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'Enemies of Education,' and those who love us

Charlotte Iserbyt, author of The Deliberate Dumbing-Down of America
Charlotte Iserbyt, author of The Deliberate Dumbing-Down of America
Charlotte Iserbyt

In the event you haven’t been warned about me yet, I’ll be up-front about it: I’m an Enemy of Education.

Ominous term, ain’t it? Coming from the education bureaucracy and its sycophants in the mainstream media, however, it’s almost like Sheila Jackson Lee chiding her Republican colleagues for failing to listen to their constituents.

An “Enemy of Education,” you see, isn’t someone who wants to see your children grow up stupid, unqualified and mentally unable to work anywhere other than the Big Blue Target. We’re very much the opposite, actually.

“Enemies of Education,” you see, are those of us out here who dare to question the wisdom of the administrators and bureaucrats who run public education these days. We “Enemies of Education” have the audacity to demand proof and accountability.

Most importantly, we threaten the jobs of those administrators and bureaucrats. That’s why it’s so important for them to attach a negative label such as “Enemy” to us.

I first had the term pasted on me 12 years ago, when as the result of some hanky-panky in a local school board election I began looking into what is actually involved with “education reform.” I eventually traced the roots of that concept all the way back to the first half of the last century, to social scientists who had this notion that by taking control of public education, they could “create” the kind of society they thought humankind needed.

It’s worked, in that they have indeed fundamentally impacted and molded society. It’s failed miserably, in that what they’ve created is a society which is dysfunctional, suicidal, intentionally ignorant, lazy, faithless and thuggish.

The reason it’s been necessary for the education establishment to pin that “Enemies” label on folks like myself is actually pretty simple: we threaten their livelihood.

To use another analogy: if you break your finger and go to the doctor to have it set, and instead of setting the finger he breaks another and sets it, would you go back to that doctor? Maybe once – but if he breaks a third finger and still doesn’t fix the first one, you’re going to go hunting a malpractice attorney.

Those who run public education in the United States and Texas have been involved in educational malpractice for a half-century—yet society keeps going back to them to “fix” the problem.

Perhaps the best source I ever uncovered which illustrates this is The Deliberate Dumbing-Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyt (available online for free at Iserbyt was an official with the U.S. Department of Education when it started up in 1968, and when she realized what was going on, blew the whistle on the real purpose of “education reform.”
“Education reform” isn’t about improving education – it’s about molding society and providing perpetual job security for education bureaucrats.

That first wave of “education reform” in the late 1960s, for example, was termed “Mastery Learning.” It helped our public education systems in our inner cities become so atrocious that it helped create “white flight” to the suburbs, and turned our inner cities into war zones.

Nonplussed, the bureaucrats decided that “education reform” was needed. Politicians threw gobs of money at it, the bureaucrats re-named their system “Outcome-Based Education,” and charged right back in.

Again, it failed miserably. SAT and ACT scores plummeted to such dismal levels nationwide that the college-testing organizations had to “recenter” test results to keep the scores from looking too bad. An explosion began in the public-education industry as hundreds and later thousands of junior colleges expanded their traditional roles, turning from schools primarily dedicated to trades and crafts to schools which could remediate basic educational skills like Math and English.

Wave after wave of “education reform” has followed. Every one has failed educationally but succeeded wonderfully at raking in the big bucks. Marc Tucker’s “New Standards” of the 1990s, for example, led to the creation of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and a massive buy-in by Big Business. It also led to the 33 percent dropout rate and No. 48 in the nation ranking Texas enjoys today.

We “Enemies of Education” often come across as a contentious lot, I’ll admit. Many of us are religious sorts, most often affiliated with fundamentalist elements. I’m an agnostic myself, but we’re allies on a lot of education issues, and I have to credit them with some brilliant investigative skills.
But while we “Enemies” can tell you all day about the scurrilous things the education bureaucrats are up to, the best thing we can do is to point you in the right direction and let you uncover the facts for yourself.

Then you can become an “Enemy of Education,” too.


  • Donald Johnson 5 years ago

    I managed to survive as a subversive element within schools up until last year when administrators in Alief finally decided they'd compiled enough remonstrances on me to warrant my dismissal. Never mind the fact that in a world geography department of six, my students consistently scored higher than four of my colleagues and, I suspect, higher on the history TAKS as well. My "sin" was in giving homework, demanding students to work and participate in class, and preaching against conventional wisdom. For such iniquities, I am to be banished from public education permanently.

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