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10 Reasons You Can Homeschool - Reason 3: History of Public Education
Episode 318th April 2023 • Grace in Homeschool • AmyElizSmith
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3 : 10 Reasons You Can Homeschool - Reason 3: History of Public Education

I pray that if you desire to get your child out of the pragmatic government schools, you can do so.

Digging deep into the history of our public school system, Amy explains how denying absolute truths has turned into the complete reversal of basic truths. The educational system can do this because the groundwork for establishing the religion of secular humanism, influencing children with moral relativism, and completely changing the foundation of a liberal arts education has been detrimental to our American society.

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Transcripts

Amy:

Hi friends and welcome back.

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We are so excited to continue our series on the "Top Reasons

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Why You Can Homeschool."

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Today we're going to be talking about the public school system and

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how that is not for your child.

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We're gonna be going extensively into the history of public school, and

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this is just a summary of what the public school education looks like

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and how that can affect your child.

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In the 18th and 19th Centuries, students were educated at home or

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in small one-room schoolhouses.

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In the South, it was more spread out and there were less educational

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opportunities for poor whites and little to no opportunities for

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blacks who were still in slavery.

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Throughout the 19th Century, former enslaved persons were beginning

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to create their own schoolhouses.

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There were individual schoolhouse with a single teacher and often siblings,

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and many age groups learned together.

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In the Mid-19th Century, the US began establishing compulsory

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education for children.

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Horace Mann, who is often called the father of American education,

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was Secretary of Education in Massachusetts, and he pursued significant

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educational reform and wanted a unified curriculum to be established.

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Mann helped implement the first statewide public school system

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in Massachusetts in the 1830s.

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Education went from a foundational place of teaching, of moral values,

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and a structure of wisdom and liberal arts to becoming a place where the goal

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of socialization and secularization within a social society was pursued.

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John Dewey impacted this educational theory in the 1900's.

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He felt we must look ahead and not turn back to ideas of our past.

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This was an idea called pragmatism, and it turned away from classical thinking.

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Alberto Piedra writes in the "The Tragedy of American Education:

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The Role of John Dewey."

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He wrote, and I quote,

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"Dewey's ideal educational system lacked the teaching of basic academic skills,

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the respect for a teaching authority, and the belief in a moral order.

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Thus relativism takes its place and becomes the ethical norm of conduct."

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This influence then will perpetuate into all aspects of one's childhood

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and then on into adult life.

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And this new relativism or pragmatism will affect their choices and

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influence for things like medical care, nutrition, religion, one's

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own personal relationships.

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Christopher Dawson in "The Crisis of Western Civilization," reminds us that,

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and I quote, "In Dewey's view, our purpose for education is not the communication

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of knowledge, but the sharing of social experience so that the child shall become

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integrated into the democratic community.

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He believed that morals were essentially social and pragmatic, and that any attempt

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to subordinate education to transcendent values or dogmas ought to be resistant."

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R.C.

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Sproul in his book, "The Consequences of Ideas," noted that I quote "In

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carrying out pragmatist's program, John Dewey succeeded in revolutionizing

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our public school system."

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How Dewey framed these progressive educational theories as a means

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for social justice was rooted in Mann's actions in Massachusetts.

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Maintaining and enforcing a public school system, Dewey insisted, and I'm quoting

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" that concerns every citizen who cares for the establishment of a truly democratic

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way of life" and should be taken as seriously as Mann took it during his time.

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Now, Mann growing up in Massachusetts, which was his birthplace, and

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that was the common school was established in the 1600's..

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School Masters were paid by taking up a collection from each group

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of households where their children were going to be coming from.

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But Mann championed schools as foundational for democracy, and he often,

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and he's famous for this, riding around his State on horseback, implementing

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his ideals into these schools.

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An essential part of Mann's vision was that public schools

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should be for everyone.

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And that children of different class backgrounds should learn together.

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He pushed to draw wealthier students out of the private schools and

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established "normal schools" to train teachers and have the State

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take over charitable schools and increase taxes to pay for all of this.

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Now, he succeeded.

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By the early 20th Century, all States had free primary schools paid for by taxpayers

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that students were required to attend.

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And since the early 1900's, most US citizens have accepted the

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establishment of this public government school as being for the better good.

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We can certainly acknowledge that accessibility to learning for our children

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is a good thing, but when the government replaces the parent's authority in their

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child's education and takes complete control over what is taught and how it is

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taught, this becomes extremely muddied.

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It is also very important to note because many reformers today like to credit

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Mann and Dewey with the integration of schools between different socioeconomic

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communities and minority communities.

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That it was actually not the government that fought to allow blacks in

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school alongside their white peers.

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In fact, during this time, even in the North the governments

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were still against integration.

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Instead, it was the abolitionist and teachers like Prudence Crandall, or poets

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and writers, activists like John Greenleaf Whittier and heroic abolitionists like

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Booker T Washington, Frederick Douglas.

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And they dedicated their lives to prove that black children deserved education

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and deserved an integration into society.

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30 years ago, John Hood wrote an article on "The Failure of American

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Public Education," and he stated that proponents of government mandated

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schools will state that desiring an educational alternative for your children

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is a rejection of a diverse society and an effort to segregate groups by

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class or race or socioeconomic status.

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But seeking out homeschool or private school is not a rejection of diversity.

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It is choosing the best alternative or a better alternative for one's own children.

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And these same parents would argue that all parents and families and children

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deserve to have that choice and to have that accessibility to an alternative.

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Certainly we can acknowledge that public school is often the

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only physical safe place for many children across our country.

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And sadly, this is the harsh truth.

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Schools have become a place where sometimes a child's only meal

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will come or warmth will come.

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But this terrible reality does not negate the fact that every child deserves to also

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be challenged and every student deserves to have the opportunity to excel and have

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their curiosity sparked in education.

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Today more recently, more parents are questioning the government system.

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The abhorrent way that children were treated by the Teacher Union

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Complex during the Coronavirus Pandemic opened many parents' eyes

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to the fact that the union's needs were put above children's needs.

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Pragmatism ruled the day and not the eccesentralistic concept that

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children actually need to be learning.

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And we saw contradiction after contradiction.

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Children need to be out of school for everyone's safety.

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And then the argument that teachers in public school is essential.

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And then they argued that children experienced no backward educational

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slide in student performance.

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Why do we insist that our public school identity, as envisioned by Mann and Dewey,

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must continue if they are sorely feeling at their sole purpose, which is to educate

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and prepare young men and young women for fulfilling lives in an honorable society?

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Certainly public education for the public good and for the underprivileged

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should be a positive and noble endeavor.

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But how and why have we as Americans and as the American government

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school system gotten it so wrong?

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The lockdowns and the pandemic simply put these problems into a glaring light,

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and more are asking these questions.

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Again, we have to look at history to know how it went wrong.

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Now the content of education switched in the 1900s from the liberal arts of

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the classical western world, to instead focusing on process and critical thinking

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skills, and a disdain for authority.

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Martin Cothran of Memoria Press and his article, "War on Knowledge" wrote

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about what education used to look like.

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And I quote, "A classical liberal arts education consists of a

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solid grounding in intellectual skills of the liberal arts.

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Guide students on the ability to think, and aids in their own cultural

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heritage through reading classical literature and western history.

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In so learning children turn into responsible adults who are given

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the knowledge and ability to make wise judgements as they pursue

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life as citizens and voters.

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Throughout the 20th century, every 25 years or so, the educational elites

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decide to reform education with their thoughts of integrating nonsensical

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buzzwords like collaboration and critical thinking skills into every aspect of every

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American government school, classroom."

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As a means to de-emphasize rote learning and emphasize creativity, collaboration,

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and critical thinking skills, these reforms are always marketed as new and

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improved educational thinking, but they are the same pragmatic philosophies

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that Dewey touted in the early 1900s.

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I'm gonna quote Mr.

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Cothran again.

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"These changes-- the backing away from basic skills, classroom methodologies

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that took the teacher out of the role of directing the classroom, the

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shift from tried and true disciplines toward hands-on methods, and the

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abandonment of traditional methods of knowledge acquisition and a curriculum.

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All of these parents were told would help the acquisition of knowledge.

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Parents were told that these 'new practices' were research

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based and based in science.

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And if parents only knew what the experts in Colleges of Education knew,

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they would be assured that this was the best way to educate children."

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End quote.

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So, when I was studying to receive my master's in elementary education

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at the University of Michigan, I expected to learn the basics of

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what every child should come out of elementary school knowing-- wisdom,

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knowledge, truth, the classics.

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Instead, I learned about child psychology, how to facilitate a group

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project, how to manage a classroom with respect to every child's autonomy.

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Teachers are no longer taught the basics of liberal arts, and this

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has been going on for a long time.

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They're not taught the essential goals children's learning.

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Cothran writes further in his essay that "because of this emphasis on

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the how of education rather than on the what, we are not passing on our

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culture to our students, nor are they acquiring the basic linguistics and

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mathematical skills they need to do well in their lives and occupations.

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American children don't know basic facts about history, geography, and

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literature, and don't do well in mathematics in comparison with many

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nations, which ironically, they stress, wrote memorization and drill and practice.

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Our educational establishment, the one that we have charged with

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transmitting the acquired knowledge and wisdom of the ages is, it turns

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out, not very interested in doing this.

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It is interested instead in learning styles, projects, unit studies,

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child-centered learning, learning centers, critical thinking skills,

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and in liberating students and not familiarizing them with our civilization."

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End quote.

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Today, there is an emphasis on process over content in

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our failed educational system.

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Now, as a side note, early childhood development and education is quite

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different than this, and this is not what I'm referring to here.

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We will have a topic of conversation on play, in the importance of

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play and in early childhood.

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But we want children to think, but we are not giving them the knowledge and

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the wisdom for what to think about.

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If they are not taught basic, general knowledge, then what

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are they actually learning?

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Educational consultants swoop in and tell lawmakers the changes in

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transformations that are needed to make progressive reforms.

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Usually emphasizing the latest trends or having an increase

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in critical thinking skills.

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The educational system takes our tax dollars, constantly

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"improves things" while the actual students are not learning.

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Cothran continues, and his articles are amazing in Memoria Press.

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I highly recommend you grab their classical teacher magazine that you

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can get for free at memoriapress.com.

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But he reminds us to look at the past.

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Okay.

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"In the 1990s when whole language instruction was taught instead of phonics,

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teachers were not only no longer allowed to teach formal grammar and spelling.

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They were not to correct their students' papers for these things because

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that would stifle their creativity.

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Teachers were not, to stand up in front of a classroom and teach, but they

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were to play the role of facilitator in the education of the children in

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their classes because children needed to be "active learners" or "passive

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learners," rather than passive learners.

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And students were supposed to choose what they learned from learning centers

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rather than have a teacher directly tell them what they're supposed to.

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The very structure of the classroom was to be changed.

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No longer would there be rows of desk, a physical arrangement that

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bespoke order and individuality.

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Long tables were installed so that children could collaborate in groups,

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individual subjects were out too, projects and unit studies would replace them.

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The rote memorization and the boring drill and practice were to be abandoned.

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The abandonment of the traditional curriculum, the shift from classical

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literature to amorphous books by unknown authors, and the neglect of

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the standard history curriculum."

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Cothram in "War in Knowledge," discusses the "Cardinal Principles" document

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and Kilpatrick's "The Project Method," which were written in the 1920s and 30s.

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He states that before these were published, there was a system

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of education that did see it as its job to pass on our culture.

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It knew that memorization and drill and practice were not boring, but exciting

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and valuable for young children.

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It saw that the teaching of literature and history when properly taught were not

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only interesting but exciting to students.

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It was called classical education.

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But after these pragmatic reforms were introduced, the

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liberal arts drastically suffer.

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Now, Charlotte Mason, a huge proponent of educational accessibility for all

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children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in England, stated that each

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child, who is a person and a sense maker, has the right to gain understanding in

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the knowledge of the world, the knowledge of man, and the knowledge of God.

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She wrote in her Volume Six Philosophy of Education, "I need not waste

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time in attempting to convince the reader of what we all know, that a

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liberal education is like justice, religion, liberty, fresh air, the

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natural birthright of every child.

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Neither need, we discuss the scope of such an education.

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We are aware that good life implies cultivated intelligence, that

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according to the platonic axiom, knowledge is virtue even though

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there be many exceptions to the rule.

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Educated teachers are not slow to perceive the part the humanities

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play in a worthy scheme of educat.

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But our government school system is a result of the pragmatists who continue to

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tout the theories of Dewey instead of the goal to teach children the basic skills

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of reading, writing, and arithmetic, wisdom and virtue through literature and

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history and advanced intellectual skills that can only come from the liberal arts."

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Reform after reform, tax after tax, our children's hearts and

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minds and futures are at stake, and they are so, so compromised.

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And to what end?

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I know that as a parent, I'm not going to allow my child

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to be victim to these reforms.

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Today we face far more difficult challenges than ones in the past.

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Not only are we refuting absolute truths, we are now in our public

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school system, in our culture, we are completely reversing truths.

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The educational system can do that.

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Society can do that because the groundwork has been laid in the last century.

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I am so grateful that we have a choice.

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We still have the choice of what we want our own children to learn.

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If you send your child to Caesar, he will end up a Roman.

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The choice though can often be exceedingly difficult, but it is up to you.

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My prayer is that if you desire to get your child out of the pragmatic

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government schools, that you would have the ability to do so.

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You would be able to just fulfill your child with that sparked curiosity

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that they need and fill their hearts with the wisdom of old and the books

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that can develop their character.

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I hope that that was valuable to you for, I know it was for me to look into the

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history of public schools and to really fully understand what is now happened and

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how it is just catapulted into farther and farther, away from the biblical

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truths and the absolute truths that are the foundation for the family and for

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