Thomas Sowell – An Educator Speaks About Education

An Excellent Spirit reads what Thomas Sowell writes. In his latest Townhall column,  Professor Sowell takes a look at teachers and what they are teaching our children. “Many years ago, as a young man, I read a very interesting book about the rise of the Communists to power in China. In the last chapter, the author tried to explain why and how this had happened. Among the factors he cited were the country’s educators. That struck me as odd, and not very plausible, at the time. But the passing years have made that seem less and less odd, and more and more plausible. Today, I see our own educators playing a similar role in creating a mindset that undermines American society.”

An Excellent Spirit has written about the sad state of American education and what can be done about it. Here and here. For a complete list of our articles on education, go here.

Sowell, one of the most sought after professors at Stanford, knows whereof he speaks. He has been in academia most of his celebrated life. He points out that schools, from the founding of the Republic, were considered our most important institution to teach our children our history and the knowledge they would need to understand and perpetuate the Republic. “Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas. Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System that allows school libraries to function could have stopped with that most helpful contribution, but he was interested in something more sinister. “John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.”

Dewey knew that teachers were by and large disaffected liberal ideologues. He was one and Columbia University was a hotbed of radicalism and anti-American fervor. Dewey and his ilk, by then strongly ingrained in the educational academia took advantage of the coming power of teacher’s unions to seal the deal and totally dominate and pervert the American Educational System, from top to bottom. The results have been catastrophic. An Excellent Spirit has written on the sad state of our children’s and grandchildren’s education. Here. We have reported on the awful fall in the ranking of our children’s quality of education and the concomitant fall in their ability to compete in the job market with now better educated foreign students. The actual ratings are appalling. Geographic.org publishes its rankings shown here. There are many other rankings from many other sites. One thing they all agree on it that The United States of America no longer leads the world in educating our children. In fact as the Geographic.org report shows, we rank far down the list in all three disciplines. Our “three R’s” have become three X’s.

There are many Internet sites available for our readers to make sure their children learn about our heritage and the values that made America strong and a leader in the world these last 225 years. One such site is WallBuilders, David Barton’s anointed, fearless Christian organization that does yeoman work in standing for education and educational curriculae across America. David has written several books An Excellent Spirit highly recommends: The Jefferson Lies and America’s Godly Heritage are two essentials. Go there and purchase books, videos and David’s writings. Every child should read The Light and The Glory, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. This book was published in 1980 and has been a beacon of truth and facts about the founding of the United States and what our Founding Fathers intended.

WallBuilders Founder and CEO David Barton

Back to Thomas Sowell. “A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country. If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book. That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.”  As assigned reading, as part of the academic curriculae in America, any book can become a best seller. When students must read and are tested on the content, it sticks in their minds. When their professors, teachers and aides recommend and laud these books, a climate is created. When that climate is repeated year after year. You get the results that American education is getting.

Sowell himself is the author of over 30 books, innumerable articles and papers. He was educated at Harvard, Columbia and University of Chicago. He is one of our foremost authors, economists, philosophers and social theorists. Here

Thomas Sowell concludes his article, “This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years. Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?” Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.” Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. In France between the two World Wars, the teachers’ union decided that schools should replace patriotism with internationalism and pacifism. Books that told the story of the heroic defense of French soldiers against the German invaders at Verdun in 1916, despite suffering massive casualties, were replaced by books that spoke impartially about the suffering of all soldiers — both French and German — at Verdun. Germany invaded France again in 1940, and this time the world was shocked when the French surrendered after just 6 weeks of fighting — especially since military experts expected France to win. But two decades of undermining French patriotism and morale had done their work.

American schools today are similarly undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally. If there were nuclear attacks on American cities, how long would it take for us to surrender, even if we had nuclear superiority — but were not as willing to die as our enemies were?” Emphasis ours.

Thank you, Thomas Sowell for saying what needed to be said. In this desperate time of Fiscal Cliff’s and Taxmageddons. With the threat of war, nuclear war and cyberspace abyss staring all of us in the face, there are voices that the American people can trust, thinkers and truth tellers. In order to know what America should do, its citizens must first understand the times in which we live, the threats to our liberties and safety and those who would harm our families. Thomas Sowell is an “Essential”. Stay tuned.

Update: New Gallup Poll-Public Education Really Bad Deal For Kids

An Excellent Spirit has posted again and again on the state of our children’s education in America. Here is our first post four days after we began this blog. Click on education and you can review all our posts on education.

Now Gallup, one of America’s most trustworthy polling groups has confirmation of everything we have been saying. Look at the poll for yourself. Gallup’s sub-head should tell you a lot. “Public schools score lowest in terms of perceived education quality” Read the whole thing. America has more than just the economy and our foreign policy to consider when we vote. We have our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to consider. Remember in November! And VOTE!

How To Be Informed On The Issues

An Excellent Spirit intended to discuss alternative sources to the Mainstream Media with its readers before now. Every day since we began, there was always hard news that our readers needed to know about. With the nominating conventions of both major political parties beginning today with the Republican National Convention and continuing next week with the Democratic National Convention, we know that Americans will be at the mercy of the tsunami of spin, obfuscation and lies told by practiced liars to an extent that will be unprecedented in America to date.

Americans have many questions and issues they want information about. Unfortunately, most of those questions Americans are left to answer for themselves. It is almost impossible to believe that the People will get answers from the “lamestream media” that only has eyes (and favorable print) for President Obama. How are Americans to get answers to their questions? Where can the People get trustworthy information? How hard is it to get it and how much time will that take? These are but a few of the obstacles Americans face today.

An Excellent Spirit has a few suggestions. First, believe almost nothing you read in the major print media or see on major networks, especially from those who are paid to have an opinion. The truth about the pundits and so-called “experts” is that they are professionals who work for their publishers. Those publishers hire editors who assign stories on issues and personalities, then edit them so they turn out the way the publisher (who is paying for them) wants them. Our second suggestion is that you run, fast from and don’t stop to look back at anyone who tells you that our first suggestion is false or really not necessary. He or she is lying and will mislead you, over and over, in favor of their candidate or narrative.

Next, An Excellent Spirit strongly recommends that you develop 5 to 10 Internet websites devoted to reporting news and significant events, together with their commentaries, analysis and opinions on major issues. These sources should include a reliable and authoritative “traditional”, neutral news site like the Wall St. Journal online, a middle of the road organization that has a history of somewhat courageous reporting. Then get a Solid “progressive” news site. We recommend the Washington Post – they seem a little less strident in their “progressive orthodoxy” and possibly less full of Kool-Aid. Finally get a “right” site for balance. Conservative online sites like the Weekly Standard or National Review or The Washington Times are good choices.

Once you are through with that, you’re about a quarter of the way where you must to be to rely upon your information as being comprehensive and up to the task. You have to be able to evaluate information and the many competing sources so you are in position to weigh the information for accuracy and credibility as do the blogs and their sources. An Excellent Spirit confidently recommends such blogs as The Drudge Report, a pioneer in the blogosphere, Instapundit (Prof Glenn Harlan Reynolds), possibly the best and most trustworthy blog, Brietbart.com, the website of the late Andrew Brietbart that has as much, if not more influence after his untimely death this March, Pajamas Media and PJ Tatler both interesting and reliable sites run by Roger Simon, an experienced, professional who is a central figure in more than a few blogs with wide readership.  Then, try Real Clear Politics, a middle of the road compiler of articles, opinions and information on a wide variety of political subjects.

We also suggest our readers read from the following sites as often as possible: Daily Caller, Politico Daily Digest, Front Page Magazine and Discover the Networks (David Horowitz) and our favorites Jonathan Garthwaite (Townhall.com) and Jewish World Report. Each of these gems carries a wide variety of columns and authoritative reports. Where else can you get Thomas Sowell, David Horowitz, George Friedman of Stratfor, Bill O’Reilly, Mike Brown, Mike Adams and others (Townhall) and Clifford May, Vince Gaffney, Victor Davis Hanson, Larry Elder and a cast of Jews and Gentiles with an occasional Hindu or Muslim thrown in (JWR)? Read these two and you are getting a lot of reliable information against which to test the rest of what is out there.

As you continue, you will add sites and blogs that are necessary for your research. An Excellent Spirit relies on the Volokh Conspiracy and Legal Insurrection (law professors Eugene Volokh and William H. Jacobson) for legal issues, Judicial Watch for Freedom of Information (FOIA) and chronicles of government corruption, The Rubin Report for news on the Middle East, Israel, Iran and foreign policy issues across the board. To these, we try to read more than occasionally Accuracy in Media, Trevor Louden’s New Zeal Blog and Godfather Politics. Finally sites like The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute have been reliable for so long that they are often overlooked as what they publish is so universally relied upon as to make some feel they do not have to go there. That is a mistake. Go there and get what they say on the issue you are interested in. Nobody does it better than these venerable institutions.

We said all this to tell you that completing this tour of the blog/media/website world will take you up to about 65% of the information out there. An Excellent Spirit relies upon and recommends each of these to our readers. The sources that you will ultimately develop from your continuing interaction will result in you being well informed almost 100% of the time, as long as you do not stray too far afield.

Recent Presidential Elections and decades of congressional elections have proved beyond peradventure that depending on the traditional media for information is often a misleading slog through the dark, manipulated and mendacious waters of politics, parties and wealthy, connected egos for anyone seeking truth and facts. Too often the result is that critical, even significant qualifying facts are overlooked in the media uproar that some devious interest orchestrates for cover or, worse, self-interest.

One of the most murderous leaders in history once said, “the journey of a thousand miles is begun with a single step.” An Excellent Spirit hopes that our readers will begin the long march to the sweet, fresh air of freedom before it is too late. God bless America.

US Education: No Good Options For Those Who Need It Most

Americans have no jobs. Especially African Americans.

The issue of getting better jobs is linked to better education. This, from Walter E. Williams is a scathing attack on the US Department of Education. Many have called for its disbanding. Williams is unmistakable in his condemnation (Link) “If I were a Klansman, wanting to sabotage black education, I couldn’t find better allies than education establishment liberals and officials in the Obama administration, especially Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who in March 2010 announced that his department was “going to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement.”

Walter Williams says what only he can say, “Some of today’s black political leaders are around my age, 76, such as Reps. Maxine Waters, Charles Rangel, John Conyers, former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, Jesse Jackson and many others. Ask them what their parents would have done had they cursed, assaulted a teacher or engaged in disruptive behavior that’s become routine in far too many schools. Would their parents have accepted the grossly disrespectful public behavior that includes foul language and racial epithets? Their silence and support of the status quo represent a betrayal of epic proportions to the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors in their struggle to make today’s education opportunities available.” Wow! Read the whole thing.

An Excellent Spirit has posted on Walter E. Williams before. Here and here are two examples.

What Would The Founding Fathers Think?

 An Excellent Spirit was given this anointed, accurate and inspired book, What Would the Founding Fathers Think? A Young American’s Guide to Understanding What Makes Our Nation Great and How We’ve Strayed, by its author, David Bowman, who we met for the first time at the Under God Indivisible Leadership Conference three weeks ago. We have been reading it while doing our posting and editing. We finished and, with apologies to the author (and God) for the delay, An Excellent Spirit recommends it highly!

What Would the Founding Fathers Think? will make a great gift for your children, from pre-teens to twenties, even beyond. When I grew up schools educated students extensively on US History, from the early settlers in Plymouth, Jamestown and New York. We were also schooled at length on European History, especially as to its affect on America. It was an article of faith for our children to know and be proud of our heritage, our nation and our history. Today, it sadly is the case that the politically correct and revisionism history textbooks have placed our children in the position of not knowing what they need to know to succeed. What Would the Founding Fathers Think? is a readable, fast moving, brilliantly written and illustrated work that will start your children on the road to partiotic citizenship in the Greatest Nation on the earth (Aside from Israel).

Buy a copy for the young people you know. Then recommend it to your church and your friends. Give a copy to your church, your homeschooling friends, everyone you can think of! What Would the Founding Fathers Think? is a first class work, what An Excellent Spirit likes to call a “keeper”. Here is the website and contact information for the book and for David Bowman, an obviously talented writer and artist.  

An Excellent Spirit anticipates posting from the book and plan to make use of David’s wonderful illustrations in the coming weeks and months. For now, we express a heart felt “well done, good and faithful servant” to David Bowman for this book! It is always exciting to meet and fellowship with a believer who is trying to take our nation back. To God!  What Would the Founding Fathers Think? is at the top of our Best Books List. It should be on yours. Order it and buy it, you will like it!

Full disclosure: The first and only time we met David Bowman, we talked for 5-10 minutes. He gave me a copy of his book. I have received one email from him since. An Excellent Spirit is a fan of the book and looks forward to working with its author in the future.

Our Children’s Education And The Deficit

We have reported on the sad state of our children’s education. (Link) (Link)  Now comes this claim by Jack Kelly in Jewish World Review “If our kids learned as much in school as Canadian kids do, we’d increase our gross domestic product by about $50 trillion over the next 80 years, estimates Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution.” Kelly writes that the increase would be enough to wipe out our $1.2 trillion deficit!

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University is a most prestigious school. They note how far our children’s education has fallen: “Not so many years ago, our schools were the best in the world. But in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s rankings in 2010, the United States was 17th in reading, 22nd in science, 29th in math. In every other OECD country, 25- to 34-year-olds are better educated than 55- to 64 year-olds. But not in the United States. Today we lead the world only in how much we spend per pupil.” Read the whole thing.

What is America to believe? What if what we read here is right?  Our children are our most important resource, as individuals and as a nation. This article makes the point that the fault is with our system and the teacher’s unions. Maybe we had better start listening. We might even get out of debt in the process of getting our children a good education.

Thanks for the head’s up, Mr. Kelly!

 

American Gulags: Academia’s Re-education Of Our Children

An Excellent Spirit believes it is tragic that each year we parents send our children to American Gulags. We begin in September and deliver our children to academia’s socialist, “progressive”, anti-Christian, anti- everything that made America great and prosperous “schools” in early June. This, from Mike Adams in Townhall.com would be humorous, if it were not tragically accurate. (Link)

“In one week, it starts all over again. Thousands of young people will enroll in classes in the sixteen-campus University of North Carolina system. Before the first day of class is over, the professors and administrators will begin the assault on students and their Judeo-Christian values. Parents will have spent their entire lives saving money that will ultimately be used to turn their children against them. Students will unlearn everything they were taught about the foundations of liberty, the basis of morality, and will even begin questioning the very existence of truth. Before long, many parents will realize they have risked bankruptcy funding a legacy of intellectual and moral impoverishment.

I realized the situation was bad when a military officer wrote me a few years ago. While he was off serving his country, his twin teenaged girls were enrolling at Rice University. During “O” week, Rice orientation week, their orientation leader told them it was time to “experiment with their sexual liberty” now that they were off at college and away from their parents. The military officer was outraged over the incident – as he should have been. More parents would be outraged if only they were paying attention.”

Read the whole thing. If American parents do not know the truth, neither we nor our children will remain free. Mike Adams has a humorous, but authoritative way of telling us how the academic culture really operates and affects our children. Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” On Campus. He writes serious and frequently hilarious columns in Townhall.com. An Excellent Spirit also recommends these recent Townhall pieces by Professor Mike. Read them, we bet you will like them:

Link Link and Link

The Disillusion Of Our Youth

An Excellent Spirit has posted about the uncertain future and the anxiety that our youth face today. Whether the subject is the abysmal state of the educational system that now un-prepares them for job, marriage, children and career (Link), or an economy that teaches debt as a way of life and bondage, it is as if we have abandoned our youth. Many, of today’s young people contemplate a future that promises grim economic impossibilities to pay off trillions in student loans, sub-standard education that has little value in the “no-jobs market” our youth are forced into or the limited prospects that today have almost a third of those under 30 moved back into their parent’s house. We have left our children a hard, if not impossible, future.  (Link)

This article from Jewish World Review by Robert J. Samuelson Link has more to say on the subject. “It is an axiom of American folklore that every generation should live better than its predecessors. But this is not a constitutional right or even an entitlement, and I am skeptical that today’s young will do so. Nor am I alone. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll finds that nearly 60 percent of Americans are also doubters. I meet many parents who fear the future that awaits their children.” If we, their parents see things like this, how do you imagine our youth see their future? Read the whole thing.

Samuelson says that the damage, despair and disillusionment while tragic, has not yet reached its zenith. “In a Pew survey last year, a quarter of 18-to-34-year-olds said they’d moved back with parents to save money. Getting a job has been time-consuming and often futile. In July, the unemployment rate among 18-to-29-year-olds was 12.7 percent. Counting people who dropped out of the labor market raises that to 16.7 percent, says Generation Opportunity, an advocacy group for the young. Among recent high-school graduates, unemployment rates are near half for African Americans, a third for Hispanics and a quarter for whites, notes the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.”

The contentious, partisan and less than credible atmosphere that pervades almost every institution upon which our youth have traditionally relied has driven most Americans to pessimism (Link) Nevertheless, it is not all negative. In fact, our youth may well be more positive than we parents. (Link) (Link)

It is clear is that our institutions have failed our youth. They sought to offer what they could  not deliver at these once great, now pretentious and failing establishments. Our elected and appointed representatives have enacted policies that will not leave this generation better off than we were by our parents. America must change that. The only path that An Excellent Spirit can see is that we, all of us, all of our generations, must trust our young people and trust God! 

Our older generations can pray, give advice, counsel and fellowship. They are the past. We, the parents must equip, inspire and encourage our children. We are the present. We must be with our children in these tough times with everything we have to give.  We must all get behind our young people. They are the future. Of our families and of America.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) We must trust our youth, trust their destiny, trust their integrity and trust GOD! Our generations may have let them down. God never will!

More On the Sad State of Our Children’s Education

“Americans have been investing more and more in education over the years, led by presidents Democratic and Republican. But it’s become glaringly clear that we’re getting a pretty lousy return on these investments.”

That quote from a recent article by Michael Barone, describes the problem to a T. The ratings of education by countries confirms the fact and demonstrates just how bad things really are. The US educational system used to lead the world. Today our children are being educated (mis-educated?) in a system that barely cracks the top 25!

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that our graduates can find little more than menial work upon graduation, and more and more of our children are moving back in with us and that their anger, despair and confusion grows daily.

It has become so noticeable that California, that bastion of all things intellectual, liberal and just plain weird, has published a study that really condemns our educational system. Parents who are concerned (we all love our children) and see the need to do more than pay, pay and pay some more for poor results, even after our children work hard, should read the whole thing. Read Barone’s article as well.

There are no easy fixes, but we are paying and our children are not getting results. It is time we became informed and sought reasons and solutions. These two pieces are a start.

Our Childrens Education in Peril

The state of American education is more than lamentable. We have a Higher Education Bubble some say is about to burst, sending our colleges and universities into bankruptcy. What can be worse than the fact that our young people who conform to the system and get degrees cannot find the jobs we promised they would qualify for? Then there is the intolerable burden of student loans-a scandalous trillion dollar bubble that may bring down our fragile economy. To this we add the awful test scores of our children in elementary education and the detestable curricula that we foist upon our unsuspecting children while hiding it from their parents. Can anyone doubt that it is long past the time when we, the People must take note of the fact that our world education ratings have fallen from the very top (USA was # 1, for decades) to the high teens of mediocrity, where they currently reside.

In this climate An Excellent Spirit asks how has this happened?

This, from Kyle Olson, Founder and CEO of Education Action Group Foundation, a non-partisan non-profit organization with the goal of promoting sensible education reform and exposing those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo might provide some causes.

An Excellent Spirit knows you care about your children. We recommend this article and that we join in prayer and increased participation and vigilance. That is what we, the People must do for our children. Article Article 

 

Higher Ed, THERE IS HOPE!

An Excellent Spirit will always attempt to do more than criticize or state the negative, even when the negative dominates. In higher education there is hope for parents and, especially students.

These are several institutions that merit careful mention and consideration:

Hillsdale College, http://www.hillsdale.edu/ , Grove City College (Pa.) http://www.gcc.edu/, Liberty University (Va.) http://www.liberty.edu/ , Patrick Henry College (Va.) http://www.phc.edu/ , and Regent University (Va.) http://www.regent.edu/ and The Kings University(Calif.) www.kingsuniversity.edu/, now with a campus opening this year at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas http://gatewaypeople.com/registrations/kings-university-gateway-launch-reception

Many of these excellent institutions have distance learning so your children can get an undergraduate degree, even a graduate degree, on line. Most of them are more affordable than the secular institutions that have failed to educate at least two generations of our children.

An Excellent Spirit has either been associated with these institutions in some way or has had family member(s) who have attended one or more of those listed. We cannot recommend each one more confidently. They are truly, each of them, a provision from God for His people.