Education and the Cannon Fodder 2014

The vision of soldiers as nothing more than "food" to be consumed by battle dates back to at least the 1500s.  The first attested use of the expression "cannon fodder" belongs to a French writer, François-René de Châteaubriand, in his anti-Napoleonic pamphlet "De Bonaparte et des Bourbons,” published in 1814.  He criticized the cynical attitude toward recruits that prevailed at the end of Napoleon's reign: "The contempt for the lives of men and for France herself has come to the point of calling  conscripts 'the raw material' and 'the meat' for cannons.”

This notion of cannon fodder was vastly reinforced in World War I when massed infantry attacks were still used, resulting in huge numbers of casualties.

At that same time (circa 1915), all the early psychologists and educators had their heads full of theories that basically regarded children as raw material to be turned into something else.  Priority One was creating cooperative children.  Knowledge could make a child independent and hard to manipulate, so ignorance became a plus.  The ed schools, the teachers, the high-level theorists – all were soon entangled in a conspiracy to make children mediocre.  Social engineering was the name of this game.  Children became lab rats.  They became ideology fodder.

In Russia, the communist government was trying to create "the new Socialist Man.”  In the U.S., John Dewey's progressive educators were trying to create what could be called “the new socialist child.” 

“Children have been taught the principles of socialism since the early 1900s, right under the noses of their parents and caregivers,” according to The Blaze.

Even when schools didn't spell out a socialist agenda, students were still being  stunted by an array of counterproductive theories and methods.  Sight-words prevent children from becoming fluent readers.  Reform Math keeps children from  mastering basic arithmetic.  Constructivism prevents teachers from teaching much knowledge.  Look at all the theories and methods, and you find a  preference for inferior ideas.  And why?  Because the Education Establishment is engaged in what Charlotte Iserbyt calls “the deliberate dumbing down of America.”

Children will rarely experience the joy of learning.  They’ll be restless and unhappy; their spirits will shrivel.  That’s why so many drugs are prescribed in our public schools.  That's why the dropout rate is so high.  That's why children going on to college or to a job invariably need remedial training.

Kids are forced into the shapes that socialist thinking requires.  The overriding goal was always to strip kids of their individuality.  Cooperative Learning, now epidemic throughout American public schools, makes children sit around a table so they will meld into a group.

Common Core has incorporated all the bad methods and added new ones.  Knowledge and how it’s taught are carefully constrained.  Teachers are increasingly restricted in what they can do.

“Across the country schools are beginning to understand that the Common Core standards will require a more constructivist based form of instruction.”

The Education Establishment used to claim that no one method was right for all students and that teachers hated teaching from a script, or to a test.  All that is down the memory hole.  School officials will insist on everything being done in lockstep across the country.

Bottom line: constructivist teaching is intellectually starved.  Imagine a classroom where few separate facts are mentioned, because students are supposed to ferret out facts for themselves.  At the end of the day, not much will happen – not much beyond trying to turn children into ciphers.  They are ideology fodder, and that’s their destiny.

Churchill gave a famous speech in 1946 that started: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe[.]”

Now, a different sort of barrier is falling across our country.  It separates us completely and permanently from the intelligent practices of the past.  It is the “iron curtain” between genuine education, which trains children to be free, and the phony, stultifying indoctrination that will now be the curse of so many.

All this happened because Bill Gates and his billions of dollars permitted a couple of nonentities like David Coleman and Jason Zimba to rewrite the whole structure of American education.  What insulting nonsense.  Surely, in a sane world, you would have a large team of experienced professionals who had managed outstanding schools.  Surely they would develop plans, then test and refine those plans over many years.  None of that happened.  These two rookies just spewed out the so-called Standards and then informed the country: here’s your gruel.  Get used to it.

Clearly, these people regard the entire country as ideology fodder.  In practice, they probably care as much about individual Americans as French generals cared about soldiers sent to feed the cannons.

There’s now a huge revulsion against Common Core, as there should be, and just in time.  If this monstrosity succeeded and became locked in place, it would be parallel to what happened to that large mass of humanity trapped behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

It’s clear that our Education Establishment is run by ideologues who don’t care about education as most people understand that term.  Safe bet: these ideologues are trying to make passive, dependent adults in order to consolidate the power of the Democratic Party.

So keep this picture in your mind: little children running off a cliff – not because they’re lemmings, but because adults are telling them to run off the cliff.

“The world is a dangerous place to live,” Einstein said, “not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” 

I suggest that it’s a matter of national honor.  Americans should reject Common Core out of hand, put it in hazmat drums, and bury it under a mountain.

Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates thought of the whole country as ideology fodder.  For that we’re due an apology.

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

The vision of soldiers as nothing more than "food" to be consumed by battle dates back to at least the 1500s.  The first attested use of the expression "cannon fodder" belongs to a French writer, François-René de Châteaubriand, in his anti-Napoleonic pamphlet "De Bonaparte et des Bourbons,” published in 1814.  He criticized the cynical attitude toward recruits that prevailed at the end of Napoleon's reign: "The contempt for the lives of men and for France herself has come to the point of calling  conscripts 'the raw material' and 'the meat' for cannons.”

This notion of cannon fodder was vastly reinforced in World War I when massed infantry attacks were still used, resulting in huge numbers of casualties.

At that same time (circa 1915), all the early psychologists and educators had their heads full of theories that basically regarded children as raw material to be turned into something else.  Priority One was creating cooperative children.  Knowledge could make a child independent and hard to manipulate, so ignorance became a plus.  The ed schools, the teachers, the high-level theorists – all were soon entangled in a conspiracy to make children mediocre.  Social engineering was the name of this game.  Children became lab rats.  They became ideology fodder.

In Russia, the communist government was trying to create "the new Socialist Man.”  In the U.S., John Dewey's progressive educators were trying to create what could be called “the new socialist child.” 

“Children have been taught the principles of socialism since the early 1900s, right under the noses of their parents and caregivers,” according to The Blaze.

Even when schools didn't spell out a socialist agenda, students were still being  stunted by an array of counterproductive theories and methods.  Sight-words prevent children from becoming fluent readers.  Reform Math keeps children from  mastering basic arithmetic.  Constructivism prevents teachers from teaching much knowledge.  Look at all the theories and methods, and you find a  preference for inferior ideas.  And why?  Because the Education Establishment is engaged in what Charlotte Iserbyt calls “the deliberate dumbing down of America.”

Children will rarely experience the joy of learning.  They’ll be restless and unhappy; their spirits will shrivel.  That’s why so many drugs are prescribed in our public schools.  That's why the dropout rate is so high.  That's why children going on to college or to a job invariably need remedial training.

Kids are forced into the shapes that socialist thinking requires.  The overriding goal was always to strip kids of their individuality.  Cooperative Learning, now epidemic throughout American public schools, makes children sit around a table so they will meld into a group.

Common Core has incorporated all the bad methods and added new ones.  Knowledge and how it’s taught are carefully constrained.  Teachers are increasingly restricted in what they can do.

“Across the country schools are beginning to understand that the Common Core standards will require a more constructivist based form of instruction.”

The Education Establishment used to claim that no one method was right for all students and that teachers hated teaching from a script, or to a test.  All that is down the memory hole.  School officials will insist on everything being done in lockstep across the country.

Bottom line: constructivist teaching is intellectually starved.  Imagine a classroom where few separate facts are mentioned, because students are supposed to ferret out facts for themselves.  At the end of the day, not much will happen – not much beyond trying to turn children into ciphers.  They are ideology fodder, and that’s their destiny.

Churchill gave a famous speech in 1946 that started: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe[.]”

Now, a different sort of barrier is falling across our country.  It separates us completely and permanently from the intelligent practices of the past.  It is the “iron curtain” between genuine education, which trains children to be free, and the phony, stultifying indoctrination that will now be the curse of so many.

All this happened because Bill Gates and his billions of dollars permitted a couple of nonentities like David Coleman and Jason Zimba to rewrite the whole structure of American education.  What insulting nonsense.  Surely, in a sane world, you would have a large team of experienced professionals who had managed outstanding schools.  Surely they would develop plans, then test and refine those plans over many years.  None of that happened.  These two rookies just spewed out the so-called Standards and then informed the country: here’s your gruel.  Get used to it.

Clearly, these people regard the entire country as ideology fodder.  In practice, they probably care as much about individual Americans as French generals cared about soldiers sent to feed the cannons.

There’s now a huge revulsion against Common Core, as there should be, and just in time.  If this monstrosity succeeded and became locked in place, it would be parallel to what happened to that large mass of humanity trapped behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

It’s clear that our Education Establishment is run by ideologues who don’t care about education as most people understand that term.  Safe bet: these ideologues are trying to make passive, dependent adults in order to consolidate the power of the Democratic Party.

So keep this picture in your mind: little children running off a cliff – not because they’re lemmings, but because adults are telling them to run off the cliff.

“The world is a dangerous place to live,” Einstein said, “not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” 

I suggest that it’s a matter of national honor.  Americans should reject Common Core out of hand, put it in hazmat drums, and bury it under a mountain.

Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates thought of the whole country as ideology fodder.  For that we’re due an apology.

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