(This is continued from Part One, the last article posted here.)
At the time Mr. Cooley was teaching, big business was expanding in America as it had nowhere else in all of history. Cooley died the same year (1929) that the infamous stock market crash deflated what had become a monstrously inflated stock market and economy, and which gave birth to the Great Depression. Accordingly, Mr. Cooley managed to avoid the consequences of much of his philosophy.
From the 1880s to 1929, American business expanded at a remarkable rate. The inventiveness and creativity of the times had been given focus and muscle through the growth of scientific knowledge. No less than the invention of the automobile, the phone, the airplane, and electric light all transformed “civilized” existence for hundreds of millions of people in a few quick decades. Suddenly, far was no longer far, and it was possible to control a business that embraced a vast area. Work hours, with the use of electric light and “shifts” within the factory system, could be expanded to 24/7.
Suddenly, big business was the new king of the hill we call civilization. And big business needs cheap labor to keep profits high.
Big business never required many highly educated employees. Education (true education) gives people ideas, makes them think, makes them elevate their own sense of their relative value in the scheme of things. And big business wanted nothing of the sort. Not then…and not today. Oh, each business needs a few “thinkers” on top to organize and run things. Each successful business needs at least one true “dreamer” who will see into potential futures and develop them (for the company, of course).
No, what big business really needs for the most part, as Henry Ford so “astutely” deduced, is easily controlled automatons. This was true in Ford’s 1920s, and it’s all the more true now. Simple machines that are programmed and built to do a single simple job with quiet expertise, that’s what most businesses thrive on below the management level. Whenever possible and for the past several decades, big business has replaced people with exactly the sort of literal, simple machines I’ve just described. Many people have lost their jobs to such machines, as I’m certain you are aware. Where big business cannot use a machine or computer to do a job, they look for the least-expensive, most easily manipulated and controlled employee. Only the very rare business places a premium on creativity and initiative, and generally only at “the top”.
Who decides in what way your children will be educated? Your government. They determine the standards to be used. And who does the government really serve today? I think we all know the general answer. The government exists largely to serve the needs of two large groups; the government, and big business. And to tell it like it is, there’s not much difference between the two groups as the revolving door of personnel between those groups easily demonstrates.
So an organization (government) determines what will be taught, and how it will be taught, certainly in America and other “civilized” nations. And they essentially work for and closely with another organization, big business. This is particularly disastrous in America, where (as President Coolidge said in the 1920s), the business of America IS business, a quote I’m sure that our friend Mr. Cooley approved of with a sage nod. (In the same speech, Coolidge followed with an explanation of why this is wrong, but no one ever quotes the rest of the speech.)
Is it really much of a stretch that education, as it is today designed, is so designed to serve first and foremost the needs of big business? Is this really debatable anymore? And what are the needs of big business? As earlier described – a very small number of creative and organizationally gifted people, and a very large number of cheap laborers or machines to replace them.
If you doubt any of this, take a few hours to find out what was taught to the average student 100 years ago, and compare it to today’s education. Why, President George W. Bush stated it clearly, did he not? Mathematics and science, that’s where the jobs are and those are the areas that America focuses its public education dollars on. Then, why, a person could grow up to be an accountant, or run a cash register, or something like that. They might not have any other real skills, having never been introduced to other options or possibilities. They could no longer read Greek and Latin, as students 100 years ago learned to do. But they could give change at McDonalds.
If you believe that I exaggerate, or that I’m painting a particularly morbid view of the current situation, I would simply ask you to open your eyes and look around.
More to come.
As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.
But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.
In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.
CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)
Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.
Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.
Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.
Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.
Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.
For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.
We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!