|Summer 1991||REBOUND Volume 2|
Communicating With The Secretary Of Education
We are not political activists. We believe that the vast majority of government officials who were themselves educated in the current system are too damaged mentally and emotionally to be anything but hopelessly lost. We know from publishing our newsletters and receiving reader responses that it just is not possible to talk to educated people about the destructive nature of the existing educational system. Usually, we do not bother to waste our resources on people who are too damaged to be able to do anything about this system.
However, in April of 1991, we made an exception. When we heard Lamar Alexander's "9%" theory, we just could not stop ourselves from writing to the secretary. Mr. Alexander believes that children only spend 9 percent of their time in school and therefore, schools are not responsible for the psychological and social problems found among this nation's youth. Mr. Alexander, like many high school graduates in this country, is unable to do simple mathematics. According to our calculations, if you take sleeping out of the equation, children spend more like 60 percent of their lives involved in school and school-related activities. But even if we accept Mr. Alexander's "9%" theory, we must then look at what is being done to children in schools. Human beings are very fragile. If you do the right kinds of harmful things to them, you can destroy them mentally and emotionally in a very short time. If we could have 1 to 2 percent of George Bush's or Lamar Alexander's day, we could ruin their days by doing the right kinds of things to them. In fact, if we had a few weeks, we could ruin their lives without ever touching them physically. A single photo of either one of them sitting on the toilet published in a national newspaper would psychologically destroy either one of them. Public humiliation is just one psychological weapon which is used against children all day long in school. Children are easily destroyed psychologically by the use of this single weapon alone. And it does not take "9%" of a child's life to accomplish this.
Mr. Alexander believes that if parents would do a better job with their children at home, the children would do better in school. While we agree with Mr. Alexander that children who come from good, solid family structures generally do better in school, we also believe that the Jews who came from good, solid family systems probably did better in Dachau and Auschwitz than those who came from troubled homes. What Mr. Alexander is telling parents is that they should spend more time with their children, put more resources into their children and generally work harder at propping their children up so that when their children go to the concentration camps that he calls schools, the children will do better. Maybe the Nazis should have encouraged Jewish parents to invest more of themselves into their children so that when the Nazis took the children off to the death camps, the children would have had a less difficult time of it.
What we are saying is that even if parents do all the things with their children that Mr. Alexander is suggesting, it will not change what is happening to children in this nation's schools. If we get all the parents in America to invest more of their time and their resources in their children, it will not change the fact, the proven fact, that children are being harmed in this nation's schools.
Furthermore, Mr. Alexander has not taken the time to find out why parents are having so much difficulty investing in their children in the ways that he suggests. Mr. Alexander has not taken the time to find out why the American family has broken down and what caused this to happen. If Mr. Alexander read the research, he would find that schools were designed specifically to break families down. The early founders of this system readily admitted that schools were established to break down the culture, traditions and strong family ties found among immigrants in this country in order to create one culture, one way of life. This educational system was designed to take healthy, normal children with unique interests, needs, goals, hopes and dreams and turn them into plain-vanilla, mindless, soulless, grade-making machines. This system has always perfectly performed its function of breaking families down and continues to do so to this day.
If Mr. Alexander took the time to read the research, he would also discover that each time compulsory education was introduced in a state, the rate of crime (especially juvenile delinquency), poverty, suicide and other forms of mental illness all increased dramatically. As the educational requirements increased in this country, so did this nation's divorce rate. As children have been required to attend school at earlier and earlier ages (forcing children to be separated from their families prematurely is one of the fastest ways to break a family down), drug abuse, gang violence, teenage suicide and childhood mental illness have all increased in direct proportion.
We know that we are not going to be heard by either George Bush or Lamar Alexander. But when we heard this foolish "9%" theory, we just could not keep still. We thought that some of our readers would appreciate reading this correspondence because these letters speak to the problem and confirm the fact that public officials are generally too damaged to do anything to stop the mental and emotional destruction that is taking place in our nation's schools.
April 29, 1991
Mr. Lamar Alexander
Dear Mr. Alexander,
Outrageous! Your idea that schools are not responsible for the psychological and social problems found among this nation's youth is absolutely outrageous. You say that between birth and eighteen years of age, children spend only 9 percent of their time in school. This is either an enormous lie or, like many high school graduates, you, Mr. Alexander, are unable to do simple mathematics. Furthermore, you say that, because children spend only 9 percent of their lives in school, American parents are to be blamed for the problems in this country--problems that can be directly traced to the introduction of compulsory education. And, you say that because children spend only 9 percent of their lives in school, it is perfectly okay for educators to continue doing the same harmful things to children in schools--things which have already ruined generations of our nation's youth.
Let's look more closely at your "9 percent theory," Mr. Alexander. First of all, if you take the time a child spends sleeping out of the equation and you add the time that children spend both in school and in school-related activities, you will discover that children spend more like 60 percent of their lives in school or school-related activity. Any parent can tell you that the early morning hours in any family with school children are spent preparing for school. These same parents can tell you that it takes the whole afternoon, right up until supper time, to thaw children out after being in school all day. Most children spend at least part of their evening time doing homework, and almost all children are prohibited from engaging in outside activities (such as cub scouts or girl scouts), that might give them some relief from school, on "school nights."
The time during which children are in school and doing school-related activities are the prime hours of each day. The prime hours of every day for most people are between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. This is when most people, including most children, have their maximum physical and mental resources available to them. Bankers readily recognize this which is why banks are open during these hours. Even at the White House, most business is done during prime hours. American children spend the prime hours of the prime years of their childhood lives in school and not with their parents.
But, even if we accept your miscalculated "9 percent theory," we must look at what is happening to children during that "9 percent" of their lives. Like most people involved in this education system, you have not read the research. Every single research report done on the education system on the subject of efficacy over the last 125 years (some done by the education system on itself) indicts this system as a mindless and hideous plot to destroy generations of children. The research shows that:
Now, you, Mr. Alexander, are trying to tell us that since children spend only "9 percent" of their lives in school, that it is okay for educators to continue to do harmful, destructive things to children in the name of educating them. If you would read the research, you would discover that schools do not need even 9 percent of a child's time in order to permanently harm a child. If something is alien and toxic enough to the human spirit, then small doses will be lethal. Most of the workers who were present at Chernobyl at the time of that nuclear disaster spent only approximately 1/569,400 percent of their lives at this toxic nuclear site, and most of them are dead now. Most of the concentration camp victims of the 1930s and 1940s spent only 2 to 3 percent of their lives at Dachau or Auschwitz, and they are either dead or suffering from permanent psychological damage.
Schools are alien and toxic places to children. The research shows that schools can permanently destroy most children before the end of the second grade. This means that educators need only 1 to 3 percent of a child's time (according to your math) to break a child down and destroy the child's connections to his or her family. Most children, even children who are raised by negligent parents, start school with all of their natural interests, skills, goals, talents, hopes and dreams intact. It is through one's own unique interests and gifts, hopes and dreams that human beings come to fulfill their own unique destinies. Schools, from the very outset, were set up to program children to forego their own individual destinies and to fulfill the destinies of men like Henry Ford and Lee Iaccoca, who have always had "Plans" for our children. By the time most children complete the first grade, all of their own unique interests, gifts, goals, hopes and dreams have been purged away. They are programmed into someone else's plan for them and their natural, personal destinies are lost forever.
Yes, if you do enough alien and toxic things to a human being, you do not need "9 percent" of their time and resources to ruin their lives. In fact, if you set up enough of the right systems, you can destroy the life of a human being in an instant. You can traumatize a fragile, vulnerable child in just a few hours if you can get the child away from the parents while the child is still young enough and if you use a powerful psychological weapon like public humiliation.
You say that you are concerned about the breakdown of the American family, but you say it is the parents' fault. All of the research shows that current educational practices have destroyed family life in America. The research shows that each time compulsory education was introduced into a state in this country, the rate of crime, poverty, suicide and other forms of mental illness increased dramatically. Some people say that we are only having difficulty now because we live in a more stressful society. But life was very stressful 200 years ago. Small children commonly died from what are now curable diseases and infections. People had no modern conveniences. It took weeks to travel distances that people can now travel in a few hours. Surviving a winter was an enormous physical challenge. Yet, none of these stresses drove large numbers of young adults to drink, to use drugs, commit crimes or go mad. The Civil War brought enormous physical destruction and loss of life to southern families. Again, there were no significant increases in crime, poverty, suicide or mental illness following the Civil War. These increases did not show up until these states introduced compulsory education (several decades after the war) which took children away from their parents prematurely and destroyed southern families in a way that even the Civil War could not do.
In spite of all the existing research evidence, educators over the last 40 years have concluded that separating children from their parents and starting them in school at the earliest possible age is the best way to educate a child. Statistics now show that when the first generations Of the "early education" craze reached high school juvenile delinquency jumped over 160 percent. When these generations of orphaned children became adolescents, the rate of alcohol and drug abuse among mainstream children and teenagers skyrocketed. The United States now has the highest rate of illegal drug usage of any industrialized nation in the world.
Similarly, as children were forced to leave their parents at earlier ages in order to go to school, the rate of divorce, teenage suicide and other forms of mental illness steadily rose. Gang violence and gang warfare crept into America's inner cities. Now America has the highest teenage suicide rate in the world, making teenage suicide the third leading cause of death among young adults in this nation. At the current rate, one-half of all the marriages of our next generation will end in divorce, and by the year 2000, one-half of all American children will be living in single-parent families.
So, where do you think we'll be nine years from now if we follow your Plan for us? If we keep doing more of the same destructive things to our children in schools and we can get them away from their parents at earlier and earlier ages, maybe educators will only need 5 percent of a child's time in order to destroy that child for life. Just think of where we'll be in the year 2000!
United States Department of Education
July 8, 1991
Dear Ms. Miller,
Thanks for your thoughts on improving education in America, which the White House sent to me on your behalf.
We've summarized the President's national education strategy in the America 2000 source book, which I am sending along.
You will find the plan bold but filled with fundamental values. It calls for a renewal of personal and community involvement in improving our schools.
Between America 2000's "break the mold" concepts and its reaffirmation of community values, I believe we can find some common ground on which we can work together. Sincerely,
July 23, 1991
Mr. Lamar Alexander
Dear Mr. Alexander,
I apologize if this letter sounds disrespectful or derogatory and I ask that you forgive me for sounding this way. And if someone actually reads this, I thank you in advance for taking the time. I just received your letter in response to a letter and some research materials which I sent to you on the subject of current educational practices. I know from what you wrote in your letter that you did not read the materials which I sent to you, or if you did, you did not understand the information contained within them. If you had read and understood the materials I sent to you, which are based on a very serious study of current educational practices, then you would not have responded to me as you did.
First of all, Mr. Alexander, you would not have concluded that we have any common ground on which to meet. What I was attempting to tell you in sending you those research materials is that the way in which children are being educated in this country is equal to performing surgery in filth. In my last letter, I gave you a list of the results of some of the research that has been done on the subject of education. Because these research results are being ignored in this nation's schools, children are being mentally, emotionally, spiritually and in some cases physically harmed. Here again is a list of the results of some of the research done on existing educational practices. Remember, all of the existing research supports these conclusions. None of the existing research indicates that what you want to do with American children in this nation's schools is in the best interests of children. In fact, the research indicates that if we do the things that you and Mr. Bush have suggested in America 2000, children will be even more harmed in schools than they already are.
The research shows that:
Now, what I am trying to tell you is that if you ignore this research in your plans for educating children, children will be harmed. Ignoring these results is the same thing as subjecting children to surgical procedures being performed in filth, it is the same thing as placing a child in a dirty operating room with debris from the previous patient lying around on the floor. It is the same thing as allowing physicians to perform autopsies on cadavers in one room and then move into the next room to perform a delicate surgical procedure without ever changing their clothes or washing their hands. There was a time not that long ago, Mr. Alexander, when surgeons actually did go from performing autopsies to delivering babies without washing their hands. The rate of infection, of maternal and infant death, was abominable. When a physician named Semmelweis tried to tell doctors to wash their hands before delivering babies, he was ostracized from the medical community for suggesting such a thing. Now, I am trying to tell you that educating a child--a very vulnerable human being--is as delicate as performing a complicated surgical procedure. It must be done according to very strict standards and under carefully controlled conditions, conditions which are not found in this nation's schools.
I do not expect you to be able to listen to or understand what is being said to you any more than we could have expected the physicians of Semmelweis' time to listen to what he was trying to say. It is not your fault that you cannot see these things, because your personal system of operating prevents you from being able to see them. This is why (if you read the materials I sent to you) you concluded that we have some common ground.
What is even more serious, however, is that you do not realize that what you and George Bush are suggesting we do to improve America's schools is not bold or visionary. These are all the same things that educators and politicians have been suggesting for decades. These same suggestions were made in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and things have only gotten increasingly worse.
In order to understand how you are a pawn in the "destructive education game," just ask yourself this question: How does a person like yourself with no success or real understanding of how to transmit knowledge get into a position of authority? Within the structure and dynamics of a system that is failing, what causes that system to promote people like yourself with no known skill in an area to manage that area? Get it?
All I can suggest to you is that you look at how little you actually know about how to educate a child. If you took the time to read the existing research on the subject of education, you would be urging George Bush to close this nation's schools. You would be telling parents to take their children out of school and to educate their children at home. If you had done your homework and read the existing research on the subject of education, you would not support "America 2000." You would see it as another destructive plan to break down American families and as another pathetic waste of taxpayers' money.
This nation's schools are in serious trouble. But you, Mr. Alexander, are not the solution. You cannot be because you, like most government officials, were appointed to your position and you accepted your position without knowing anything about how to properly educate a child. Imagine having someone in charge of educating over 45,000,000 children who knows as little about educating a child as you know. It is not your fault that you do not know what to do. As a victim of this nation's educational system, you have been damaged in a way that prevents you from finding out the truth about what is happening in this nation's schools. Hearing the truth about yourself and about the educational system can only make you angry. All you will be able to do is dismiss this letter as you did my first one, and all the other letters that you get that are like this one. In fact, letters like mine probably never reach your desk and are probably disposed of by your clerical staff so that you do not have to be distracted from your work.
According to the logic of educators,