Monday, October 01, 2012

John Dewey's Devastating Influences on Public Education

As part of my personal "mother culture," I have been reading about John Dewey, who is considered the father of modern education. I am interested in learning more about his ideas because they influenced our education system and consequently, an entire generation of children. Read on...and perhaps those of you who are weary today, will be doubly grateful that you are homeschooling your children.

There is much more to this little book than many young, aspiring teachers realize. John Dewey had some great ideas and most were discussed in the first several chapters in very vague terms. On the surface, they seem fine and good. But in chapter 7, Progressive Organization of Subject Matter, the pragmatic, materialist philosophy behind his educational ideas is explained more clearly. It is very alarming to those of us who still believe that unchangeable truth exists-that some things are just plain wrong and will always be wrong. Murder is never, ever right. Neither is rape or child molestation. Mr. Dewey propagated a philosophy in our schools that taught a whole generation of children otherwise.

John Dewey was highly influenced by Darwinism. He was a materialist and relied upon the scientific method to find "truth." Actually, he didn't believe in universal, unchanging truth. Instead, he believed that what may be true for me at a given moment can change as new experiences occur and I discover new "truths." He thought that the purpose of education was to denounce the idea that universal, unchanging truths exist and teach children to learn how to adapt to their environment by giving them many and varied experiences. Some of us may call this "situation ethics." Thus, the teaching of history should only be taught as it relates to today's issues. Materialists believe that humans are evolving and so we are becoming more intelligent. Therefore, past ideas can't help us very much. Look to the present and how to adapt and survive in our environment now. After all, we are just higher forms of animals.

This may not seem important to some of us, but if we take these ideas to their logical end, a child molester thinks his abominable acts are beautiful in his own mind, therefore they are. I mean, who are we to judge him and tell him what is right? After all, right and wrong are unknowable. If someone murders someone else because it is just and good in his mind, then it is - at least for that person. Society may punish him today, because the community frowns upon it; but if the next generation eventually decides it is okay, then the purpose of the schools is to teach the children to be okay with it. Adaptation is key.

This philosophy swept our school system and the results have been devastating. If we can't measure and observe it, it is useless to us and not worth studying. Character and virtue are no longer taught in the schools because who has the right to decide what that is? Children are subjected to a disintegrated sequence of unrelated activities, and our young people are the least educated in the history of the world. As a result, more people are purposeless and depressed than ever before. Justice hinges upon the whims of our present society and changes as we change. In fact, the only thing that is unchanging is Change. Since truth and goodness and beauty only exist in our minds they can be whatever we wish them to be.

The previous generations did not believe this bunk. But our present generation does. And if you believe this stuff, then you are living proof that his experiment worked. Now you know why. Thank John Dewey.

one step at a time...

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1 comment:

  1. Love this! This has been on my wish list to read at some point. Interesting how different philosophies always point to an absolute, in this case change, even when they rebel against absolutes or specifically deny one. Thanks for this review.