jump to navigation

Learning the Truth About Education December 3, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,

You can’t know what you don’t know, but you can know that you don’t know.  Knowing the difference is wisdom.  Realizing that knowledge is the cure for ignorance should be the inspiration for education.

If you want to change the future change the children.  It seems like every tin-pot dictator and every megalomaniac destroyer of worlds knows this.  The Progressives figured this out and they’ve been concentrating on it for generations.  The educational guru of the Left, John Dewey may not have coined the term Progressive Education but he has come to be recognized as its earliest and foremost exponent.

In 1889, in his book School and Society he said,”Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”  Dewey, a member of the first teacher’s union in New York City, and a founder of the American Association of University Professors was an early leader and advocate for these unions which have served America well as academic elevator operators in the descent into our 21st Century Blackboard Jungle.

The importance of education and the power it has to shape the future was a lesson Conservative Academics overlooked in their effort to allow all voices to be heard.  Remember, it was the Conservative educational leaders assailed in the 60s and 70s for being too rigid who hired the Liberals who now so often forbid the hiring of Conservatives.  The idea that in the marketplace of ideas all voices should be heard providing the opportunity for everyone to make informed decisions was one of the founding ideas of America, enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Conservatives didn’t realize the Left made a conscious effort to capture American education as a way of shaping America’s future.  The Frankfurt School, a group of Marxists educators who escaped Hitler’s Germany and worshipped Stalin’s Russia came to America intent on transforming this great nation from the bastion of freedom into the pyre of Western Civilization.  From their original lair at Columbia University they’ve inserted themselves throughout the colleges and universities of America spreading their cult of Political Correctness along the way.

Spreading like a cancer through the body politic, metastasizing from one area to another, Political Correctness strangles the life from our society.  Freedom of speech is slipping from our hands as words are eliminated and meanings are changed.  In our current culture war one position seen as a litmus test by both sides of the aisle is the elimination of the Department of Education.

This bureaucratic puzzle factory was birthed during Jimmy Carter’s failed presidency and it has grown larger and more pervasive ever since.  Today its tentacles reach from inside the beltway to inside the minds of millions.  Our government’s No Bureaucrat Left Behind strategy enforces a politically-correct homogenous drivel wherein teaching to the test has fostered a generation that can forget as quickly as they memorize and critical thinking is one component no one thought to include.

This systematic seizure of education by the central government has turned the premier educational establishment in the world into a system where an emphasis on self-esteem produces graduates who feel great about themselves but can’t read their diplomas.  Not surprisingly there are few jobs for people from schools where everyone gets a trophy and everyone passes.

Here’s the Progressive’s answer to this dilemma: let’s add mandatory service to mandatory education and maybe that will give us mandatory mediocrity. Perhaps an army of paid volunteers all marching in lock-step to the drumbeat from Washington will lead us to utopia.  Current member of President Obama’s economic team, former head of the Service Employee Union (SEIU) and former leader of Students for a Democratic Society Andy Stern has proposed that the Federal Government combat the effects of the centrally planned Great Recession by creating a youth work program.

This man who drove the SEIU pension plan into insolvency figures that, “Assuming an average annual cost of $15,000 per person, for just $46.5 billion we could offer every 16 to 24 year old who wanted a job a national service opportunity.”   After twelve years of memorizing the inconvenient absurdities of Al Gore, Michael Moore, and the rest of the politically-correct wisdom from Mount Olympus this stint in a renamed Civilian National Security Force should help round out just the kind of citizens the regime needs.

The take-over of higher education through the direct loan program and its top down restructuring will eventually decide who gets loans and who has to repay them.  Surprisingly, the who gets and the who pays may not end up being the same who.

In addition, the “let’s get everyone in college so they aren’t counted as unemployed” program is turning the halls of Academe into a post-secondary version of the dysfunctional high schools the Progressive teachers’ unions and political correctness have birthed from inner city to the heartland.  Criminal Justice programs filled with criminals, political science classes filled with people who don’t vote, discipline problems, and gangs make one hope the home-schooling college of online education will turn out some scholars for the future.

So what’s the answer to America’s educational problems?  First of all close down the Department of Education and get the Federal government out of the people programming business.  Reassert local control.  Adopt school voucher programs that actually transfer the money so the schools doing the best job get the most resources.  End tenure, seniority, and anything else that protects ineffective teachers.

What we don’t need is more central planning, more federal control, or one more brick in the wall.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  Get the latest dispatches from the History of the Future and find books by Dr. Owens @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

It’s Easy Being Critical September 4, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

With the Not Ready for Prime Time Players holding court in the White House and the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight in Control of Congress it is easy to be critical. However, as our beloved Republic drinks the dregs of the Grapes of Wrath in this, the Season of our Discontent, being critical is not enough. Those of us who believe in limited government, free enterprise and personal liberty need to offer an alternate vision of the future or the Progressive who are seeking to prove that the only problem with all former attempts at a regimented collectivist corporate state was that they weren’t the ones implementing the 5 year plan will win by default.
First we must honestly assess our situation.
The American economy was been derailed by a combination of over regulation, over taxation and crony capitalism’s casino mentality. Since the congressionally mandated housing bubble collapsed dragging the phantom investments of the cronies to the casino floor the bureaucrats who mandated the mess have been in charge of cleaning it up. As a result a cyclical recession which according to the precedent of history should have been over in 14 months (May, 09) has been successfully stretched out for 29 months and counting.
In foreign affairs there is military side and the diplomatic. Militarily, our pre-emptive war in Iraq continues no matter what they call it. Afghanistan is swirling down the drain after the Commander-in-Chief decided it was a good strategy to announce his planned withdrawal date while showcasing the implementation of a surge. Our all volunteer military has performed valiantly and brilliantly however, no matter how sharp or strong the point of a spear is it is only as effective as the person wielding the weapon. Diplomatically, our President bows to foreign leaders, insults our friends and is seen as weak and ineffective by our enemies. Even the European socialists who provide the models for his vision of America and who added their voices to his choir back when he was the Progressive messiah have lately lost their enthusiasm for a leader of the free world who is leading them from the first world to the second.
Culturally, the peace, love and egotism of the boomers continue to plunge America into a cesspool of licentiousness and vanity. The culture of death has progressed from abortion to euthanasia. The celebrity worship has progressed from the adulation of actors and artists to the cult of reality TV where people are now famous for being famous. Our education system, once the envy of the world; produces high school graduates who can’t read their own diplomas, our institutions of higher learning are the bastions of anti-Americanism and Marxist thought, and teachers unions demand more for delivering less.
In an essay-sized capsule these are three major areas that need to be addressed. We know from experience the Progressive’s knee-jerk answer, bigger government, more taxes, more regulations and a continued surrender of America’s position as the world’s sole super-power. What are the alternatives? Or to answer the question the best wife in the world keeps asking, “What can we do?”
Economically: If the TARP funds had been used to buy up the toxic assets as we were told they would be when the Bush Progressives rammed that boondoggle through the toxic assets would now be a memory instead of the sword hanging over our heads. A national income tax holiday for sixty days would have cost less than the failed stimulus that is in reality a slush fund for the Progressive’s major contributors. Let people keep the money they earn in their pockets and they will spend us out of this recession. Allowing us to drill for oil on land in our own country where we have massive untapped reserves and where the technology makes it the safest instead of fifty miles out and a mile down would have eased if not ended our dependence on others and kept hundreds of billions of dollars at home. Equal trade instead of a mythical free trade would keep us competitive in our own market, keep jobs at home and preserved if not expanded our industrial base. An announcement right now that the government was going extend the Bush tax cuts, not impose any more anti-free enterprise regulations or seize any more corporations would promote growth and provide jobs immediately.
Diplomatically; stop insulting our friends and embracing our enemies, stop branding our own States as human rights abusers for trying to protect themselves from an invasion the Federal Government is not only allowing but through their own inaction and policies encouraging. In short, stop bowing and stand up for America! Militarily; you can never end a pre-emptive war too soon. In Afghanistan, we should have gone in, cleaned out the Al Qaeda rat’s nest and squashed the feudal state of the Taliban then left with the promise, “Do it again and we’ll do it again.” Instead we have stayed for one more example that nation-building in a nation that isn’t a nation doesn’t work. Declare victory and come home. Put the troops on the borders and make the homeland secure.
Culturally; this must all start at home. Families need to promote a culture of life instead of a culture of death, honor those to whom honor is due and begin to be the examples our young people deserve. Clean the schools out. End tenure. Provide school vouchers that actually move the funding to the schools people want to support. Offer vocational training to all the students who make it obvious they aren’t interested in intellectual pursuits. Teach American History that is inclusive and yet respectful of humanity’s greatest experiment in freedom and opportunity. Teach political science in such a way that students will gain an understanding of what limited government and personal liberty.
When you are bleeding to death the first thing you must do is stop the bleeding. When you are trapped in a hole the first thing you must do is stop digging. There are answers that encourage freedom and enhance liberty. There are answers that preserve our position and protect or independence. There are solutions to the problems which seem to be overwhelming us: let the free choices of the American people lead us back to economic prosperity, Jettison the Empire to save the Republic, and teach the truth.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

%d bloggers like this: