree that just throwing more money at our schools will not solve the problem any more than having semi-illiterate parents home-school their children could.
    The problem as I see it is that our twelve-grade school system has been faulty since its inception, when the shakers and movers of industry designed the idea of replacing the very functional one–room school that most (non-elite) Americans received their education before the twelve-grade system was devised — a system that turns out a new set of graduates each year to fill the jobs of industry (when there is not a bust that is – then these graduates can fill the unemployment lines and the homeless shelters).
    The “twelve grade” system is based on the thoroughly unnatural idea that people should be grouped together by age — unlike other mammals, we don’t have liters. I maintain that it is this that has been the major source of intelligence and more importantly, wisdom loss in our country and our world. Before the inception of this vile system, one-room schools reflected the reality of the conjugal family. Children of all ages worked together in one room, with the older kids expected to help the younger ones. People actually interacted with others who were not in their “class.”
    In the one-room classroom what was learned actually stayed in their heads — when a student receives information from a lecture, it is likely to go in one ear and out the other, but if that same student teaches that same information to another, the information will be retained for a lifetime.
    And, why does this system cause a loss of wisdom? Where does wisdom come from? If it comes at all, it certainly does not flow from others your same age, but from those who have lived and experienced life. If you only communicate with those from your group — your “class”, the acquisition of wisdom is unlikely. Thus the neoconservatives.

    That being said, because of industry, this is the system we have and while piling unlimited amounts of money on it won’t make our kids smarter, taking money away from it won’t either. Only a fundamental change, could begin to help.
    I am not optimistic.

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