Modern Education a Total Failure

I don’t usually reproduce an article without detailed commentary on Publius’ Forum. But this one from the Calgary Sun is so good that I have nothing to add and certainly nothing to criticize. Suffice to say, Ted Byfeild is 100% correct that modern education is a total failure.

So, read on and enjoy this dead on commentary…

Education ‘revolution’ proved disastrous

By TED BYFIELD, the Calgary Sun

The Canadian news media, so it seems, are finally getting on to a story that broke about 50 years ago, which they missed at the time and have been missing ever since.

I know, because I was one of the reporters who missed it.

Judging by the stuff appearing of late in the national media, we are beginning to discover that our school system has been fairly well ruined by crackpot ideas, introduced in the 1950s by reformers of supposedly unchallengeable authority.

They were in fact challenged at the time by older, life-long teachers who protested that these new concepts were hair-brained, if not downright insane.

The changes would assuredly result, they said, in a steady decline in standards, and a whole generation of people incapable of either governing themselves or being governed.

Well, we of the media of that day knew that those old fogies were living in another era.

They were incapable of change, out of touch with reality, and fit only to be pastured so that they could not stand in the way of “progress.”

The newspaper editorial writers, as I recall, eagerly embraced the new concepts and urged their adoption. They too wanted their newspapers to be wholly identified with the new society those new schools were intended to create.

Many zillions of words have been used to describe this educational revolution, usually attributed to the philosopher John Dewey and the coterie of new thinkers who surrounded him at the University of Chicago. What they wanted was painless education. Above all, learning must be fun, and freed of all sense of coercion and fear.

The practice of pass and fail must be eliminated, teachers must cease being authority figures and become instead friends and guides; examinations must be abolished; grading standards like A, B, C, and D and percentage figures done away with.

All this was in order to produce a new kind of society in which human evil and competitiveness would gradually disappear.

Those old teachers said it wouldn’t work, that the competitive element in human beings is innate, not learned, and the inevitable result would be a disastrous decline in educational standards.

Every last one of those old teachers is no doubt dead by now, but all through their last years, they were forced to watch their forebodings come appallingly true.

Too bad they aren’t around this week as the children and youths of Canada head back for another year in school, accompanied by a moaning media chorus describing our educational system as an obvious disaster.

One national newspaper deplores the “social pass” as producing tens of thousands of so-called high school graduates who can scarcely read and write. Another bewails the fact that young people simply are not becoming adults.

They acquire one academic credential after another, often living with their parents until they’re 30, and never getting a permanent job.

Now, we’re told, a distinguished psychologist proposes putting most people to work at age 12, with a knowledge of the basic three Rs and nothing more.

It will make them grow up, he says. This is hailed as a revolutionary new concept, never heard of before.

In fact, it isn’t new at all.

One of those old-style teachers, who died in the early ’50s, was Sir Richard Livingstone, a classics prof and educational philosopher.

He was Dewey’s contemporary but held very different ideas. Livingstone defined what he called “educable ages” of human beings.

We are most educable, he said, when we’re very young, least educable in the teen years and early 20s, and become highly educable again as adults.

He therefore proposed the high school system be abolished, except for the very brightest of students, and that the money thereby saved be directed instead into community schools for adults.

People would normally continue their education through their adult life.

In effect, he was abolishing the whole concept of the teen-ager, the adolescent.

If nearly everybody at 12 or 13 joined the work force, they would in fact become part of the adult world.

Later, they would go back to school in order to actually learn something.

We scoffed at the time.

Do away with high school? Preposterous, we said.

Today, more than ever, it sounds like a good idea.

One thought on “Modern Education a Total Failure”


    So, “the real agenda was not improving American public education academically but changing it from a system that taught young Americans basic skills and imparted essential cultural knowledge, to a system of training youngsters to serve the state in whatever capacity the government thought necessary.” The Duke lacrosse team fiasco shows that liberal educators have created a phony cultural paradigm that distorts reality. And, nobody exploits phony paradigms, obfuscates the truth, or games the system like the Clintons:


    Set the Wayback Machine for 23 August 1995: a hot day in the nation’s capitol. But 3000 miles due west on the California Coast, a constellation of events was unfolding that would have a cataclysmic effect. Bill Clinton picked up the telephone. It was his Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, calling from a payphone in Monterey. Bill held the receiver at arms length and gazed at the tasteful floral arrangement that adorned the Oval Office. Leon’s disembodied voice filled the room. What now, asked Hillary. It’s that damn college, mouthed Bill. Hillary nodded; just tell Leon he’ll get whatever he needs. There was, no getting out:

    Education, Public Service: great ways to gain consensus and launder money. That is, until one becomes attuned to the Clinton machine. Then, even true believers become victims. One sees flight-students, and others who couldn’t fly. GOOGLE: UCSC’s Denise D. Denton & CSUMB’s Paul S. Sanford. Both leaped to their deaths in apparent suicides. Apparently neither left a note. Both educators were at the top of their game, and each, innocently enough, poised to focus national attention on Old Balls’s 17th District. Had they believed in a nation of laws, only to succumb to the law of the jungle? Corrupt Politicians. For them, there was no getting out:

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