SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVES


RECOMMENDED READING:CLONING OF THE AMERICAN MIND

GARY W. SUMMERS

   
It would be difficult to imagine a more comprehensive look at American education. Cloning of the American Mind could have been subtitled: Information That Was Never Taught to Teachers About Our Public Education System. This writer has taken a number of education courses, but none of the material contained herein was ever presented, even though it is obviously available (and well documented).

The actual subtitle is: "Eradicating Morality Through Education," which should prompt Christians to take notice of its contents. The author, B. K. Eakman, according to the book's back cover, "has had a distinguished career as an educator, speech writer, technical writer, and researcher. She is the co-founder of the National Education Consortium, a nonprofit corporation specializing in education law." Her picture reveals the face of a young woman, and one wonders how she came to possess so much knowledge in so short a time.

This 606-page tome (if the reader is interested in 200-page "fluff" books, he or she will want to skip this one) is divided into five parts, the first of which is titled: "Your Computerized Ego: The Use of Psychographics in Education." But before the author gets to that material, she writes a prologue and an introduction which causes the reader to think that this may be one of those "conspiracy" books. Eakman cannot be dismissed as a "nut," who imagines or concocts things that are not there; she simply recognizes what is there and calls attention to it. She is most thorough and obviously quite competent. She does not deal in speculation, but facts. Consider her opening paragraph from the prologue:

On 25 June 1996, the first incriminating evidence hit the news, pointing to the existence of what White House officials admitted was a "supersecret federal information system" about private individuals. The technical name was the White House Office Data Base. But the people who used it had nicknamed it "Big Brother" (10).

The above revelation is unfortunately not the only circumstance of its kind; the next one mentioned is the name of a test given to school students under the name of Educational Quality Assessment (EQA). Parents in Pennsylvania "discovered that personal information about their families was being collected" through these tests given to their youngsters (11). Sample questions are provided by the author.

Why would the White House or an education system want such information? Although it may sound Orwellian, "a database exists which not only has the capability to track and cross-reference generic information about people and their beliefs, but can be used to predict a person's likely future actions" (19). There is much more information on this subject throughout Part I. Again, the author's approach is not to say, "Here's what could happen"; she relates what is already occurring.

There are a number of quotations throughout this book that exhibit great insight. They are far too numerous to publish in a brief review, but this one by syndicated columnist, Joseph Sobran seems especially appropriate for this "non-judgmental" era:

The epitaph of the 20th century should be: "Here lie the victims of open-mindedness" (21).

Part II is "Masters of Delusion: Psychiatry, The Counterculture, and Education." Most of us have grown accustomed to hearing certain names in connection with American education; therefore the reader may be startled to read the following claim:

Noah Webster and Horace Mann, or even John Dewey and the Progressives, were not the roots of today's education philosophy; much of American thought and culture were more profoundly influenced by the likes of Wundt, Neill, Ellis, Owen, Gross, Steckel, Reich, Adorno, Freud, Marx, Lewin, Marcuse, Gramsci, Rees, Orage, Chisholm, Lunacharsky, and Lukacs (110-11).

Eakman then elaborates on this point by describing the lesser-known men and explaining their "contributions" to our education system. The history of these men and their influences may be recorded elsewhere, but we have not seen it. The reader's understanding will profit immensely from a slow and careful perusal of these chapters.

Of special interest is the means that some have for implementing the philosophies of the men mentioned above. In the chapter titled "Training Teachers for a 'Sick' Society" we find a husband-wife team already producing materials toward this end in the late '60's and early '70's.

Ronald G. and Mary C. Havelock were major sources of research and information on change agents for the federal government. Four lengthy papers of theirs, including case studies of change agent teams in three schools, have been uncovered in addition to another text, The Change Agent's Guide to Innovation in Education, all of which were paid for, in whole or in part, under a government grant.

Training for Change Agents, however, is the gold mine. It blatantly rationalizes, among other things, deceiving the public about the content of learning programs and their intended usages.... The Havelocks say that in certain cases it is best not to tell the truth about the substance of an educational program until after the fact... (245).

There is abundant evidence later in the book to show that these change agents are trained specifically to deal with the objections of parents to either the methods being used to teach or the contents of the curriculum. In other words, they know parents will protest certain steps, and they anticipate that it will happen. We have failed to realize the commitment that many secular humanists possess toward their goals.

One cannot help wondering if some of the "change agents" in the church have not been schooled in their techniques to use upon the church by the same secular humanistic philosophers influencing public education. Read carefully the following words, and see if they sound familiar. The portions that are emphasized are not in the text, but this writer's doing.

The change agent begins to question the position of opposition leaders, plays on the fears of individuals with weaker convictions, and finally drives a wedge between the "pro" group and "con" forces by helping the latter to seem ridiculous, or ignorant, or dogmatic, or inarticulate--whatever works. The change agent wants certain members of the group to get mad.... The change agent is well-trained in psychological techniques and can fairly well predict everyone's hot buttons. Dissension breaks out. Goals become muddled. Either the group will break up completely or, more likely, the individuals against the policy or program will be shut out (248).

At a business meeting it is not difficult to imagine change agents ridiculing the few brethren who actually know the Scriptures (which is the reason they are opposed to innovations) by calling them "traditionalists," "legalists," "close-minded," and other unflattering names. These sound brethren are frequently painted as troublemakers and disrupters of the peace and harmony of the body. Since most brethren want to avoid confrontation and prefer peace, they side with the change agents, even though they lack Biblical authority for the changes they are introducing.

In school systems, the change agents have all the weight of their educational credentials, the administration, and the NEA behind them. So parents who oppose their professional judgment must be ignorant malcontents. Actually, they are usually concerned citizens opposed to new standards of indecency which some are trying to foist on the children of this nation, but TRUTH is never paramount to either social, political, or religious liberals; so they demonize their opponents, a technique which has proven immensely effective for the Clintons (remember that impeachment was all Ken Starr's fault; it had nothing to do with the lies and the perjury of the president).

Chapter 14, "Moral Neutrality Achieves Virtual Legality," begins with two quotations that the reader may have seen before, but which continue to deserve mention (253):

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.
—Abraham Lincoln

Education is a weapon whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.
—Josef Stalin

The author describes what has already been introduced in various public schools. In one New York school third graders are being taught that homosexuals should be allowed to marry; a Vermont high school passes out materials "promoting same-sex relations among girls lacking the confidence to have sexual relations with boys!" (254). Many schools are promoting less overt, but just as dangerous materials.

Part III, "The Land of 'Virtual Legality': The Legislative Connection," begins with an identification of various foundations and associations that exercise considerable influence over the nation's schools. Not the least of these is the National Education Association (NEA), which, despite its name, is anti-education. They despise, for example, rote learning. Yet "73% of teachers and 86% of the public surveyed in the same study wanted students to memorize the multiplication tables and learn to compute by hand before using calculators" (277). The NEA is often at odds with the teachers they allegedly represent; much of their philosophy has nothing to do with teaching the fundamentals of knowledge, but everything to do with making certain that children grow up "politically correct." This dogma can be imposed legally:

The three most intrusive pieces of education legislation in recent history--the ones that will alter the lives and rights of most private citizens--are the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), now known as the Improving America's Schools Acts of 1994 (IASA) (Public Law 103-382); the Goals 2000: Educate America Acts (Public Law 103-227); and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STW) (Public Law 103-239) (302).

Eakman explains what these laws are, how they work, and who wrote them. Chapter 18 is devoted to "Outcome-Based Education," which has received considerable attention on talk shows. The creator of this monstrosity (OBE), Dr. William Spady, "has described the emphasis on learning traditional subject matter as 'unfortunate'" (312), which provides a little insight into what OBE might be like. Truly, getting a writing assignment that begins "Three things I don't like about my parents are..." certainly does not fall in the realm of "traditional subject matter" (320).

Texans will be interested in what happened in Baytown with respect to OBE (318-19). The nightmare that occurred at East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is recounted (332-33). Sixth grade girls were given impromptu genital exams by the authority of the public school system without the parents' permission. Girls that wanted to call their parents were refused permission. Nurses physically blocked them from leaving the area. Angry parents were told they "overreacted." This excessive intrusion upon young girls' privacy apparently violated no laws, according to the Pennsylvania State Police. Nor is this an isolated incident.

The reader will be interested to read of the results of OBE where it has been tried (342-44). It has been appropriately stated that OBE "promotes self-worth by pulling the rug out from under success" (345). The system takes away actual achievement and meeting standards. It robs students of motivation since they know they will pass whether they do any significant work or not.

Chapter 21, "Curricular Atrocities," contrasts the removal of the Bible from classrooms with the insertion of paganism. Students are asked to play The Egypt Game, in which they are asked to construct a death mask, write a hymn to Isis, the goddess of fertility, and burn incense (401). Now if they could only add complex numbers such as 9 and 4! Of course, when they get to college, the serious work will begin. They can choose such dandy courses as "Queer Theory, Queer Texts," "Works of Pee Wee Herman," and "Black Lavender: Study of Black Gay/Lesbian Plays" (404). All of this "knowledge" might come in handy when playing a game of Queer Trivia. Although its value is questionable, it does qualify, however, as being nontraditional.

Part IV's rather lengthy but descriptive title is: "The Rules: How to Combat Psychological Exploitation and Win Back Your Schools." The author explains the principles of psychological warfare in one chapter because there are trained provocateurs to handle objections. A number of fallacies of argumentation are set forth with a view toward helping the reader avoid them and recognizing them when someone else uses them.

Occasionally, the author furnishes some insights to related topics. Can television sitcoms, for example, have an agenda? They sometimes do, and two programs from All in the Family and Maude are cited by the author as examples of these shows' desire to influence the viewing audience (466).

Various types of "Alternative Schools" are mentioned in Part V, as well as the "voucher system," in which a private school "may have to relinquish some of its autonomy in matters like testing, surveying, and discipline" (509).

Eakman lists some of the fields of study that are often neglected, such as literature and economics. She advises every high school student to read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Milton Friedman's Free To Choose (522). The film, It's Elementary, is discussed (539) as well as various sex education programs. There is an account of a 14-year-old girl from Crystal Lake, Illinois, being taken by a 37-year-old man to a Title X birth control clinic for "treatment" so they could have "safe sex." Allegedly, school officials had knowledge of the situation but did not think it prudent to notify the girl's parents (541). Also discussed are such concepts as "merit pay" and dress codes. There is much more.

This book was published by Harvest House Publishers in 1998 and is must reading. As a final reminder of the gravity of the situation, we close this review with a quotation by Mrs. J. D. Hoye, the head of the president's National School-to-Work Office; when asked if their programs would exclude students not in public schools, she answered: "Most of those kids we've got through other agencies.... We're serious. All means all" (357).

*Send comments or questions concerning this article to Gary Summers. Please refer to this article as: "RECOMMENDED READING:CLONING OF THE AMERICAN MIND (1/30/00)."


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