Close the Department of Education

Mark Aug. 8 on your calendar. Few realize it, but the events of Aug. 5-8 marked the beginning of massive changes in America.

No, I don’t write today about the overdue Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the actuarially bankrupt federal government’s bond rating, or even the (possibly more important) whining, petulant, vapid reaction of President Barack Obama, an affirmative action baby confronting for the first time the undeniable real-world failure of the memorized socialist "blame the rich" claptrap that served him so well as an affirmative action student and then as a motivational speaker for leftist outfits on the taxpayer dole.

No, look at that other story on the front page of your Aug. 9 newspaper.

Faced with widespread whimpering from administrators of the fraudulent, coercion-based job factories known as the government schools, who claim the No Child Left Behind Act just made it too hard for them to look good because it actually required testing the academic achievement of their charges and then making the abysmal results public, Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Teacher Full-Employment, Arne Duncan, announced Aug. 8 that the testing requirements are serving as an "impediment" and "disincentive" for government educrats, and therefore he’s going to encourage some of the states that are having trouble meeting the testing requirements to apply for testing "waivers," come September.

How many states? Um … 50.

Which must eventually lead even slow-witted parents and taxpayers to ask, "If testing the kids to find out if they can read, write and do simple sums after we’ve spent 10 or 20 grand per year on each of them is an ‘impediment’ to what the educrats are supposed to be doing, what on earth are they actually supposed to be doing? And if what they’re up to has nothing to do with producing high school graduates who can pass a multiple-choice test that the eighth graders of 1955 could have passed with their eyes closed, why should we keep funding the federal Department of Education, our state Department of Education or even our fraud-peddling local school districts?"

Let us, for starters, hear no more talk of "reform." How do you set about "reforming" a massive institution that’s doing precisely what it was designed to do — dumbing down a once-free people into docile dimwits, desperately see-sawing from the Scylla of the Stalinist Republicrats to the Charybdis of the Fascist-Lite Demopublicans, voting back into power first with the left hand and then with the right the same ruling class of banksters, hucksters, thugs and bunko artists who have been busily enriching themselves — and bankrupting us — for almost a century?

If "The Theory of Money & Credit" ( sounds like too thick a wade, read Rose Wilder Lane’s "The Discovery of Freedom / Man’s Struggle Against Authority," by the daughter who helped ready her mom’s "Little House" books for publication.

Imagine, in this joyful clarion call to freedom, Ms. Lane was explaining, way back in 1943: "Forty years ago, American children went to school because they wanted to go, or because their parents sent them. Children knew the fact that schooling is a great opportunity which the Revolution had opened here to all children alike."

But "The American method of education was never fully developed; it was stopped about forty years ago by the eager German-minded reformers, who believed that the State can spend an American’s money for his, or his children’s education, much more wisely than he can. American schooling is now compulsory, enforced by the police and controlled by the State (that is, by the politicians in office) and paid for by compulsory taxes.

"The inevitable result is to postpone a child’s growing-up," Ms. Lane wrote. "His actual situation does not require him to develop self-reliance, self-discipline and responsibility; that is, he has no actual experience of freedom in his youth. This is ideal education for the German State, whose subjects are not expected ever to know freedom. … But it does not work that way in this country. …"

Trying — and failing — to disguise the underlying compulsion of their undertaking, "The teachers try to make learning easy, a game. But real learning is not easy; it requires self-discipline and hard work," Ms. Lane explained. "The attempt to make learning effortless actually keeps a child from discovering the pleasure of self-discipline and of the mental effort that overcomes difficulties. … It is not the best preparation for inheriting the leadership of the World Revolution for freedom."

There’s no room here to detail how Prussian schooling was imported wholesale to this country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in an often successful plot to destroy intellect and individualism amongst America’s underclass. For that, read John Taylor Gatto’s "Underground History of American Education."

In "Underground History," Mr. Gatto, who was chosen (government-school) Teacher of the Year for both New York City and New York state, and thus can’t be accused of being some sour grapes outsider who could never make it in "The System," points out:

"You aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about thirty-three are murdered there every year. …

"Your great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children. What happened? If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you’d think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set, you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher?"

Gatto traces the scheme back to the 19th century.

"During the post-Civil War period, childhood was extended about four years. Later, a special label was created to describe very old children. It was called adolescence, a phenomenon hitherto unknown to the human race. The infantilization of young people didn’t stop at the beginning of the twentieth century; child labor laws were extended to cover more and more kinds of work, the age of school leaving set higher and higher. The greatest victory for this utopian project was making school the only avenue to certain occupations."

Why were the schools designed to dumb down a nation?

"The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the careers devoted to tending to them will seem incredible to you," Mr. Gatto replies. "Yet that is my proposition: Mass dumbness first had to be imagined; it isn’t real.

"Once the dumb are wished into existence, they serve valuable functions: as a danger to themselves and others they have to be watched, classified, disciplined, trained, medicated, sterilized, ghettoized, cajoled, coerced, jailed. … Hundreds of millions of perpetual children require paid attention from millions of adult custodians."

If you want to be free, restore education in America: refuse to patronize or support the government-run schools.

Next week: Confirming Secretary Duncan’s assertion that testing kids on reading and math is merely an "impediment" and "disincentive" to what our educrats are really up to, Mr. Gatto details for us what the government schools really do teach.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel "The Black Arrow." See

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