Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Sowell on education


“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, 1820

In response to the above quote, a friend sent met the following note:

“If the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power is to inform the discretion of the people by education, would not the corruption of education by propogandization be the worst form of abuse of constitutional power?”

Within the past few days Thomas Sowell has published two columns on dumbed-down education – one about K12 and the other about “higher ed.” Excerpts follow – click on the titles to read them in full.

Today’s self-indulgent ‘teachers’

By Thomas Sowell

Recent videos of American children in school singing songs of praise for Barack Obama were a little much, especially for those of us old enough to remember pictures of children singing the praises of dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Mao.

But you don’t need a dictator to make you feel queasy about the manipulation of children.

The mindset that sees children in school as an opportunity for teachers to impose their own notions, instead of developing the child’s ability to think for himself or herself, is a dangerous distortion of education. […]

Unfortunately, the dumbed-down education of previous generations means that many parents today see nothing wrong with their children being manipulated in school, instead of being educated.

The ‘Education’ Mantra

By Thomas Sowell

One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.

One of those words that many people seldom look behind is “education.” But education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling. […]

There are too many other soft courses that allow students to spend years in college without becoming educated in any real sense.

We don’t need more government “investment” to produce more of such “education.” Lofty words like “investment” should not blind us to the ugly reality of political pork barrel spending.