The Failed Education "Reforms"

Tom DeWeese
April 12, 2003

Sometimes a single incident can reveal the widespread rot that has affected the nation's school systems as they strive to indoctrinate the children entrusted to their care while neglecting to teach them the Three R's.

In Inverness, Florida, a 12-year-old boy was cuffed, arrested, and taken in a patrol car to jail where he was held for two hours. His crime? You aren't going to believe it! Kyle Fredrikson was walking back to class from lunch when Deputy Tim Langer saw the boy "purposely stomping in the water" after being told numerous times by school personnel to stay with the group and out of the rain. Little boys like to stomp on puddles. Always have and always will.

He didn't comply and Officer Langer took the sixth-grader to a school office where he was handcuffed and taken to jail. Kyle was charged with disruption of an educational institution, a misdemeanor. After sitting for two hours by himself in a police holding room, the police released the boy to his mother and grandmother.

His parents were understandably outraged. "The inmates had access to him. Can you imagine that for stomping in a mud puddle?" said his father. Lt. James Martone, who oversees the school resource officer program, said Langer made a proper arrest. "He did his job," Martone said. "It's a fine line any officer in the schools walks."

Why was it a good arrest? Why do these things happen to children today, when earlier generations of children never faced such lunacy? The answer is that the school "curriculum" today is 100 percent behavior modification, not academics. Kyle was being a little boy, expressing his individuality and his indifference to overzealous authority. In today's educational environment, both are affronts to the "system" and must be dealt with quickly and severely. To the system, students are intended to be properly trained human resources. In the world of education today there are no children anymore.

An item from the Education Reporter reveals how, under the Socialist concept of Sustainable Development, schools are being restructured to enforce "cradle-to-grave life-long learning." Preschool, formally known as kindergarten, is becoming mandatory. Parents are told it gives children a head start, but it only gives schools a head start in their mission to indoctrinate them. It gives the school the priority of determining the children's values.

Retired educator and former Fulbright scholar Margaret Brogley who spent nearly 40 years in the classroom says public education is failing because of the methods and materials used, not because there aren't enough toddlers enrolled in preschool.

Mrs. Brogley noted that, over the past 40 years, education has been dumbed down, from fuzzy math to the dearth of phonics reading instruction to the inability of many students to use cursive handwriting. "For 50 years, we have heard of the necessity to improve education," she wrote to Arkansas state education leaders, "How long will it take? Every time the 'experts' fix the situation, it becomes worse. Now the child is to learn to read by the 4th grade. Why so long? I am no genius, but I learned to read before the first year was over."

"Will education be improved (by enrolling young children in pre-school)?" Brogley asked rhetorically, then answered her own question: "No, but it will cost billions of dollars…adding more school years to a child's life will accomplish nothing."

With preschool showing poor results, it should come as no surprise that the more than one billion dollars a year of federal aid for after-school programs in 7,500 public schools nationwide has not helped most children academically, according to a federally funded study.

The report, "When Schools Stay Open Late," conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., said children who attend after-school activities at public elementary and middle schools are more likely to encounter bullies, vandals, thieves and drug users than those who do not. The after school centers, says the report, have limited influence on academic performance, no influence on feelings of safety or on the number of "latch-key children; and some negative influence on behavior. Middle school participants are "more likely to report that they had sold drugs and were somewhat more likely to report that they smoked marijuana."

From being arrested for stomping on a rain puddle to the ineffectiveness of both preschool and after school programs, and everything in between, the failure of the US education system continues to demonstrate how thoroughly trashed it has been in the past half century of "reform." The reform that is necessary now is the return of control to local school boards, the reduction of the control that teacher's unions exercise, and an end to the disastrous federal involvement in the nation's educational systems.

It has been several decades since a government study revealed the failure of the nation's education system and nothing has changed, except for the worse. A new American Revolution is needed to take our schools back from those who have been deliberately dumbing down our students. We need real teachers in our classrooms, not "facilitators." We need a renewed emphasis on the basics, not the judgement-neutral curriculum that is more concerned with "self-esteem" than teaching children anything.

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report, a monthly newsletter on issues affecting the welfare of the nation. He is also president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, VA.
The Center maintains an Internet site at
Copyright © Tom DeWeese 2003
American Policy Center
98 Alexandria Pike
Warrenton, VA 30186
(540) 451-8911

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13 apr 2003