Increasing illiteracy rates and decreasing rates of mastering common knowledge have become highly visible trends within education systems right across North America.
Millennials in particular have been identified as the least educated and most illiterate generation in recent history. However, this is not the fault of that generation, or necessarily of others similarly afflicted by illiteracy and its attendant symptoms. Most of the problem can be blamed on the education systems and the teaching trends followed by most schools across North America.
Moreover it’s not just about ‘what’ is being taught (or not taught), but about ‘how’ it is being taught. Perhaps the most disturbing realization about what has been called ‘progressive education’ is that its teaching methods have been intentionally designed to interfere with and cripple students’ ability to reason. This is no mere accusation, but is the explicit and stated goal of the architects of progressive education.
While for most this is an unthinkable and sinister thing to do to children, to those intent on nurturing compliant and obedient followers incapable of resisting the forces of collectivism, it’s the perfectly appropriate thing to do. It is a practice that has been growing and gaining acceptance within public schools for the better part of the last century. More than any single cause, this practice is responsible for today’s shocking level of illiteracy and for the increasing number of young people who cannot reason objectively or think independently.
At the core of this education crisis sits a teaching philosophy known as Whole Language, commonly recognized as ‘look-say’ when applied as a method of reading instruction. Considered an integral element of ‘progressive education,’ it is far more a system of indoctrination designed to inhibit individualism and to promote the ideologies of collectivism, than it is a system of teaching children how to think and reason independently.
This is done through the use of teaching methods that are anti-conceptual, forcing students to learn on a perceptual level. This leaves them incapable of thinking in abstract terms – making logical connections or of seeing necessary relationships between concepts. We increasingly see the evidence of this in the way irrationality, intolerance, and attempts to avoid critical political discussions have visibly manifested themselves in the body politic.
While most see the debate centered around teaching reading as merely the ‘look-say’ method versus phonics, that’s just the tip of the educational crisis.
‘Whole Language’ has been known over the years by a myriad of differing terms, interchangeably used to disguise the high illiteracy rates resulting from this approach. Among others, they include: universal instruction, visual method, look-say, whole word, word method, sight reading, top-down, whole-to-part, top-to-bottom, real books, Aldine method, Scott-Foresman method, psycholinguistics, the alternative approach, and of course, child-centered learning.
The real tragedy concerning the teaching of reading is that the effective method of imparting these fundamental skills has been known about and practiced long before the social engineers set upon their sinister plans to cripple the independent minds of the nation’s students. That method has always been called phonics. It was, and still is, the way to teach reading in a time tested manner proven to be Just Right.
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