The following article might strike some of our readers as a bit of a rant. So if you dislike reading rants, then please just skip reading this article.
It Started With a Letter
The impetus for this article was a fairly cogent well-intentioned letter from a SurvivalBlog reader:
I am concerned about some of the information linked on your blog. I’m a Christian, an avid prepper, and a daily reader of your blog. I support your effort to make readers aware of the world around us, and the changes that we feel are to come. I do have concerns when it comes to the negative portrayal of public schools. It is easy to stereotype groups of people, but not always an accurate way of looking at them. There are individuals who believe those of us who read your blog are crazy. We are all unshaven, dirty, live in underground bunkers, wear aluminum foil hats, and hold our illegal firearms as we talk to ourselves. Is this accurate? No, it is not.
I am a public school teacher in the Midwest. I’ve devoted my life to the Lord, and try to do well by my profession. I feel that teaching is my calling from God. I try to make my students’ lives better through educating and loving them. My school is not perfect, but we do many things right. I, along with other teachers in my school, have found ways to teach our students to hopefully survive in TEOTWAWKI situations.
We have a school garden (established years before Michelle Obama made it popular); and have taught archery, gun safety, sewing, preserving food, cooking, beekeeping, and other survival skills. Many of us are preppers, and feel we should teach our skills to our students. We even take turns teaching our skills to other classrooms. For instance, I recently taught beekeeping to the fourth graders, and their teacher taught a gardening skill to my students.
We are just like many public schools, and we never make the news. Why? There is nothing newsworthy about people doing their jobs well. Who wants to read about or watch us? Ratings come from shootings, violence, and the liberal agenda. Many of us who read your blog complain about biased news coverage, but are we guilty of the same thing? I hope not. Please do not categorize all public schools and public school teachers as one, large, liberal, immoral, criminal group. It is inaccurate. Most of us do our jobs well.
I respect a parent’s right to choose the best education for his or her child. And I support those who choose homeschooling. I support those who choose private school. And I support those who choose public school.
Please continue to inform your readers, but realize that showing all public schools and public school teachers in a negative light is inaccurate. Doing so is also hurtful to those of us who do our jobs well. It is best to have a good balance of information linked to your site.
A Christian Teacher in the Public School
HJL’s Reply: My biggest concern (as a former public school teacher) is that any teacher who doesn’t recognize how the public school sets the stage to undermine parental authority and indoctrinate children doesn’t really understand the system they are part of. There are many who feel the system is benign and only taken advantage of by a few. They don’t seem to realize that we have now basically lost two generations of children, due to this system.
The educational system that drives the teaching of teachers is biased towards public school and against homeschooling and private schools. These teachers don’t realize that they themselves are a product of this indoctrination from a system that readily accepts the anti-Biblical, anti-God, and anti-family indoctrination and “normalizes” everyone.
Practically all social issues of the day can be directly traced to this undermining of the family, and the public school system plays a significant role in doing just this.
JWR Continues: I concur with HJL about the anti-Biblical, pro-statist, and uniformly liberal indoctrination of the “public” schools. I’ve mentioned this before, in a recent essay on discernment. I decided to amplify a few points.
First, Public Schools should more properly be called Government Schools–in part because that is who operates them and the ideology of what they preach: Government as our Nanny from Womb to Tomb. The Government as the Beneficent Provider. Government as the Sole Arbiter of what is Good and Just. Government as the Dictator of the Politically Correct and Incorrect. Our Government as the Sole Instructor of Morality. Government as the Dispenser of Condoms and Birth Control Pills. Government as the Molder of Young Minds. The Government as the Extractor of Taxes on Over-Achievers, Government as the Wise Instrument of Social Engineering. Government as the Judge, Jury, and Executioner of all Conservative Dissent. And in recent years: Government as the Forced Facilitator of Multiculturalism, Diversity, and Gender Equality.
Yes, Indoctrination Centers
Let’s not mince words. The government-operated schools are indeed indoctrination centers. After adopting the Prussian model of education in the mid- to late 1800s, our schools became rigidly autocratic and dogmatic. Our children were taught to respond to Pavlovian hourly bells. Curricula became dictated by State and Federal authorities. Textbook content is drafted by committee and so endlessly churned, so much so that it becomes bland vanilla. In an effort “not to offend” anyone, school texts have lost any incisive edge. Everything in public schools is geared toward The Lowest Common Denominator, so that “No Child is Left Behind”. This gradually dumbs down academic standards down to a nearly moronic level. Tests are constantly re-normed. Grades are no longer posted on bulletin boards. (Oh, no, that would be cruel.)
All About Feelings
And we are now told that tests and grades are meaningless. That even the whole concept of academic achievement is meaningless–lest any child who is sub-par should get their feelings hurt. Oh yes, feelings. Because those feelings are now much more important than merit, or truth, or righteousness. Feelings trump everything else. Most of all, we shouldn’t correct Johnny when he asserts that 2+2 = 5. It might hurt his feelings. We’ve gone dangerously far down the slippery slope of political correctness taking precedence over academics. The now widely-adopted Common Core standards pushed by the Obama Administration have gone so far as to reject absolute mathematical certainties. They call it Fuzzy Math.
The latest bit of social engineering is a move toward discontinuance of having a Class Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Why? Because awarding them will make all of the other students somehow feel inadequate and inferior. Gosh, there they sit in their gowns with mortarboards, on their very last day of High School. And yet we are still worried about them getting their feelings hurt before going out into the world and earning a living. Oh, the humanity!
It seems that the decline of our public schools was gradual, but then accelerated in the 1960s. Rather than re-hash this sad, prolonged saga in detail, I will direct you to the writings of John Taylor Gatto.
No More Freeholders
For us, as preppers with the goal of self-sufficiency, there is one other rarely-mentioned factor to consider: Until the advent of compulsory education, there were no property taxes in most Counties and Parishes in the United States. But now, there are school taxes on virtually every piece of privately-owned property in every county, in all 50 States. This has made “subsistence farming” virtually impossible. As a result, even on land that is ostensibly held “free and clear” of debt we are by law still chronically in debt to the government. We’ve become 21st Century vassals–veritable slaves to the State.
So every family now needs a Dollar-denominated cash income, in order to pay their property taxes. Without that means to pay those annual taxes, we face eviction and confiscation of our land and homes. Thus, there is no more “living off the land” in America, even if you try your best. In the end, we are all slaves to the State. No privately-owned land can ever be held “free and clear”, in allodium. The Nanny State is now our de facto feudal lord. We are no longer freeholders! If you don’t believe that, then just stop paying your taxes and see what happens.
Mitigating the Morass
In conclusion, I strongly encourage SurvivalBlog readers to withdraw their children from government schools and enroll them in private schools. Or better yet, educate them at home. You will be amazed and gratified by the results.
As a starting point, I recommend the book: Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style, by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn.
I look forward to your comments.