Following the Russian lift off of its first orbiting satellite, Sputnik, it was reported that Russian schools were outpacing the America educational product. Can you believe that in a land which couldn’t even sustain its basic food supply, America now needed to catch up educationally?
This was the reasoning behind our push for better education in the basic sciences. In January of 1958, Eisenhower sent Congress an education message about an emergency program based upon our national need and security.
Congress dutifully responded and by September, Eisenhower signed the National Defense Education Act of 1958. As stated, the prevailing reasons for such swift action was, believe it or not, in the defense of our nation. Years later, the precedence from this scare tactic provided the basis for President Johnson to sign his Elementary, Secondary Education Act of 1965. And not a word was uttered about defense, security or about the illegality of federal intrusion into America’s educational venue.
This may well have been the starting point of today’s political tenet of “never let a crisis go to waste.” In the most dire of situations, even an unsubstantiated crisis, such as those attacks in the Gulf of Tonkin, provided impetus for the ushering in of an enormous sea change regarding to our Vietnam policies.
More recently, the Patriot Act, which languished forever in Congress, gained immediate passage on the heels of 9/11.
One only has to view today’s educational scores to realize that if our original motive was truly for the defense of our country, the Red Flag would be flying. At this point, can we realize that this was a BS scheme to control the thoughts and minds of future generations? I think the proof is presented with the nightly news coverage of the circus in which higher education now resembles.
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