Monthly Archives: February 2012

Smart Phones and Dumb Students

There is an inverse relationship between the advancement of technology in America and the academic achievement of students in government run schools. If all influences were equal we would expect the exact opposite. Advanced technology should make it easier for students to excel. I can appreciate the value of rapid Internet searches of today compared to the many hours I spent in college libraries in the 1960s while working on graduate degrees.

A recent international study of 15-year olds revealed that math scores of students from the United States rank number 25 compared to 33 other nations. Unfortunately, miserable performances by students schooled in the United States has become commonplace for the past 30 years or so. Do you remember Goals 2000, written in 1989? Take a look at goal 5.

Goal 5. By the year 2000, United States will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.

No additional commented needed on Goal 5.

Hand-held electronic calculators came on the scene in the early seventies. Forty-one years ago I began teaching at a college in Missouri, and one of the first shocks I received was the fact that some college students could not compute simple math problems with pencil and paper; they needed a calculator! I had a sick feeling that America was headed for trouble. I wish that gut feeling had been wrong.

By now, we all know the drill; student scores are low, lets pump more money into the system, and while we are at it, let’s start some more school reform programs. As TV’s Dr. Phil would ask, “How’s that working out for you?” The sad truth is that more money for schools has been just like the advanced technology; more money has not made needed change. In fact we seem to have another inverse relationship of more money and poorer performance.

My interest has always led me to ask, “Why?” For those readers who wish to know why, then I suggest you study the history of our schools for at least the last 100 years, 200 would be better. I have been conducting that type study intermittently for the past 25 years. In short, a sinister movement has been afoot to undermine Christianity, the family, and freedom in America, and to morph our country into something that more nearly resembles some second-rate country. Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the classroom is the philosophy of the government in the next generation.” And many of us collectively sigh, “Lord help us.”

Charlotte Iserbyt became a committed whistleblower after serving as Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education during the first Reagan Administration. A book written by Iserbyt, Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, gives volumes of information from documents by educators, politicians, and foundations like Carnegie and Rockefeller that show clearly how and why we changed for the worse, and that it was intentional! The first edition (1999) was 700 plus pages. The revised and abridged 2011 edition is a mere 461 pages. The original can be downloaded free online. Just to be clear, the foundations like Carnegie funded programs to deliberately undermine America’s foundational principles.

The evolution of education in America from having the greatest schools in the world to that of having some of the worst will not be reversed until we first learn why we are failing. If we don’t learn why we have failed, then another school reform idea will likely be worthless. That would be analogous to getting radical drug treatment from a family physician after he misdiagnosed your health problem. Personally I am not for throwing more taxpayer money on the schoolroom wall to see if any of it sticks.


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