This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Of, By and For the People – Chapter 8: Education
Jeff Ulicny 7/21/2021 12:03 PM
Greetings my fellow Americans!
This Principle of Liberty from The 5000-Year Leap is perhaps the one most overlooked and neglected as a root cause for the apparent disintegration of America in our current culture and times. Wait, what Jeff? What do you mean “neglected?” We spend more on education as a country per student now than we ever have!
Whether the enemies of America intentionally and purposefully infiltrated our education system, or it has naturally deviated as far as it has from our founding principles through malaise, complacency, politics, etc., there can be little doubt that there has been a progressive abandonment of the teaching of the American discourse in favor of narratives generally unfavorable to the nature of our founding and historical significance in the excellence of human civilization worldwide. With each generation, for at least the last 100 years, children have been being increasingly taught to doubt the honor and validity of the United States of America, especially as regards its treatment of the rest of the world and those who have come here from outside. Public schools have meanwhile abandoned even the mention of God or anything in the Bible. The general quality of U.S.-based education in all disciplines has steadily degraded to enable the purely language-based civil war in which we now find ourselves, as many have never been taught how to critically think, nor how to appreciate just how novel and important America has been to helping our global human society rise to unprecedented heights of civilization and general prosperity.
But I digress, if only to explain why I believe this Principle of Liberty may be the most important one for us on which to immediately regain focus and local control as part of an American revitalization or renewal. Education was also a key reason for why I started this series for AFNN, because for WE THE PEOPLE to renew America (or make it great again), WE need to be solidly rooted in, and living daily according to, all of these principles. (Re)Education of ourselves in how to think and be truly American so that we may lead others will be crucial to winning this war.
So what were our Founders’ notions of this principle? Recognizing that much of 18th-Century Europe was illiterate, and relatively ignorant of any notion of unalienable rights and/or generally incapable of critical thinking, they understood the importance of formal education, and of basic fundamental skills that would facilitate self-learning: in other words, teaching children how to think for themselves as adults. They also wanted to ensure that everyone understood how and why America was founded, so that all could develop effective criteria for scrutinizing, and holding accountable, those entrusted with the protection and preservation of their unalienable rights. So important was this that states such as Massachusetts would penalize communities which did not have an established grammar school! Reading, writing, ciphering, history and Bible study were mainstays in early American education. Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States (1828, Stansbury) was the popular textbook of that day for political instruction of children.
Local control and oversight of curricula, teacher certification and hiring, and funding was key to the Founders. The community-level school board model which still exists today (at least formally) has its roots in the supervisory committees of the Founders’ day.
That control of much of these educational system responsibilities has shifted to state- and national-level bureaucracies—and unions—and how this occurred, is a topic for another article; it is worth noting here, however, that this shift has resulted in the complete secularization of schools such that reading of the Bible is now prohibited. Further, education in America and these founding principles continues to be systematically eliminated by virtue of the diminution of parental- and community-level power and autonomy over what their children are taught, and how. This top-down approach to education is completely counter to the basic tenets of our founding.
What’s also worth noting here is that while our Founders were against any kind of government-established and/or mandated method of worship of a Creator, removal and elimination of any acknowledgment of, or respect for, a supreme being from government and any publicly-funded institutions was never truly part of the American charter. As noted previously, Bible reading and study were considered essential components of early American education, not only to help people learn how to speak and write eloquently, but also to be exposed to the aspects of Natural and Divine Law which undergird our very system of civilization. The national government as founded was not allowed to force the people (or the States) to worship a supreme being, but neither was it ever allowed to prevent the education of children in the history and tenets of such worship in public institutions. When we permitted the latter to happen, we enabled an accelerated drift away from the fundamental knowledge that would be required for those who were to come after us to sustain and maintain the underpinnings of our relatively brief Constitution.
To the extent that we can regain local- and parental-level control of our children’s education, and shift the balance of power away from the bureaucracies and unions back to We the People, we must do so as swiftly and thoroughly as possible. We spend more on education in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, and yet we are not only losing our competitive edge in the global marketplace, but also our knowledge of who we are as humans and as Americans, and why the American philosophy has produced the most civilization and prosperity for the most individuals globally in the history of humanity. Whether it is through reform of the current system or not, education of our children and grandchildren (and ourselves) in the true founding principles of America is our only hope for the survival of the American discourse.
Of, By and For THE PEOPLE!
Jeff Ulicny Jeff is a natural-born American and small business owner. He currently resides near the front lines of our current culture war in the People’s Republic of Michigan and has traveled much of these United States in his former life as an Information Technology consultant. Jeff was raised as a Roman Catholic and maintains a firm belief in ultimate salvation through Jesus Christ. He has long sought to deeply and fully understand the foundational principles of America, and what has made these so unique and powerful in the spectrum of human history. He has also witnessed firsthand the inner workings, and consequences, of uninhibited public sector bureaucracy and socialistic practices. He seeks now to combine his lifelong knowledge of both into observations and recommendations for preserving and restoring the lessons of the American experiment which have helped Man achieve a pinnacle of civilization unmatched by any other in history.
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