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Socialists Used Public Schools to Literacy in America. - Widespread illiteracy and the

Posted: Nov 4th, 2019 - 1:18 pm In Reply to: The public education establishment in the USA teaches - the beauty of idealized socialism

ignorance it produces represent an existential threat to the United States today. But it was not always this way. And it can be fixed.

Fortunately, neither the cause of this crisis nor the solution to it is a mystery—at least to anyone who has studied the issue.

To blame for this dangerous phenomenon are socialist “educators” going back to the mid-1800s. In particular, it was their quack methodologies ostensibly aimed at “teaching reading” to children.

The answer to the illiteracy crisis is simple, though: America must go back to what worked for thousands of years and continues to work today: systematic phonics instruction.

Americans were almost certainly the most literate people on the planet in the 1700s and 1800s.

In fact, the earliest settlers in Massachusetts, the Puritans, were so passionate about reading that in the 1640s, they passed the “Old Deluder Satan Act” mandating that everyone learn to read. The thinking was that, without knowledge of the Bible, the devil would be more easily able to deceive their communities. And so, it was understood that every town must strive for universal literacy.

This passion for literacy translated into what would become the most literate society that mankind had ever produced up to that time.

According to University of Montana scholar Kenneth Lockridge’s study “Literacy in Colonial New England,” 90 percent were literate by 1800, with numbers approaching 100 percent in cities like Boston.

Even among women, that was true. According to estimates by Joel Perlmann of Bard College and Dennis Shirley of Boston College, virtually all women born in the early 1800s were literate.

At the time, Americans realized that as well. In his ground-breaking 1812 study “National Education in the United States of America,” Du Pont de Nemours estimated that even among young people, not more than “four in a thousand are unable to write legibly—even neatly.”

And in 1800, the Boston Review reported that no other nation in the world had a larger percentage of its population with at least basic literacy skills and an understanding of the “rudiments of science.”

Considering documents such as the Federalist Papers, which were addressed to the common American man, it’s also clear that the level of literacy by the late 1700s was extraordinary—especially by today’s standards.

Remarkably, this was all accomplished with virtually no government involvement in education at all. In fact, most children learned to read from their families using simple but highly effective resources such as the Noah Webster’s “Blue Back Speller” and the “New England Primer.” These two tools taught reading using phonics while providing valuable moral lessons. Literacy Crisis

By the middle of the 20th century, everything changed.

A crisis in literacy was brewing that is without precedent in the history of the world. Literacy rates began plummeting, particularly after World War II. And today, the government’s own data shows evidence of a catastrophic decline in reading.

In 1993, the U.S. government conducted the most comprehensive literacy study ever performed up to that time. And the results were shocking.

On Sept. 9 of that year, citing the study, the Boston Globe reported that “nearly half of Americans read and write so poorly that it is difficult for them to hold a decent job.”

Many other analysts concluded, based on the findings, that almost half of the nation was either illiterate or at least very close to functional illiteracy. In short, the United States had been handicapped.

Another federal study performed a decade later found similar results.

The numbers are even worse in certain areas, and among America’s youth.

According to the federal government’s most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about one-third of high school seniors are proficient in reading.

And in Washington, D.C., a recent State Education Agency report revealed that two thirds of the adult population is functionally literate, falling to 50 percent in some wards. In response, top D.C. officials took a trip to communist Cuba to see how that murderous regime “educates” children.

Of course, there had been a sneak preview of what is now being observed in Boston under then-Massachusetts Secretary of Education Horace Mann—a collectivist Utopian who led the government takeover of schooling in his state and beyond—in the mid-1800s.

But the quackery there had been quickly and ably exposed by experienced and professional educators, limiting the damage. Quackery Pushed by Collectivists

The root of the problem stems from the method used to teach reading. The writing system in English is based upon phonetic characters, with each letter representing one or more audible sounds. For instance, the letter “b” makes a “buh” sound, while a “p” makes a “puh” sound.

So, from the time this writing system was developed thousands of years ago by the Phoenicians, teaching an individual how to read has involved giving the student the knowledge to sound out letters, blend them together, and then decode words.

A great Christian minister and educator, Rev. Thomas Gallaudet of Connecticut, after learning from a French minister in Paris, pioneered a new system. It would come to be known variously as the “whole-word” method, the “look-say” method, or the “sight-word” method. It seems clear that Rev. Thomas Gallaudet had nothing but the best of intentions, even if his ideas ended up producing so many problems.

In his capacity as director of the American Asylum at Hartford for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb from 1817 to 1830, Gallaudet worked to refine methods to teach reading to children who were deaf and mute. Because deaf children are incapable of hearing sounds, obviously, teaching them to associate certain sounds with certain symbols—letters in this case—was not feasible.

So instead, he taught the children to look at whole words as ideographs or pictographs, similar to the Chinese writing system, as if the words themselves were the symbol, rather than a group of symbols each one representing a sound. Instead of teaching a child that the word “hat” includes three symbols, each one representing a specific sound, Gallaudet would show them the entire word, along with a drawing of a hat, encouraging children to memorize the whole word and its meaning.

For deaf children, this was an enormous leap forward. But Gallaudet and others theorized, incorrectly, that this same method might help non-deaf children. Gallaudet even created a reading primer based on these ideas, and began promoting his methods in educational circles and publications.

Just a few short months after being selected to serve as the commonwealth’s first ever Secretary of Education in 1837, Mann, a collectivist who seemed always ready to embrace quackery, would oversee the introduction of this new system into the government primary schools of Boston.

It was a disaster.

Basically, children suddenly struggled to learn how to read, with many of them displaying symptoms that today would be diagnosed as “dyslexia.”

Within a few years, the schoolmasters of Boston joined forces to expose and repudiate the quackery before it did more damage. In a stinging paper, over 30 school chiefs wrote that “such a change, as that proposed by Mr. Mann and others, is neither called for, nor sustained by sound reasoning.”

The critical comments, made in the “Remarks on the Seventh Annual Report of the Hon. Horace Mann,” pointed out that many of the arguments made in support of the whole-word method were “fallacious” and “based upon false premises.” Others were irrelevant.

And the results were clear, too: “There has been a great deterioration during the trial of the new system.”

That was the end of that—at least for a while.

LINK/URL: Socialists Used Public Schools to Literacy in America.


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