The De-Education of America
These students are suffering and they don’t realize why, which may very well be the anticipated outcome of this agenda: ignorance of the force working to repress the minds of our students.
America is facing a very real threat. The very future of this country is in jeopardy, and our ability to change our current course is being diminished by the day. We have a silent enemy who hides in the shadows and quietly dismantles everything we once stood for. The American dream has become a nightmare as this silent threat has broken down our best line of defense against it: education. Education offers a promise of change and a promise of a brighter future for our children. But that possibility is now being denied to our students, especially those in urban and poor districts.
One only has to look at current standardized test scores to see that our students are suffering. Schools in urban districts are closing and test scores continue to fall. In Pennsylvania, where I live and teach, money is regularly cut from the state education fund. As a result of budget cuts, teachers get laid off, support staff is cut, and class sizes increase. Supplies become limited and everyone becomes stressed. But it is the students who are suffering the most. These students are suffering and they don’t realize why, which may very well be the anticipated outcome of this agenda: ignorance of the force working to repress the minds of our students.
Since 2008, I have worked in 3 of the most challenging and repressed urban-school districts in the state of Pennsylvania. My students have been difficult and at times violent. I have been assigned to special-education classrooms, charged with teaching our students with the greatest need; at times without books, curriculum, or direction. I have been in schools where the staff is fantastic and progress is being made with our students, only to be forced out of our jobs due to new district agendas. I have screamed in frustration at seeing the lost potential of our students in poor districts when a billion dollars was cut from the Pennsylvania education budget and redirected toward our private prison system. This should raise some serious concerns with every single person on this planet. Our system of education is broken. We have students graduating high school who cannot read beyond a 5th grade level. Yet money is cut, most often from our poorest performing districts, and redirected to the prison system. What does that say about our countries outlook on our future?
As a former intelligence analyst and agent for the US military, I can’t help but to dissect this problem further. As an analyst, I used to look for indicator and warning signs of a pending terrorist attack: surveillance being conducted, materials being purchased, key figures making specific statements, etc. Together, those indicator and warning signs would paint a picture for me that would give a good indication of what might be planned. In looking at our current education crisis, I can’t help but to wonder if something is planned for us. It doesn’t take an analyst, however, to project the possible outcomes of this system of education. One only has to ask themselves why the government is no longer investing in education to come to a very scary conclusion: They are no longer investing in education because they are no longer interested in the future of our citizens (at least not in the same capacity).
An educated society is a prosperous society. People are free to think critically and find their own measures of success. They are free to solve problems and continually evolve more efficient and beneficial ways of doing things. But educated people also know when they are being taken advantage of. Educated people know when their leaders are corrupt. To a ruling body working to serve its own needs and agenda at the expense of the people, an educated society can be a very dangerous thing. A society ignorant to their own repressed state, who willingly accepts their sub-standard conditions because they don’t know any better, is a society that can easily serve the needs of a greedy ruling body.
Since becoming a teacher, I have tried to convince myself that I read one too many conspiracy theory articles. I have tried to tell myself that I was exaggerating the dire straits facing our students today, however, I am continually a witness to the degradation of education and the implementation of repressive policies. I continually remember my first year teaching, as I discuss in my book, Service, where my students had incredible needs yet my administration ignored my desperate pleas for help. I look at the fact that prisons are built based on third grade students’ standardized test scores and wonder why the state is not instead investing prison money in extra educational programs to prevent our children from entering the prison system. But then I read an article about prisons suing the state when their beds are not filled, and I begin to understand what is happening.
It is hard not to come to the terrifying conclusion that the state is investing in the future of our children through the construction of more prisons instead of the investment in more schools. Is it possible that our policy makers simply don’t realize the consequences of what they are doing? I find that almost impossible to believe. I don’t see how a person of average intelligence can’t realize that the dismantling of education can only result in the dismantling of an educated and progressive society. This leads me to believe that what is being done is intentional and those making these policies want a prison based, uneducated society. One only needs to look as far as the latest banking scandals, the economy and budget crisis, or the crash of the housing market to see that there are greedy and corrupt people in power. An uneducated population, however, would not realize the corrupt deeds that systematically dismantle the average citizens’ quality of life.
The Weapon of Education in American History
As an American and a veteran, I often find it hard to believe that my government would take part in such a sinister plot to repress the minds of its people in order to advance the agendas of a greedy few. But the evidence is right in front of us, and they have done it before! In an article titled A Close Analysis of Education Used as a Tool in the Assimilation of Native Americans, Kendall Jones writes “In the United States, education has been used to control many minority cultures, for instance, African Americans and Native Americans. Dominant society withheld education in order to control African Americans, where as the dominant culture forced Western education on the Native Americans.” In discussing a dominant societies need for social control, Jones quotes Barry Franklin as he explained “Newspapers, popular magazines, religious revivals, and the settlement house could all serve, he pointed out, to instill the population with common ideas. No instrument, however, he suggested, was more appropriate for this effort than the school.”
Our students are being socially engineered, or in many cases de-engineered. As Jones mentioned in his article, America has done this in the past. Blacks were denied an education to keep them in a particular state of repression. The Native Americans were re-educated to force them to adopt Western culture and customs. And now it is being done to our middle and lower class citizens. Education is a powerful weapon and can be used to enhance the minds and lives of the people or, as is currently being done, can be used against the people as a means of repression and control. I have been on the front lines of education. I have been to the violent schools and witnessed what is happening. One may argue that the violence and crime coming out of these areas justifies the construction of more prisons, but I believe that the construction of these prisons (at the expense of education) is causing this violence and crime!
The point of crisis is upon us, and we are beyond the simple discussion and admiration of the problem. We are in need of revolution and reform on the educational front. We need a revolution of mind and thought and we need to take a serious look at where we wish to go as a society. Time is running out, as each day more and more students are missing precious opportunities for education. With each missed opportunity we lose a piece of a brighter future. The time to act is now, as the future is in our hands.
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This article was originally featured on The People’s Voice website. Please check it out!