The History of U.S. Education Reform

Common Core (CC) is currently hot topic in education right now.  As it completes the implementation process, parents are concerned about many elements within this federally developed and initiated “educational standard”.  What many parents do not know is that CC has a long history that began over 100 years ago in an ideology that has already been progressively implemented through a myriad of experiments and educational initiatives in the U.S.  There is an ideology that guides the precepts of CC and an infrastructure that was put in place to ensure this ideology takes full effect in all schools: public/charter, private, and eventually homeschool.

This article is not just about CC because CC is only the culmination of years of experimentation and legislation.  This article is about the origins of public education in the U.S. and the system’s purposeful degradation of education in an effort to steal the hearts and minds of our children and to limit their knowledge to the level of workforce training. This history is tied to a powerfully planned attack at the values and morals defined by God and despised by many who actively suppress His truth.

As private, Christian home educators, why should we care about what is happening in the public education system? As you will see, the activities within public school systems are already severely impacting private, Christian home educators. The ideology and programs put in place use effective tools, such as charter schooling, to break apart the unity of private, Christian home educators and effectively bring them back into a system of education degradation and workforce training.  The implementation of school vouchers and school choice are also effective tools to keep the public education system united and the private education system internally divided by providing federal funding for compliance with federal standards.  We know and teach our children the value of history and as private educators, please understand that this history will definitely impact your future.

I will go over some highlights that encompass the trends for a particular timeframe giving you a high level overview.  There is an abundance of information available, and my hope is that you will take this overview and research for yourselves the depth of the problem. What you learn, I am sure, will force you to never doubt your decision to remove your children out of this government educational system in into a private, Christian home education environment.

From my study, I have identified four key categories in the historical process of U.S. education reform.

  1. Ideology – the set of beliefs that drive the change agents.
  2. Infrastructure and Planning – the ongoing development of committees, groups, programs and political governance that is created to implement the desired ideology.
  3. Experimentation – the selective testing through infrastructure to determine the most effective methods to utilize.
  4. Implementation – actualizing the best of the experiments by activating programs on a grand scale to effectively realize the desired result.


To gain context, let’s begin in 19th century. There were philosophical ideologies on the redefinition of “man” meaning mankind and the redefinition of education that played into the thinking of the “educated elite”.

Redefining Man

This was a time when Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) were published – defining man as a merely evolving from animal and stripping away any contention that man was created in the image of God.

In addition, The Communist Manifesto was published in German in 1848 and later translated to English in 1888.  Marx set forth three items that needed to be accomplished to achieve the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat.

  1. The elimination of all right to private property
  2. The dissolution of the family unit
  3. Destruction of the “opiate of the people” – religion.

About man, he said, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.”

Marx’s materialism argues that the actual reality of the surrounding world determines the way people think and what they believe. Materialists would reply to those activists who want to change people’s ideas: “yes, we want to change people’s ideas, but the only way to do that is to change their material conditions—the way society is organized”. Historical materialism is the philosophical opposite of what Marx called “idealism”, which is religion.

What does this mean about the definition of man?  It means that man became redefined as a product of his social experience – he does not have innate or God-given qualities.  In Marx’s definition, man is only a product of societal inputs.

Redefining Education

Wilhelm Wundt was born in Germany in 1832, and in 1874 he wrote the first textbook in the field of Psychology titled, Principles of Physiological Psychology.  His goal, which would eventually succeed, was to make Psychology a field of science thereby making man and the thought processes of man the object of testing and manipulation. He stated,

“Learning is the result of modifiability in the paths of neural conduction.  Explanations of even such forms of learning as abstraction and generalization demand of the neurons only growth, excitability, conductivity and modifiability. The mind is the connection-system of man; and learning is the process of connecting. The situation response formula is adequate to cover learning of any sort, and the really influential factors in learning are readiness of the neurons, sequence in time, belongingness and satisfying consequences.”

Regarding Wundt, Paolo Lionni and Lance J. Klass state,

“If one assume that there is nothing there to begin with but a body, a brain, a nervous system, then we must try to educate by inducing sensations in that nervous system. Through these experiences, the individual will learn to respond to any given stimulus, with the “correct” response. The child is not, for example, thought capable of volitional control over his actions, or of deciding whether he will act or not act in a certain way; his actions are thought to be preconditioned and beyond his control, his is a stimulus-response mechanism. According to this thinking, he is his reactions. Wundt’s thesis laid the philosophical basis for the principles of conditioning later developed by Pavlov.[i]

Wundt has tied into the notion that man is an animal that is controlled only by stimulus-response.  To control the child’s actions or thought patterns, one just needs to establish the “correct” response desired and then develop stimuli to bring forth that desired result. This concept of education was perfectly in line with the ideas of Darwin and Marx and devalued “man” to that of his actions within a social or stimulus-driven context – meaning that man’s value is not inherently given by God. It also set forth the concept of education being the learning of predetermined responses through a series of planned stimuli.

Edward Lee Thorndike was born in 1874 in Massachusetts.  At Wesleyan University, Thorndike was trained in the new psychology as put forth by Wundt. He defined psychology as the, “science of the intellect, character, and behavior of animals, including man.” He stated,

“The aim of the teacher is to produce desirable and prevent undesirable changes in human beings by producing and preventing certain responses. The means at the disposal of the teacher are the stimuli which can be brought to bear upon the pupil – the teacher’s words, gestures, and appearance, the condition and appliances of the school room, the books to be used and objects to be seen, and so on through a long list of the things and events which the teacher can control.”

Thorndike expanded upon the definition of education put forth by Wundt to include the goals of the teacher.  We can see that the teacher’s goal is to “produce desirable and prevent undesirable changes in human beings”.  In order to accomplish this goal, the teacher would utilize the stimulus-response process through stimuli that can be controlled. What changes should be implemented? What is desirable and what is undesirable? Who gets to decide the answers to these questions? These questions would eventually be answered by those who gained power over the educational system in an effort to put these theories into practice and redefine the morals, values and educational goals of the children in the U.S.

John Dewey, the “Father of Progressive Education”, is probably the most recognizable name in education.  In 1896, Dewey’s book Psychology was published and he was provided an experimental laboratory at the University of Chicago, endowed by Rockefeller.  This book would become the most widely read and quoted textbook used in schools of education in this country.  Some quotes include:

“Family life may be marked by exclusiveness, suspicion, and jealousy as to those without, and yet be a model of amity and mutual aid within. Any education given by a group tends to socialize its members, but the quality and value of the socialization depends on the habits and aims of the group.”

“I believe it is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary and most effective instrument of social progress and reform in order that society may be awakened to realize what the school stands for, and aroused to the necessity of endowing the educator with sufficient equipment properly to perform his task”.

“…education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

Dewey believed that group socialization was preferable to family life so far as education was concerned. The social group should define the aims of the group, and it was the business of the school to reform the child to act in accordance with those social norms. This was and is a critical attack on the family. It meant that that the school system, not the parents, should decide the values and educational objectives of each child.  Those objectives should be the same for all children so as to create societal cohesion.  It leads to what is now commonly known as consensus building: the process by which students, schools, communities or groups of people learn to compromise individual beliefs and ideas in order to seek “common ground” and come to consensus.

And so we have the basics of the ideology in place.  It can be summed up as follows:

  • Man is an animal that has evolved and has no God-given distinction as being created in His image
  • The essence of man is a collection of his social experiences and this essence is variable
  • The new aim of education is for the teacher to impart “desirable” changes in the student. This would be the new definition for teaching.
  • The movement of children away from family and into social groups is essential to redefine a child’s values
  • The school should be the primary instrument for social change


An infrastructure and plans to implement this ideology would need to be put in place.  In the early 20th century, goals aligned between two key groups: on the one hand, there were those “intellectuals” intent on the establishment of socialism, with its eventual goal of communism. On the other were wealthy industrialists looking to bring about a seamless non-competitive global system of commerce and trade. To accomplish this system of commerce in the U.S., the current system would need to be changed from a sovereign, constitutional republic with a free enterprise economic base to just one of many nations in an internationalist socialist system. 

Education was the solution for both. It would be the means by which a global workforce would be trained to operate in this new order and it would be the conduit by which American attitudes could be changed to accept Marxist/Darwinist, Socialist/Humanistic/Global ideology.

The Rise of Industrialist Foundations and Their Integration with Government Entities

The industrialists had influence within the government structure and also had the money necessary to establish private entities that would become think-tanks for strategic planning.  These entities both funded and trained the “intellectuals” in their quest to change the role of education and the teacher.  True control rested with the funding entities, and over time, those that they trained, would be appointed to influential and powerful positions both within universities and government programs.

It was important that the infrastructure included all aspects of the education system – training people in the ideology who would influence future teachers and school boards, program and curriculum development, government authority to access the school systems and testing.  The expansion of this system was very rapid and multiple new entities were created in each decade and continue to be created up to the present day. A short list of the starting entities is below.

1867 – The Department of Education was created by legislation signed by President Andrew Jackson. At this time the department was a non-cabinet level and actually lasted less than a year. During that year the Department of Education collected many statistics about the nation’s schools. There was great fear during this time that the Department would exercise too much control over local schools, so the Department of Education was changed to the Office of Education.

1888 – The Fabian Society, a Marxist political group sets up in the US by the efforts of Eleanor Marx and others. Their stated goal was to stimulate such political action as might ultimately lead to the establishment of the Cooperative Commonwealth—a polite synonym for the all-embracing State – socialism.  They created what they called Nationalist Clubs [semantic deception] across the nation. Members of Nationalist Clubs eventually started the League for Industrial Democracy in 1905, which changed its name to the International Socialist Society (ISS) in 1921. (Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Florence Kelley)

1902 – General Education Board incorporated by US Congress and endowed by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. The purpose was to provide and educational laboratory to experiment with early innovations in education.

1905 – The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was established.

1913 – Southern Education Board established by Frederick T. Gates, a Director of the Rockefeller Foundation.

1919 – The Institute of International Education (IIE) was founded from a Carnegie grant.

1919 – The Progressive Education Association (P.E.A.) was founded by John Dewey. (He is quoted above in this article)

1921 – The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was established by presidential confidant Col. Edwin House. House had authored a book called Philip Dru, Administrator which promoted “socialism as dreamed of by Karl Marx”. Walter Lippmann, a founding member of the Fabian Society and ISS was also a founding member of the CFR.

1945-1946 – The United Nations Charter became effective and the U.S. joined UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific Cultural Organization).

1946 – The Educational Testing Service was funded with a Carnegie grant. Later, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP): “The Nation’s Report Card” which measures student progress by testing different subject areas in alternative years would be created. NAEP also gathers personal data on children and families to fill out longitudinal profiles that include beliefs, attitudes, behavior and values.

And so we have some of the key infrastructure players that would bring this ideology to reality.  The Industrialists at the time included Rockefeller and Carnegie, but would later expand to Ford, Kennedy, Hoover, Hewitt, Annenberg, Gates and many more. Try to think of a university today that does not have a wealthy industrialist donor program named after them. Then we have the key social change committees – the International Socialist Society and the Progressive Education Association. And finally, the government and quasi-government structures – the Office of Education and the Council on Foreign Relations.

The United Nations Charter and the joining of UNESCO were critical pieces of the plan so that the socialistic workforce programs and the desired results of education could be determined by a global socialist perspective. Today, we see the terms world-class education and global citizen. These terms stem from this agreement and were part of the semantically deceptive framework that would be put in place.

Planning Programs to Test for Effectiveness

With basic infrastructure in place, the planning began. In 1944, the Educational Policies Commission published a document called Education for All American Youth.  In it they outlined a short list of key goals for establishing a new societal infrastructure:

  • Federal programs for health, education and welfare combined in one giant bureau
  • Head Start programs
  • Getting pre-school children into the system
  • Teacher participation in curriculum decisions
  • Federal funds without federal control
  • Youth services through a “poverty program”
  • Removal of local control of political and educational matters “without seeming to do so”
  • Sex education

The idea here is that they wanted federal control of the schools.  That would be much easier to control than multiple state entities.  They also wanted to get students into the schools at as early an age as possible for an extended period of time.  This allowed for extended influence.  In addition, they wanted the illusion of participation by both teachers and parents. This would allow for greater acceptance of the indoctrination.

Through the established infrastructure, they were able to control the terms of debate when it came to curriculum and the “correct”, “desirable” and “undesirable” subjects and conclusions that would be taught.  When you are the person funding and framing the argument, it is not difficult to get people to come to your conclusions. One of the most effective tools in their toolbox was the consistent use of semantic deception.  They named committees and used terminology that sounded good to most people.  But, people really didn’t understand the true meaning – their meaning. Some examples you may be familiar with including the true meaning are:

Semantic Deception Examples

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: Mental confusion and emotional tension caused by incompatible values. Created through classroom stimuli such as hypothetical stories or pagan ritual that conflict with home-taught values, it forces most children to rethink and modify their values to resolve the conflict.

COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Group learning. Views all knowledge as “the common property of a group.” Right and wrong is defined by the group.

CHARACTER EDUCATION: An attempt to teach students global or core values. It sounds good, but character qualities such as responsibility, respect, and honesty are redefined to fit the global paradigm. Traditional morality will no longer fit nor be tolerated.

CONSENSUS BUILDING: The process by which students, schools, communities or groups of people learn to compromise individual beliefs and ideas in order to seek “common ground” and come to consensus.

CRITICAL THINKING: Challenging students’ traditional beliefs, values and authorities through values clarification strategies and Mastery Learning

DISCOVERY LEARNING: The student supposedly generates and tests his own ideas, conclusions, concepts, etc., creating his own understanding of reality and giving new meanings to traditional words. In reality, he or she is prompted toward a pre-planned understanding through stories, suggestions, questions, and group dialogue

FACILITATOR: (1) A non-directive, non-judgmental teacher/leader who creates an environment for learning, records student progress, and motivates students to exercise self-direction in determining and achieving educational goals. (2) A change agent who chairs hand-picked committees or groups to direct discussion toward the “right” predetermined conclusions or consensus. This process is called “managed change.”

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP): The individualized behavior modification plan for changing a student’s beliefs and behavior through stimuli, response, assessment, and remediation. The control mechanism of Mastery Learning, it adapts to each student’s rate of change and degree of resistance and indicates corrective measures. Masquerading as an academic plan, its goal is to mold minds to fit the global community and workforce. The goal is to use computers programmed according to each child’s needs, weaknesses, interests, and resistance or “locus” of control.

EDUCATING THE WHOLE CHILD: Pertaining to every aspect of the child, including health, nutrition, values, attitudes, beliefs and resulting behaviors.

WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION: Non-competitive system based on national standards and benchmarks that match international standards. Students must embrace a common set of universal beliefs and values in preparation for the 21st Century global workforce.

For an extensive list of semantically deceptive terms, please click this link.

Proponents of system change now needed to formulate the specifics of implementation to be effective. The Industrialist “Educational” Foundations had already been building an army of highly educated gentlemen through their endowments and association with the top U.S. universities. These men became the change agents and were trusted by the general public. Public trust was important if they were to accept the ideology, and trust for these individuals came easily because of their scholarly credentials. The following are quotes from some of these change agents.

Bertrand Russell (Impact of Science on Society, Columbia University Press: New York 1951)

“Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished…Influences of the home are obstructive…It is for a future scientist to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.”

B.F. Skinner (Teaching Machines and Programmed Learning: A Source Book, NEA 1960)

“For the purpose of analyzing behavior we have to assume man is a machine…You can induce him to behave according to the dictates of society instead of his own selfish interest.”

“Recent improvements in the conditions which control behavior in the field of learning are of two principal sorts.  The “law of effect” has been taken seriously; we have made sure that effects do occur and that they occur under conditions which are optimal for producing the changes called learning.  Once we have arranged the particular type of consequence called reinforcement, our techniques permit us to shape the behavior of an organism almost at will…In all this work, the species of the organism has made surprisingly little difference … Comparable results have been obtained with rats, pigeons, dogs, monkeys, human children, and…human psychotic subjects…It should be emphasized that this has been achieved by analyzing the effects of reinforcement and by designing techniques which manipulate reinforcement with considerable precision.”

Benjamin Bloom

“The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.”

“…a large part of what we call ‘good teaching’ is the teacher’s ability to attain affective objectives through challenging the students’ fixed beliefs and getting them to discuss issues.”

Teaching programs would be developed from these concepts alongside corporate efficiency programs and then tested in the public school system.  If local or federal governments would not pay for these “educational studies”, the private industrialist institutes and trusts funded them and then received government approval for their operation. Two key systems developed a common theme throughout these programs.  Operant Conditioning from the research of B.F. Skinner and Mastery Learning (AKA Objective Based Education or Direct Instruction) from the research of Benjamin Bloom.

Operant Conditioning was a system whereby attitudes and values are altered by a highly effective reward and recognition system.  When the child answers according to the desired outcome as defined by the teacher, a reward is given.  When he does not, he is made to feel uncomfortable or his answer is redirected.

Mastery Learning in Bloom’s Taxonomy placed behavior on a spectrum from lower order (old school absolutes of right and wrong) to higher order thinking skills (a spectrum of right and wrong – humanistic determinism) creating a construct where the ideas of situational ethics and relativistic ways of thinking became the preferred value and goal in education thereby eliminating the teaching that there is an absolute right and wrong.

Both of these systems are used extensively in the public school system today and because of their systematic construct easily lent themselves to effectiveness testing and computer based learning. Conditioning was done by providing a child with verbal reward or physical rewards such as stickers or small gifts (coins, stars, etc…).  The computer could easily mirror these rewards and allowed for a direct interface with the student thereby avoiding teacher intervention.

Now that ideas for program development were in place, these ideas needed to be nationalized and curriculum developed. But a problem existed for the change agents; the schools were under the purview of the state and not the federal government.  Up until the 1970’s, there had been both political and industrialist attempts and creating a national curriculum and strategy.  As a reaction, lawmakers concerned about the federal takeover of curriculum passed the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) in 1970 to limit federal government power in education. Section 432 states:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, or to require the assignment or transportation of students or teachers in order to overcome racial imbalance. [20 U.S.C. 1232a]

This, of course, was promptly ignored and the experimentation with national strategy programs became rampant. Many believe that the “national standards” established by CC and its predecessors are in direct violation of this law.


The amount of experimentation is tremendous. The experiments started on a small scale in the 1950’s ad 60’s and expanded exponentially by the end of the 20th century.  They all happened in public schools, many times without the parent truly understanding the purpose. The idea of the teacher as the agent of change is clear in this quote at the 1976 NEA Annual Convention from Catherine Barrett, President of the National Education Association. She said (emphasis added):

“First, we will help all of our people understand that the school is a concept and not a place.  We will not confuse “schooling” with “education”. The school will be the community, the community, the school.  Students, parents and teachers will make certain that John Dewey’s sound advice about schooling the whole child is not confused with nonsense about the school’s providing the child’s whole education…

We will need to recognize that the so-called “basic skills,” which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one quarter of the present school day. The remaining time will be devoted to what is truly fundamental and basic – time for academic inquiry, time for students to develop their own interest, time for a dialogue between students and teachers.  When this happens – and it is near – the teacher can rise to his true calling.  More than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher…

Finally, if our children are to be human beings who think clearly, feel deeply, and act wisely, we will answer definitely the question, “Who should make what decisions?” Teachers no longer will be victims of change; we will be the agents of change.

These are just a handful the projects that were implemented in the public school system. There were and are hundreds.

1. The Tri-County K-12 Course Goal Project (1971-1981)

“The K-12 Goals Collection provides a resource for developing diagnostic-prescriptive Mastery Learning [Bloom] approaches, both programmed and teacher managed. This collection also advocates the use of Management by Objectives and Planning Programming and Budgeting Systems…”

2. Models of Teaching, a work by Bruce Joyce and Marsha Weil was funded by the US Office of Education’s Bureau of Research in 1972.  This study provided a foundation for the Models of Teacher Repertoire Training which was and is still used extensively.  It changed the teacher from a transmitter of knowledge (content) to a facilitator of learning (behavior modifier or change agent). It proposed several techniques including the technique of Operant Conditioning.

3. Schooling in the United States by John Goodlad, M. Frances Klein, and Jerrold M Novotney published in 1973:

“Several experimental preschool programs make extensive use of behaviorist theory as a means of instruction in both the cognitive and socioemotional realms…The school is to determine whether children can learn cognitive skills during the preschool years and to identify techniques which will be successful in bringing about such learning.  The program is built around a highly detailed schedule of reinforcement.” [Skinner]

4. Teachers Taught to be ‘Agents of Social Change’, and article by Monica Lanza in 1974 states:

“The father of the myriad of federally financed programs is Projects to Advance Creativity in Education. (PACE). The PACE programs are described in a 584-page publication entitled Pacesetters in Innovation which lists such “subjects” as psychotherapy, sensitivity training, behavior modification, and humanistic curriculum

According to the Department of health, Education and Welfare (HEW) Catalog of Assistance, the PACE program reached seven million children during 1971 and 1972 at a cost of $250 million.”

5. 1981 – A Broad Gauged Research/Reform Plan for Secondary Education was proposed by The Projects on Alternative Education. The project request was submitted on The John Dewey Society letterhead and called for publicly funded choice schools using “effective school research” (outcome based education). These called for “inculcation of social attitudes, development of effective methods of thinking, social sensitivity, better personal-social adjustment, acquisition of important information, consistent philosophy of life,” etc.

 6. 1981 – The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) is an organization of 22 national research centers which are engaged in the study of education…This group has been concerned with the use of international test questionnaires and other methods to relate student achievement and attitudes to instruction, social and economic factors in each nation. The evaluation instruments also represent an international consensus on the knowledge and objectives most worth learning.

7. 1995-1999 – The Chicago Annenberg Challenge: It was created ostensibly to improve Chicago’s public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation’s other key body, the “Collaborative,” which shaped education policy. The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayres’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism.

In addition, in the later part of the 20th century, we saw experiments in cooperation with business models entering the school system.  Corporate America, with representation from industrialist non-profit foundations and institutions had been involved from the beginning, but this expanded to the use of for-profit business models in an attempt to measure the success of the experiments with business techniques. 

With corporate America, students and teachers were defined in more de-humanizing terms, such as “knowledge capital” as invented by Peter Drucker, and “human capital”.  Student value is thought of in terms of their ability to impact GDP based on their education level.  In fact, the current standard for international student assessment, PISA, seeks to show how functional increases in student assessment scores directly impact a country’s GDP.

The computer also became the preferred method for the transmission of education. It allowed for direct access to the student via psychological and social based curriculum developed for implementation without the need for extensive teacher interaction. In 1984, Dustin Heuston of Utah’s World Institute for Computer Assisted teaching said:

“We’ve been absolutely staggered by realizing a that the computer has the capability to act as if it were ten of the top psychologists working with one student…you’ve seen the tip of the iceberg. Won’t it be wonderful when the child in the smallest county in the most distant area or in the most confused urban setting can have the equivalent of the finest school in the world on that terminal and no one can get between that child and that curriculum? We have great moments coming in the history of education.”

With this type of instruction, the curriculum drives the student to predetermined conclusions that have been established by neo-Marxist, socialist, behavior psychologists.  While they seem to present options and establish “critical thinking”, the idea here is to challenge the students’ traditional beliefs, values and authorities through values clarification strategies and Mastery Learning then effectively alter those beliefs and values to predetermined socialist objectives.

Key business models were brought into the education system to measure the effectiveness of projects and eventually the effectiveness of implementation. Some models include:

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA): represents a commitment by governments to monitor the outcomes of education systems in terms of student achievement on a regular basis and within an internationally agreed common framework. This report uses recent economic modeling to relate cognitive skills – as measured by PISA and other international instruments – to economic growth. The relationship indicates that relatively small improvements in the skills of a nation’s labor force can have very large impacts on future well-being. Moreover, the gains are put in terms of current Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This assessment is often quoted in the news when education rankings by country are discussed.

Planning, Programming and Budgeting Systems (PPBS):

  1. Planning is the selection of objective
  2. Programming converts the plans to specific actions
  3. Budgeting secures funding
  4. Operations carries out the program
  5. Evaluation determines the worth of the program

These systems made it the objective of education to measure and diagnose the child in order to prescribe a program to develop his feelings and emotions, values and loyalties toward predetermined behavior objectives.  The implementation required the completion of Individual Education Plans (IEP) for each student, which utilize computers to generate a program according to each child’s needs, weaknesses, interests, and resistance or “locus” of control.  This would provide an effective and specific program tuned to the individual child for the purpose of behavior modification and the establishment of workforce education training specific to that child’s future career.

Total Quality Management (TQM): This process provided some guiding principles of reform.

(a) Redefine the role, purpose and responsibilities of schools.

(b) Improve schools as a “way of life.”

(c) Plan comprehensive leadership training for educators at all levels.

(d) Create staff development that addresses the attitudes and beliefs of school staff.

(e) Use research and practice-based information to guide both policy and practice.

(f) Design comprehensive child-development initiatives that cut across a variety of agencies and institutions


There is really no big moment that can be pointed to for implementation because as these experiments were assessed and perfected, they were implemented into different school systems.  However, not until the end of the 20th century was a national policy established that would direct the goals for all school systems.  The first nationalized program was the Goals 2000 Act in 1994 signed by President Clinton and its corresponding legislation The School to Work Opportunities Act.  This federal legislation presented for a radical restructuring from the teaching of academics to workforce training. Unlike the experiments, it provided for a comprehensive plan to be utilized commonly across all states thereby removing local level control and ensuring success on a national level.

Federal legislation that followed included No Child Left Behind and most recently Common Core. These programs are the culmination of several years of experimentation. They are aggressively using the behavior modification systems and measurement tools to implement the historical ideology. In fact excerpts from an article published this month on Fox News state (emphasis added),

Common Core

“This is the hottest issue at the grassroots level in America today,” Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Alton, Ill., -based conservative think take Eagle Forum, told “And I describe it as just coming out of the woodwork. All of a sudden, there are meetings and rallies around the nation of concerned parents, moms and dads. They are seeing de facto federal control of what their kids are going to learn and not learn in the classroom, and they don’t like it.”

Erika Russell said, “It’s a violation of privacy. The government will tell you there is no central database that is part-and-parcel of Common Core, but that’s an outright lie. They’re tracking over 400 data points, from parents’ political and religious affiliations to how much money they make, what the child eats, behaviors and attitudes toward sex…everything. It’s Orwellian. I had my eyes closed to this and I didn’t believe any of it until I saw for myself. “I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I’m not some crazed woman,” she added. “But we’re leading our kids right into communism. You have them choosing their career path by middle school and you have standards that every child is going to learn the same thing the exact, same way, no matter who they are as individuals, or what they bring in terms of ability. Children are not common. People are not common. They are unique. And that’s not what Common Core is about.”[ii]

We are also seeing a push for parents to move from homeschooling and public brick and mortar schools into the charter school system, which is still a public school, but run by a corporate board. Charter schools look like a great solution to the problem of academic degradation and that is exactly what the strategic planners want us to think. The ultimate goal of the charter “solution” is a model of global distance learning and workforce training. In fact, one of the most successful implementations of this distance learning strategy is the K12 charter program. The distance learning model provides for the function of the teacher to be limited to that of monitor or overseer and to keep the students on task in front of their computer screens with “direct instruction” being imparted from anywhere in the world. And while the initial instruction as the younger grades may include some parent involvement, this involvement is paired down dramatically as the child moves on higher grade levels. With this “direct instruction” model the quote by Dustin Heuston referenced earlier regarding computer education is all too real.

Computer “direct education” is the future and they are not just waiting for parents to move their children to charter schools, they are ensuring a full implementation in the brick and mortar schools.  Locally, on 8/14/13, the Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) published an article titled, iPads for All — A Very Exciting Time at CVUSD!. It explains how every student in the district will receive an iPad so that “they can take control of their own learning.”[iii]

Direct instruction has already brought thousands of computers into the public school system.  Executives at Apple Computer started as early as 1982 to implement their entrance into the system. The hypocrisy of these executives is astonishing in an article published by the New York Times in 2011 by Matt Ritchtel. He writes,

The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech; pens and paper, knitting needles, and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.[iv]

It’s important to know that the charter schools are not private schools since they are federally and state funded. They must administer the federal National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), of which at least 50% of the questions deal with attitudes and values. Charter schools also violate government practice since they do not have a locally elected school board. If parents have an issue with the school, there is no elected official that can be removed.  These board members are appointed. Most often the board members are corporate executives from the business elite.  Just look at the board of K12. There are nine board members and eight of them are corporate executives from a mix of venture capital firms, Goldman Sachs, Intel Corporation, Pan Am Financial Corp, and Deutsche Bank.  There is one board member with an education background and she was the president of the National Education Association (NEA)!  Do you remember the quote from Catherine Barrett above, also a President of the NEA? To expound upon the issue of corporate instead of elected school boards, in her book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Charlotte Iserbyt writes,

“Most dangerous of all is the possibility that if Americans accept the legitimacy of charter schools, they will be going down a very slippery slope which may well lead to the unraveling of our representative, constitutional form of government. This is called “taxation without representation”. We can be sure that the highly-trained socialist change agents in our state capitols – who have been so successful in pushing regionalism on our local communities, will be working night and day to get Americans to accept unelected councils to run government at all levels!”[v]

While freedom and excellence in the country are of concern to me, I am mostly concerned with the impact that these programs are having on the children in this country.  This ideology creates a God-less society with no value for human life and disdain for all the biblical values that have been declared by God. We cannot keep our eyes closed in apathy. We need to recognize our need to be united as the church of God – the bride of Christ.  We are His ekklesia – we have been set apart from the world by God. We are to go into the world and preach the truth that has been provided to us by God and be active in the promotion of the gospel. We do not merely stand by and say that we are Christian, we actively teach His truth.  There is no middle ground. Matthey 20:30 states, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

We also need to understand that if we do what God says, He told us we would be hated (John 6) and He told us to expect trials and even death because we are no better that our Savior, Jesus Christ – who died in His innocence.  How much more should we expect since we are guilty sinners?

This is a war for the minds and hearts of our children. This is a war against the precepts of God. This is a war to divide the people of God. We will not put Him aside in any area of life, especially education – He is our creator, our Redeemer and only in Him can we find salvation. Only in Him can we find wisdom.

The war in education is between God’s Word and the secular humanist, atheist, Darwinian, Marxist doctrine that is rampant in the public school system. It’s a war against our God given right to raise our children with His absolute values. So, let us stand together to the glory of God.

by Stefani Kerr

Helpful Resources

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt

Brave New Schools by Berit Kjos

None Dare Call it a Conspiracy by Gary Allen

 The Leipzig Connection by Paolo Lionni

AGENDA: Grinding America Down, a movie from Copybook Heading Productions LLC (link here)

An Interview with Charlotte Iserbyt: The Miseducation of America Part 1-Full (link here)

[i] The Leipzig Connection: The Systematic Destruction of American Education by Paolo Lionni and Lance J. Klass (Heron Books: Portland, OR, 1980)

[iv] A Silicon Valley School that Doesn’t Compute, by Matt Ritchtel, New York Times (October 12, 2011)

[v] The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt (1999, 2011 by Conscience Press)