Engineered ignorance in education

My comment focuses on part of the subtitle of Ring's review of "You Will Not Replace Us":

"Absent intact and confident national Western cultures who know where they came from and who they are"... they will be overwhelmed of more confident peoples.

Below is some detail on how public schools in the West have engineered ignorance among citizens about where they came from and who they are. This process of depriving the young of their heritage begins at a very early age: the K-6 level. [Note: I was an elementary level public school teacher for 28 years.]

The spark for the comment was this part of review:

"It is here that Camus' opening remarks, 'replacing is the central gesture of modern societies,' comes back into play, addressing a phenomenon of which mass migration is only a part, albeit a very, very big part. If the native French are being replaced by settler colonials, then who is orchestrating this, and why? Camus claims 'what we are dealing with here is a delegated form of colonization, a colonization by proxy, and that the forces that want it, and who organize it, are not the forces who actually accomplish it.'"

"This two-fold colonization, orchestrated by the very rich and implemented by the very poor, is part of the destruction of culture that began before the mass migrations. As he writes, 'no people that knows its own classics would accept numbly and without balking to be thrown into the dustbins of history . . . this numbness had to be created.'"

Historical numbing began long before the era of mass migration

What readers of this post need to know is that population "numbing" began LONG before the mass migrations that are now replacing indigenous populations of the West.

In short, the Left got control of schools. In particular, the Left took control of schools of education, the gateways to teaching K-8. Kids in the K-8 years are like sponges, capable of absorbing great masses of cultural information - without reflection.

If those years can be wasted with vapid content, then the Left will have gone a long way towards making sure the children do not know where they came from or who they are. Here's a quick example of how the "cultural numbness" is engineered. It's the story of how history was removed from the K-6 curricula:

HISTORY MATTERS [monthly publication of the National Council for History Education]:

The 1930s and 1940s gave birth to the vapid "expanding horizons" social studies curriculum:

"During the first four decades of the 20th century, the presence of history in lower grades needed no special defense or explanation. Along with geography and civic education, history was a recognizable part of both traditional and progressive curricula. Early peoples, heroes, myths, biographies, poems, national holidays, fairy tales, and historical legends formed the heart of K-4 history instruction. As one writer observed, 'The line between historical literature and general literature was virtually nonexistent.' But the Great Depression spurred a shift in social and educational thinking, and by the 1940s a content-rich curriculum had been replaced by the sociologically based 'expanding horizons' framework, typically: 'Me' (kindergarten), 'My Family, My School' (first grade), 'My Neighborhood' (second), 'My Community' (third), and 'My State' (fourth grade)."

"This curriculum became so entrenched that its basis in child development was assumed inviolable. But during the 1980s, psychologists and educators began to reexamine the developmental premises of 'expanding horizons.' The researchers were forthright in their denunciations. 'There is little beyond ideology to commend the (expanding horizons) program and its endlessly bland versions,'" wrote New School professor of psychology Jerome Bruner.

"Teachers College professor Philip Phenix confirmed what many elementary teachers already knew: 'Although teaching must obviously take account of where the student is, the whole purpose of education is to enlarge experience by introducing new experiences far, far beyond where the child starts. The curious, cautious, timid presumptions that the limits of expansion are defined in any one grade year by the spatial boundaries defining expanding boundaries dogma is wholly without warrant. Young children are quite capable of, and deeply interested in, widening their horizons to the whole universe of space and time and even far beyond that into the world of the imaginary. And all of this from Kindergarten years, or even before.'"

(Excerpt from the National Council for History Education's curriculum guide, "Building A History-Centered Curriculum for Kindergarten Through Grade Four." The excerpt was part of longer section which appeared in the monthly "History Matters," December, 2001)


How history was removed from K-6 schooling

LIL TUTTLE [Vice president, Virginia Board of Education, 1995 to 1999, led development of Virginia's rigorous Standards of Learning (SOLs)] on the travesty that is the "expanding horizons" social studies curriculum

Tuttle's "Social Studies: The 'Integrated' Curriculum that Failed History" was a response to proponents of "integrated" curricula. The importance of the paper for a broader audience is twofold:

1) its description of the origins of the "Expanding Horizons" social studies framework. For sixty years, Expanding Horizons has been the basis of "social studies" instruction nationwide in grades K-4, and

2) the incisive, withering assessments of the Expanding Horizons framework by a wide range of distinguished, formidable scholars. The social studies curriculum to which we have subjected our children for sixty years is an emperor with no clothes:

Before "Social Studies": "Before social studies curriculum became commonplace in American public schools...elementary school students were treated to a rich diet of ancient myths, adventure stories and biographies of great men and women."

Origins of "Social Studies": "During the 1920s and 1930s, progressive educators led a national curriculum revision movement...within the curriculum, the social studies portion was expected to prepare the citizens of the future for lives of interdependence and democratic collectivism. The common goal of progressive educators, whatever their political orientation, was to make the curriculum less academic, more utilitarian, less 'subject-centered'..."

The new "Expanding Horizons Sosial Studies Curriculum: "... in grades K-3 were taught lessons about self, families, neighbors, and communities. Curriculum in grades 4-6 expanded to include the state, the nation, and perhaps a little of the world beyond."

Effects beyond grade 6: "Within a few years, social studies had supplanted the discipline of history at virtually all grade levels, including traditional high school survey courses. Historical facts, dismissed as rote memorization, took a back seat to lessons that elicit emotional responses from students. Narcissistic exercises replaced analysis of historical causes and effects. Explain what the U.S. Constitution means to you or Pretend you are stranded on a deserted island and, in groups of four, write your own constitution became common classroom assignments."

Denunciations of the expanding horizons social studies curriculum by distinguished scholars

Philip Phenix, professor emeritus of columbia university teachers college:

"...the concentric circles of the expansion dogma appear nothing more than a very adult conceit designed for administrative control through neat curriculum packages unrelated to the realities of human learning."

Joseph Adelson, director of the Psychological Clinic at the University of Michigan:

"Let me assure you that there is nothing in cognitive science, or in developmental research, which supports the present way of doing things. Furthermore the current curriculum is quite vapid and seems to induce a considerable degree of boredom."

Jerome Bruner, Cognitive Psychologist in the field of Instructional Psychology:

"There is little beyond ideology to commend the Hanna program [Paul Hanna of Columbia Teachers College] and its endlessly bland versions." [Link to Hoover Institution report on Hanna: "Paul Robert Hanna: A Life of Expanding Communities"]

"Whatever we know about memory, thought, passion, or any other worthy human process tells us that it is not the known and the settled but the unknown and the unsettled that provokes the use of the mind, the awakening of consciousness. … Starting kids off with the familiar and then going out to the unfamiliar is altogether in violation of this deep principle of thought and of narrative."

Bruno Bettelheim, Professor of Education at the University of Chicago:

"The presently taught curriculum in the social sciences in the early grades is a disservice to the students and a shame for the educational system. Children of this age are sufficiently surrounded by the realities of their lives.... What children of this age need is rich food for their imagination, or a sense of history, how the present situation came about... What formed the cculture of the past, such as myths, is of interest and value to them, because these myths reflect how people tried to make sense of the world."

Kieran Egan, recipient of education Nobel-like Gravemeyer Award for research in early childhood education:

"The elementary social studies curriculum 'expresses a contempt for children's intelligence.' Of instructional practices in the upper grades that attempt to teach history by first introducing students to a contemporary real world situation with its complex problems to be solved: 'Much more is to be gained by teaching disciplined historical thinking than by having [students] engage, while conceptually unprepared, the crucial issues that beset our society at the present.'"

College Students' Historical Illiteracy: Smith College professor R. Jackson:

"Students come to us having sat around for twelve years expressing attitudes toward things rather than analyzing. They are always ready to tell you how they feel about an issue, but they have never learned how to construct a rational argument to defend their opinions."

Harvard Professor Alan Heimert encounters students who "are aware that someone oppressed someone else, but they aren't sure exactly what took place and they have no idea of the order in which it happened."

("Social Studies: the 'Integrated' Curriculum that Failed History," by Lil Tuttle, Education Director, Clare Booth Luce Institute, 1999)

Engineered numbness

That, in a nutshell, is how historical ignorance - numbness - is engineered from a a very early age. It gets little better in that later grades. A couple of quotes from two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian David McCullough sum up the state of affairs:

Historical memory is as much a necessity to the preservation of liberty and American security as is our own armed forces.
- David McCullough

How well do public school textbooks serve the vital cause of preserving historical memory?

McCullough: "It is as if they were designed to kill anyone's interest in history. A child made to read these books would ask, 'What did I do wrong today that I am being so punished?'"

("Textbooks Flunk Test," Washington Times, March 28, 2004)

Tom Shuford, North Carolina


The Great Replacement - in Europe and in America