During my own 36-year career as an educator, with considerable experience in private as well as public schools, I served as a classroom teacher, school principal and school district superintendent. These traditional job titles notwithstanding, in my heart and mind my job would more aptly described as ” Schoolmaster “. The men and women who diligently taught our children and operated our local community schools were, until sometime in the early 20th Century, called Schoolmasters.
These schoolmasters educated American school children in rigorous academic curricula that most commonly included reading, writing, mathematics, history, science, civics and traditional morality and ethics based upon the Holy Bible, Judeo-Christian Principles, and English Common Law dating back seven centuries to the Bill of Rights, our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and earlier written frameworks of self-government and Liberty going all the back to A.D. 1215 and the signing of the Magna Carta.
The schoolmasters operated schools and taught a classical education combining three pillars.
First, rigorous academic intellectual development; second, our historical heritage of liberty, justice and freedom taught from a local community civics perspective and a truthful historical perspective; third, the fundamentals of morality, ethics the rule of law, that our freedoms are derived from Creator, and that our government exists only through the consent of the people, to secure our freedoms as ” one nation under God “.
The leaders of Colonial America clearly believed in limited, local community-based government, as well as in local community schools and schoolmasters who taught students academics, civics, historical truths, Judeo-Christian ethics and morality, and principles of righteous living.
Thus when the Founding Fathers applied the wisdom and spiritual vision passed down to them through seven centuries of enlightened philosophers and courageous proponents of principles of self-government, they championed education as invaluable to both the preservation and the prosperous growth of the newly established American republic.
Yet, in spite of holding education in high esteem, even reverence, the framers of the United States Constitution clearly established education as a local community and state function, and outside the province of authority of the central government. Two years after the establishment of the United States of America, the Congress of the new United States, upon. The firm insistence of the state, enacted the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. Nowhere in our Constitution, nor anywhere in the Bill of Rights, is any authority whatsoever granted to the central government to play any role, nor exercise any influence, over local education. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment spells this principle out in no uncertain terms; all powers not specifically granted to the central government of the United States, are wholly and strictly reserved to the individual states.
In the realm of education, the framers of our Federal system of government thus explicitly established local education as the exclusive province and function of the individual states and local communities within each state. During the first century of the American Federal Republic, these principles and longstanding traditions of local schoolmasters operating local community schools, in partnership with state governments but exercising primarily under local control, helped serve as a major bulwark of the growth, expansion and prosperity of the United States, as well as preserving the founding principles of ” one nation under God ” and ” establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, and securing the Blessings of liberty “. The national government of the United States, under the highly questionable interpretation of the ” General Welfare ” clause, supported education, but almost exclusively at the university level without attaching its tentacles of despotic control as is so pervasive today. This was effected by such acts as: the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; through land grants during the decades of 19th Century pioneer expansion and settlement; and, by the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890.
Alas, under the pernicious and dangerous influence of the ” Captains of Industry ” heading up the huge corporations of the post Civil War industrial revolution, misguided education ” reformers ” worked feverishly to ” fundamentally transform ” education into a ” factory system of mass production ” to create larger education bureaucracies to serve not the interest of parents and students, but the large socialist and collectivist interests of big labor and big business in the late 19th Century.
In the early decades of the Twentieth Century liberal thinking, collectivist educational “philosophers ” such as the Socialist John Dewey and his contemporaries, began their destructive campaign of misinformation to consolidate local schools and districts into larger more pervasive bureaucracies less responsive and less accountable to local parents and citizen/taxpayers and increase state level funding and authority. The morally bankrupt and nefarious purpose of John Dewey and others, was to increase state control to the detriment of local community control, to more easily effect social engineering and indoctrination with less resistance from parents and local citizens. Dewey and others accelerated the transforming of the schools from the leadership of dedicated, intellectual and highly principled schoolmasters, to control by secular humanist, social engineering, collectivist indoctrinating school bureaucrats.
Also In the early 20th Century, the national government of the U.S., continuing to make a questionable interpretation of the General Welfare ” clause of our Constitution, enacted further legislation in support of state and local education; the Smith-Hughes Act (1917) in support of vocational education; the Lanham and Impact Aid Acts (1941 and 1950) to help communities with students affiliated with the military; and, the G.I. Bill (1944) to help war veterans advance their education. None of the Congressional acts, extending into the mid-20th Century, were intended, nor resulted in, significant encroachment of the U.S. Government into state and local control of public or private education.
Beginning with the landmark Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education, based largely upon the ” Equal Protection Under the Law ” language of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), the U.S. Government was first directed to racially desegregate (1954) then to forcibly and arbitrarily integrate all American public schools (1955), the U.S. Government wrongly began to seize upon noble aims and purposes of improving education for all races, as an ill conceived excuse to drastically expand national control over local and state education. The National Defense Education Act (1958) intended to fund increased supply and quality of math and science teachers, while a failure (it only resulted in lowering standards for obtaining a teaching certificate and eroded the quality of teaching staffs nationwide) -still further expansion of centralized national control over local schools was the other primary, and unfortunate, result.
As part of the mislabeled comprehensive and disastrous ” Great Society ” legislation enacted by the veto-proof Democratic Congress under President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, the ” Elementary and Secondary Education Act ” brought vast and sweeping new power over local and state school districts far exceeding any ever envisioned or enacted in prior American history. Aptly named by many Americans as the ” Architect of American Socialism”, Lyndon Johnson also corrupted and perverted the separation of powers and the Tenth Amendment. The “E.S.E.A.” became the law of the land, using ” federal funds ” to exert pervasive and corrosive control, wresting the Constitutionally guaranteed power and authority over education from the local community school and the states, and placing power with increasing concentration and corruption in the hands of Left Wing Washington politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest lobbyists.
In the past half century, Congress and many of our Presidents, especially the left leaning Chief Executives, have become obsessed with standardized testing, mass collection of statistical data, monitoring and controlling school policies and curricula by the power of ” federal grants ” and ” federal aid “, reducing students to the status of lab rats, reducing teachers to mere technical automatons with no professional discretion, and with parents and citizen/taxpayers relegated to being viewed and mistreated as political pawns. Most dangerous of all, is the massive lowering of academic standards and the equally appalling and highly visible deterioration of student discipline and decorum in our nations local school classrooms. These same ” federal bureaucrats ” routinely cover up their massive failures and destruction by shamelessly lying about school’s lack of progress, organizing massive student and faculty cheating on standardized tests, and systematically submit false documentation and data to cover up low school performance.
During the 50 years ensuing from 1965-2015, the Washington, D.C.. Power machine of big government and big brother, has continued to accelerate the constant expansion of national control, in flagrant violation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and completed the poisonous “fundamental transformation ” from high quality locally controlled education led by intellectually gifted, highly ethical and child-centered schoolmasters, to left-leaning, collectivist, bureaucratic administrators obsessed with social engineering and leftist indoctrination of children whom they see as nothing more than young minds to be manipulated.
During the six years since the election of Barack Obama as ” President “, every evil purpose and agenda imaginable has been forced upon parents, children and teachers across America, especially in left-wing “blue states ” like California, Washington, Oregon, and several northeastern states. What remains, in perhaps at least half of the nation’s states and most of our large cities, is a ” black hole ” where massive amounts of taxpayer funding is thrown away on schools that produce no results. ” Education ” has become an academically bankrupt, moral cesspool of wasted tax money, illiterate and unruly students, with a majority of teachers being intellectually unprepared, and incompetent. Many schools are literally a dark abyss in which well Intentioned teachers and students are regularly bullied and assaulted. Secular humanist bureaucrats who are paid not to educate, but to indoctrinate, routinely and arrogantly blame conservatives and Christians for the evil environments they have created.
It is an urgent national imperative to replace the secular humanist, socialist bureaucrats with the highly educated, dedicated and principled schoolmaster whose beliefs and practices reflect academic rigor, self responsibility and personal ethics. Teachers, parents and citizen/taxpayers must unite across America to return strict conduct, student and parent accountability and abolish the entire socialist, indoctrinating agenda having nothing to contribute to an academic or moral education, from all of our nation’s classrooms. One of the most obvious national level imperatives is immediate and permanent abolishment of the U.S. Department of Education.
America as a nation is rapidly disintegrating, and in urgent need of a massive conservative revolution. Because our nation’s schools are both reflective of, and contributors to, that disintegration, Americans must save our disintegrating schools, throw out the socialist bureaucrats, and return the local schoolmasters to the local community schools across our nation.
With only 700 days remaining until the next national election, the time for revolution is now. America is in the midst of a full blown crisis. Please, America, bring back our schoolmasters!
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com