In Part Two of this series, we continue to examine the effects of the crisis in America's education system—and reveal the true cause of its failure to properly teach children how to live.
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We have examined the aptitude levels and literacy rates among U.S. high school students in comparison to other nations. We have also looked at other factors affecting education, such as crime and violence.
We will now examine various factors that contribute to the crisis in America’s education system, and identify the true basis for right and proper education.
An additional factor contributing to the decline of the American education system is widespread drug use. During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, a concerted effort was made to diminish drug use among young adults. Mrs. Nancy Reagan spearheaded the “Just say no” campaign in an effort to strengthen the resolve of those resisting peer pressure to use illegal drugs. Television featured 30-second spot ads using the image of an egg being fried in a skillet to demonstrate the effects of drug use on the brain. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has promoted efforts to curtail the abuse of alcohol among young adults after countless deaths resulting from alcohol-related automobile accidents.
Yet, for all this effort, drug and alcohol experimentation and abuse among high school seniors have remained at a high level. Newspapers are filled with articles about tragic deaths of young adults whose lives were cut short because of drunk driving—either their own or someone else’s. Drive down any highway or through various intersections, and the constant reminder of their deaths will be visible—a wreath or flowers marking the location where life ended. How often do we read of a drug overdose involving some new designer drug, considered safe because it is not like the “hard drugs” used by the previous generation?
Stop and consider: A recent survey of high school seniors revealed that 80 percent have consumed alcohol. Fifty percent admitted to using alcohol in the thirty days prior to the survey. Clearly, alcohol is their drug of choice, yet 50 percent say they have used an illicit drug, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and LSD. An astonishing 25 percent claimed to have used illicit drugs in the same thirty-day period (University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, “Monitoring the Future”).
One would think that the education system would be on the frontlines in the battle to keep children off drugs. This is simply not the case. In fact, it is largely responsible for a whole generation of very young children being placed on psychotropic substances, including Ritalin and Adderall. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified Ritalin as a Schedule Two drug comparable to cocaine!
Yet, 15 percent of our nation’s children use these substances. Over 20 million prescriptions for these stimulants where written in one year alone, all used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a “mental disorder” voted into acceptance in 1987 by the American Psychiatric Association. In the following year, 500,000 U.S. children were diagnosed with the disorder. Yet, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference on ADHD, the NIH issued the following statement: “We do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there is no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.”
The 18 behaviors that some deem as symptoms of the disease have no scientific validity at all. The very behaviors that are said to be an indication of ADHD are almost identical to the behaviors said to point to a gifted child!
Where is the first diagnosis of this supposed “mental disorder” occurring? In the schools! Teachers and administrators are trained to educate, not medicate. They do not possess the knowledge or the education to make this determination. Yet, many parents are coerced into drugging their children by school administrators, under the threat of a call being made to “Children’s Protective Services.”
It is far easier to drug a child into submission than to address the real cause of his behavioral problems.
Research has proven that children who spend endless hours watching television have a higher rate of behavioral problems. They have absorbed countless images of violence into their minds, whether through adult programs or so-called children’s cartoons. Their attention span is conditioned to a seven-minute length, the result of commercial interruptions after every seven minutes of programming. Children carry this attention span into the classroom. They simply act out what they have been taught: Aggressive, violent behavior, unable to pay attention for longer than seven minutes at a time.
But instead of being taught correct behavior, children are conditioned to seek drugs to solve their problems. This will carry over into adulthood. America already consumes 90 percent of the global production of Ritalin.
As if all other problems facing the education system were not enough, there always seems to be a shortage of funds. Fifty percent of all public schools report having buildings with at least one inadequate feature, and no room in the budget for repairs. They range from faulty roofs, floors and foundations, to poor heating and electrical systems, and other safety concerns.
Taxpayers are routinely burdened with ever-increasing demands for more money. They face property tax increases twice a year on local election ballots. Various states throughout the country face lawsuits from those seeking to change the way schools are funded.
For the fourth time since 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court told the governor and state legislature that they have not properly devised an adequate education system—coupled with adequate funding—that enables each child to succeed. Yet education is one of the first places state lawmakers look to cut budgets. While they pander to special interest groups and pad their own pockets, schools struggle to stay afloat.
Communities seem very willing to spend money to build multimillion-dollar sports stadiums and facilities for business owners so that grown men can play games, while many schools implement “pay-to-play” sports programs because of a lack of funding.
Still, more money does not necessarily guarantee that a school will produce better students. The Cleveland, Ohio School system, ranking ninth in spending per pupil, spends slightly more money per pupil than the wealthier community of Hudson. While more than 90 percent of Hudson children will go on to college, nearly one in five Cleveland ninth-graders will drop out before their class graduates—the worst dropout rate among the nation’s largest school districts (Akron Beacon Journal).
If more money is not the answer, what is?
Teachers in every school system are the product of the very system they are teaching in. However, many of them cannot even pass state-mandated tests. The Lawrence Public School superintendent in Massachusetts found it necessary to put 24 teachers on unpaid administrative leave because they failed English literacy tests. Yet the superintendent himself could not pass the literacy test!
Parents would expect support in how their children are taught to dress for the workforce. A recent article in USA Today reported an elementary school principal’s recent experience in dealing with the fashions parading through his hallways, including flip-flops, tattoos, low-rise jeans and bellybutton rings.
“I was shocked,” said the principal of Eastover Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Ooh it was scary.”
But in this case, as in an increasing number of schools across the U.S., those young women emulating Britney Spears are not her pre-teen fans, but a slightly more mature crowd: Their teachers!
Across the nation, administrators are finding it increasingly necessary to spell out the dress codes for teachers, certainly something they should have been taught when they were yet in school and college. Still, some teachers balk at the notion that they should dress professionally, and set a right and proper example to those they instruct. They cry that it is part of their “academic freedom” to dress as they see fit. The Hamilton Primary School principal in Bridgeport, New Jersey, states, “The dress code is: Anything goes.” She has seen teachers wearing in the classroom what could easily be described as a teenager’s wardrobe: Beach attire, halter-tops, short shorts and exposed midriffs—even during conferences with parents. Even tongue and bellybutton piercings are becoming commonplace!
When peering into a classroom, you should not have to guess who is the teacher and who is the student. But how can you possibly expect educators, who come out of a school system that has continually lowered standards of dress and conduct in the classroom, to know how to dress and act when standing in front of one?
A cursory look at the way most children dress for school proves this point.
In a recent editorial, “Teaching the Values That Make America Strong,” the National Education Association (NEA) president “urged the nation to recognize that public schools are on the frontlines in this new era (of reclaiming the nation’s spirit), because it is in the classrooms more than any other place, that we create and nurture the citizens of tomorrow.” This is a true statement. But the question is: What kind of future citizens are they creating and nurturing?
He goes on to state that America is defined by, among other things, its “commitment to an open, tolerant, democratic society...For two centuries, public schools have been preservers and transmitters of America’s ideals. In our schools, generation after generation of native-born and immigrant students have been taught America’s core values...
“Public schools have never stopped teaching values. We teach them explicitly, and more important, we model those values. Everything we do and say in front of our students is a value statement—and those values include the all American values of honesty, responsibility, self-discipline and love of country. Public schools also stress one other value that is especially urgent today: tolerance and respect for people of different colors, cultures, and faiths...the student may not realize it, but she is a ‘combatant’...against terror and hate” (emphasis ours).
The NEA began in 1857 and has grown into a powerful labor union of 2.7 million members. This organization has a direct effect on what is taught in schools. They write the curriculum, enforce it, lobby for it and pay for it by supporting candidates who support their views. They believe that they know best—and that it takes a “village” (government) to raise a child.
The American Federation of Teachers president said this about then President Bill Clinton: “He is America’s No. 1 teacher and we are all his students.”
In light of these statements, what kind of values do these institutions truly model? What kind of tolerance do they really teach? Just what are the core values they profess to explicitly promote?
The NEA teacher’s manual claims that our children are not ready for the society they envision, one of tolerance for everything, without judgment of whether something is right or wrong. In their push to eliminate hate, they preach acceptance of everything. They proclaim that our children “may need mental health care...to conform to the planned society in which there will be no conflicts of attitudes or beliefs.”
They preach moral relativism—that if you have a good enough reason for doing something, then, in that case, it is right to do it. They teach that there are no absolutes of right and wrong.
The NEA promotes “values-free” sex education to elementary school children, under harmless-sounding names such as “Family Living.” As a result, more and more children are being caught having sex on school buses, something unheard of just a few decades ago. Homosexuality is taught as a viable alternative lifestyle, with books such as Heather Has Two Mommies, My Two Uncles, Daddy’s Roommate and Who’s in a Family (a book that teaches children that all man-made definitions of a family are valid—including families headed by same-sex couples).
The following are actual courses taught in schools across the nation: “What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class: A Workshop For Youth Only, Ages 14-21” or “Teach Out,” which was held in Massachusetts. It featured that state’s Department of Education employees—government employees—instructing children as young as 14 in how to properly perform homosexual acts!
Another recommended book in the California school system, “One Teenager in Ten: Writings by Gay & Lesbian Youth,” discusses, in explicit detail, a 16-year old’s first lesbian experience with her 23-year old dance teacher. The story continues, teaching that she should hide the experience from her religious parents.
Make no mistake. These are the “core” values that educators want to be tolerated and taught. Yet, when a 16-year-old student at Woodbury High School near St. Paul, Minnesota, wore a shirt bearing the slogan “Straight Pride,” he discovered that there was no tolerance for his point of view—he was suspended from school!
The NEA also promotes the distribution of condoms and contraceptives to children, along with abortion counseling without parental consent.
Recall the NEA president’s statement regarding teaching honesty in schools. Are schools really teaching and promoting honesty? A 1998 survey by “Who’s Who Among High School Students” found that 80 percent said they had cheated, and that 53 percent did not feel cheating was seriously unethical. With state-mandated testing, even teachers are resorting to cheating by providing students with the answers to the tests beforehand, to ensure passing grades. This is nothing less then moral relativism in action.
No longer can textbooks make references to God or most of the great principles of the founding fathers, of whom 52 of the 60 were “Christian” in ideals and practice. The Ten Commandments—the TRUE core values that should and need to be taught—cannot be displayed in public schools.
Battles rage in the courts over whether creationism can be taught, yet the theory of evolution—an attempt to explain the existence of the creation without a Creator—is taught as fact. The leaders of organized education do not want God in the picture. They will not acknowledge His existence, because they do not want to obey His standards of right and wrong (Rom. 1:28; 8:7; Jer. 17:9).
The lack of teaching these true values in schools is clearly responsible for the continued poor performance of students in critical areas of learning and the degeneration of student conduct. Truly, permissiveness and outright tolerance of perversion outscores discipline and true values!
In the second chapter of Genesis, God revealed Himself to Adam and Eve as their Creator and Supreme Educator. He revealed to them which trees were good for food, the proper use of sex in marriage between husband and wife, and the fact that they could die.
God gave them access to the Tree of Life, which represented obedience to Him and His way of life, based on His laws. That way of life is the only way to lasting peace, true happiness and abundant living. The Bible is God’s Instruction Manual to His creation. It instructs man how to live life. In it, God declares that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of KNOWLEDGE” and “is the beginning of WISDOM: and the knowledge of the holy is UNDERSTANDING” (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). This is the only right and TRUE FOUNDATION—the beginning point—for the acquisition of all knowledge and education.
However, Adam and Eve rejected this foundation. There was another tree in the garden, one which God had instructed them not to eat of—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree represented rebellion against their Creator, and the decision to choose for themselves—apart from God—to acquire the knowledge of what was right and wrong.
When Satan approached Eve, he told her that God was lying to her, that He was holding back knowledge she should have, and that she would not die by eating of that tree. Did Eve believe God’s instruction? No! She relied on human reasoning and scientific experimentation. She relied on what her physical senses told her. She and Adam rejected God as their educator and the revealed knowledge that can only come from Him. They chose instead to educate themselves, under the influence and guidance of Satan—the god and author of this society—who has deceived the whole world (Gen. 3:1-6; II Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9). They chose Satan as their educator in place of God. The first human scientific experiment resulted in their deaths!
Man’s education systems are built on the wrong foundation. That wrong foundation is the CAUSE for the crisis in education—the rise in immorality and perversion, and the decline in right conduct among our children and society. God’s Instruction Manual says, “It is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Cut off from God, mankind simply does not know how to live.
But the time is coming when “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
The Creator God will re-establish His government on the earth very soon. And at that time, all of humanity will be taught not only how to earn a living, but also the true and right way to LIVE. Education will be built upon the right foundation—the Word of God. (To learn more about this future time, read our free book Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!)