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Betrayal of enlightenment purpose

July 28, 2017 by Tunya

What betrayal is this? Those who are to assist the enlightenment of the masses are in actual alliance to thwart and undermine the cause. Teacher education faculties are actually anti-enlightenment champions? Who would have thought?

Professor Mark Bauerlein in a book review (The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform—1967-2014, by Raymond Wolters) is appalled how E D Hirsch was shunned after his book “Cultural Literacy” proved to be a phenomenal best-seller — “ed school faculty had urged all the students to stay away” from his class.

Deliberate dumbing down is real, folks! And faculties of education in the United States and Canada endorse it!

And it’s not just literature and culture that are attacked. Math doesn’t make sense — see the Math Petitions that parents are mounting. What about reading?

Marilyn Jager Adams in a new foreword to the paperback edition of Jeanne Chall’s book, “The Academic Achievement Challenge “‘ says: “ . . . reviewing the research on phonics, Chall told me that if I wrote the truth, I would lose old friends and make new enemies. She warned me that I would never again be fully accepted by my academic colleagues . . . Sadly, however, as the evidence in favor of systematic, explicit phonics instruction for beginners increased, so too did the vehemence and nastiness of the backlash. The goal became one of discrediting not just the research, but the integrity and character of those who had conducted it. Chall was treated most shabbily . . . “

What about Science? Here is a scientist, Michael R Matthews, who wrote — Reflections on 25 Years of Journal Editorship. It’s about how constructivism was injected into the teaching of science to the point that the search for truth through science became decidedly “anti-enlightenment”! I can’t find a link for free reading (as I had earlier). I wrote and asked in 2015 whether his article “ruffled any feathers”. Basically, he said: “No. Silence”.

When will there be a full-scale investigation into how faculties of education are undermining our civilization? When will there be a Bill Gates who really believes in education to help fund such a study?

Thanks Will Fitzhugh for the post alerting us to this treachery. What can be done?

[Published to listserve, ECC, Educ Consumers Clearinghouse, re excerpt from a two page review of Wolter's book, which I've ordered.)


…Those are all reasons sufficient in themselves to have students and young scholars read the book [The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform—1967-2014, by Raymond Wolters]. But there is something about education training that makes it especially valuable. A moment in the career of E.D. Hirsch, Jr. demonstrates it (Wolters mentions it and Hirsch has recalled it several times in his writings). When Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know became a surprise bestseller after it was published in 1987 [The year The Concord Review was founded—WF], Hirsch approached the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia (UVA) to offer a course to their students. Hirsch was a longtime member of UVA’s English department  and a renowned literary theorist. (When I was in graduate school in the 1980s, everyone read his essay on literary interpretation.)

With Cultural Literacy standing as the most phenomenal education book of the time, Hirsch expected education students to flood his class. Even if they disagreed with his ideas, they could argue with him, not to mention enjoy the opportunity to engage with one of the most influential thinkers of the moment.

But that’s not what happened. To his surprise, few students showed up. Hirsch learned why when one of them revealed that the ed school faculty had urged all the students to stay away. Their professors didn’t encourage students to join the class and challenge Hirsch—they told them to avoid him altogether.

It brought a dismaying realization: education theory and practice had become so hardened that ed schools simply didn’t want to hear anything contrary. Students receive the idea and principles taught in ed school as if they are the received wisdom of the profession. If other opinions slip into the training, they do so in caricatured form, such as the allegation that Hirsch simply wanted to reinstate a Eurocentric dead-white-male curriculum…

Professor Mark Bauerlein, book review in Academic Questions  National Association of Scholars, Spring 2017, pp. 108-109


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