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So, You Want to be an "Education" Candidate

The Resignation of a Schoolteacher








By Beverly Eakman
April 15, 2004

All Americans - the President included - are now reaping the results of 40 years of wrongheaded education policies, mostly based on the theories of psychology instead of on sound pedagogical principles. Take, for example, the President�s Tuesday night televised press conference [April 13, 2004].

The press corps should have been ashamed with its performance, and so should have the American viewing audience. Correspondents for CBS, ABC, The Washington Post, and numerous others endlessly repeated the same self-serving questions, asking the President whether he felt personally responsible for 9/11, if he thought he personally ought to apologize for the carnage, whether he felt he personally made mistakes, and on and on. In other words, they conducted a personal attack on the President that had virtually nothing to do with his opening remarks, his thinking on the topic at hand, or the progress of the War on Terror.

The 9/11 Commission hearings have scarcely been less embarrassing, with the Democrats competing to outdo each other in laying the blame for the attacks at the President�s feet rather than seeking legitimate answers as to where this nation�s vulnerabilities exist in intelligence-gathering operations. As with the press conference, the point of the exercise is to score political points with the public in boosting a liberal Democratic candidate in the upcoming election.

Neither the press corps nor the Commission is after truth but, rather, engaging in a �get Bush� campaign that is succeeding among certain portions of the population. Part of the reason, of course, lies in the fact that the leftists have been allowed to dominate the media, which has in turn managed to accumulate such vast resources over the period following the Second World War that it would take a gargantuan, coordinated effort now to achieve any balance.

But education is a large factor, too. Schools have progressively (no pun intended) turned out young people who �feel� instead of think. Oh, there are courses that pretend to highlight �critical thinking� skills. But most emphasize everything but. Textbooks leave out important historical context. Class discussions lead students to reach conclusions with their gut instead of with their brain.

Pupils are not encouraged to consider actual facts in solving problems but, rather, to focus on how they, or others, feel in their various circumstances. Courses in logic and rhetoric are entirely absent from most secondary school classrooms, and often from college course work as well. Elementary and secondary school pupils are goaded into �getting involved� by protesting and demonstrating for or against causes they know nothing about, but those which the teacher (or, more accurately, the teacher union) supports. Sometimes such activity is even carried out under the umbrella of �community service requirements,� for which the student gets academic credit.

The upshot is that these students-turned-adults now fail to discern any relationship between cause and effect. They typically don�t think in terms of long-term consequences, but in short-term ones - like the next election.

An April 14 Wall Street Journal editorial asks: �How could it be that the most important issue emerging from an inquiry into undeniable intelligence failures, at the time of utmost national peril, was the way the victim�s families reacted to the [9/11 Commission] hearings?�

The answer is that 40 years of what educators� jargon referred to as �affective education� has conditioned today�s adults to focus on the faces of tearful victims� families (gut reactions carefully nurtured by the press) while ignoring the more difficult, long-term issues surrounding offensive and defensive strategy. Ever since Watergate and the Vietnam War, pupils have also been trained to blame America first and to seek a scapegoat among their own leaders. School initiatives like �conflict resolution� have taught young learners to view everyone as moral equivalents, so it should come as no surprise when President Bush is viewed as a scoundrel equal to Osama bin Laden in the 9/11 attacks, or that the President is condemned as an aggressor in stopping Saddam Hussein before someone like Iraq�s �Dr. Germ� can come up with a way to inflict a massive epidemic upon the American populace.

You can bet that classroom discussions on the invasion of Iraq will never be permitted to get into the possibilities surrounding such an awful outcome; rather, the conversation will revolve around �American imperialism,� �Iraqi oil and America�s energy needs,� and �peace through the United Nations,� its track record notwithstanding.

Our forebears had minimal trouble understanding the threat Germany and Japan posed once we and our allies were attacked and news of German and Japanese atrocities had surfaced. But there has been a tremendous shift in the American psyche today, especially among young adults, whose schools typically have placed less emphasis on constitutional principles about national sovereignty and tenets alluding to self- and national defense. Today, victimology comes first, and everything else is secondary.

As the campaign rhetoric picks up in the wake of the Senator John Kerry�s presumptive Democratic primary win, it seems to me that the predominantly liberal media, Hollywood, and of course the Democratic Party are much more interested in �getting� Bush than Osama bin Laden. Facts are of little account in the process of assuring a liberal sweep in the coming election.

�Memo warned of bin Laden threats,� screamed one recent Dallas Morning News headline. This was only one of many unabashed mouthpieces for the Democratic Party citing a now-declassified August 6, 2001, one-page missive from the CIA. Once the reader gets into the actual contents of the memo, however, there is nothing to suggest a �where� or a �how� relating to 9/11, only a loosely substantiated confirmation that bin Laden and his fanatical, West-hating al-Qaeda allies would love to see us all dead.

This kind of reporting mimics nearly everything else we�ve seen and heard in recent months - from the highly politicized 9/11 Commission hearings to the press conference Tuesday night. It is interesting to note, however, assertions by former Clinton administration staffers that during the eight years he was in office (as opposed to eight months President Bush had spent in office at the time), Bill Clinton was �obsessed� with either killing or neutralizing bin Laden.

How odd that most of the public never even heard of bin Laden until 9/11. Now, of course, the liberal press and the Democrats act as if the entire 9/11 disaster was the fault of President Bush, sometimes going so far as to suggest that he ordered it directly. They figure the public has forgotten the Democrats� ongoing endeavor since the Watergate era to strip the CIA of its intelligence capabilities, undermine and under-fund the military, and introduce politicized nonsense into our armed services.

I have a mental cartoon that keeps going around in my head as I listen to the Democrats pontificate on what President Bush could have, or should have, done to pre-empt 9/11. I picture the entire cities of Washington and New York engulfed in rubble, and a couple of lone sign-toting Democratic lobbyists making their way out of the muck and ashes. The signs read: �Gay rights in the military!�

Absolutely nothing deters the Democrats from their pet agendas, whether it�s gay rights, abortion, environmental extremism, universal government health care, raising the minimum wage or something else. No topic is serious enough to be discussed on its own merits. Never do the leftist Democrats proffer a better plan - or for that matter any plan - not even concerning something so basic as the safety of the American people. The Democrats� sole concern is: �get Bush.�

Which, to me, destroys the Democrats� legitimacy on any topic.

I may have some bones to pick with President Bush, for example, on his No Child Left Behind initiative, but I fairly shudder to think how many new attacks we would incur under a President John Kerry.

� 2004 Beverly Eakman - All Rights Reserved

Beverly Eakman is an Educator, 9 years: 1968-1974, 1979-1981. Specialties: English and Literature.

Science Editor, Technical Writer and Editor-in-Chief of official newspaper, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1974-1979. Technical piece, "David, the Bubble Baby," picked up by popular press and turned into a movie starring John Travolta.

Chief speech writer, National Council for Better Education, 1984-1986; for the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Commission on the Bicentennial of the US Constitution, 1986-1987; for the Voice of America Director, 1987-1989; and for U.S. Department of Justice, Gerald R. Regier, 1991-1993.

Author: 3 books on education and data-trafficking since 1991, including the internationally acclaimed Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education. Executive Director, National Education Consortium. Website:  








"Pupils are not encouraged to consider actual facts in solving problems but, rather, to focus on how they, or others, feel in their various circumstances. Courses in logic and rhetoric are entirely absent from most secondary school classrooms, and often from college course work as well."