by Albert Burns
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. She was so extraordinarily beautiful that the god Apollo fell in love with her and offered her any gift she desired, thinking she would ask for wealth or long life or something similar. Instead, she asked for the ability to accurately foretell the future. Apollo was furious that she had asked for this ability which was reserved solely to gods. However, having promised she could have anything she wanted, he granted the request BUT with the restriction that NO-ONE would ever believe her accurate predications until it was too late to make any difference.
Cassandra begged her parents not to keep Helen of Troy a prisoner. She begged them, in vain, not to drag the wooden horse inside the gates of Troy but again she was ignored and Troy was defeated.
Today, we have modern counterparts of Cassandra trying vainly to waken the American people to the very real dangers they face. For over 50 years, patriots have warned of the danger posed to American freedom and sovereignty by the United Nations - but few listened!
For an even greater period of time, others have pointed with alarm at the rapid deterioration of the education of American children in government schools while the cost of that "education" was skyrocketing into the stratosphere. Again few listened. And we are all paying the price!
According to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, March 5, 1997, "For each home-school child, the average schooling cost is $546 per year; the annual public-school expenditure is $5325. Both figures EXCLUDE the cost of the building in which each child is taught." While the costs of private schools vary widely, the article stated that the average cost per child was $2700 per year. You and I both know that the costs of government schools have increased drastically since 1997, yet in spite of declining education results, the liberal brain-washers demand ever higher amounts of your money and home schooled students consistently outdo those from public schools.
Parents are occasionally shocked when tests reveal the intellectual incompetence of government school teachers or when some of the weird experiments which are performed on school students come to public attention. However, rarely do the parents or the media realize that these occurrences are simply local manifestations of nation-wide networks promoting everything from "whole language" to homosexuality in our schools.
A new book "Left Back", by Diane Ravitch, a leading historian of education in this country, traces the history of the educational trends over the past one hundred years - "a century of failed school reforms" as the subtitle of the book states.
The failures have taken place because the public wants and expects the "Three Rs" to be taught while the education establishment is interested primarily in "molding" the young minds entrusted to their care in favor of "social adjustment and ideological indoctrination" to make the children more receptive to collectivist economic, social and political thinking. Given the grandiose thinking of the education "gurus" it is not unexpected that the education establishment simply dismisses and demonizes its critics.
As far back as the 1930s, when critics called for rigorous academic standards, they were likened by John Dewey to "religious fundamentalists." When Robert Maynard Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, dared to criticize progressive education, the head of the Columbia Teachers College stated: "Dr. Hutchins stands near to Hitler." Even today, this is the normal type of response of the education "experts" to any criticism of their curriculum, methods, books, etc.
Communist Russia first listened to the ideas of John Dewey and his ilk back in the 1920s and started using "progressive" methods in Russian schools. Within five years, they realized what disastrous results these methods produced and went back to traditional methods of teaching a classical curriculum.
Decades later, under Chairman Mao, the same scenario was played out during the "cultural revolution." Once again, the pragmatic communists looked at the results, found them woefully wanting and went back to practices which produced results.
Columnist Thomas Sowell in a recent column states: "Ignorant of history, undaunted by facts, and undeterred by logic, American educators have subjected generations of American children to the same practices, with the same dismal results. Our children now regularly come in at or near the bottom in international tests, especially in no-nonsense subjects like math."
While parents would view these results as failures, they really represent success on a grand scale - but of an entirely different agenda! This "different agenda" is generally not understood by well-meaning local teachers who DO have the best interests of the child in mind but who, themselves, have been indoctrinated and mis-led during their time in educational institutions of "higher leaning!" (Misspelling intentional)
Professor Ravitchs "Left Back" traces how it happened and the goals behind the process. Again quoting Thomas Sowell, "What this book demonstrates is that the decline of American education was NO ACCIDENT, but the by-product of a mindset and an agenda with a long pedigree." (Emphasis added)
Getting back to Cassandra - IS ANYONE LISTENING OUT THERE?
This article originally appeared at
10 aug 2000