By far the most widely read of all our blogs is School vs. Education: The Difference Matters.
Now Canadian essayist and poet David Solway has written a disturbing piece of similar tone at PJ Media, The End of Education. Consider this excerpt:
It has taken a hundred years to ruin American education, dating from Dewey’s so-called child-centered and “progressive” revolution in American public pedagogy in the early 1920s, through the turbulent 1960s during which empowered student radicals took over the universities, on to the self-esteem movement that flattered the student into believing that self-love was more crucial than self-improvement, to the present moment in which both public and university education has traded honest teaching, academic rigor and merit-based instruction for social justice, politically correct groupthink, anti-white and anti-Western passions, feminist madness and left-wing partisanship.
If you are concerned about your children or grandchildren’s education, or your own, you would do well to take five minutes to read Solway’s piece. Like our post “Schooling vs Education,” Solway’s piece is a wake-up call for those who have the courage to face up to the negative impact that state-sponsored schooling is not educating our children nor preparing them to live as free people.
After reading the article I passed it on to some who write as friends at Darrow Miller and Friends. All are deeply committed to education. Their responses to Solway’s piece were enlightening and challenging. I share here some of their comments for your edification.
If you are faint of heart, you might want to stop here. If, on the other hand, you are the kind of person who wants to know what is really happening in our state-sponsored (and yes even in “Christian” and religious schools), please read on.
Scott Allen – President of the Disciple Nations Alliance
I do think Americans are only now waking up to the reality of what has taken over public education and our universities. I had a talk with my father-in-law over the summer, a graduate of Cornell. He’s part of a group of well-known alumni, including Ken Blanchard, who, every year, have given money to Cornell—until last year. They stopped, as a group, because they finally saw what was happening—what the author of this article illuminates.
My point is that they only “saw” this last year and took action. Before change can happen, there has to be a large group of people who see the problem. I think this is only now happening. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for education when more people begin to see this problem.
Christian Overman – Founder of Worldview Matters
The author mentions Neal Postman’s point that teachers and students need “a narrative to provide profound meaning to their lessons.” The narrative of Secularism cannot provide profound meaning to their lessons. It is impossible. Only the “narrative” of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration provides meaning to any lessons. This is what the Puritans, Moravians, and Noah Webster understood, and what John Dewey did not.
When the author spoke of “a nation with no future,” he hit the mark. We are not only witnessing the end of education, but (apart from a move of God), the end of Western civilization as we have known it. Which has become the target to destroy, as the author points out so well, and they have succeeded. This has been a demonic endeavor.
The author says we need “a massive parent revolt.” I’m not sure it will come in time. How about a massive teacher revolt among the followers of Christ who are still teaching in public schools? How about a “walk out” on the part of the many Christians who work inside the walls on a daily basis? Why no revolt here? Because we are too nice.
How about a massive revolt by pastors? I dream on …
Dwight Vogt – Vice President of Disciple Nations Alliance
How about simply a massive frontal assault in the Christian home, Sunday School, Youth Group, and in the pulpit to teach parents and youth God’s narrative for this world, who we are, why we are here, and how we are to live in relation to God, mankind, and the rest of creation?
Elizabeth Youmans – President Chrysalis International
When we founded our Christian school back in 1980, it was for these very reasons. Many Christians saw the problem and spoke about it at conferences, especially the Principle Approach sector. But the general public could not “hear” our message and many Christians thought we were “over the edge!” When I lectured around the country, I made many Christian teachers upset with my stand on state education.
Dr. Dobson consistently pointed parents to place their children in the public schools every day on his radio program and never had a critical word until the 21st century. I could go on and on.
We co-labored with Dr. Charles Wolfe, who used to work with Dr. D. James Kennedy (Coral Ridge). This was his message and people did not want to hear it. His father was an economics professor at Columbia University and a Marxist. His father disowned him when Charles came to Christ as a university student! Charles taught us all what was taking place in America’s large universities. Few “heard” his message and few understood the consequences.
Yes, Elizabeth. Your comments about Dobson et al underscored my point. There still isn’t a critical mass needed to make a change. There remains a majority of evangelicals and evangelical leaders who are very supportive of public education, often for good reasons that have to do with being involved in the community, being salt and light, etc. Many are teachers or administrators.
We are not there yet, but the rate at which schools and universities have fallen into far left groupthink has really accelerated over the past five years, and it is getting harder and harder for Christians to “not see” this. You are what we would call an early adopter Elizabeth, and we haven’t reached critical mass yet, but it’s coming, I hope.
I heard an interview this past week with Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who started PayPal and was in on the ground floor with Facebook. He said something that really struck me about Stanford and Silicon Valley. He said that when he graduated in the mid-80s, it and the whole San Jose area was center right! It shifted to center left in the 90s, and only in the last five years has it descended into the rigid far left groupthink that marks it today. It was so stifling for him as a libertarian, he moved to LA (not that it is much better!)
All that to say, this still hasn’t fully hit “the common man” to use Darrow’s graphic. It’s coming though. The next five years will be telling I believe.
Bob Osburn – Executive Director of Wilberforce Academy
Just this morning I met with a professor of higher ed studies at our well-known Upper Midwest public university. There is a grim sense that ideology has taken over the whole show in higher education. Leading professors in this field lament the fact that rigorous social scientific research is not only being cast aside in favor of research on human experience, but such research is increasingly rejected as inherently biased in favor of those with privilege. “Diversity” has become an idol before which all bow and to which no one spares great expense.
Valiant followers of Christ often quietly soldier forward in this stifling atmosphere. They still conduct their research rigorously, treating students with great care while also expecting the best work from them. But it’s tough. The scales of scholarship are completely imbalanced, and not a few students enter graduate programs completely unprepared to write worthy papers, for example.
Only a vision for human flourishing that takes its guidance from the Christian worldview will offer hope amidst what another PhD graduate in that same school described as a “cold, dark, and spiritually hostile” campus atmosphere.
To live as free citizens we need to be a moral and educated people. If we love freedom, let us do the heavy lifting required to see that our children’s education will prepare them to live and not be slaves.
– Darrow Miller