Friday, January 21, 2011

More than a century of American educational reform in one post

  • 1893 - Report of the Committee of Ten on Secondary School Subjects recommends that students in the newly developing high schools be taught Latin, Greek, English, other Modern Languages, Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra,  Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, History and Civil Government, Geography,  and Meteorology.
  • 1918 - Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education is published by the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education (a.k.a. the Gang of Twenty-seven). It has a broader scope finding the Cardinal Principles to be: 1. Health, 2. Command of fundamental processes, 3. Worthy home membership, 4. Vocation, 5. Civic education, 6. Worthy use of leisure, and 7. Ethical character.    
"Cardinal Principles was a small pamphlet, not much larger than The Communist Manifesto or a man's hand. It rejected the elitist and undemocratic education of the dark past and provided in its place "preparation for effective living." It made us the effective livers we are today, and it sends forth every year from our public schools and colleges all those effective livers who will make the future of the nation." -- Richard Mitchell The Graves of Academe
  • 1918 - 0.9% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests of intellectual preparation.
  • 1938 - Progressive's Progress cover story in Time Magazine heralds the mainstreaming of Progressive Education.
  • 1941 - 4% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army General Qualification Test because they could not perform intellectually at the 4th Grade level.  These recruits would have learned to read before Progressive Education came to dominate American schools.
  • 1944 - The Serviceman's Adjustment Act passes Congress.  Better known as The GI Bill.
  • 1947 - The Educational Testing Service is founded by all the usual suspects (American Council on Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the College Entrance Examination Board) to supply a standard entrance exam for tertiary educational institutions.  Essay writing as a means of testing is largely abandoned because it can't be machine graded. 
  • 1951 - 16.6% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army General Qualification Test because they could not perform intellectually at the 4th Grade level.  These recruits would have learned to read after Progressive Education came to dominate American schools.  Illiteracy increases by 4 times in just 10 years.
  • 1955 - Rudolph Flesch publishes Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do About It.  The phonics exercises in the back of the book allow parents to bypass the Look-Say teaching methods of government schools.
  • 1957 - The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1 and also yet another of the periodic reform efforts in American education in the form of 1958's National Defense Education Act.
  • 1959 - Admiral Hyman Rickover (Father of the Nuclear Navy) publishes Education and Freedom promoting his views that:
    "The chronic shortage of good scientists, engineers and other professionals which plagues us is the result of time wasted in public schools which must be made up later on. (America is) reaping the consequences of the destruction of traditional education by the Dewey-Kilpatrick experimentalist philosophy. For all children, the educational process must be one of the collecting factual knowledge to the limit of their absorptive capacity. Recreation, manual or clerical training, etiquette and similar know-how have little effect on the mind itself - and it is with the mind that the school must concern itself.
  • 1962 - John Wales, a British teacher crossing the Atlantic on his way to work at Western Michigan State University, is surprised to win a trivia contest on American History, Geography and Literature competing against the American passengers.  At Western Michigan, he surveys Michigan  school students on similar topics and publishes Schools of Democracy: an Englishman's impressions of secondary education in the American Middle-West discovering (among much else) that American secondary school students' basic knowledge of facts about their country was poor.  The fact about America that they knew best was the nicknames of the states, presumably because of their appearance on automotive license plates.
  • 1965 - Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) gives aid to public and private schools.
  • 1977 - Dick Mitchell, a professor of English at New Jersey's Glassboro State College (now Rowan University),  begins publishing The Underground Grammarian - A Journal of radical, academic terrorism.
  • 1979 - The Department of Education (a new Cabinet Department) is founded by President James Earl Carter, Jr. 
  • 1981 - John Holt publishes Teach Your Own the first major book on home schooling.
If there were no other reason for wanting to keep kids out of school, the social life would be reason enough. In all but a very few of the schools I have taught in, visited, or know anything about, the social life of the children is mean-spirited, competitive, exclusive, status-seeking, [and] snobbish.
  • 1983 - The National Commission on Excellence in Education publishes A Nation at Risk and, famously, states:  "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." 
  • 1990 - The US and Japan agree to a Structural Impediments Initiative designed to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade.  Among (many) other points, the parties agree that the American education system is a non-tariff barrier to trade (presumably because ignorant children have nothing to trade).  The US agrees to improve its education system. 
  • 1991 - America 2000.  President George H. W. Bush.
  • 1994 - Educate America Act - Goals 2000. President William Jefferson Clinton.
  • 2001 - No Child Left Behind Act. - President George W. Bush.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Baby It's Cold Outside" - The real cause of WWIV

1949 - Egyptian writer, teacher, and the intellectual father of modern Islamic Radicalism Sayyid Qutb visits Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley, CO.  The experience caused him to condemn America as a soulless, materialistic, sex-obsessed place.  He particularly disliked the mixed couples at a Baptist church dance dancing to the hit of that year - Baby It's Cold Outside.