Enemies of Education Have Put History Down the Memory Hole

By Cal Thomas Los Angeles Times Syndicate | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 6, 1995 | Go to article overview

Enemies of Education Have Put History Down the Memory Hole


Cal Thomas Los Angeles Times Syndicate, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


A report by the Department of Education about American public school students' ignorance of history is no surprise. Similar studies have shown a mostly discouraging trend for more than 20 years. But the response from those who are responsible for the deplorable intellectual and social conditions in schools, while not surprising, is a triumph of denial.

Government surveys asked 22,000 students in every state about their knowledge of American history. Half were found to be unaware of the Cold War and nearly six of 10 knew little or nothing about the origins of our republic.

This at a time when the nation is spending more money on schools than ever - and unbelievably public education activists tell us that the reason students aren't learning is that we're not spending enough.

Some might ask why we did a better job educating children in one-room schoolhouses than in pricey public schools. Taxpayers should wonder whether the problem has less to do with money and more to do with what is being taught.

The modern education system has been front-loaded with elitist propaganda that does little to give students a firm foundation of knowledge that will prepare them for the modern world.

One recent survey found that in many cases four periods of the school day are consumed by non-academic subjects, such as the environment, sex education, self-esteem, driver's education and physical education.

Even the good stuff has been polluted by the politically correct who believe it more important to study 14th-century African kings than the Magna Carta or early American heroes like Paul Revere, Thomas Paine and George Washington. (Dead white males with European roots, you know.)

Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's magazine, thinks the pathetic state of contemporary education is the fault of those who want to take us back to the days when children were taught differently - a period in which they were truly educated. He blames "political demagogues" for the ignorance of so many students.

Writing in The New York Times, Lapham blames those who believe in the Bible for dumbing down the children, not those, like himself, who revel in their disbelief. He links such persons to a Harvard professor who he says has "verified the sighting of intergalactic aliens."

Lapham has a tough case to make, given the fact that his secular soul mates have succeeded through the courts in stripping the schools of any favorable references to God. …

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