Heroin addicts stand frozen in weird awkward postures. They lean far to one side so you’re sure they’ll topple. They’re oblivious to this strange balancing act, nor do they know you are watching and wondering how they stay on their feet. This distinctive behavior tells you the person is a heroin addict. But when they come down from the high, they appear ordinary. They might hold a job. They can break into homes searching for money to buy the next high.
You might spend 10 years as a heroin junkie, maybe even be a famous musician. But when people meet you, they don’t necessarily detect any of this. They could say, “I didn’t know,” and be telling the truth. All that changed with krokodil.
A few years ago, when heroin from Afghanistan became scarce, Russian junkies improvised a new drug by dissolving codeine pills in alcohol, gasoline, iodine, lighter fluid, or other household chemicals. The junkies inject this toxic liquid into their veins. It causes gangrene. The skin darkens and turns rough, like the skin of a crocodile. Soon, addicts have scary wounds like those from frostbite and flesh-eating bacteria. Fingers fall off. Bones and ligaments are exposed. Life expectancy for krokodil addicts is two years.
The point is, nothing is secret about krokodil. It announces that you are destroying your body. In addition to grotesque physical changes, there is cognitive damage: loss of concentration, memory, and balance. Almost everyone knows at a glance, certainly the addicts and anyone close to them. Nobody can say: “I didn’t know.”
Hearing about this drug can make us reflect on how much it’s like education in many public schools. The kids can’t read, can’t multiply and divide, don’t learn any basic facts. You could interact with these kids for 20 minutes and determine that no education is taking place. It’s as obvious as krokodil.
Nobody can honestly say they don’t know. When we read in the newspapers that two-thirds of American schoolchildren read at a level “below proficient,” that’s the equivalent of seeing a naked bone exposed in someone’s arm. At least, it should be, unless people are determined for whatever reasons to be blind.
Why do Russian addicts take this brutally destructive drug? Whatever the motive, they can’t say they didn’t see the end coming. The wounds are like flags from hell, signaling doom.
But what about our schools? Why do they keep delivering the same brutally destructive “drugs,” a word we can properly apply to destructive ideas and methods.
Circa 1927 Dr. Samuel Orton studied kids who were learning to read with sight-words, the quintessential killer method. Orton found that children remained illiterate and were psychologically damaged. He published his research in a professional journal. The top people in education must have seen his article; but they went right ahead with their pseudo-science, pushing it into as many schools as they could, starting about 1931. In a few years illiteracy was increasing; the rate of “dyslexia” was jumping off the charts. The symptom they called dyslexia was a lot like having your fingers fall off. You knew, and anyone observing you knew, the method wasn’t working. But the destruction was allowed to worsen until 1955 when Rudolf Flesch explained the murky madness. His Johnny-can’t-read bestseller sold 8 million copies; the whole country was talking about it. Flesch explained why you can’t use sight-words to teach a phonetic language. But the self-appointed experts wouldn’t listen, not about sight-words or any of their other dysfunctional methods.
The addicts, as one can think of the people in control of the schools, insisted on injecting more sight-words into the schools. Sometimes this method was called Look say, Whole Word, memory method, Whole Language--all at heart the same thing. Official dogma in America for 75 years was that children should not learn about the alphabet and the sounds. Educationally speaking, this is as dumb as injecting codeine and gasoline into your veins.
It shouldn’t be possible for these reckless educators to escape blame for what they did. Millions of people in America cannot read. They were never taught to read. In essence, they were specifically kept from reading. So we ended up with 50 million functionally illiterates.
You might object that the top education people should be called dealers, not addicts. Yes, they’re pushers, so that term is appropriate. But the top education people are addicts in the sense of being addicted to their own theories and ideological goals. Namely, children should be kept more or less the same. How better than to keep them semi-literate and largely ignorant?
It’s an all-consuming addiction. The Education Establishment assumes socialist John Dewey was correct. They injected his drug in themselves and now they want to inject it in you. That’s our krokodil.
CODA: J.P. Morgan is settling the Bernie Madoff scandal by paying almost $2 billion. According to LA Times, “Financial institutions are required by law to have sufficient checks in place to detect questionable transactions and report them to the government.” Blindness is not a legal option, we might say. The dumbing down, in the literacy area alone, is manifest to everyone. So why isn’t Congress, for one example, required “to detect questionable transactions” and stop them? Why are they allowed to pretend that they are blind?
SHORT VIDEO: "Education as Neurotoxin"
ARTICLE: "Sight Words: The Big Stupid"
ARTICLE: "The Assault on Math"