Thomas Jefferson once said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Government-controlled schools seemingly disagree with Jefferson, preferring an uneducated populace instead. The trajectory of academic scores in the US has long been plummeting. The decline of basic knowledge among students from the public school system is alarming. However, more disturbing is the framework of the various leftist educational programs that are replacing the traditional academic-based curricula.
Individuals who work outside of education or academia may be surprised that the United States is struggling in regard to basic education. The U.S. has every benefit in our favor: compulsory education, taxpayer-funded schools, a plethora of highly educated faculty, numerous libraries, and the internet. Yet despite all these positive attributes, the U.S. educational system is failing. According to a report by the Global Citizens for Human Rights, in 2020 the U.S. was not even in the top 10 countries with the best educational systems. Perhaps this is due to declining literacy rates, math and science deficiencies, and decreased knowledge of U.S. History and civics.
Most educators will proudly declare that the US is one of the most literate countries globally, with a 99 percent literacy rate. In reality, literacy has declined significantly. Although most individuals in the US can read, the US Department of Education determined that 54 percent of people ages 16-74 read below the sixth-grade equivalency. Individuals reading below this level are considered partially illiterate. In a recent study by Gallup completed for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, the lack of literacy in the country costs approximately $2.2 trillion per year. Some of this monetary loss is through loss of income as illiterate or partially illiterate individuals struggle to participate in the job market and economy.
Mathematics and science are also fields on the decline in education. Each year the U.S. ranks a little lower in math and science. In 2018 we were ranked 38th in the world in math and 24th in science. Only 1 in 4 high school students are performing at proficiency level in the area of science. STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, seemingly has garnered a great deal of attention from education proponents. There is currently a strong push by schools to increase young girls’ participation in STEM fields. Yet, despite the attention paid to STEM courses, students are still falling behind.
Social sciences are not fairing any better than literacy and STEM. In a recent survey, only 56 percent of adults could correctly name the three branches of government. Fewer students can answer the most basic questions about civics and U.S. History. In another survey conducted by Newsweek, only 38 percent of American citizens could pass a citizenship exam, and only 40 percent of adults know who the US was fighting against in World War II. It seems the public school system has failed to educate students on the most essential and basic subjects.
There are several reasons why the U.S. is on a downward trajectory in education. Progressive ideas have been infiltrating education since the turn of the 20th century. Proponents of progressivism believe education should be based not on teaching facts but on developing the child socially. As a result of the growth of progressivism in education, public schools have adopted Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). The idea behind SEL is to stress social values. Although it may seem like a good idea to teach these social values, they are based on pseudo-psychology and do not take the children’s or their family’s values in mind. The values they are teaching are entirely based on the leftist agenda and support secularism, while denouncing any religious values a parent is attempting to impart to their children. Over 67,000 schools and two million teachers are now using SEL programs in the classroom.
Often SEL programs include social justice and activism as a part of teaching social awareness. Some schools even require students to attend protests like those held by Black Lives Matter (BLM). Classrooms push sensitivity training and teach cultural acceptance rather than history and math. Education is no longer concerned with students having the ability to read or write as long as they can support leftist ideologies through protest and social upheaval.
Marxism has overtaken the classroom through Critical Race Theory (CRT), which advocates the Marxist theory of equity and uses racially divisive language promoting hatred towards America. The 1619 Project has rewritten U.S. History, erasing all positive attributes of the country and denouncing the Constitution and the nation’s history as racist. Theories of racism are applied to every subject. Oregon recently declared that math supports white supremacy. The Oregon Department of Education, in Orwellian fashion, encourages teachers to stop asking students for the correct answers. These unscrupulous educators believe that expecting students to complete a mathematical problem correctly is racist.
Public schools are indoctrination centers for extremism and Marxism. Some government officials are no longer hiding that public schools are not interested in education. In July of this year, Governor Kate Brown (D-Oregon) announced that Oregon schools would suspend all proficiency requirements in math and reading for high school graduates for the next three years. Instead of improving the scores and abilities of students in their state, these simpletons are eliminating the measurable standards. Other cities and states will certainly follow suit.
Government-run schools are failing to educate our citizenry and, if Thomas Jefferson is correct, it will mean the loss of freedom. Perhaps this is the goal of the Marxist elites that are involved in education. The declining scores in literacy, mathematics, science, and history are not an unfortunate outcome due to lack of support or funding. The U.S. education system is facilitating intentional indoctrination, designed to create social justice warriors bent on destroying democracy and the American values many of us hold dear. If we continue sending our children to these failing indoctrination camps, we will lose our values and freedom.