Noah Webster – one of the Founding Fathers
Our Founding Fathers wanted all Americans to be educated so that they could read the Bible and learn how to live moral, godly lives. They were trying to build a society with high morals and standards. If people learned what the Bible says, they would treat each other well. Society would benefit from less crime and not having to spend as much money on punishing criminals.
Thomas Jefferson wanted all people to have access to education. His idea was that all children should have the opportunity to be educated. He thought that families that couldn’t afford to pay for education should be able to get their children educated for free.
From David Barton and Wallbuilders.com, in a DVD called The Influence of the Bible on America, I learned that the education that most of the Founding Fathers were thinking of was biblical education. There are many quotes by the Founding Fathers about the importance of the Bible in our schools. They said that the Bible needed to be central in what was taught in the schools. The New England Primer was full of Bible verses and reading portions based on the Bible.
Patrick Henry said that “The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”
Noah Webster said, “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society… the best book for regulating the temporal (that is, secular) concerns of men.”
Dr. Benjamin Rush: “The Bible… should be read in our public schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.”
According to Daniel Webster: “To the free and universal reading of the Bible… men (are) much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is… a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.”
The Puritan view of children: Children are born with a sinful nature. They must be taught and corrected or they would go in a bad direction and not become morally good people. The parents felt that it was their responsibility to train and mold them so that they would grow up to live good lives.
From Israel Wayne as he was interviewed by Cindy Rushton on Mom-to-Mom Radio Show on a program called What About Socialization?, http://blogtalk.vo.llnwd.net/o23/shows/show_512161.mp3 I learned about the shift in thinking that took place because of the writings of French and English philosophers of the Enlightenment period.
John Locke (1632-1704) believed that children are a blank slate at birth. He thought that they started with no nature or will at all – that it was all impressed on them by outside influences. This was a reaction against the Protestant view that children are born sinful and that if left to themselves, they would drift away from what is morally right. The Enlightenment philosophers tried to eradicate this idea that children are sinful at birth or moral depravity. He thought that everything they became was the result of experience and external influences acting on that child.
Jean Jaques Rousseau (1712-1778) believed that children are innately good and get corrupted by society. He put forth the idea of the “noble savage”. He thought that a child would be the pinnacle of human perfection if there was no outside influence. His views have been foundational in the way the government school system is set up today. It’s strange that people would consider him an expert on children and how to raise them. Ironically, he did not raise any children of his own. He fathered 5 illegitimate children and took them to an orphanage as infants. If he thought children were so good, why didn’t he even want his own children around? He didn’t even care to check the gender of his children. He didn’t know if his children were boys or girls. His ideas have been foundational in shaping today’s American government education.
Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) never married and never raised children. He was the founder of the modern-day kindergarten. He shaped the system of education we have today. He thought children were being contaminated by their parents. Removing children from home as early as possible and getting them into an institutional environment was his answer. Children were bad and disobedient because they had spent too much time with their parents, so they needed to be taken from them as early as possible. The person a child spends the most time with is the person the child is most eager to please. Headstart, preschool, early day care and all of the programs that take children out of the home early and put them in an academic educational environment came out of the ideas of Friedrich Froebel. He believed they would do much better in school and have more opportunities for advancement if taken away from parents earlier.
The Puritans, influenced by Luther and John Calvin and founders of the Protestant Reformation believed that children are born with a sinful nature and need to be trained, guided, and directed by wise parents as they make the transition into adult life. They believed that this was the parents’ responsibility. The philosophers said that the problem was not the sin nature of children but the corrupting influences of parents. They were trying to rescue children from their parents.
Then the philosophers’ ideas took over and schools became a replacement for parents. They believed that they could produce children who were the pinnacle of human perfection if they had the children for long periods of time and kept them away from their parents.
So there was a shift to social education around 1840.
Horace Mann (1796-1859) established compulsory attendance. He was a Unitarian. He believed that Christianity was a scourge to the nation. He wanted to eradicate Christianity from the landscape of America. He used propaganda to convince Massachusetts parents to put children in government-run schools. He played on their fears that the Catholics would take over the education in America. Up to that time, they were mostly homeschooling or had their children in locally run schools. He wanted to gather all of the students into one government school and keep out doctrinal distinctives. He said that it would have to be made mandatory that all children be sent to a government school. There would be accountability to make sure that nobody was violating the anti-sectarian perspective. They could still talk about God, but it had to be generic. He pitched this idea to the churches, and they believed him and went along with it. The government-run schools slowly whittled away the Christian influence in the schools. It was compulsory, so the children all ended up attending schools that didn’t teach the Bible at all. They’ve all been brainwashed to believe a far different worldview than the biblical worldview that the Founding Fathers wanted to instill in the children of our nation.
This was a major paradigm shift from homeschooling and private education to government-run education.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) first used the term social education. The term social education is actually used in the Communist Manifesto. He said that we need to rescue education from the ruling middle class, meaning the parents, and stop the exploitation of children by their parents. He said we have to replace home education with social education. In order to implement their strategy, they needed to remove education from the home and replace it with social education. Marx and Horace Mann both wanted to eradicate the influence of Christianity in society. They stressed that there needed to be “access” to education for all. Making attendance mandatory in these government schools seems to be the way they guaranteed that everyone would have “access”.
William James (1842-1910) founded a philosophy called pragmatism. He believed that the end justifies the means – whatever works is right. He told teachers that the main thing they should do is shape the behavior of the students. The main goal is not to pass on information, but to shape values.
Most people think that the reason for government schools is to pass on information, but that is not really true. The real reason is to shape the students’ values.
Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), a Russian scientist inspired by Charles Darwin, believed in biological evolution. He wrote that children could be conditioned like lab rats. His methods are used every day in schools. Children in our schools are herded from class to class by responding to bells, like Pavlov’s dog. It’s really degrading and takes away from our human dignity. They treat students like research animals. These practices do not encourage deep and involved study. They teach children to look to someone else for approval and qualification and permission for everything they do. They want to have support from others or they’re afraid to try things that they really feel called to do.
B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) believed that we are just biological machines. He introduced to the schools programmed instruction. He said that humans are like computers and can be programmed. People complained that he reduced humans to the level of machines and said that he was taking away from the dignity of humanity. In 1971, he wrote Beyond Freedom and Dignity in which he said, “Just get over it”. He said we don’t have freedom of choice or human dignity. (On a personal note, I don’t think I want to go beyond freedom and dignity.) He shared the belief that children are corrupted by parents. He put his daughter in a glass cage and only fed her with rubber gloves and utensils. He never touched her because he thought that if he held her or she was nursed by her mother, she would be contaminated and would not become the pinnacle of human perfection that he was trying to mold her into.
It seems strange that the ideas of these men were adopted by the educational establishment when they were so far from the mainstream beliefs of their times about children and child development and the needs of children.
John Dewey (1859-1952) has shaped the American government schools more than anybody else in the last 150 years. He was the father of the Progressive Education Movement. He was an avowed socialist. He signed the first Humanist Manifesto. Early in his life he had been a Christian. But when he went to college his faith was deconstructed by secular professors who taught him to deny the Christian faith and he became an agnostic or perhaps an atheist. He became a teacher of teachers at Columbia University in the 1930’s. Most people don’t know that he and two colleagues decided to change the way the schools would teach. Dewey taught teachers in the methodology they would use and the others would focus on the content of what was to be taught. They pulled three of the subjects that had previously been taught – History, Civics and Geography and replaced them with one subject that had never been taught before- Social Studies. Social as in social education, socialization, sociology… SOCIALISM. They all come from the same root. Socialism means forced equality. Government equalizes everything and makes sure that everybody has the same no matter how much work each one does. They try to get rid of rich and poor and level society so that there are no classes and everyone shares equally. Unfortunately, there has never been a class-less society come out of this system. All that happens is that the middle class is eradicated. You have a few rich and very many poor who are dependent on and subservient to the government. They wanted to teach economic socialism as a worldview in the government schools and if they could control the schools they could control the entire country. They could create a whole nation of people who would believe in Socialism. It looks like they have succeeded.
The Social Studies program was so radical that parents finally figured out what it was and had it removed from the schools in 1950. But the damage was done. Five million students had twenty years of being indoctrinated in Socialism and believing that the government is supposed to do everything for you. After World War II, when the New Deal came about, they were open to Social Security and the idea that the government should provide for their retirement. They were open to the Federal Reserve and the expansion of government in all areas of life. There was very little resistance because American students had had twenty years of being indoctrinated in a socialistic curriculum called Social Studies.
Another thing people don’t know about is that in the 1930’s there was a connection between the NEA and the government schools of Russia. In 1934, the NEA invited the Russian government to set up a booth to recruit teachers to come to Russia and learn how to teach economic socialism in the classroom and to come back and promote this kind of teaching. Thousands of American teachers went to Russia in the 1930’s and learned to teach Socialism. In 1936, the keynote speaker at the NEA convention said that Russia was the model that American schools should be patterned after, and he received a standing ovation.
This is why many senior citizens of today have a more socialistic worldview than many of us who are younger and conservative. They were taught from those socialistic textbooks back in the 1930’s through 1950.
John Dewey changed the way teachers taught. He agreed with Karl Marx that we need to get the children away from parents as early as possible and keep them as long as we can. He told teachers if they put 30 children the same age into the same room for 9 months or longer as many hours as you can get, within one year the vast majority of the students will become peer dependent. The form of the classroom will break their allegiance to their parents. Marx said “this most hallowed” allegiance must be broken if we’re going to accomplish our agenda. Pragmatism says it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. The peer group replaces the parents. They said things to the kids like “Don’t believe what your parents are telling you. They’re just trying to push Christianity on you.” The children told the parents and there was a backlash. So John Dewey wrote that teachers needed to be less obvious and let the herd mentality take over. Allow them to become peer dependent, then infiltrate the group and suggest a fun way to make a change that you want them to make. The number two value in life is “Be your own selfish pig”. The number one value is “Remember that you have to think of society. You don’t want to cause the species to die out.” Children are taught now that they should make up their own minds and explore, not accept what their parents say. They are taught to make decisions according to their own pleasure and for the best of society. Dewey was so effective that he broke the allegiance between parents and their children. The motivation behind creating a classroom of children all the same age as early as possible for as long as possible is to make them peer dependent which breaks the allegiance between the child and the parent. Then the teacher can infiltrate the herd and steer them any direction he wants them to go.
John Dewey said that once there is a herd mentality, children can be convinced to do anything. Look at Hitler’s youth. How could that happen? It was the view of the herd. They got to be part of the herd. This idea of socialization had its origins in the ideas of the masterminds of socialism. The reason they wanted to replace home education with social education was to break “this most hallowed of relations” between parent and child.
Dr. Dobson said ‘that a child’s sense of self-worth is determined by what the most influential person in their life thinks of them’. If that person is a warm, encouraging parent, the child will most likely have a good sense of self-worth. If it is a child’s peer group, the opinions expressed will probably be less favorable or complimentary. If the allegiance to the parent is shaken, the child will want to do whatever the substitute wants them to do. If the substitute is the peer group, they stop caring what the parents think and they stop wanting to do anything with their family and just want to hang out with their friends.
Israel then gave two examples from his personal experience of what happened to him and to a friend of his because of becoming peer dependent and then doing whatever the herd wanted them to do. Israel actually wrote out a declaration of independence from his mom when he was 12 years old and told her to get out of his life. He had previously been homeschooled, but he went to a private Christian school for sixth grade where he adopted this “independent” attitude. His friend ended up having to go to prison for first-degree murder. He killed a man because his friends told him to do it, and he didn’t know how to say no. His friends had become the most important, influential people in his life. And as John Dewey said, when a child becomes peer dependent, he can be talked into doing anything.
Here are some Scriptures that counter the view of the Enlightenment philosophers concerning the condition of a child’s heart.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb;
They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
Here are some Scriptures that support keeping children in a warm, loving family environment instead of putting them in situations that will cause them to become peer dependent.
I Cor. 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Prov. 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Bad company corrupts good character. Some children can’t stand up to the enormous peer pressure they experience in school classrooms and other similarly organized groups. When they are around other immature children, they act differently than they would if they were alone. Parents should take measures to keep their children’s hearts. They should not just turn their children over to “the experts” to teach them values or to their peer group to be socialized.
The ideal of educating all of our citizens so that they could read the Bible has obviously been thrown by the wayside. The goal of the overwhelming majority of educators in our country is now to shape the values of our nation’s children and to bring them to a more progressive worldview. The goal of socialization is to cause children to become peer dependent. Then when they are peer dependent, the schools can convince them to do anything they want them to and believe whatever they tell them. These goals are directly counter to what God has commanded us as Christian parents to do with our children. We are responsible to correct, discipline, teach and direct the instruction of our children. We are the ones that God holds accountable for teaching them moral values and the Word of God.
I was very surprised to learn to what extent our American schools were influenced by Socialists. It makes me sad to think of the grand ideals that our Founding Fathers had for our schools and to see how the schools were hijacked by people who had such diametrically opposing views to what our Founding Fathers believed.