I would argue that the biggest mystery in American history is how did the public schools get so messed up? Wouldn’t we like to answer that question?
The moment you start looking deeply into this mystery, you’re going to come up against a gang of ideologues led by John Dewey, the Father of American Education. He and his buddies were socialists. They believed in transforming the country, one way or another.
So look where we are. We are now staring into the teeth of a conspiracy.
A lot of people are upset by this word, but I don’t see any way to avoid it. Starting by 1910, every time Dewey and another professor at Teachers College had a meeting, they were plotting to insinuate their ideas into every public school in America. No Congress voted; no president approved. Dewey, who was probably a Fabian socialist, believed in working quietly from the inside; and that’s what he did.
I’m fascinated by the conspiracy question because I don’t think we can fix the public schools unless we first confront what actually happened to them. Here’s my short take: a lot of socialist educators said the heck with knowledge, facts and all that academic stuff; the big job is to turn children into future socialists. End of story.
However, if you do start talking about conspiracy, one common response is, no, no, we don’t need any crazy theories like that. The problems in the schools are clearly due to lazy parents, difficult kids, the Internet, drugs, sex, television, rock ‘n roll, etc., etc. Why go poking around in the past? Dewey’s been dead forever.
My sense is that many people are content to stay on the surface and to blame the victims. They don’t want to rock the status quo or blame any of their nominal allies. They don’t want to look at root causes.
Well, in this case, the political beliefs of our Education Establishment a century ago are the root causes. These people were basically what we would today call European socialists. Traditional, academic education was not their main priority. Once they committed to a secret agenda that the public did not ask for or approve of, then you are witnessing a conspiracy. What else can it be called?