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 "...The Crisis In The Public Schools..." 
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Post "...The Crisis In The Public Schools..."
My New Book Explains The Crisis In The Public Schools, And How We Fix It
by: Bruce Deitrick Price

I’ve been writing about education more than 25 years. It’s been a fascinating journey...but puzzling

So much in education is counterintuitive. Our schools seem to do everything in the slowest, most inefficient ways. How can we explain this? It’s almost as if our educators merely pretend to believe in universal education. What they seen more deeply committed to is universal mediocrity.

When you consider all the studies and statistics, you realize that they all paint the same bleak and depressing picture. We spend more and more billions every year but SAT scores fall. Our better students do not compete well with the better students from other countries. The general public seems to know barely enough to read a daily newspaper. Can most Americans find Idaho on a map? Never mind Japan? And then there’s the really big mystery: 50 million functional illiterates. How could this happen?

So what we have is an educational system that vastly overspends while hugely underperforming. How do they get away with it? (Now President Obama wants to up the ante. I’d suggest reading this book first.)

To answer all these puzzles, I researched further and further back in history. I tried to understand how the early educators, a century ago, looked at life, at their country, at children, and at this new field they had created. You want to know what’s really funny? These people in fact were not primarily interested in education as most of us understand that term. They were obsessed with ideology, psychological breakthroughs, and cultural transformations. They saw the school as a tool. Education was the factory in which they intended to build a new society. Note that nobody asked them to do this; they arrogantly appointed themselves our saviors. Thanks for nothing.

At this point I have more than 120 articles on the web trying to explain how and why our educators got off track. I’ve been especially obsessed by the reading wars, which is far and away our biggest, dumbest scandal and a paradigm for everything else. As I understood the damage caused by bogus reading methods, I began to have a clearer sense of what we need to do across the board: namely, toss out all the bogus ideas.

Oddly enough, we are engaged in a war with our own educators. I want to persuade the public that this is an INTELLECTUAL war; and we must fight the bad ideas promoted by educators with good ideas. So I’ve collected my 50 favorite articles in a book titled The Education Enigma (What Happened To American Education). Partly it’s a history book. It’s also a guidebook to the toxic nonsense in American schools. Most importantly, it’s a map to a better future. It’s also entertaining. What other book talks about Pavlov, Mick Jagger, the Tao, John Dewey, robots and the plight of poetry?

My thesis is that we have no hope of improvement unless we understand exactly what happened to American education: our schools were made dumb by design. Throwing more billions of dollars at the problem won’t help. Writing more glowing policy recommendations won’t help. Giving money to so-called best practice won’t help. Our educators are set in their ways. Our first job is simply this: we have to grasp that our house is dirty and then clean it.

We have to get rid of the over-hyped “progressive” innovations that turn out in practice to be destructive and regressive. For example, Whole Word, Reform Math, Constructivism, Self Esteem, Cooperative Learning, Fuzzy Anything, and much more. We need to restore basics and academics to their proper prominence.

Many people are comforted by the idea that our educators are clumsy or befuddled by fads. No, I’m afraid you really have a much better sense of what happened if you imagine a bunch of guys like John Dewey gathered around a table discussing their philosophical goals, devising strategies, and trying to figure out how to keep the public from interfering. I know people who shy away from the word conspiracy. But be realistic. This track record goes back nearly a century. Let’s respect those 50 million functional illiterates who are spending their lives in a twilight zone thanks to John Dewey and his heirs. You can’t create this kind of disaster in a few years or by accident. No, the perpetrators have to keep plugging away, decade after decade.

I should mention by the way that I never criticize teachers. I’m concerned only with the top educators, people with Ph.D.’s at Teachers College and such. These people are responsible for what happens in American education. Teachers are as much their victims as children are.

If you might enjoy a short, fast but entirely intellectual critique of American education, please check out The Education Enigma (on Amazon or any store can order it for you). The ideas in this book can save our public schools.

About The Author
Bruce Deitrick Price is a novelist, artist, poet and education activist. He is the founder of and the author of THE EDUCATION ENIGMA--What Happened To American Education. THE EDUCATION ENIGMA is available on Amazon; or have your local store or library order it.)

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[Note: Due to a size limitation, the title, above, had to be abbreviated. Apologies to the author and - Admin]
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Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:10 am
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