What Is Education?

It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation. ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

The trouble with mere pragmatism is that it doesn’t work. ~ G.K. Chesterton

What is education? I emphasize “is” because I am not here asking what education is thought to be, or what it should be according to a particular educational theory, however sound and persuasive. These are good questions, but they are secondary. What education is, in fact, comes first. Let us, then, look at education. Continue reading

Benson: Are Socialists Running “OUR” Public Schools?

An assessment in three parts

The title of this series is a rhetorical question. Sort of like asking “will the sun rise in the east tomorrow?” The material I have presented in the last few articles should have answered that question. When you look at the involvement in and promotion of public education by people like Horace Mann, Robert Owen, and John Dewey you have to realize that there has been socialist promotion of public education literally since day one. To deny that is to deny history.

That being the case, what should the response of Christian parents be? Should they just go along with the “system” and hope it doesn’t totally ruin their kids? Should they try to reform it and get it back to the “good old days” when it was only less socialistic by degrees? Should they study to find out what really makes this system tick and then expose it and the people that run it? Continue reading

Parents protesting contentious curriculum

A California family group says mothers in the state have had enough of public schools exposing their children to radical sex-ed curriculum, and they’re doing something about it.

Leaders of Informed Parents of California recently gathered on the Capitol building steps to make legislators and the State Department of Education aware of their outrage. Continue reading

Teacher: Stroking Egos Does Nothing for Students. Raising Expectations Does.

Armed with a bachelor of science in elementary education, I charged into my career as a teacher. I was immediately exposed to students at three levels of public schools:

1. A rather wealthy district with an average IQ of 120.

2. A classic, middle-class school.

3. A school that is best described as a mini United Nations.

In the “UN” school, approximately 25 percent of students were new immigrants, 30-35 percent were American-born blacks, and the remainder were 40-45 percent Caucasian. The economic structure ranged from welfare to upper middle class. Continue reading

Benson: Socialist Education in America

Dewey’s ideas were apparently judged as crucial to the revolution as any weapon in the arsenal of the Red Army.” ~ Paul Kengor

That America’s public education system is rooted and grounded in socialism has become more and more evident in recent years.

Commentator Charles Morse noted on March 25, 2002 in an article wherein he stated: “That the prevailing philosophies and methodologies of American public education are leftist is not up for debate. Leftists have dominated the federal Department of Education, most state Departments of Education, the teachers’ unions, many teachers colleges, and education foundations for several decades. Many rank and file teachers know this, and have observed the catastrophic results, yet the situation is so rotten that they dare not speak out…On December 5, 1928 The New Republic published an article written by self-described socialist John Dewey, the revered father of so-called progressive education, in which he revealed the true nature of the leftist education agenda. In the article, Dewey spoke of “the marvelous development of progressive educational ideas and practices under the fostering care of the Bolshevist government.” That’s where Mr. Dewey sought to take public education in this country and where his spiritual descendants have indeed taken it. Continue reading

The Founding Fathers of the Public (government) School System in America

Horace Mann

Alex Newman has written an excellent article in the February 4th issue of The New American magazine entitled From Educational Excellence To Mediocrity in which he brings up several issues I have also dealt with in the past.

He noted that the Puritans in Massachusetts were “outliers in America” in the area of having the government start to enact governmental education laws. For all the good things the Puritans may have done, in this one critical area, the promotion of governmental education laws was a horrible mistake. In fact, labeling it as a grievous error would not be an exaggeration. Continue reading

Why Johnny Still Can’t Read…

In 1955, prompted by the reading problems experience by the child of a friend, Rudolf Flesch wrote the book Why Johnny Can’t Read. The book became a huge bestseller and is still in print today.

Flesch realized that the reason many children were not learning to read was because of method of reading instruction they were exposed to in school. Hirsch called the popular method of his time the “look-say” method. The look-say method was just one of many whole word or whole language or word-guessing methods of teaching reading that have plagued students since the early twentieth century. Continue reading

How Public Schools Suffer from the Tragedy of the Commons

Public schools, despite being collectively owned in theory, are in reality owned by no one.

Politico recently commented on a tweet from President Trump regarding “Bible literacy classes” in public schools. The article notes that several state legislatures have introduced the idea and that such classes would be electives and not part of the core curriculum. Inevitably, many will decry the ostensible conflict of church and state, while defenders of the idea see it as an exercise in state autonomy or a return to America’s so-called Christian past. Gray areas of constitutionality, religion, federalism, and local government make for interesting conversation, but I propose a simpler solution and a simpler way of looking at this. Continue reading

Public Education ~ The New Marxism For Our Day

Karl Marx

Back during the “conservative” Reagan administration we got the federal Department of Education. Reagan was supposed to kill it, but he didn’t because he realized where his bread was buttered. I wonder if even he realized where the idea for that federal department came from. Most folks don’t have a clue. However the idea of a federal department of education was not new with Reagan, or even with Carter before him.

The idea wasn’t new with either one of them. It goes all the way back to 1932, and possibly before that.

In 1932 American Communist Party leader William Z. Foster wrote a book, Toward Soviet America and in it Comrade Foster listed several objectives to be forwarded to make this country into a Soviet America. Continue reading

Homeschoolers: Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

My eight-year-old daughter and I recently read about the Salem witch trials. She had heard about Salem from a friend who visited the nearby town during its popular Halloween festivities, and she was curious about the witches. We went to the library to get some books on the topic of how 20 innocent people were put to death for “witchcraft” in 1692, with scores more accused and jailed.

What struck me most about revisiting the Salem Witch Trials with my children was the fact that these English Puritans who had recently settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony had no presumption of innocence. Those accused of a crime at the time, both in the New World and elsewhere, were guilty until proven innocent. The presumption of innocence in trials, with court defenders and impartial juries, would take centuries to catch on. The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” was coined by an English lawyer in 1791, but even then it took a long while to become the legal precedent we all now take for granted. Continue reading

Kansas State Republican Legislator Introduces Tax Break Bill For Student Textbooks

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a Kansas state freshman Republican representative hopes to help struggling college students burdened by the already high cost of textbooks via tax relief. Rep. Rick Hoheisel suggests that Kansas exempt all textbooks from the statewide 6.5% sales tax, thus saving students money each year they buy new books for their curriculum.

Rep. Hoheisel is a recent college graduate and remembers quite well that he would have to shell out big bucks each year simply to afford required reading. While Kansas cannot control the price of textbooks directly, the state government can control the taxes imposed on said products. Continue reading

What I’ve Learned As A Life-Long Homeschooler

Many people still consider “homeschooling” to be a religious farmstead cult instead of a legitimate form of education. Yet on average, homeschoolers are far out-performing their publicly-educated peers in almost every subject.

According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA),

In 1990, the National Home Education Research Institute issued a report entitled “A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement.” This was a study of over 2,163 homeschooling families. Continue reading

1 in 5 Lack Basic Literacy in These 3 States…

Here’s Why That Matters…

Adult illiteracy is one of the most overlooked socio-economic problems in America. Illiteracy can increase unemployment and poverty while lowering family stability and community flourishing. Here are five facts you should know about adult illiteracy in America:

1. Illiteracy is the inability to read or write. While complete illiteracy is relatively rare among native English speakers in the U.S., a significant percentage of Americans are functionally illiterate. A person is considered functionally illiterate when they cannot engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his group and community and also for enabling him to continue to use reading, writing, and calculation for his own and the community’s development. Continue reading

America First is based upon Traditional Heritage

Accurate history is the first causality in any establishment account of events and their significance. When the fundamental chronicles of national heritage is purged and supplanted with a total reversal of the nature of America’s essence, the public is browbeaten into adopting a phony and destructive departure from traditional values and purpose. The intense disparaging of the America First Committee and their vigorous defense of the Originalist Perspective for a non-interventionist foreign policy was a profound departure from constitutional restraint and limited Presidential authority. Continue reading

Dickens: Great Expectations…

…for my friend, Charles Dickens

Lost portrait of Charles Dickens

Portrait of a thirty-something Charles Dickens as he looked when he wrote A Christmas Carol was found caked in mould at a South African market 150 years after it vanished

A youthful portrait of British writer Charles Dickens that went missing for 150 years went on display in London in late November, 2018 after being found covered in mould next to a metal lobster at a market in South Africa.

The miniature watercolour and gouache portrait by Margaret Gillies, valued at £220,000 pounds was painted in 1843 as the young Dickens, then in his early 30s, was writing ‘A Christmas Carol’.

The painting shows the Victorian writer clean shaven, with long, wavy hair, looking over his left shoulder, a contrast to the more common image of an ageing Dickens, with long bushy beard and messy, balding hair. Continue reading