Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
I wish that I was. I'd had a similar conversation with a high school graduate who also didn't know Churchill, and whose knowledge of WWII was limited to the Holocaust, who didn't know who Jefferson Davis or William T. Sherman were, but correctly identified Harriet Tubman, and who thought that the Pilgrims had come from Spain. Other conversations with recent graduates are similarly disturbing. My older daughter is in third grade, and even her teacher hates the new math curriculum, which seems to obscure knowledge more than it imparts it. Somehow, she's been inculcated with a revulsion to tobacco (my admission that I used to smoke the occasional cigar shocked her) while we weren't looking, which means that we have to really hit home with the civics lessons. Lord only knows what else they're teaching her.
As a parent of a school-aged child, you must read this book: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. It's the only defense you have against what's going on in the school system.

What has happened is that academic content has been either replaced by or couched in "values education"--in other words, propaganda. This is why your daughter knows all about the dangers of tobacco but her teacher can't give her a straightforward lesson in math. (You should see some of the new math books--they read like social studies books and water down the math.)

The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of Americans who can do advanced work and go on to very high paying jobs. Remember that we are in a service economy now and that the middle class is shrinking. The American economy doesn't need for most people to actually think: the machines do that. The computerized registers tell the human checker how much money to give back, computerized tests can tell students when their answers are wrong, a computer can tell a mechanic what is wrong with a car engine, etc. The brave new generation doesn't need to know how to think, but they will need the "right" values so that the low-paid service industry flows smoothly and everyone feels good about the person they are interfacing with. Think of it as the McDonald's economy--your daughter won't need to know a damned thing about cooking or chemistry or even making change to work at McDonald's, but she will need to smile, be tolerant of all people, and know how to make customers feel good. Shared values are necessary for commerce based on feelings.

That's where our education is going.

The only defense you have as a parent is to either home school or supplement your child's education at home. The teachers are being made more and more powerless, and no good comes of harassing them. Their jobs are on the line over test scores--and the tests include all this "values" education. It is necessary to know who Rosa Parks is for these tests; not so much Winston Churchill. You can, of course, go to school board meetings. By yourself you might not be able to do much, but a group of like-minded parents might get the board a little scared. However, the boards are even limited and are usually packed full of these "values" education types. As long as your school takes Federal money--and all public schools do--"values" education is being forced by mandate from the Department of Education, a misnamed department if I ever heard one.

When a friend of mine in Virginia realized that her 2nd grader could tell her all about Rosa Parks being tired and wanting to sit at the front of the bus but couldn't do addition for 2 and 3-digit numbers, my friend started working with her daughter at night, after work, and got her math up to level. The teacher was no help and, it turned out, wasn't very good at math. The teacher also wasn't very good at Rosa Parks, neglecting to mention that the woman belonged to the NAACP (secretary of the Montgomery Alabama chapter) and that her action was planned in advance:

...NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts...

At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality....

The teacher had just told the students that Rosa Parks was just some ordinary woman who was tired and wanted to sit down on the bus. Of course my friend couldn't point that fact out to the teacher without seeming "racist". But even when the teachers are good and enthusiastic, they are limited by the "values" curriculum they are forced to teach because this curriculum is what the students will be tested on and these scores will determine which schools get much needed Federal money, which ones get put on probation, and which ones are packed off and sold to private education companies, like Edison or Green Dot, which actually do worse by children while costing more.