Every Twelve Years: A Review of the Book Saving K-12 (Part Two)

Last time I presented some of the background about why I enjoyed Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book Saving K-12: A Citizens Guide to Improving Public Education. In this post, I will present a few examples.

Giving the background on a topic is easy. Choosing examples on that topic when there are so many within one book, is not easy.

“The Education Establishment has spent 100 years making public schools dumber,” Price writes. Ouch. He explains:

That’s a common impression which, after years of research, I could finally explain. John Dewey and his colleagues were in love with social engineering. In devotion to this passion, they were willing to throw almost everything else overboard.

Price writes that the “two most challenging questions in education are: why do public schools settle for so much mediocrity and inefficiency; and how can we fix the situation?”

Mediocrity? Here’s Price:

Please note, my harsh judgment of the public schools is not something I dreamed up. You hear about it in the media every day. The U.S. has 50 million functional illiterates (an unforgivable failure by self-proclaimed experts).

Our students don’t compete well on international tests. A brainy guy like Bill Gates studied the public schools and said, you know what, the schools are so bad they are a threat to the country’s future! In fact, Gates merely repeated what a huge governmental commission concluded in 1983 (the famous Nation at Risk report).

In part one I noted my weariness with the failure of the national school reform movement. This is from Bruce Deitrick Price:

If you look back, you can find that many smart, sensible people have been writing laments and alarms about public schools for a long time. The decade 1948-1958 witnessed the publication of at least 10 major books with titles such as Retreat from Learning, Quackery in the Public Schools, Educational Wastelands, and Why Johnny Can’t Read.

“So, we can take it as stipulated,” Price writes, “that the nation’s public schools ran wildly off the tracks, starting a long time ago.”

Are you depressed yet?

In the first two chapters, you’ll read:

1) Culture Wars

“American children wander forlornly in an alien landscape they know little about and understand less.”

2) Reading Wars

“The Education Establishment favors the theories and methods that lead to bad results, and this is most blatantly so in reading…. But why? The short answer, I believe, is because John Dewey and his followers were far-left ideologues. They thought leveling was a good plan.”

So much of the school reform movement’s commentary and analysis amounts to a blah blah blah aimed at not overly offending the educational BLOB. Those writers can then still seem friendly to a system that is not friendly to Western Civilization.

In chapter 6, Price brilliantly compares Common Core with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) — both of which, he writes, are “bad to the bone.” “Here are ten descriptions that apply equally to Obamacare and Common Core” (I have only listed the headings):

  1. Huge Federal Power Grab
  2. Not a Response to Popular Demand
  3. Incomprehensible by Design.
  4. Public Excluded from Legislative Process
  5. Dishonest Marketing
  6. Media Complicit
  7. Very Expensive and Would Get More So
  8. Fundamental Transformation
  9. Totalitarian Intent
  10. Instant Train Wreck

In chapter 7 Price writes:

Take care of basic skills and basic knowledge, and everything else will fall into place. Unfortunately, our Education Establishment has spent decades building a fact-free school. Kids are kept busy all day but they are not expected to learn a lot.

Math. History. Methods. Common Core. Price covers a lot of ground in 180 pages. In the “About the Author” section at the end of the book, one of the endorsements reads “Bruce Price is one of the 10 people in the country who can explain what’s going on in education.”

Lenin asked his famous question in 1901: “What is to be done?”

Today in education, that question remains as hot and as urgent as an oncoming typhoon.

Oh, if Americans would realize the urgency. This book is about saving taxpayer funded schools. Every year marks the end of the 12 years another group of kids has spent going from 1st grade through 12th.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s book is worth buying by those who appreciate reading the work of someone who doesn’t pull his punches. Click here for Amazon.com‘s page on Saving K-12.