John Dewey: America’s Pied Piper
by John Doughty
John Dewey (1889-1951) is acknowledged today to be the chief architect of the modern American public school system. The leading philosopher of his day, especially in the field of education, Dewey, an ardent evolutionist and founder of the American Humanist Association, imposed his educational philosophy of humanism on the American schools, directly challenging-and ultimately overthrowing-the traditional system, which was hitherto based on Christianity.
By his own admission, Dewey rejected God and the Christian faith because of the constant haranguing of his mother, a Christian believer, who nonetheless, incessantly nagged her young son in his youth, growing up in Burlington, Vermont. The seeds of spiritual infidelity sprouted in his college days at Johns Hopkins University where he became enamored with Hegelian philosophy; the explanation of reality in terms of human rationale and logic. Dewey embraced the infidel notions of his day: Darwinian naturalism, Hegelian rationalism, Marxist communism, and Freudian/Skinner psychotherapy and took them one step further by integrating them into an educational philosophy which could be applied to the American classroom.
Thus as America’s public schools were coming of age in the 1930’s, Dewey was in the right place at the right time to subvert them from a Christian worldview to that of his own; a godless and humanistic philosophic system. Dewey’s Religious Humanism, as related to education and psychology, became known as the Progressive Education Movement.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, in its biographical sketch of John Dewey, written by Will Durant, himself a humanist, said:
“The starting point of his system of thought is biological: He sees man as an organism in an environment, remaking as well as made. Things are to be understood through their origins and their functions, without the intrusion of supernatural considerations.” (Vol. 7, 1949 ed.), p. 297.
Another educational analyst has commented:
An absolute faith in science became the driving force behind the progressives… The most important idea that would influence the educators was that of evolution-the notion that man, through a process of natural selection, had evolved to his present state from a common animal ancestry. Evolution was as sharp a break with the Biblical view of creation as anyone could make, and it was quickly picked up by those anxious to disprove the validity of orthodox religion. (Samuel L. Blumenfeld, NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, Boise, Idaho: Paradigm, 1984), p. 43.
For John Dewey, evolution was the overriding factor. If evolution were true, it was not just a process of nature, but a universal and cosmic principle. If Man had evolved, then so did his mind, consciousness, and the human thought processes. If he were to continue evolving, than so would his ideas of law, culture, religion, and society.
Interested in psychology, Dewey was fascinated with Freud and his psychoanalysis, as well as the techniques of the behavioral psychologists such as Ivan Pavlov and Harvard’s B.F. Skinner, who were experimenting with animals. As an educator, Dewey followed the evolutionary view of the psychologists to its next logical conclusion, formulating the concept of developmental child psychology. Simply stated, this taught that since the student child is simply an evolved animal, he must be treated as such! As the child is young and not fully developed, he must be handled or progressed to mental maturity where he may function within his species. That is, able to function in what Dewey envisioned as the “democratic” society.
Hence the term progressive, experimental, or pragmatic. The progressive group was marked by a propensity for lowering standards and expectations. Individual student potential was disregarded for collective and cooperative group learning. Authoritarian teaching styles were abandoned and textbooks were thrown out, scorned as “rote memorization.” Teachers concentrated on child-centeredness and life adjustment. It was the forerunner of today’s Outcome Based Education program.
Says one standard educational philosophy text:
Progressivism as an educational theory arose as a definite reaction against traditional education, which had emphasized formal methods of instruction, mental learning, and the literary classics of Western civilization… Freudian theory bolstered many progressives to argue for more freedom of self-expression among children and a more open learning environment in which children could release the energy of their instinctive impulses in creative ways. (George R. Knight, Issues & Alternatives in Educational Philosophy, (Andrews University Press: Berrien Springs, Michigan, 1989,) p. 86.
But the greatest danger of the progressive and pragmatic school lay not in its “Romper Room” approach, but in its philosophical and foundational opposition to Christianity! As Durant wrote, Dewey considered God to be a supernatural “intrusion.” “The pragmatic position,” says Knight, “gives no place to such things as `a priori’ concepts and Absolute Truths…. What works today may prove to be an insufficient explanation tomorrow. Therefore, truth is relative… Values are relative…. That which is ethically good is that which `works.'” (Knight, Ibid. p. 68.)
Knight goes on to say that Dewey and the pragmatists, in their struggle with ethics and the question of good and evil, struggled with the absolute moral code as contained in the Ten Commandments. They finally accepted the last six of the Ten Commandments, (those dealing with man,) while denying the first four (those dealing with God.) Why were the Ten Commandments such a problem? Says Knight:
(1) The ethical value system of Western civilization was based upon these moral precepts; (2) moral education had been tied to the Hebrew-Christian tradition; (3) the accepted way of teaching these morals in their religious context was being undermined by Darwinism and biblical criticism; and (4) if civilization was to have continuity, then a new foundation for morality needed to be found-one that could be taught in the public schools.
Dewey’s impact on the American schools came through his appointments as chair of the teachers college at the University of Chicago (1894-1904) and after a fallout with the school, Professor of Pedagogy at Columbia University in New York (1904-1930). Thus, Dewey was a lifetime “teacher of teachers.” He was further able to propagate his views through the “normal schools” or teachers colleges. Established in 1838 to 1845, the normal schools came to be dominated by Harvard University under the leadership of Horace Mann, a Unitarian and humanist, and his followers, Eliot and Fiske. (Henry Morris, The Long War Against God, Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1989, p. 47.) While not a Harvard man, Dewey shared with their faculty a love of Hegel, and when he came to be known as America’s premier philosopher at Columbia, he knew he could count on his colleagues in Cambridge, Massachusetts to support him.
Thus a godless system had been created, a supposed religiously neutral environment, when in fact the Christian faith was replaced with the new religion of Humanism. Dewey’s philosophy had political overtones as well. Dewey was a socialist, himself, and an admirer of the Marxist educational system in the Soviet Union. In fact, most of Dewey’s system mimicked Marx’s, especially the collectivist and cooperatist thinking. There was nothing original with Dewey here. But with Stalin’s atrocities in the Soviet Union, and the American backlash against communism, Dewey had to tone down his leftist leanings.
The short term result of his progressive schools was-to put it mildly-an all round fiasco. School systems across America were faced with several grades of children who were found below standard. The opposition to the Progressives came from the traditional Neo-Scholasticists and Perrenialists, (the Judeo-Christian and Classics school) as well as the Essentialist (three R’s school.) All denounced “the Chicago experiment” as anti-individual, anti-intellect, and anti-knowledge.
Later, the launching of the Soviet Sputnik in 1957 would awaken the American public to the dumbing down that had taken place in the nation’s schools. The late fifties and early sixties saw a massive resurgence of math and science, and seemed to mark the end of humanized education. Fortunately for that generation of Americans, the religious and philosophical underpinnings of the movement did not take hold.
Licking his wounds, Dewey retired from the education profession in 1930, and turned inwardly, seeking solace from the thing he believed could provide the satisfaction for which he had longed-his humanistic faith. It was a faith he was obliged to share with others. Freshly invigorated by the outcome of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” in Dayton, Tennessee, in which the news media portrayed evolution as debunking creation, Dewey became the driving force in the formation of the American Humanist Association, becoming its first president, and helping write the fifteen tenets of its first creed, the Humanist Manifesto I (1933). He and his cohorts laid out an agenda for the world. Among the statements were:
“First: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
Second: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.
Fifth: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values…..
Eighth: Religious Humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man’s life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now….”
Forty years later, the Humanist Manifesto II (1973) would expand the humanist creed into an even lengthier code with seventeen statements of faith. Among the tenets:
We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species… As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity…. No deity will save us: we must save ourselves.
Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices…. Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body.
We strive for the good life, here and now.
In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized…. Neither do we wish to prohibit…. sexual behavior between consenting adults…. Individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire. Moral education for children and adults is an important way of developing awareness and sexual maturity.
It also includes a recognition of an individual’s right to die with dignity, euthanasia, and the right to suicide.
We would safeguard, extend, and implement the principles of human freedom evolved from the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, the Rights of Man, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are committed to an open and democratic society. We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the workplace, and voluntary associations.
We believe in the right to universal education.
We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds.
The world community must engage in cooperative planning concerning the use of rapidly depleting resources… We should perceive ourselves as integral to the sources of our being in nature.
Humanism is the belief that man is god, and is only responsible to himself. Humanism means no divine authority, no biblical revelation, the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. Humanism is free sex, homosexuality, and fornication without any guilt. Humanism is the rebellion against God’s universal sanction of capital punishment and the eating of meat. Humanism is abortion on demand, the right to “die with dignity,” euthanasia, and suicide. Humanism is “If it feels good, do it! Humanism is “Earth Day,” “mother earth,” “mother nature,” and environmentalism; the worship of the creation, instead of the Creator. Humanism worships animals, and despises man, made in God’s image.
Worse, humanism infects the church with the spirit of inferiority and mediocrity. Humanism says “there is a separation of church and state.” Humanism in the church numbs the spiritual senses of the congregation to Biblical precept, and teaches the brethren to sin, as did Jezebel. Humanism in the congregation allows the toleration of evil, and compromises the teachings of the Word of God. Humanism displaces the doctrines of faith, trust, and grace from their sacred place, since it teaches that man’s confidence lies in himself, and not in God.
Humanism as professed and practiced in the public schools makes education the answer to man’s dilemmas. “Education,” becomes the solution and saving grace for all the pains and ills which plague society. It is a code word. What is the answer to the drug endemic, premarital sex and illegitimacy, and the AIDS plague? “Education.” For the humanist, Jesus Christ becomes unnecessary; education is his substitute savior.
Dewey was not satisfied teaching the 3 R’s in school. He wanted greater control over America’s children. He also wanted to supervise the all avenues of extracurricular activities, including the child’s social development and interactions. He wanted to control the forums in which young boys and girls would learn about sex, family life issues, in which they would date, and possibly marry. He wanted control over the vocational and future economics of the child. It was totalitarian education, vintage Marx!
John Dewey believed his “democratic society” could no longer rely on the church, parents, and community to impart the values to the next generation. It would be up to them, (the public schools) to impart the values and teach them to be citizens of the new world order.
Despite John Dewey’s long life and influence on the American schools, he died in 1952 without seeing his vision for the nations future generations of young people come to pass. But his philosophy was resurrected in the late sixties and early seventies, and at last became firmly entrenched in the educational establishment through the work of his disciples. John Dewey rules the public schools today more thoroughly than he might have imagined.
He governs through the rigorously enforced guidelines of college education majors for all state certified teachers. The introductory education course, required of all state certification candidates is, basically, a humanist boot camp for the purpose of destroying students’ faith in God to be recast in the mold of humanists. Once indoctrinated, the system is able to take care of the rest.
If this seems too bold an assertion, please note the following statement of humanist John Dunphy, a third generation Dewey Disciple, member of Dewey’s American Humanist Association, and writing for Dewey’s envisioned publishing arm, The Humanist:
I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. There teachers must embody the same selfless dedication of the most rabid fundamentalist preacher, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level–preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new–the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of `love thy neighbor’ will finally be achieved. (“A Religion for A New Age,” The Humanist, Jan/Feb 1983.)
Wake up Christians! Do you think for one moment that this does not affect the church? Our churches are being ruined today by a system that wants to make bastards of our children! The present government educational system wants them to be spiritually impoverished, economically dependant, and politically controlled. It hates Jesus Christ and his church. Our christian young people do not stand a chance. Some say they can convert the school. Hogwash. They are to sit down, shut up, and listen!
It is doubtful if Christian teachers and administrators in the state system, themselves-God bless them, they are full fledged missionaries-can survive as well. In most cases, those coming through the system, who spend any length of time, are usually rendered compromised and ultimately frustrated. Some have suffered nervous breakdowns. It is not their fault, they have become victims of John Dewey. It is the way he wanted it, this is the way it is and they are not going to change it! However, many Christian teachers are converted themselves, developing humanist notions and tendencies without ever realizing it, becoming in effect “christianoids.” They also can ruin a church.
For instance, the author took a philosophy of education course (Education 360)at a state university, which began as a former “normal school,” whose emphasis in the pedagogical discipline remains strong today. The first day of class, the adjunct professor began:
Why study educational philosophy? Because you have to (1) Know your own view, (2) Apply to education, (3) Choose a defensible methodology, and (4) Use it in your school.
Each prospective teacher was to formulate an educational philosophy determined on the basis of Metaphysics [What is reality?] with its subsets Theology [Who Is God?] and Cosmology [their view of origins;] Epistemology [concerning the verification of knowledge] and Axiology [the determination of good and right.]
Needless to say the official creed of the class was the humanism of John Dewey, as expressed in the Humanist Manifesto’s I and II. It is easy to see how pervasive this philosophy has become, when one sees the role of the public school teacher as demanded by John Dunphy. The teachers are to see themselves as agents, evangelists, and preachers of “change.”
A local example of the “change” sought by humanist educators comes from Winchester, Virginia, where Frederick County School Superintendent Thomas Malcolm made national newspaper headlines when he attempted to purge the words “Christmas” and “Easter” from official school vocabulary. The Washington Times correspondent Janet Naylor reported:
Mr. Malcolm said the Winchester area, despite its traditionally Christian heritage, is changing. `Historically, we have been a community that was white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant,’ Mr. Malcolm said. `We’re changing rapidly. We have a diverse group of people.’
Former Winchester School Superintendent John Capehart reiterated the same theme personally to this author, “Change is difficult. This area is just not used to change.” The question is: what kind of Achange@ are they talking about? Malcolm, like John Dewey, was similarly raised in a Christ believing home, and Malcolm even attended the Paw Paw,(West Virginia) Church of Christ. But with the policies and statements Malcolm has formulated, it is not difficult to envision the kind of society he is trying to bring about.
The slogan of “Change” is not limited to the spheres of education. Governor Bill Clinton adopted it as the theme of his 1992 campaign against President Bush. Humanism as envisioned by Dewey was perfectly in accord with politics! Dewey had only to look to Marx. The sad fact is that the political platform of the modern Democratic Party of America looks like a carbon copy of the Humanist Manifesto II! And what little morality that is tolerated in the Republican Party and so-called conservatives is merely lip-service and tradition.
What do these people mean by “change” and how do they propose to bring about such? Jay Wilson, a Christian philosopher of education has asked some hard questions:
If you sent your child to a Catholic school, would you expect them to try to indoctrinate your child in catholicism? If you sent your child to a Baptist school, would you expect them to try to indoctrinate your child in the elements of the Baptist faith? If you sent your child to a Communist school, would you expect them to try to indoctrinate your child in Communism? What, then would you expect if you sent your child to a Humanist school? Surprise! They are going to indoctrinate your child in humanism! (Jay Wilson, Christian Education: The Hope of the World, 11th Hour Press: Bozeman, Montana, 1996, p. 10.
Wilson goes on to explain that the change is brought about through “values clarification.” He explains, “this is the process by which the values of the teacher (called a “change agent” or `facilitator’) become the values of the student (often called the `target’). The teachers themselves are often victims of the values clarification process, having either been thoroughly brainwashed into humanism themselves in government schools, or in teachers’s colleges.”
He continues, “the techniques in this progressive educational method involve unfreezing, change, and refreezing. By means of a group discussion, and a suitable open-ended question, children who are `victims’ of strong parental standards can be singled out, their values `unfrozen’ changed, and `refrozen’ in humanism.”
Barbara Morris elaborates on the methods of freezing and change in values clarification in her book Change Agents In The Schools:
When change has been internalized; when children discover, accept, and apply new attitudes, values, and behaviors as their own, when the desired changes have become a part of the child’s personality, then children are “gone” and most likely, it’s too late to do anything about it. The refreezing has occurred.
If this unfreezing, changing, and refreezing process seems more than just a bit coercive-it is, and the coercion is readily admitted…
The influence of an organization on an individual is coercive in the sense that he is usually forced into situations which are likely to unfreeze him, in which there are many overt and covert pressures to recognize in himself a need for change, and in which the supports for his old attitudes are in varying degrees coercively removed…. At the same time, the actual process by which new attitudes are learned can best be described as persuasion. In effect, the individual is forced into a situation in which he is likely to be influenced. The organization can be highly coercive in unfreezing its potential influence targets.
Substitute the word `school’ for `organization’ and the word `children’ for `influence targets’ and you have a very revealing description of what is taking place under the guise of “education!” (Barbara Morris, Change Agents In The Schools, p. 111)
The author himself, witnessed first hand the freezing of many young prospective teachers while taking the state certification introductory education courses at James Madison University, which began as one of Virginia=s state ANormal Schools@, a teacher=s college. Most of the classes= students were young girls who came from conservative and Christian homes. They were led as sheep to the slaughter. The course professor, a pied piper of John Dewey, mesmerized many of them, and took them right over the cliff:
“We are going to ask some tough questions. Is the universe created by a divine being, or did it come about on its own? We are going to kill your mind. We’re going to rehash this. We want you to be uncomfortable, then after we rehash it over and over, then you’ll be comfortable.
What is your role in the school? We’ll do all world religions-Buddhism, sit in a circle and meditate, and do mantras. And you better be ready to defend this, or else you’re going to get in hot water. As David Morris says, `We have to modify our behavior in terms of our belief system.’ Are you convinced? Please say you’re convinced.
Is morality absolute? It is relative. Sex before marriage, is it wrong? If it is, why? We are going to talk about theology. Who is God? Is there a God? Is there one God or many? Is it a he or a she? Is it just a spirit? Or is it a rhythm of nature like the New Age Movement says? If there is no God living, and man is evolving, than we are just going on. There is no one divine mind.
We go from Theology to Cosmology. This is your view of the world. This is the biggie: Is the Big Bang true or were we divinely created? [The author pointed out that the Big Bang Model was presently in disfavor,] Oh, they’re trying to dispute it again.”
The humanist Axiology asks `what is of value, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, true or false?’ How is axiology determined? By what is pragmatic, or whatever works. Value and truth are relative. `Truth is what works.’ Value, goodness, beauty, meaning, and truth are determined on the basis of relative merit.
The belief in relative morality gives rise to the condition of situation ethics in its application. In the education course, a list of six “real life” [problem] situations were given, and each prospective teacher was to find a solution.
(1) A 9th grader, 14 years old is pregnant, parents don’t know, boyfriend will pay for the abortion. What do you do? (2) A Student is down on work. His mother is having an affair w/ principal. The guidance counsellor is good friends with both. You are 1st year teacher. What do you do? (3) First day of school, boy raggedly dressed. No one picked him up, his mother is drunk. What do you do? (4) A Colleague at work says you are critical of his teaching methods. What do you do? (5) The Biology teacher (your best friend) decides people don’t know about birth & death, and will include it in class. He’s worried it will be denied. What do you do? (6) The Big trend is co-operative learning, one student refuses. His dad is a big jock, a well liked sports star. What do you do?
The answers to the questions, of course, are: you do whatever you like as long as you can defend it intellectually.
According to Barbara Morris, the change that Dewey envisioned, was the same as Marx’s tenth plank in the Communist Manifesto: the indoctrination of the states young people with education in the hands of the government. Therefore the government schools are in effect, government agencies that exist to promote change; socially, politically, economically, culturally, and religiously. This is the danger of federalized education such as the O.B.E Movement and the Goals 2000 program. It is a Soviet style collectivization where the education of children is taken from the hands of the local concerned and placed in the hands of a central few.
Unfortunately, combatting religious humanism in the government schools is just one of the problems facing Christians today. The academic deficiencies are just as severe as the moral crises! In his book, The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett has quantified a shocking picture of American society through the collection of statistics. Bennett found that since 1960, expenditures on elementary and secondary education have increased more than 200 percent, while SAT scores have declined 73 points. When both graphs of the time period 1960-1990 were superimposed on each other in terms of increasing billions spent, and the drop in SAT scores (in increments of tens), the chart looked like a giant “X”. Furthermore, studies concluded that there was no correlation between educational spending and student achievement.
According to Bennett’s sources for the school year 1992-1993, out of the fifty states and the District of Columbia, the five states coming in highest in SAT scores were in the bottom half in terms of dollars expended; (1) Iowa (27), (2) North Dakota (44), (3) South Dakota (42), (4) Utah (51), and (5) Minnesota (25). Where do you think the five states spending the greatest amount of dollars ranked? You guessed it, in the bottom half! (1) New Jersey (39), (2) Alaska (31), (3) Connecticut (33), (4) New York (40), and (5) the District of Columbia. (49).
What investor would tolerate such a return in his investment? What businessman would tolerate such a wasteful enterprise? In a day and age, when the liberal politicians are championing the cause of big government and educational “mandates;” We The People, the taxpayers are getting ripped off, royally! How long will the sacred cow that is the public school continue to walk our streets?
To add insult to injury, a further study documented that while American students finished last among other nations in math and science performance, the same American group responded confidently in their polling data, that they were “good in math.” The Koreans, who finished first in the exams, came in dead last when asked to indicate their assessment of themselves. Albert Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers said:
Ninety-five percent of the kids who go to college in the United States would not be admitted to college anywhere else in the world.
The American classrooms have been “dumbed down.” Our students are doing worse and worse, and at the same time, have never felt better about themselves! The problem is the educational establishment has saturated itself with every aspect of the child’s life, except for academics. Instead of the 3 R’s, most schools are concerned with the ABC’s, abortion, birth control, and condoms.
Bennett has documented that the United States spends more money each year per student on public elementary and secondary education than does Canada, Italy, West Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan. According to the U.S. Department of Education, average teacher salaries, in constant 1989 dollars, have increased more than 25 percent since 1960 from $23,000 to over $35,000. Levies and budgets of millions of dollars are being raised annually. Is it going to the teachers? No. By 1987, full-time classroom teachers represented barely half (53 percent) of all local school employment, with administrators representing 12 percent.
Yet, the National Education Association, the powerful teachers labor union continues to lobby its power with the politicians for money. The NEA, however, is not just a political union, but contains the same ideology aa the Humanist Manifesto II. In October, 1995, the NEA published the resolution B-9. entitled “Sexual Orientation Education:”
The National Education Association recognizes the importance of raising the awareness and increasing the sensitivity of staff, students, parents, and the community to sexual orientation in our society. The Association therefore supports the development of positive plans that lead to effective ongoing training programs for education employees for the purpose of identifying and eliminating sexual orientation stereotyping in the educational setting. Such programs should attend to but not be limited to-
(a) Accurate portrayal of the roles and contributions of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people throughout history, with acknowledgement of their sexual orientation. (b) The acceptance of diverse sexual orientation and the awareness of sexual stereotyping whenever sexuality and/or tolerance of diversity is taught. (c) Elimination of sexual orientation name-calling and jokes in the classroom. (d) Support for the celebration of a Lesbian and Gay History Month as a means of acknowledging the contributions of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals throughout history, (94,95) (Fax sent to Crystal Flood, File No. 813 10/20 ’95 16:29 ID:NEA EXEC. OFFICE 202 822 7974 Page 2.)
The NEA wants educators to be trained in the art of “identifying and eliminating.” What must be identified and eliminated by government school change agents-is not just any view hostile to sodomy-but all Christian convictions.
In 1994, while covering the local county school board meeting, which was presenting its budget, The Winchester [VA] Star reporter Cynthia Cather reported of a first-grade teacher at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School, Sara Bicking who was not in favor of employees salary increases being reduced.
Cather reported Bicking as saying:
When I heard that, for the first time in my life, I was able to understand people who are angry enough to go out and get a gun and blow people off the face of the earth that they are absolutely infuriated with, (“Teachers Blast Frederick School Board,” The Winchester Star, March 22, 1994)
Local Frederick County residents recoiled in horror at the statement, pondering the ability of a teacher who would make such a statement. What was the result? The Frederick County Board of Supervisors were able to find some extra money to keep the teachers happy and the athletic program going at the same time!
A year later, (September 19, 1995) Bicking was published in the Winchester Star Open Forum editorial with a self-serving defense of public school teachers entitled, “Political Blinders: Take heed, Public School Teachers Are Doing A-OK.” She began her article,
“In my opinion, The Winchester Star’s consistently negative commentary on teacher attitudes and the quality of our work represents a very biased and unfair view of public school performance.”
In October of that same year, Bicking wrote a letter, published in the Star, not as second-grade teacher, but as the official Chairman of the Frederick County Education Association-Political Action Committee, making her political endorsements on behalf of the Virginia Education Association and the county.
The author has worked over five years as an educator in the former Soviet Union, as a university professor as well as an elementary teacher, and is familiar with the communist government bureaucracy mentality. Their socialized medical system is not concerned with the health of the Russian people; it is a jobs creation industry. Their government agencies associated with the law and civic obligations are not concerned about civilian problems; they are a jobs creation industry. And though we worked with many able and dedicated educators in Russia, the communist education apparatchiks were not concerned with teaching young people, but rather using the bureaucracy for their own purposes.
What can be done?
In the education course attended by the author, there was however, one word of warning given as a maxim to all future public school teachers. According to the professor, there was one enemy to be feared and avoided at all costs if possible. “What could strike such fear in the heart of a government school teacher?” “An angry parent.” “Never underestimate the power of an angry parent!” said Usry.
You better prepare to meet those parents who object to your methods, and defend yourself. You must beat them intellectually and even humiliate them if you have to. No superintendent or school board member is going to come to your rescue. If you can’t defend yourself, you will be in hot water. They will have your job!
This is truly amazing. If ever the government schools could be taken back by the Christian people, this is the dirty secret by which it would be accomplished. Despite John Dewey’s best intentions, the parents still have the upper hand in the local public school system. This is incredible. If Christian parents only knew this, and prepared themselves intellectually, it is possible that the Humanism could be overthrown. Sadly though, most parents will not stand up and fight for their children. And in the minds of their young people, if Christianity is not worth fighting for, it is not worth believing.
For example, a recent conflict arose in the aforementioned Frederick County schools, between a school teacher and student who refused to participate in an evening extra curricular school activity, as it conflicted with a meeting at the Church of Christ at Mountain View. The teacher threatened to dock their classroom grade. The student’s Youth Minister, Doug Hardman talked with the aforementioned superintendent Thomas Malcolm, and conveyed to him why the student would not be attending. Hardman gave the reasons in this order:
(1) Jesus said, `Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness,’ (2) The church comes before the schools, (3) The parents have authority over the schools, and (4) Since Mr. Malcolm grew up in a Church of Christ, he should know when the Church of Christ meets throughout the week.
What was the result? Was the grade docked? Did the truant officer or Child Protective Services come in and snatch the child from the family? Were the parents arrested and thrown in jail? Did Virginia Governor George Allen, the last holdout against Goals 2000, have to call in the National Guard? Not at all. It was a simple matter of authority, jurisdiction, and power. As the demons themselves testify, “Jesus we know, Paul we know, but who are you?”
When will parents quit being buffaloed by paper tiger school officials hostile to the Christian faith? The fact is they have no law enforcement power at their disposal. They are public servants, accountable to school boards, even more importantly, to the people they purport to serve. It is hoped that the return of elected school boards will bring some accountability back to the local school systems. But having an elected school board is only as good as the dedicated Christian people who are willing to take part.
Many Christian parents have come to see the government schools for what they are-local humanist temples. But what available alternatives exist apart from them? The fact is there is a world of educational opportunity awaiting to be discovered by rugged individualist parents, home-schooling. For years, government educators have intimidated parents into believing that they are inferior beings when it comes to the education of their children. Nothing could be further from the truth. America was built on the educational foundation of home-schools. They produced the greatest and most enlightened minds in Western Civilization.
Private and Christian schools have also become an overnight phenomena, attesting to the public’s universal lack of confidence in the government schools. Indeed many government school teachers themselves, enroll their children-in private schools.
Among Christian schools, there are three predominate curriculums. The A Beka, Accelerated Christian Education, and Alpha Omega are all written by Baptist educators. A Beka has put together a Christian curriculum with many good materials, while retaining the same “assembly line” structure of the government schools-a teacher per grade-which results in high overhead expenses, and consequently, tuition. The Accelerated Christian Education program (like the Alpha Omega) focuses on individualized student instruction, again with an excellent curriculum of “Paces,” but without the overhead and expense of a large bureaucracy. All have their merits; the important thing is that the Bible is the center of student learning.
The questions before the Christian community today are-why have we allowed the humanist takeover of the public schools? Why have we cowered from confrontation, debate, and censor? We built the house. We pay the bills. And yet, will we give it away? For too long the church has said, “separation of church and state.” In the name of Jesus Christ: Get out there and fight! If Douglas McArthur could boldly proclaim, “We must win. There is no substitute for victory!” What shall we say then, when our last book reveals the victorious and coming judgement of the Son of God.
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