Several days ago I stumbled across a Fox News segment reporting another instance of the government and federal agencies overstepping their bounds. This time the offense took place against a nine-year old girl in a elementary school cafeteria. It appears that in certain regions of the United States, the school system cares more about regaling the agendas of the White House than in teaching the foundational three R’s, reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.
Paul E. Peterson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute shares the following insight: “Americans barely reach the international literacy average set by advanced democracies, according to a report issued by the Educational Testing Service after looking at the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS). Unlike the math and science surveys, the IALS was given to a cross section of adults aged 16 to 65. Despite the high expenditures on education in the United States—and the large numbers of students enrolled in colleges and universities—the United States ranked 12th on the test.
The United States is living on its past. Among the oldest group in the study (those aged 56–65), U.S. prose skills rose to second place. For those attending school in the 1950s, SAT scores reached an all-time high.
As the years go by, the United States slips down the list. Americans educated in the sixties captured a Bronze Medal in literacy, those schooled in the seventies got 5th place in the race. But those schooled in the nineties ranked 14th.” It appears the current Department of Education cares more about counting calories and promoting a “green” world than in keeping the United States educational system competitive with other “advanced democracies.” (Can you imagine a British soldier strolling around the one-room schoolhouse yard, snatching a piece of bread dripping with sorghum from the hands of a young George Washington?)
Instead of focusing on the caloric intake of the colonist children, the one-room schoolhouse schoolmaster taught the necessary subjects to become a successful contributing citizen of a fledgling America and a literate reader of the Bible. In the first installment of this series, I shared a lesson from the New England Primer. In this second part, let’s take a look at another lesson straight out of the textbook that educated early America’s youngsters. For a moment, let’s look over the boyish shoulder of one of our Founding Fathers and peek at his assignment…it’s okay. Just this once.
In one of the reading exercises, our Founders’ learned that “Mr. John Rogers, minister of the gospel in London, was the first martyr in Queen Mary’s reign, and was burnt at Smithfield, February 14, 1554. His wife with nine small children, and one at her breast following him to the stake; with which sorrowful sight he was not in the least daunted, but with wonderful patience died courageously for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The Founders’ pondered and discussed the following Choice Sentences.
- Praying will make us leave sinning, or sinning will make us leave praying.
- Our weakness and inabilities break not the bond of our duties.
- What we are afraid to speak before men, we should be afraid to speak before God.
The early education system focused on teaching wisdom and virtue with a Biblical emphasis, a far cry from today’s NEA standards.
Oh, to return to the one room schoolhouse again.