Skip to comments.The making of a black underclass: Samuel Blumenfeld exposes policies leading to academic failure
Posted on 08/17/2002 5:05:28 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
In a few short weeks, many thousands of black children will enter first grade in public schools all over America where, inside of a year, many of them will become full-fledged reading failures and, thereby, future members of the black underclass.
There is no reason why anyone with an education should be relegated to the underclass. But that's the rub. The system will pretend to educate, while systematically using teaching methods, such as whole language and invented spelling, that create reading disability and dyslexia, thus putting that child on the road to academic failure.
Thus, intelligent children who, with proper instruction, would otherwise become truly literate are relegated to the junk heap of our society because of a perverse elite that is hell-bent on dumbing down the nation. Inner-city black children suffer the most because their parents are least able to understand what is happening to their children in the public schools.
In America, we compel children to be subjected to wholesale educational malpractice with hardly a complaint from our intellectual establishment. The only people who genuinely care are so-called right-wing "extremists" who write books critical of the system, which are never reviewed by the academic community.
Here's what Professor Anthony Oettinger of Harvard University, a rabid advocate of dumbing down, told an audience of corporation executives in 1982:
The present "traditional" concept of literacy has to do with the ability to read and write. But the real question that confronts us today is: How do we help citizens function well in their society? How can they acquire the skills necessary to solve their problems?
Do we, for example, really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write in "a fine round hand" when they have a $5 hand-held calculator or a word processor to work with? Or, do we really have to have everybody literate writing and reading in the traditional sense when we have the means through our technology to achieve a new flowering of oral communication?
Of course, the original purpose of universal compulsory education was universal literacy. However, the academic elite are now asking whether or not everybody ought to be literate. But every parent who puts a child in a public school expects that school to teach their child to read in the traditional sense. But now we are dealing with teachers who ask "do we really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or how to read?"
But make no mistake about it. Even though they have no intention of teaching those children how to do sums, or write in a fine round hand, or read and write in the traditional sense, they still want them in the classroom for 12 years. What for? To turn them into abject failures.
Regardless of whether the child will be going to a better public school outside his or her neighborhood or to a charter school, chances are very good that he or she will be trained to read by one of the whole-language programs that produce reading disability and dyslexia.
How can this be, you might ask. Hasnt whole language been thrown out and replaced by intensive, systematic phonics? Unfortunately, not. The educators may not call the reading program whole language, but you can be sure that it will be whole language in a new disguise. The new program is generally referred to as A Balanced Approach. It is all part of the dumbing-down agenda, which is the basis of our dumbed-down curriculum.
The reason why the schools are not teaching reading by way of intensive systematic phonics is because there are virtually no primary teachers capable of doing so. Their training at college emphasized whole-language instruction. Therefore, even if they wanted to teach intensive systematic phonics, they would not know how to do it.
The American public-school system has become a sadistic trap for the unwary. It turns some teachers into sadists, who gain secret pleasure in the knowledge that they are destroying the intellect and spirit of millions of young Americans. And, unfortunately, there is nothing in President Bush's education reform that will change this. Thus, the only solution for parents is to get their kids out and either teach them at home or put them in a private school they can trust.
Thomas Sowell's suggestion for how to drastically improve public education was to spend $40 billion dollars, by paying $1 million each to all the leading professors of "edukashun" to retire immediately and never go near a classroom again. The professor quoted in this article would be a candidate for such early retirement.
Too many "edukation" programs for "teechurs" consist of the dumb teaching the dumber how create more of the dumbest. Some of these "teechurs," and perhaps some of their "perfessors," could not pass the standardized 12-grade tests now being given. And, having seen those tests, they are what a 9th-grade student in a good school would know as a matter of course.
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I'm also serious about no one method is going to work with every child. Children, not methods, have to be taught.
In college I had to take a course in the International Phonetic Alphabet. The IPA hasn't been the same since.
Growing up in East Texas I had trouble with vowels.
My experience as a reading teacher is that the decoding mechanism (traditional phonics) MUST be taught , and MUST be taught at the beginning (although the advocates of phonics education need to be aware that many English words do not follow the rules). However, the goal ought to be to transcend the decoding process, ^once mastered^, quickly, or no speed or comprehension can be built. When confronted with an unfamiliar word, the reader then has the skills to break it down for pronunciation.
Also, it is useful to draw a distinction between a natural reader and the rest of us. One of my children was reading when he was three, having mastered phonics in a subconscious way and was on to reading not only words, but phrases and sentences in a single "glance of the eye." Truly excellent readers need to learn to "bite" larger and larger chunks of discourse with their eyes...part of the philosphy of speed-reading, but adaptable for regular readers. My other two kids learned to read in a more conventional fashion, with me to make sure they had the decoding skills. One child distressed me with her struggles and disdain for reading, until I happened upon collections of books tailored for her taste in stories. Parents, expect to spend some money on books. Libraries will not do the complete job.
I contend that this decoding (phonics) is a very easy thing for a reasonably competent child to master quickly. It is tragic that so many children are not ALLOWED to master it, get it over with, and go on to faster and more comprehensive reading.
And what happens when the battery runs out, or the power fails?
I was in a major drugstore several months ago. The computerized cashregister went up and the clerks stopped making sales. The damned store shut down.
Needless to say, I've never gone back.
But what if you're one of those who isn't "most?"
I was not "most"--was taught by sight and it was a good thing because I had an auditory discrimination problem. I memorized spelling lists and if the teacher called the words out of order I was up a creek.
I've seen kids who knew all the letter/sound associations but couldn't read because they either had an auditory sequencing or auditory memory problem.
I'm a visual learner and always have been. The method of choice in my day taught to my strength. All I had to do was learn "Sally, run, Dick, Jane, and Spot" and I read a book. I met success early in school; I think it would have been different if I had been taught phonics.
No method works for all kids. But if the method doesn't work, the kid is "learning disabled."
I had good visual memory and was taught sight so I was "smart."
You want a real kick? Buy something for $4.77 and give the clerk $5.02 to pay for it. Watch in amazement as the clerk is initially confused by the two cents and then realizes (after the cash register does the math) that you magically get a quarter back. Just how are people able to do that?
I used the IPA as an example that if one cannot auditorially discriminate sounds, one will have difficulty learning to read with phonics.
Do you use "Flash cards" or "Sound out" cards?
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