We can save the public schools only if 1) we embrace the historical reality, and 2) we eliminate all the bogus methods. That's the message of The Education Enigma. We really do need a big shot of candor. Take a deep breath and say it: John Dewey, America's foremost educator, was a Socialist. This has hurt us.
Norfolk, Va. (PRWEB) April 21, 2009
American competitiveness declines. Literacy rates decline. SAT scores decline. All this despite huge expenditures on the public schools. Are our educators really trying? How do we improve this pathetic situation?
In a short, entertaining new book titled The Education Enigma --What Happened to American Education, author Bruce Deitrick Price explains history, explodes dogma, and outs deception. He identifies the basic problem: our schools are crippled by a startling array of flawed teaching strategies. (And he does all this while charmingly expounding on everything from robots and Taoism, to birds and Mick Jagger.)
"Here's my conclusion," says Price. "If we want to improve the schools, we need to identify all the crummy ideas, and then run them out of town. And we need to know why these airy frauds were adopted in the first place. There's some unpleasant stuff we have to confront, primarily, that the people who got control of American public education, decades ago, were focused on ideological and psychological schemes, not intellectual goals. That's been a killer."
When parents speak of "education," Price explains, they mean reading, writing, arithmetic, history and science. When the top educators speak of "education," they mean social engineering and "life-adjustment." To accomplish their goals, these educators ended up using techniques that actually undermined academic progress.
"The world-class example of bad teaching," Price maintains, "is Whole Word, a gimmick which has created 50,000,000 functional illiterates. All those victims indicate to any sane observer that Whole Word (also known as Sight Word, Dolch Words, etc.) is tragically wrong-headed. Elite educators, however, kept insisting that Whole Word was the road to literacy. Now we know they lied."
When we look at all the popular pedagogies, Price argues, we see the same sad pattern: these methods undercut education as traditionally understood. Constructivism, Self Esteem, Cooperative Learning, Reform Math, No Memorization, Alternative Assessment, Invented Spelling, and many other approaches are presented to parents as wonderful new innovations that will improve education. Typically, however, each of them turns out to sabotage education.
Price concludes that: "We can save the public schools only if 1) we embrace the historical reality, and 2) we eliminate all the bogus methods. That's the message of The Education Enigma. We really do need a big shot of candor. Take a deep breath and say it: John Dewey, America's foremost educator, was a Socialist. This has hurt us."
Bruce Price, who got Honors in English Literature at Princeton, is the author of four previous books and the founder of http://www.Improve-Education.org. He has been writing about education for 25 years and now has more than 100 articles on the web. He collected his favorite parts into The Education Enigma--What Happened to American Education.
The book is wide-ranging, intelligent, and entertaining--50 sections cover an array of topics, such as phonics, constructivism, sophistry, the art of teaching, creativity, the plight of poetry, the war against reading, 1984, the assault on math, Pavlov, form follows function, and many more (contents are listed below).
"Here's the big news story," Price says. "As a practical matter, I don't think we can help the public schools by throwing more money at them--President Obama, take note. Or by writing more glowing policy recommendations. Or by pointing at best practice. The educators are stuck in their counterproductive ways. We have to fight the education wars on an intellectual level. We need to drive out bad ideas with good ideas. Let's start today. I particularly urge the business community to get much more involved."
To interview Bruce Price or to receive a copy of the book, please call Word-Wise Education, 757-455-5020.
The Education Enigma, a $14.99 paperback, is available on Amazon, etc.
(For more information about why Whole Word is a hoax, please see "37: Whole Word versus Phonics" on http://www.Improve-Education.org.)
The contents exactly as they appear at the start of The Education Enigma:
The Art of Teaching....11
The Art of Teaching / How to Teach History, Etc. /
Tips for Helping Your Child Do Better in School /
100 Facts Every High School Graduate Should Know /
Teaching Science / Jay Leno: Educator Of The Year /
The Best Way to Teach Anything??
History of education....25
English and Education / Phooey on John Dewey /
A Tribute to Rudolph Flesch / A Very Short, Very Sad History of American Education
During the Last 100 Years / John Dewey, Dumbing Down, and The Scandal of Dyslexia / Educators Are Best Understood as "Ignorance Engineers" /
Maria Montessori vs John Dewey (The Fight of The Century)
Philosophy Weeps / On Bullsh*t & Sophistry /
Theoryland / 1984--The Cover Up /
Form, Function, Foolishness /
Students Need Recess and Exercise
Mick Jagger an Intellectual?? /
A Letter to the Pope: How To Do Latin Right /
The Wisest Little Book In The World / A Smashing Victory /
Understanding Robots / Birds Like Us
A Tribute to Rudolph Flesch / The War Against Reading /
How To Help A Non-Reader to Read /
Interview With A Reading Coach: The Truth About Dyslexia /
Education activist challenges Education Establishment: stop the lies about reading /
Whole Word versus Phonics / How Dolch Words Cause
Illiteracy and Dyslexia / Sites for Cheaters
False Prophets, False Pedagogies....91
Thinking Critically About So-Called Critical Thinking /
The Assault on Math / Ivan Pavlov-- Education Goes To the Dogs /
The Con in Constructivism / Reading Nonsense
In Praise of Stark Lucidity / Noun Overuse Phenomenon Article /
Precision Worth Preserving
The Creativity Question / The Plight of Poetry /
The Rules of Poetry
What to do....121
Education--The Dark Side / Teacher Liberation Front /
A Speech To Teenagers About Education /
Who Will Save The Public Schools--Business Leaders, Teachers, or Taxpayers??? /
Saving the American Newspaper /
Education Manifesto 1: The Cause of the Crisis /
Note to media: it's not a question of agreeing with all of this book's contentions. The point is that the American people need a chance to reflect on what has been done to them. Ivy League universities, like the major newspapers, have stood silently by as the country was dumbed down. Thomas Jefferson said, "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Think of the converse: if people are kept ignorant and illiterate, we will have a slow descent into barbarism of one kind or another. Public schools serve an essential function in our society; but they are not being allowed to fulfill that function.