"What do I think happened to our schools?"
As I mentioned before I believe the ease with which influence can be applied is the problem. The solution is the reverse. Make the minds of our students strong enough and able enough to reason. Constant vigilance is a price that's demanded, for those that would be free. This is how I feel it happened.
The story starts in 1879, Otto von Bismark, Iron Chancellor, finances a special laboratory at the University of Liebzig to use Psychology to alter the educational patterns of the planet. He hires Wilhelm Wundt to do this work. Wundt teaches that "man is an animal" (False) and that this animal behavior is determined by "genes" (He assumed genes can't be changed. Double False.) and that man evolved from mud (False). Later Wundt becomes known as the "Father of Psychology." This Liebzig laboratory produces many, many graduates, like Catrell 1886 (Picture reading replaces Phonics everywhere.), they come to America and the rest of the world. This is the source of the "Prussian Model" in education. After Freud goes to Paris to study hypnotism and cocain (1882), drug companies like Merck and Parke Davies hire Freud to popularize the use of their drug of choice, cocaine (1884). See Freud's paper, "Uber Coca" (1884) or the full set released by his daughter, "Cocain Papers." (1938)
This is 100 years before a similar popularization of Methylphenidate/Ritalin by Ciba-Gygi/Neuartis which has almost identical pathways in the brain, but the popularization is directed very specifically to kids ages two to seventeen. See CHADD's website. More about CHADD below. Later Freud is hired to popularize "Sex" (1894) as the basic "man is an animal drive" (easy to popularize, but not very true nor useful. The urge toward survival, the urge toward beingness, the urge to be self-determined are all more basic and more useful.) In 1917 Hitler goes to Liebzig. By 1942 Hitler's doctor (T. Morel) is giving Hitler daily injections of methamphetimine for the rest of his life. This drug is known to cause violent behavior and a very cruel addiction. 1890 John D. Rockefeller (A robber baron and "The most hated man in America") buys the University of Chicago and sets up a special laboratory to alter the educational patterns of the planet. He hires John Dewey (1892) from the University of Michigan to do this work. John Dewey is later known as "The leading light" of the educational world. Per the governor of Michigan's web site a few years ago, John Dewey's philosophy was "the student is owned by the state." In one year (I think about 1907) John D. Rockefeller, Jr gives $42,000,000 in direct paymants to teachers and to influence teaching in America. By 1914 he is quoted as saying, "We visualize a population we can mold in our hands." In 1917 he begins to finance Harold Rugg who popularizes the concept of "A Nation of Immigrants" (Imagine you could encourage one of two views of American life, one is "I am proud to be an American with the full rights of a citizen under an enlightened constitution! We are the most powerful nation on Earth. We are the leaders. We are Number one!!! Period!" and the other is, "I am just an immigrant in a strange land. I have no money. I have no rights. I can't speak the language. In 'my country' we wouldn't treat a slave in such a degraded way." Which view would you encourage?).
Rugg also popularizes educational "themes" (in the 1930s) based on 300 selections from Avant-garde publications. John D. Rockefeller, Jr also donated the building for the League of Nations and the current building for the United Nations in New York. In Russia in the 1920s Josef Stalin finances several special laboratories, but one is the Institute of Defectology in Moscow that will change the educational patterns of the world. Stalin hires S. L. Vygotsky to do this work. Vygotsky discovers how to use "themes," "authentic situations" and special teaching practices (reciprical teaching) to provide the totalitarian control of education Stalin desires. In 1934 Stalin "freezes" all educational research in the Soviet Union for 20 years (the rest of his life.) in favor of using only Vygotsky's methods. These methods were introduced into America by Harvard University (see the book "Society and Mind" by S.L. Vygotsky at Amazon.com) and in the last 15 years these materials have dominated the new curriculum materials popularized in the United States.
The published curriculum guidelines for the State of Michigan mentions, "Socio-constructionism" and S. L. Vygotsky as the "leading light" of this new movement. Take a look at Amazon.com to see how popular Vygotsky's works are! Here in Michigan a special test has been used to lead schools into Vygotsky and Stalin's world of "socio-reconstruction." It is called the Proficiency Test and more lately, just the High School Test (HST). The state gives a $2500 scholarship called the Merit Scholorship if you pass (demonstrate an eighth-grade equivalency.) In the 1980s the drug company Ciba-Giegy (Neuartis) "donates" $750,000 to CHADD to popularize the use of Ritalin and other drugs. They also show CHADD how to make money on a continuing basis conducting congresses where "scientific studies" are solicited on how to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with drugs.
The continuing revenue from these congresses provides about half the income for CHADD each year. This is the modern way to finance drug popularization. A long way from giving a struggling Freud a few bucks back in 1884! The way ADD works in schools is like this. The schools firmly believe they are ultra-hungry for funds. The local school board is given a presentation about a new grant (possibly as low as $20,000 USD) that will provide some additional revenue "to help educate kids." The school gets grant funds to provide a psychologist to set up the program. The psychologist "only gets paid if the kids use drugs." Teachers and principals are encouraged to have parents share the responsibility for bad behavior in the classroom and do psychological testing and solve classroom problems by having parents go to their doctors to have the children tested for ADD symptoms. The doctor of course only gets continuing revenue if the child is signed up for the drug program. The child has to have a prescription and be checked once per month (for the rest of their lives) by the doctor. Most doctors find this source of revenue just deliciously irresistable.
I calculated that if a child is put on one of these programs for life, he may go onto social security and thus out of the labor pool. The net cost to the community will be $1 million each. Half lost due to lack of production and half goes to drugs, psychology, and the local doctor. It is estimated there are now 6 million students on these drugs in America. The National Institute of Mental Health has established a goal for 2001 of 10,000,000 kids on these ADD drugs! My local school has about 9 percent of students on this program. 12.5% locally have been diverted to some type of psychological program instead of an academic curriculum. ADD is easily handled by having the child learn attention skills. This can be done in as little as one or two days.
What happened to those SAT scores after 1960? (It probably is just a coincidence. but.... in 1960 Ciba-Gygi patents Ritalin! Did you know that Monsanto patented a substance that has exactly the same chemical formula in 1967? It is a different form of the same molecule and chemically acts a little differently. For example the Mercke Manual rates its lethal dosage as about four times higher than that of Ritalin. That means it is four times less poisonous to humans! Its name is Alachlor and for many years it was a favorite herbicide for the fruit growing industries. Now, back to our story.) In 1947 a psychologist from UCLA, (I can't recall the name) gives a presentation before the United Nations, in the United Nations building donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., saying that psychology must take a greater role and that family values, religious values, and other community values are "neuroses" that must be corrected by psychologists. By 1960 kids had been specifically targeted for a battery of programs and government enabling legislation. Later some of these programs would be called "values clarification programs" (By 1962 Ritalin was being prescribed in Louisiana to kids as young as 2 years of age.)
In 1957 Hermann Flesch writes, "Why Johnney Can't Read." Citing Phonics, or the lack of emphasis on Phonics in public schools as a primary contributor to a falling literacy rate. It should be obvious that falling SAT scores in the 60s was due to something 10 to 13 years or more years earlier. 25 years years later Flesch writes, "Why Johnney Still Can't Read." He cites 137 studies on his desk demonstrating that Phonics is better and none that have shown it to be inferior for teaching reading in America. My point is that this resulted from a well researched and very thoroughly studied negative, political and financial influence on teachers and the educational world. Any beneficial program proposed will certainly meet the same fixed attitudes, the same hidden influences, the same entrenched and well funded negation as did Phonics. (I am very much in favor of Phonics well taught.) Even at the level of my local school board, each positive idea I present is met with, "We have to listen to our educational professionals!"
I guess this is an overview of what I think happened. We will have to wait till another day for your question regarding a proposed solution.
What's your theory?
Leon L. Hulett