Education Establishment: Giving Their All for Gold, Glory, and Gospel of Progressivism

During the 1500s, the Spanish came to America (we were told in history classes) for "gold, glory, and gospel."  Merchants made money; soldiers distinguished themselves in war; Catholic priests spread religion.  The three Gs were a handy way to understand why people ventured across 3,000 miles of dangerous ocean in little boats.

Surprisingly enough, when we jump forward four centuries, we find that we can use this mnemonic to understand our Education Establishment, one of this country's more peculiar and inscrutable subcultures.

GOLD: Professors of education make excellent salaries without having special abilities or skills, other than being enthusiastic enforcers of the party line.  H.L. Mencken sized up the big picture all the way back in 1928 (from "The War On Intelligence"):

To take a Ph.D. in education in most American seminaries, is an enterprise that requires no more real acumen or information than taking a degree in window dressing. ... Most pedagogues ... are simply dull persons who have found it easy to get along by dancing to whatever tune happens to be lined out. At this dancing they have trained themselves to swallow any imaginable fad or folly, and always with enthusiasm. The schools reek with this puerile nonsense. Their programs of study sound like the fantastic inventions of comedians gone insane. The teaching of the elements is abandoned for a dreadful mass of useless fol-de-rols[.] ... Or examine a dozen or so of the dissertations ... turned out by candidates for the doctorate at any eminent penitentiary for pedagogues, say Teachers College, Columbia. What you will find is a state of mind that will shock you. It is so feeble that it is scarcely a state of mind at all.

GLORY: Education, in its progressive forms, attracts people who think that making a Brave New World is an accomplishment -- never mind how much you have to hurt people when forcing them into their new roles. 

Brave New Worlders want to tear down the old world and build a new one according to their specifications.  They become the bosses of the new society.  Wouldn't you want to join a new ruling elite?

Top educators gain glory by concocting new methods for the public schools.  There is great honor in being first with some twist of jargon or a fresh spin on a failed method.  The praise for Look-Say, New Math, Constructivism, Common Core, and all the other gimmicks can be compared to nuns singing about religious events.  (For one example: "Constructivism is a scientific theory that explains the nature of human knowledge. It is also the only known theory that explains children's construction of knowledge from birth to adolescence.")

Glory (that is, ego, self-esteem, prestige, pride) is quite a motivator.  Ordinary people, covered in glory, can more easily believe they are geniuses.  A hunger for glory explains a lot.

GOSPEL: That's the progressive doctrine according to John Dewey.  He provided the tools for a Marxist transformation of society.  His central teaching was that schools of education should be used to indoctrinate teachers, who in turn would indoctrinate their students and thus society.

"[T]his view of Dewey as the creator of an implementation strategy for a Marxian society is confirmed by what Lenin did in 1918 when he and the Bolsheviks were broke and the Russian Civil War was still raging. They started translating and publishing Dewey's books on education into Russian. ... Clearly the Kremlin considered Dewey's recommended educational practices to be an essential weapon to gain control over the Russian people."  That story has continued in America as well until the present day.  ("Credentialed to Destroy," page 49.)

The Gospel according to John Dewey can be summarized this way: we need to control the public schools so we can level the children -- that's the foundation for a better society.  Thus spake John Dewey.

This school-reconstruction saga started almost 100 years ago.  Gold, glory, and gospel persuaded many a professor to join the Socialist crusade.

These self-appointed experts told parents they were trying to educate children, when they were actually trying to destroy the society created by the parents and grandparents.

Here's where we ended up: "For well over a decade, college instructors have been complaining about students who are not only apathetic and unmotivated but who belittle and resist efforts to educate them[.] ... Without sugar coating it, Paul M. Levitt flatly declares, 'many college kids are a sorry lot. Preoccupied with their hair, their clothes, their cars, they have never developed a critical turn of mind and have no interest in doing so.' It does not bode well for higher education that many students entering college do not have--in the words of Peter Sacks -- 'anything resembling an intellectual life.'"

These kids, please note, are the ones going on to college.  You can imagine the devastation among the kids who drop out or quit after high school.  It seems that our students, at all levels, have little education and little interest in being educated.  That's what our Education Establishment has engineered in return for gold, glory, and gospel.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org.

During the 1500s, the Spanish came to America (we were told in history classes) for "gold, glory, and gospel."  Merchants made money; soldiers distinguished themselves in war; Catholic priests spread religion.  The three Gs were a handy way to understand why people ventured across 3,000 miles of dangerous ocean in little boats.

Surprisingly enough, when we jump forward four centuries, we find that we can use this mnemonic to understand our Education Establishment, one of this country's more peculiar and inscrutable subcultures.

GOLD: Professors of education make excellent salaries without having special abilities or skills, other than being enthusiastic enforcers of the party line.  H.L. Mencken sized up the big picture all the way back in 1928 (from "The War On Intelligence"):

To take a Ph.D. in education in most American seminaries, is an enterprise that requires no more real acumen or information than taking a degree in window dressing. ... Most pedagogues ... are simply dull persons who have found it easy to get along by dancing to whatever tune happens to be lined out. At this dancing they have trained themselves to swallow any imaginable fad or folly, and always with enthusiasm. The schools reek with this puerile nonsense. Their programs of study sound like the fantastic inventions of comedians gone insane. The teaching of the elements is abandoned for a dreadful mass of useless fol-de-rols[.] ... Or examine a dozen or so of the dissertations ... turned out by candidates for the doctorate at any eminent penitentiary for pedagogues, say Teachers College, Columbia. What you will find is a state of mind that will shock you. It is so feeble that it is scarcely a state of mind at all.

GLORY: Education, in its progressive forms, attracts people who think that making a Brave New World is an accomplishment -- never mind how much you have to hurt people when forcing them into their new roles. 

Brave New Worlders want to tear down the old world and build a new one according to their specifications.  They become the bosses of the new society.  Wouldn't you want to join a new ruling elite?

Top educators gain glory by concocting new methods for the public schools.  There is great honor in being first with some twist of jargon or a fresh spin on a failed method.  The praise for Look-Say, New Math, Constructivism, Common Core, and all the other gimmicks can be compared to nuns singing about religious events.  (For one example: "Constructivism is a scientific theory that explains the nature of human knowledge. It is also the only known theory that explains children's construction of knowledge from birth to adolescence.")

Glory (that is, ego, self-esteem, prestige, pride) is quite a motivator.  Ordinary people, covered in glory, can more easily believe they are geniuses.  A hunger for glory explains a lot.

GOSPEL: That's the progressive doctrine according to John Dewey.  He provided the tools for a Marxist transformation of society.  His central teaching was that schools of education should be used to indoctrinate teachers, who in turn would indoctrinate their students and thus society.

"[T]his view of Dewey as the creator of an implementation strategy for a Marxian society is confirmed by what Lenin did in 1918 when he and the Bolsheviks were broke and the Russian Civil War was still raging. They started translating and publishing Dewey's books on education into Russian. ... Clearly the Kremlin considered Dewey's recommended educational practices to be an essential weapon to gain control over the Russian people."  That story has continued in America as well until the present day.  ("Credentialed to Destroy," page 49.)

The Gospel according to John Dewey can be summarized this way: we need to control the public schools so we can level the children -- that's the foundation for a better society.  Thus spake John Dewey.

This school-reconstruction saga started almost 100 years ago.  Gold, glory, and gospel persuaded many a professor to join the Socialist crusade.

These self-appointed experts told parents they were trying to educate children, when they were actually trying to destroy the society created by the parents and grandparents.

Here's where we ended up: "For well over a decade, college instructors have been complaining about students who are not only apathetic and unmotivated but who belittle and resist efforts to educate them[.] ... Without sugar coating it, Paul M. Levitt flatly declares, 'many college kids are a sorry lot. Preoccupied with their hair, their clothes, their cars, they have never developed a critical turn of mind and have no interest in doing so.' It does not bode well for higher education that many students entering college do not have--in the words of Peter Sacks -- 'anything resembling an intellectual life.'"

These kids, please note, are the ones going on to college.  You can imagine the devastation among the kids who drop out or quit after high school.  It seems that our students, at all levels, have little education and little interest in being educated.  That's what our Education Establishment has engineered in return for gold, glory, and gospel.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org.