THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS DONE ITS JOB

THE RESULTS ARE IN! THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS DONE ITS ...

Mr. C.S. found this article and shared it, and when I read it, I was(and remain) both appalled, stunned, and not surprised. Americans, especially in that laboratory-hothouse of "progressivism" known as California, are ... well... just plain stupid. No, we are not talking about "lacking in certain areas" or "needing improvement" in other areas. We are talking concrete blockhead stupid. Consider the following article and the frightening statistics it contains:

DEPT. OF EDUCATION – OUR WORK HERE IS DONE

Better yet, let me simply cite it for you:

California

  • According to the 2007 California Academic Performance Index, research show that 57% of students failed the California Standards Test in English.
  • There are six million students in the California school system and 25% of those students are unable to perform basic reading skills
  • There is a correlation between illiteracy and income at least in individual economic terms, in that literacy has payoffs and is a worthwhile investment. As the literacy rate doubles, so doubles the per capita income.

The Nation

  • In a study of literacy among 20 ‘high income’ countries; US ranked 12th
  • Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children
  • 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level
  • 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level
  • 44% of the American adults do not read a book in a year
  • 6 out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year

The Economy

  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can’t read
  • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage
  • 50% of the unemployed between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate
  • Between 46 and 51% of American adults have an income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read
  • Illiteracy costs American taxpayers an estimated $20 billion each year
  • School dropouts cost our nation $240 billion in social service expenditures and lost tax revenues

Impact on Society:

  • 3 out of 5 people in American prisons can’t read
  • To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading
  • Approximately 50% of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels

Much of this has, of course, fallen the hardest on America's poor: black people, and now, on Hispanics and so on. The culprit? Well, I'm no "edubabble" expert here, but I recall all those "multicultural tolerance" schemes a few years back, when one wasn't supposed to teach, nor expect poor children to learn, standard English and grammar, much less literature, except, of course, in nutty schemes to have them "experiment" with "gender neutral 'language'". This would be "insensitive" to their "culture."  The bad news for the purveyors of this nonsense is, of course, that the last time I checked "ignorance" is not a culture, it's simply ignorance. The real message is much more subtle, and, I contend, racist, because the real message being sent to these children was "you're too stupid to learn real English, or mathematics, or literature, or science..."  (Fill in the discipline of choice here).  This came home to me personally years ago when I was a professor, when a young black man was struggling in my Mediaeval History class. He could barely read, or write legibly, at a fourth grade level. It was not that he was unintelligent. Quite the contrary, he was bright, capable, but had been utterly sold out and used by the system. Why? Because he could play basketball!  Thus, he had been passed through grade after grade, the deficiencies of his education were overlooked. And there he was, with a fourth grade reading and writing level in my Mediaeval History class, where we were glibly tossing around Latin and Greek and examining mediaeval writs and philosophy.

He was lost. Utterly lost, and I cannot tell you the anger and outrage I felt because of what had been done to him. His vast human potential, his intelligence and creativity had been utterly wasted  by an abusive system that had used him up for his athletic skills, and then tossed him away like he was only so much hamburger! Even now, as I think back on this episode, and contemplate these statistics, I am outraged. I had to administratively withdraw him from my class, but I did sit down to talk with him privately, to outline what had been done to him by the system, and to try to encourage him to educate himself, for the system had failed him, and would only continue to do so.  His name was Brian, and I remember him well. He looked quite sad when we talked, but also, appreciative that someone had finally told him the truth and not just "passed him through". He was a pleasant, decent, good young man, with a mind, that had been utterly thrown away.

So why do I mention this personal story? Look at thos statistics above again, and see all the millions of Brians who have been utterly betrayed by their government, by the doctors of edubabble and the progressive educational theories that have created this mess, by the "multicultural tolerance" crowd eager to be offended by anyone and anything, by the corporations peddling technology and tests and textbooks embodying the latest fad, and feeding at the government trough... think of all those Brians, betrayed by the education courses in "methodology" and "educational psychology" and all the certification claptrap defended by edubabble and teachers certification and the whole rotten edifice, passed through the system by "coaches-as-history-teachers" and you get the idea.

My solution? It remains what it has always been: (1) no computers in the class (2) no standardized tests (3) no teacher certification and (4) an absolute policy of hiring only genuine academics... if you have a degree in "education", you're the problem, not the solution. We need people who can, and will insist, upon teaching English grammar, composition, and literature; on teaching algebra, and analytical geometry, and trig and calculus, on teaching biology and music and art (both history and actual application and theory), and so on. And we need, finally, to get away from the "group learning" model and to restore individual work and achievement. Phys ed and sports? Sports are fine, as after-school activity that one does on one's own time and organizes informally. But we've seen what the "coach-as-history-teacher" has done to Amairikun edgykayshun... it uses up the Brians simply because they can throw a football, and doesn't give one tinker's dam for their real education.

On and on I could rant, but I think you get the idea. I am angry, because I read this set of statistics, and thought of Brian.

See you on the flip side...

32 thoughts on “ THE RESULTS ARE IN! THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS DONE ITS ...”

  1. A hearty tip of the cap to you for this analytical well timed rant! Students are presently completing the most recent Common Core related computerized AI test. It is outrageous that this problem grows and is ignored or worse “fixed” with new techniques, strategies, etc., which always involve computers, students teaching students, computers directing the self learning of the student, and computerized teaching! Money for actual books for actual reading full length texts, research driven by bibliographical information from true scholars, handwriting, grammar, spelling, etc. gone gone gone.

  2. I rarely feel the urge to post comments on forums of any kind but this topic is close to my heart.

    I grew up and still live in England, I went to a roman catholic school prior to attending secondary school. At primary school there was a big emphasis on reading abilities, fortunately for me it was something I enjoyed and quite quickly I had gone through all the reading levels that were available and I still have fond memories of one of my teachers that made a point of reading a book aloud to the whole class on a regular basis.
    I don’t recall either of my parents reading to myself or my sister prior to school but whilst we were at school my dad would read to us every now and again.

    Cut to present day and I have just left work as volunteer for oxfam in one of their specialist book stores. Only once in the four or so years that I was there only one occasion did we do anything to promote reading and that was only because I had pushed for it and they had relented. At no other time had my suggestions for getting involved National Book Week or National Childrens Reading Day been taken seriously and yet here we were every month putting out pamphlets on poverty and trying to make the world a better place.

    So it isn’t just the education system, this myopic perspective on reading carries on throughout life in all sorts of different ways.
    Sorry everyone rant over

  3. wd and roger,
    some personal experience identical (albeit at secondary level) with joseph’s. my suggestion to joseph: trade with future brians. my brian’s name was gyasi. he schooled me in basketball. i schooled him in gary paulsen. some of the best coaching i’ve gotten. even after growing up with 4 older brothers. please take to heart joseph, this ain’t criticism. you did the right think and even that small step was a huge one for brian. wonder what he’s reading now.

    along these lines, paulsen wrote a couple fictional histories after living in library of congress slave journal archives awhile. “nightjohn” comes to mind. there’s a reason slaves were maimed and murdered for reading.

    in terms of empathy, sympathy and relating, ya might wanna lay low on pretense that we can relate to what such folk feel and think. their logic is sound. their circumstance is outside our experience. and their training to lack empathy and sympathy is a coordinated planned prep parallel to and working as feeder to military industrial complex. ivy lee’s and edward bernays’ ideas were taken way beyond what we’re capable of imagining. how we’re here having this conversation is still beyond me. talk about matrixing the matrix.

    so whether it’s owed to anyone or not, it is the system. just as a slightly wealthier retiree will decide when to retire or not mostly dependent on when this benefit or that benefit is maxxed or kicks in or does not cover him during vulnerable in between coverage years…. change the system and the players change their game. you want fewer fouls in basketball, change the number of fouls allowed before fouling out. right now coaches and players all play to use up all their allowable fouls in the smartest way possible by the end of the game. society is the same. does anyone here drive at the speed limit?

  4. Many science fiction books were written around the ‘dumb descendants’ theme. This was where the original ‘movers and shakers’ (particularly the tech types) died off over time, and – a few generations down the road – their descendants no longer knew how the technology worked. As the intellectual underpinnings of the civilization decayed, the physical eventually followed. Ultimately, a critical threshold was breached, and the civilization imploded.

    Sounds like we are well along the path…

  5. I have learn my English through speaking to people, when I left my school my English more or less = 0, I can only say hello or goodbye, I can’t even say – have a nice day or how are you today etc.

    I’m not sure how is the American culture is, but if you see in China, they also have very poor people who living in the mountains or the middle of no where, often children have to walk 2-3 hours from their home to school and 2-3 hours back, and they will stop schooling when the busy farming season start, it is not everyone be able to complete their low level education, but for those who has a extremely strong will to learn, these children can even made it into the university (I’m not saying study in university is a good thing or bad thing) with on their scholar-ship money, their parents can never afford it. But then again that is a very minority of people who can actually made it through, I suppose it is a culture thing? Majorities of the Chinese will hold on to that study opportunity (I wouldn’t say everyone, but most), they know by study can improving their life style greatly, therefore, the wealthier the children, less inspiration to learn, the poor the family, the more eager to learn?

    Like myself for example, I learn it when I left my school, this is why my Crammer is very poor, but I can read, speak and write all the same, often people understand what I try to express. Could that be some form of Dyslexia going on? The reason why I mention it, my daughter has it, compare with my other two boys, she is extremely slow in learning literacy and mathematics, our normal logic doesn’t apply to her, a whole bunch number doesn’t make any sense to her, she need to see the actual object and be able to count them to make sense, she can’t tell the different between 63 or 36.

    With children who has no dyslexia, my other two boys, they are both ok, my older one had a hard time when he join primary one, because he doesn’t speak any English or Cantonese (a local dialect), he couldn’t communicate with his classmate or teacher, teacher has to brought him to the principle’s office daily due to his screaming and crying. But when his language issue resolved (around P2), I can see his improvement shot like a rocket.

    For those children has no learning difficulty if the parents can encourage them to learn, could there be any different? I know most of the parents are busy working, have very little time for their kids, I experienced it myself when I was a kid, my both parents were busy working, I hardly see them each day other than brief moment during dinner, when it comes to study I was on my own. What makes people lost interest in learning is my biggest question :/

    1. how you learn in front of your kids is what they model their learning on. your learning skills change as you grow. so each of your kids modeled behaviors will be radically different.

      a literate guy had a toddler repeatedly tearing pages out of books. couldn’t get the kid to sit down and read with him. couldn’t figure it out. got help from a teacher. teacher asked the guy to sit down and read his favorite source in front of her. guy sat down with a brand new magazine he subscribed to. pulled out all the lose pages (adverts for subscriptions and coupons). then proceeded to read the magazine. turns out the guy was primarily a magazine reader and the son saw him go through this routine often every time he picked up a new edition.

      that’s where reading aloud with kids comes in. also too, reading aloud vastly improves grammar, speech, facility,…. try a little experiment. don’t read for a few days and keep an eye out for how easy it is to speak in daily tasks. then read half hour a day a few days and try it again. then read out loud half hour a day a few days and try it again.

      it’s not just a personal issue. this applies on the macro too.

  6. But, But, But everything is awesome…..really ???
    Stock market is at all time highs, petrol is cheap, unemployment is at 5%, and the Amerikan education system is the best in the world.
    As George Ann Hughes would say……OH DEAR!!!!

    1. I can only speak of my own experience, when I started my first education, those of my so call teacher aren’t even a proper teachers, they force to teach due to lack of proper working position for them, for example, a mechanical engineer do not have a position in the job, he will go and teach mathematics in school LOL I know how crazy it sound but that was what was happen when I was a kid.

      I made it through ok, but my best friend who always stick with me like a shadow, she had a hard time just to catching up, she need my help almost each everything, and I have no clue how to help her, so I end it up let her borrow my home work and copy it (so we have more time to play), of course back then I do not know this was actually harm her more than help her, but what do I know?! I was just a little kid!

      All in all my personal experience tells me that we can’t totally depending on school’s fix education method (I treat it more or less just get the exam past, what you learn isn’t important there, because you are not going to use it anyway, a degree just another piece of in -your-face paper to help get a job), parenting plays an extremely important role, what we inspire our children to learn, encourage their curiosity about our world more than anything else, without the curiosity, they lost their interest, no interest means stop learning new thing, and I don’t believe our current education around the world (other than Finland) can provide that.

  7. Dr. Farrell,
    I have a degree in education. I see the same horrific truths you do and I have many of the same core assumptions about what is wrong and what needs to be done. I know many academics who are consumed with the technobabble and I know many who are very good instructors with the best interests of their students in mind when organizing materials and activities. The fault starts higher in the food chain.

    As a student I was posed with a question, to which I asked for clarification, “What is the PURPOSE of compulsory education? Is it to make workers or to make thinkers” (there are many voices on either side of that aisle) because the answers I was formulating was based on the actual goal. Well, in the ivory towers this is rhetorical. It doesn’t get an answer. No one can say it is for creating thinkers because the evidence is not apparent. No one can say it is for creating workers because it doesn’t have a very democratic sound to it, even though the evidence does seem to indicate that creating a worker is the prime directive. It is a line of questioning that ends with, “get back to your classroom and teach what is in the standards.” Leave the criticisms to the politicians who are in league the ed consultants on the boards but do not intend to take their advice on the best thing for America and its youth.

    You always do a great job of following the money to the root of the issues. Please follow the money up to TPTB rather than throwing any and all teachers under the bus. Its a bit like blaming the teller for the national debt.

    Cheers.

    1. I can only speak of my own experience, when I started my first education, those of my so call teacher aren’t even a proper teachers, they force to teach due to lack of proper working position for them, for example, a mechanical engineer do not have a position in the job, he will go and teach mathematics in school LOL I know how crazy it sound but that was what was happen when I was a kid.

      I made it through ok, but my best friend who always stick with me like a shadow, she had a hard time just to catching up, she need my help almost each everything, and I have no clue how to help her, so I end it up let her borrow my home work and copy it (so we have more time to play), of course back then I do not know this was actually harm her more than help her, but what do I know?! I was just a little kid!

      All in all my personal experience tells me that we can’t totally depending on school’s fix education method (I treat it more or less just get the exam past, what you learn isn’t important there, because you are not going to use it anyway, a degree just another piece of in -your-face paper to help get a job), parenting plays an extremely important role, what we inspire our children to learn, encourage their curiosity about our world more than anything else, without the curiosity, they lost their interest, no interest means stop learning new thing, and I don’t believe our current education around the world (other than Finland) can provide that.

  8. As a have written before this a problem that goes back to before my parents birth. My father was born in 1921 my mother 1923 my father read books occasionally my mother hardly ever and she was for most of my growing up a stay at home mother. I was born in New York City where books and magazines, newspapers, comicbooks where everywhere. While I was in Catholic school I did not read books other than school textbooks. Only when I was thrown out of that school system and transferred to the Public School system I was put in a reading program and learn to enjoy reading for fun and real education. And begin first using the school library then the public library and creating my home library. Now with e-books, e-magazines, e-newspapers, e-comicbooks it’s back to the new Dark Age illiteracy for most of the people. And remember the last Grandmaster of the Templars was illiterate so there would be no guarantee our elites in the future as in the past to read. As for comprehension of the world look at our so called political, economic, scientific elites they’re hopeless fools or the most evil con artists.

  9. It’s Mission Accomplished.
    These education policies are purposed.
    Just as the Rockefellers wanted workers produced; those in the know knew what was coming down the pipeline: mass joblessness due to technological automation.
    Problem, education?
    Not!
    Elitist Policies are the Problem.
    Democratic policies are the solution.
    Now all we need is a real democracy!

  10. The statistics could be actual but not neccesarily accurate. And it is indeed a desired outcome by the system that’s issuing this news (to be read or hardly read) by its alleged and largely illiterate population. Aside from Dr. Farrell’s proposed solutions, I’m pretty sure the system has its own solutions already in the works.

    1. I for one, feel like a Brian.. Grew up without access to the wonderful works of mankind. But knowledge seems to have a way of being found despite one’s circumstances.

      1. we’re all brian moxie. any improvement feels huge. i’m working on imagining what i don’t know. starting to feel like one of those wolves by chernobyl decades after the fires. guessing that what we learn removes limits from what we imagine.

  11. This blog made me look up literacy rates in the US and I came upon this factoid in the wikipedia entry: ‘It has been estimated that areas in the United States with higher immigrant populations have the lowest literacy rates in the country’

    We all know California has one of the highest immigration rates, so I would not be surprised to see that literacy and education in the US as a whole is nowhere near as bad as this Californian example would lead us to believe. I can hope anyway.

  12. But since the later 1970s, public school education budgets have been massively cut in California.

    So sure Atherton and Palo Alto have excellent pubic schools, but not say Stockton.

    So there are many other factors, unrelated to “multiculturalism” trends, or computers in the class room.

  13. It’s not just the computers in the classroom, at least the last two generations have been left to be educated by the idiot box and the computers and cell phones at home also. It is not just the “educators” but the parents of these generations who are also at fault. The main reason for this is the simple fact that both these parents had to work in order to make a living wage for the family. Long gone are the days where the mother could stay at home and see to it the children received a proper education and took care of the home while the father earned the money.
    Our “modern world” is broken in many ways by design and those who believe robots will improve that are sadly mistaken. They will just make the bulk of humanity useless and worthless; something else to be discarded. We are going to be the cause of our own extinction through the “idiocracy” being forced upon us for corporate profit.

    1. I also mostly blame bad parenting. My sister teaches her children how to read and do basic math before they are old enough to go to kinder garden. She also introduces them to books and stories, teaches them about all the animals, and whatever else they show an interest in. She has very little free time but makes sure it is quality time with her kids. Most parents I’ve been around barely have time or any interest in their kids and are only too happy to leave it up to television and the state to teach or not to teach their children. Worse yet, I’ve seen some kids in some neighborhoods be taught how to be criminals and not to have empathy with others and how to take advantage of others. Believe it or not the numbers of kids being raised to be gangsters rather than law abiding citizens is starting to become an epidemic.

      1. Welfare and other “social programs” play a large part in it also. When one feels “entitled” to the benefits, one doesn’t care about an education. When you have multiple generations who have been on welfare in the same family there is no incentive to strive for anything more because they feel it is owed to them.

    2. I agree, Rodger. Bad parenting sets kids up for a miserable experience but as your sister, I made sure my kids were read to, knew numbers and letters, had lots of discovery time, were curious and loved to learn. My son got so bored with unchallenging repetitive worksheets that by the time he was in Junior High he reported that he hated school and he has been avoiding learning by “gaming school” ever since. Even “good” parents have kids that are being failed by the systematic approach to “education” because it isn’t really about learning, its about knowing how to jump when given the command (or getting someone else to jump for you).

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