F. Earle Fox
A. WHAT IS EDUCATION?
B. "THIS is EDUCATION...."
C. SCIENCE and EDUCATION
In case you think I am dreaming up the problem, consider:
"The 'Adult Literacy in America' study has released its results, and the survey says 45 percent of American adults are at best barely literate. Over 40 million adults in the country can do math problems no more difficult than figuring the difference in price between two items. Nor can they do a writing task any harder than filling out a Social Security form. These people cannot do things like 'write a brief letter explaining an error on a credit card bill, figure out a Saturday departure on a bus schedule or use a calculator to determine the difference between a sale price and a regular price.' Only 20 percent of American adults are in the highly educated category. And the study issued a new concept which describes a real society problem in America -- aliteracy, adults who know how to read, but don't." [Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 9/13/19)
above info is taken from the Washington Post, not known for its conservative
stance, by the World News Digest, Oct. 19, 1993, p. 5. The public school system and a mandatory government
education have turned the most educated people on earth (prior to the 1830's
before civil government began to control education) into a
teeming mass of semi-literate, mentally lazy, intellectual
under-achievers. Private schooling and home schooling are the
only reasonable alternatives to the failed socialistic,
monopolistic, government-owned, union-run school system
responsible for the pitiful numbers reported in the above
survey." E. Fox]
NOTE: This article is taken from an issue of Emmaus News not yet available on the Road==>. For a background to the educational issues, ground rules, etc., discussed below, read, Dialogue in Darkness, a study of mind-control in the Pansexuality Library. The mind-control techniques use in education are nearly identical to those in churches and synagogues on sexuality issues.
"This nation is clearly divided into two peoples. The first is the remnant of the American Republic, people who believe in natural rights, limited government, and the application of law based upon facts as determined by a jury."
"The second group have been made aliens to this nation's culture and traditions. They are an ideologically defined men without family roots, moral principles, or a national past. They are swayed by impulse and the opinions given them by a mass media dedicated to control, not truth. They are the mob, and 'democracy' means making the mob roar approval of your policies...."
"It is quite obvious that these two types of people cannot continue to live in the same body politic." [Lawrence Dawson, The American Information Newsletter, 2/93.]
This chasm, yawning ever wider in middle America, is deliberately being generated in our public school systems. I said last month that the American public education system has become the major enemy of Biblical religion, both Christianity and Judaism. To support that, I illustrated three ground rules which are commonly found in public education today. The rules function to prevent Christian participation in the most vital life issues, and thereby subvert and pervert the very meaning of reasonable education.
Most educators, of course, are involved in no conscious "plot" to dis-educate our children. But the effects of the educational philosophy do not change because one is sincere. Of all people, educators are responsible for using their heads in sorting out good education from bad. And they are not.
Abraham Lincoln said that the philosophy in education today will be the philosophy in government tomorrow. The connection is obvious once seen, but not often noticed in the first place. Secular forces noticed it 150 years ago, and set out to replace the Christian education system which prevailed in America from the Pilgrims through the 1830's with their own secular version of education. It was they (Robert Owens, his son Robert Dale Owens, Horace Mann, et al) who spearheaded the public, state controlled school system, with mandatory attendance, modeled on the Prussian system.
The ultimate goal was not educational but political: to replace the Biblically based constitution given to us by the Founding Fathers with a radically different constitution modeled after the "Enlightenment" principles of the French Revolution [See Samuel Blumenfeld's book, Is Public Education Necessary?].
Over the "long haul", a century and a half, they succeeded beyond all expectation. One can hardly find an articulate Christian in higher education today, and the Supreme Court has declared it illegal to either act or speak as a Christian in primary and secondary public education. The educational ground rules discussed last month institutionalize this illegalization of Christianity.
In 1962 for the first time in American history, government, through the judiciary, banned God from our schools (Engel v. Vitale). In one stroke, the Supreme Court overthrew the Constitution and turned America into an outlaw nation, standing in open defiance of the sovereignty of God. But our spiritual leadership hardly noticed.
In 1962, therefore, America reverted to a pre-Constantinian
status, where Caesar is god, God is proscribed, and the people
of God become the enemies of the state. So we live no longer in
America governed by our original constitution, but in
post-America where violence, greed, and promiscuity are fed by
our dis-education system, and we are governed by a
pseudo-constitution constructed by the same mentality which had already largely
Why do we, free, intelligent people, allow rings to be put in our noses and ourselves to be led to the shearers? What reasonable, sane people would allow themselves to be so abused?
Answer: We have lost sight of the logical and reasonable meaning of 'truth' and of 'education'. Americans, and especially Christians, quite literally do not know anymore what the words mean. If you doubt it, ask the next few educators (or Christians) you meet to give coherent definitions of 'truth' and 'education', and if they can, whether they think our schools are doing it.
Truth is simply "what is". Objective (as against relative) truth is what really is, not just what I think is or want to be. Truth is objectively there -- whether I like it or not.
Education is thus -- passing on previously discovered objective truth to the young, and equipping them to discover truth yet unknown.
Our schools are no longer being run on this basis. The ground rules, with the help of the Supreme Court 1962 decision to throw God out of our schools, prevent it from happening.
Our schools are living in denial of past knowledge, noteably of Christian and American history, and are rewriting history and politics to suit their their ideology. That is not passing on, that is subverting, previously discovered truth.
And despite talk of "higher order" and "critical" thinking, they
hardly teach the elemental skills of reading, let alone clear
and logical thinking. Schools failing to equip students even to
hold a job are not going to teach how to discover new truth.
The natural sciences lend themselves to objective teaching because they contain a body of empirical facts. Just as government (according to my dictionary) is "control and direction", the natural sciences correspond (roughly) to the "control" part of culture because technical knowledge gives one enormous potential control, sometimes coercive force.
The humanities, on the other hand, deal with vision and values, and thus correspond to "direction". They determine how the control will be exercised because they deal with purpose and vision for life. If secular folks can eliminate God from the humanities, they have an open field to run America's enormous control system with secular values. Through the humanities public schools are busily replacing the rule of God with the rule of the state.
But to replace God, the state must replace the Church in the public arena. That is accomplished through the exclusion of religion through state run schools -- which violates the constitutional separation between coercive force and decision-making authority.
The undergirding tool of this secular advancement in the last century has been the notion of "relative" truth. No one really believes that all truth is relative because no one can consistently act on such a notion. Belief in relative truth relies on at least one objective truth (that "truth is relative"), and thus is self-contradictory.
Which is the chicken and which is the egg? Does the demise of God lead to relative truth, or is relative truth being used cynically and manipulatively to bring about an agenda of secularism and the demise of the sovereignty of God?
No doubt both are true -- depending on whom you talk to. There are those who are evil minded who have no interest in truth, and who will use any philosophy with which they can bilk the public to get their way. There are also the greater number who do not think very deeply or clearly and so are easily bilked -- who are convinced that God is "dead", and who then fall willy-nilly into subjective truth.
Any culture which rejects God will sooner or later lose its hold
on objective truth -- not only in morality, but also in every
area of life, natural sciences included.
For those who doubt the depth of the problem, let us rehearse some of the facts -- which the media seldom mention -- other than to justify more tax money and therefore more government control.
Control, not education, is the aim in public education. How do we know? Because control, not education, is what is happening. Since the founding of the Federal Department of Education three decades ago, control of education has been steadily removed from the hands of parents and local school boards. And at exactly the same time quality has plummeted and the price escalated. That is public history.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt, the master politician, reportedly said: "If it happened in politics you can be sure someone planned it."
Up to 1962, America had perhaps the world's finest education system. I thank God that I was educated in a system which still taught students to think. America had produced an extraordinary culture, technology, and moral spirit. The world stood in awe of the magnificent power and freedom existing in America -- even at the end ('40's and '50's) as Biblical culture was getting ever weaker. Today America is the object of foreign scorn.
There were deep flaws in America, to be sure. But spiritual resources were still embedded in the Biblical roots of America to work through those flaws. The civil rights movement was begun by Martin Luther King -- on Christian foundations. But it was quickly hi-jacked by the radicals of sex and violence, symbolized in 1965 by the Black leadership rejection of the Moynihan Report.
Those Biblically based resources had stood legally and constitutionally in place until in 1962. But undermined by its own faithlessness, and its throat cut by the Supreme Court, Christian culture no longer had the fortitude to maintain its heritage.
God responded by withdrawing His grace from America, so that we no longer exist under the protection of His hand. Christians live in a nation officially and publicly hostile to the Biblical faith which brought forth America two centuries ago.
The destruction of our education system is just one of the many documentable evidences of the withdrawal of God.
SAT scores in America have been measured by the current system since 1941. Holding consistently for 21 years, scores did not go up or down for more than two years in a row. But beginning in 1963, the year following the Engel v. Vitale decision, SAT scores took an 18 year plunge downward, followed by a brief upturn when parents en masse removed their children to private schools, and then downward again.
29% of high school graduates are "functional illiterates", and another 30% cannot read well enough to adequately learn other subjects. 700,000 students recently graduating from American high schools could not read their own diploma. 90,000,000 Americans (nearly one half of the adult population) are functionally illiterate (banner headlines in the early 1990's).
America, which before 1962 was at the top of the world, three decades later in nearly every area of education is consistently at the bottom compared with other major industrial countries.
Public schools spend about $3800 per student per year, private schools less than one third that amount, about $1100 (1986 figures -- well beyond that now, 2003). Public schools (88% of America's student population) produce only 61% of America's honor students, while private schools (only 12% of the student population) produce 39% of America's honor students, over three times the expected number. Public schools therefore produce less than one third the percent of honor students at over three times the cost. That is expensive incompetence, not education.
Public school money goes heavily for bloated administrations which control education rather than educate. Of the $6,107 per student spent in New York city, only $1,972 goes for classroom services. In only two places in the world can one behave so badly and survive: the government and the Church.
Private education is in deep financial trouble, and therefore becoming more dependent on government grants and subsidies. Harvard had a $42 million deficit last year, and Yale has deferred $1 billion in maintenance.
The discipline problems of the 1940's and '50's were on the level of spit ball throwing and putting your scrap paper in the waste basket. But an outlaw government produces outlaw citizens. The discipline problems today include mugging, rape, bringing guns to school, and murder. In one major city school system in a recent year, there was on average someone shot every day of the school year. (When the schools put metal detectors at the doors to intercept the guns, the ACLU sued for invasion of privacy.) In another city, the elementary school had a "gun drill" to teach the students to hit the floor when a gunshot was heard.
None of these appalling facts were inevitable. They resulted
from specific and identifiable choices. This is American
education without God.
Those promoting the educational insanity of our time do not have a philosophy of education which can stand honest inspection. They have succeeded only by default of Christians and Jews who have abandoned the once powerful Biblical intellectual tradition-- out of which honest science originally grew.
To justify these strong statements, we will in the following chapters be putting in place a substantial and defensible philosophy of education. We will show how far our schools have radically deviated from a rational view of life, and provide ammunition for persons who desire sanity to go after those educational philosophies, and those educational philosophers, which do not.
Only with a reasonable and durable philosophy of education which can run the nonsense merchants from the field will America return again to greatness. America was not lost on the battlefield to the Kaiser, Hitler, Hirohito, or Stalin. America was lost at home in the spiritual warfare on the battlefield of education. America must be regained there.
We will look in a later issue at "Outcomes Based Education" (promoted under many different names) which uses window-dressing interest in objective education (the "outcomes") to impose a system that barely minors in education, and majors in mind control. The effect is not truth, not education, but control of the thinking and choosing of the American people.
A caution. We are not engaged in a "merely intellectual" battle. Spiritual warfare begins when the arena in which truth can be spoken and tested by all interested parties is subverted by those not interested in truth. (God has more in common with truth-seeking secular people than with "Christians" who do not want truth.) What looks like polite discussion is often spiritual warfare. That subversion is happening under a Christian as well as a secular guise. [See Dialogue in Darkness.]
Christians two centuries ago began to lose their capacity for open spiritual struggle, and retreated into Christian ghettos to speak Christianese to each other. And, having lost their grip on truth-testing, Christians continued in-fighting and splitting among themselves.
The splitting of the Christian community into warring fragments has been a third facet (beyond subverting truth and God) to the stunning success of secularism -- which left religious opposition to secularism with no unified voice, and with no capacity to deal with America's social and political problems.
The fragmentation and privatization of Christendom led everyone to believe that unfragmented, and very public big government would have to tend to the welfare of the people, not the people themselves in their common obedience to God.
The overriding issue is the nature of truth and truth-testing. The spiritual revival of the Church will never happen until Christians repent of their abandonment of intellectual integrity, and begin to find unity in honest truth-testing rather than in appeals (either Roman Catholic or evangelical) to infallibility and inerrancy [see Emmaus News issues 9/91 to 4/93]. Only then will the Church contribute again to rebuilding the finest education system in the world.
Ours is a long-haul task, but God has put into our hands
everything we need to lay the foundations upon which truthful
and rational education can be restored.
America has fallen victim to a cult of "scientism" which
purports to understand science and education, but which is in
fact an ideology in the worst sense of the word. It has no
grasp of what truth is, and functions more as a mind-control
than an education program. This dis-education is being
sponsored by the NEA, by so-called "OBE" (Outcomes Based
Education), by the federal and most state departments of
education. In order to restore education sanity, we must
rediscover the meaning of education. Spiritual, not merely
intellectua, renewal must be at the core of any education
American education has barely survived three very troubled decades. Beginning in 1962, SAT scores, which had not gone up or down more than two consecutive years since 1941, began a plummet of 18 straight years. During precisely those years, discipline problems escalated off the charts. And despite massive efforts to turn the tide, results have been, to put it kindly, disappointing.
A coach whose football team had consistently lost, got his team together and announced that they were getting back to basics. "This", he said, "is a football...."
Educators badly needs to get back to basics:-
The passing on to rising generations of the knowledge gathered by past generations, and the equipping of those students with the skills for gathering, testing, and integrating of new knowledge--
that is education....
Knowledge is about a world "out there". We breathe the same
air, walk the same earth, deal with the same basic political,
economic, emotional, cultural, and spiritual realities. This is
the common ground of our community and conversation.
It has been the quest of both religion and science to find the unifying truth about the universe. We really do think (or hope) ourselves to be living in a UNI-verse -- a cosmos in which the laws are the same everywhere. Science is built on the assumption that the laws of nature are universal, that given identical conditions, water will always freeze at 32 degrees. (That, by the way, is an assumption with heavy-duty theological implications.)
In a strange turnabout, however, westerners have come to believe that truth is a relative matter. (We have gotten to this point precisely because we have wanted to ignore those theological implications.) What is true for you need not be true for me. Most people accept relativity concerning tastes. Just because you like peaches and cream does not obligate me to like them. But we expect our children to agree that 2+2=4. If they answer in a quiz that 2+2=5, it will be marked "wrong".
Incredibly, that is no longer consistently the case. The absurdly midguided obsession with "self-esteem" now leads some teachers to not mark anything "wrong", and instead to give "A" for effort -- literally. This is not promotion of self-esteem, this is psychological child-abuse.
There are certain objectivities that we feel important to pass on. And yet there are schools today where it is thought damaging to the child's self-esteem to correct a mistake. As with the Dodo Bird's caucus race (somewhere in Alice's Wonderland), "everybody wins, and everybody gets a prize".
Students and faculty at a New York City college were discussing the notion of relative truth. One student quizzically asked, "If truth is relative, what are we doing here?"
And indeed, if basic truths are merely relative, if we can make up our own version of the world, then what is education about? Is education merely the sharing of personal opinions? And why should parents pay gargantuan school tax or tuition bills merely to have their children hear someone else's personal opinions?
It is said that everyone has a right to his own opinion. That is not true. Rather, we have an obligation to speak the truth. I have no "right" to speak something for which I am not willing to discipline myself to getting the truth of the matter. The very meaning of public trust and commonwealth requires that we be speaking truth to one another. "Tell it like it is...."
Parents paying tuition want opinions for their children that are disciplined by a search for truth about the real world in which we live. We pay for expert opinions, not emotional froth. And that is precisely what education is--disciplining our opinions and those of our students to conform to the truth.
The relative view of truth has served our educational process and our people poorly by substituting a non-directive, subjective-feeling in place of an objective-truth oriented view of education, thereby turning our schools into third-rate substitutes for family parenting, Church moral disciplining, and group therapy. Schools can do many things amateurishly, but they can excel in only one thing: education -- teaching the truth about life and equipping students to handle academic, technical, and vocational issues.
"Relative" education is no education at all. If we are to turn
our current disarray into educational success, we will have to
get back to these basics.
Any rational view of education presupposes a truth "out there", and that openness to experience of life and honest reasoning about that experience will lead us to that truth.
Any possible experience is therefore grist for the truth-seeking process. So the quest for truth (and thus education) requires an openness to experience and to reasoning about that experience in all of its facets. Truth is simply "what is", and there is no way to find out "what is" other than through experience and reasoning carefully about that experience.
A significant part of our problem has been the arbitrarily
narrow defining of "truth" to fit someone's specific field of
endeavor. The word "science", for example, from the Latin
"scientia", for most of western history included any legitimate
kind of knowledge. Any field which could establish reasonable
rules for truth-gathering and truth-testing could rightly claim
that it had a "science" in that field.
But western civilization for the last two centuries has been romancing with the materialism, behaviorism, and now operationalism. "Science" came to mean only those disciplines which could model themselves on the physics or chemistry of the 1800's. If the subject matter was not physically discernible and quantifiable, then it was not a candidate for "true" knowledge.
The problem has been (obviously, one would hope) that the most interesting parts of life simply do not yield to that pattern. No one lives his or her life as a true behaviorist. One does not fall in love with a merely fortunate conjunction of measurable attributes. One does not risk life, fortune, and sacred honor for the end product of a syllogism. We devote lives to truth, beauty, and goodness, and most of all -personal relationships.
We need to teach what falling in love is about, and how to handle it, even though we cannot adequately quantify passion. We need to teach about the power and glory of politics even though one cannot put a political theory into a testtube and shake it up with reagents to see what color it turns. One is grateful for those areas of education which are quantifiable. But the more quantifiable they are, the less passionately most of us seem to be concerned about them. One simply has to leave to each area of life, whether physics, history, or theology, the task of developing its own rules for truth-gathering and truth-testing.
Artificially narrowing the concept of "science" has led to massive educational deprivation in our schooling. If something was not "scientific" it was held in suspicion by many if not rejected out of hand. Yet what we want to know about a subject is not whether it is scientific in the new, narrow, and dysfunctional sense of the word, but rather whether it is true. But when science is narrowed down to conform to the definition appropriate to a specific discipline such as physics, and when all other academic disciplines are expected to conform to the narrow definition, the effect is simply to make "science" increasingly irrelevant to the pursuit of meaningful truth. We are no longer answering the questions most people outside of a laboratory are asking.
And that split between science and truth is exactly what the western world is wrestling with. Much of what was (and is) being passed off as science had become, as some have termed it, "scientism", the academic equivalent of a cult in religion. Our dissatisfaction with this narrow "science" has been a primary provocation for the drift toward a relative view of truth. It looked like the scientific, analytic approach to life was simply taking things apart and not able to put anything back together again. It was killing life. But that was due, not to science, but to the strangle hold the behaviorist and operationalist mentality has had on science and education.
The drift from lockstep behaviorism into free-floating
relativism only compounded the problem, however, as our
perceptive student noted above indicated. If truth is relative,
what is education about?
If the first rule of legitimate education is openness to the experience of life and to careful reasoning about that experience, the second rule is the maintenance of an open arena in which those dedicated to the first rule can compare their results. That is how science began -- in the original and inclusive sense.
That leads then to a reasonable sense of "pluralism". The current (and educationally destructive) pluralism says that truth is plural. Truth is relative and every viewpoint counts equally. Well, almost equally. Any viewpoint not affirming that "truth" is relative is not included in the acceptable plurality.
A legitimate pluralism, on the other hand, says, not that every viewpoint is true, but that every viewpoint has equal access to the arena of debate to find out whether it is true. Equal opportunity, not equal results. Legitimate pluralism requires of each participant that it establish its case in the public arena. Every viewpoint has equal access to present its case, but every other participant has equal right to critique what is offered for its truth value. The rules (1) that we do not debate the issues and (2) that every person's view is valid for that person do not apply. We do debate the issues, and claims are valid only if they are shown to be true. Anyone can ask: "How do you know that?" Viewpoints are plural, but truth is not. Truth is singular and specific.
Again, the model for academic discussion -- which presupposes that there is a real and objective truth to be gotten at, and that openness to experience and careful reasoning will lead us to the truth. The model also presupposes that none of us is infallible, and that we need one another in the arena to keep ourselves honest.
If we will discipline ourselves back to basics, America may again have the best educational system in the world.
Ours is a long-haul task, but God has put into our hands
everything we need to lay the foundations upon which truthful
and rational education can be restored.
A letter of May 24, 1994 to the editors of several Pittsburgh
area newspapers concerning an ACLU lawsuit over the discussion
in a public school class of creation as an alternative to
To the Editor:
The ACLU suit against Moon Township, Pennsylvania, for the discussion of evolution and creation illustrates the ignorance abroad in America about science.
Science itself has no conclusions one way or the other about how the world was created. Science is a method for finding out what truth is. It is not a conclusion about the truth.
And so the scientific arena is where all viewpoints are given equal opportunity to express themselves, yes, even the "religious" viewpoints -- so that the truth can be discovered. There is nothing anywhere in scientific method that rules out discussion of voodoo, magic, New Age, Christianity, Judaism, secularism, or anything else. The scientific and academic arena is precisely the place where everything is to be discussed.
Science itself has no viewpoints. Only scientists have viewpoints, which hopefully they reach by an honest assessment of the evidence at hand. It is both immoral and unscientific for any scientist to inhibit the discussion in favor of his own viewpoint, secular or Biblical, on the grounds of "science". That kind of behavior is precisely why God gave us scientific method, to keep the discussion open.
Thus an inquisition in the name of "science" is no more righteous than an inquisition in the name of God. God forbids both, and so does any honest scientist.
And so for the ACLU to claim that on scientific grounds certain viewpoints are not to be discussed in class for their merit is simply nonsense and amounts to the establishment of yet another inquisition. Such things are said by people who understand neither science nor religion.
And for a 9th grade boy and his father to sue on the grounds that his rights are being violated by having to listen to someone else's viewpoint is also nonsense. If he disagrees with a viewpoint expressed, he is welcome to critique it for its merits. If that was the aim of the Moon Township class, to promote an honest discussion of the views on how the world was formed, then they were in fact already being scientific.
If the boy was harassed by his classmates for being an atheist, or if the teacher allowed that harassment, then that needs to be corrected. Harassment is neither Christian nor scientific. But that is quite a different issue from legally disallowing the discussion of "religious" viewpoints on the spurious grounds of either science or the Constitution.
With all due respect to the Supreme Court, their interpretation of the alleged wall between church and state is a direct contradiction of every Supreme Court decision on the subject prior to the mid 1940's. They are wrong, and, the evidence seems to suggest, deliberately so:
"It is unnecessary for us... to consider the establishment of a school or college, for the propagation of... Deism, or any other form of... infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country." [Vidal v. Girard's Executors, 1844. Unanimous decision.]
"No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people.... This is a Christian nation." [Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892]
"The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State.... Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other-hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly.... We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being...." [Zorach v. Clauson, 1952.]
The decisions of the Court rendering the state openly hostile to God (which began only in 1962) are poor history, poor law, and poor logic, and therefore poor science. Let us get our schools back to honest science and respect for each other -- where Biblical, secular, and other viewpoints can test each other on a level playing field.
Yours truly, Earle Fox
[COMMENT: ...or even better, just get civil government completely out of education. Let the parents and students themselves define their own education, as we did it when we had the best educated people in the world. Go to http://www.sepschool.org for information and allies on getting government out of education.] ]
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