“Non dare call it education” by John A. Stormer: a review

The vast majority of American children are educated in public schools. Now, many parents start asking themselves: what’s happening to our schools. Why do schools produce children, who are unable to read, write or calculate, why do schoolchildren risk to be killed in shooting, what are the reasons for dramatic fall of moral between American teenagers.

The book “Non Dare Call It Education” by John A. Stormer was aimed to investigate the adverse events, which take place in the public schools throughout America. The author brings in “horrible examples” of ignorance, illiteracy, criminal activities (including shooting at schools), alcoholism, drug addiction, moral downfall, early pregnancies and other failures inside our educational institutions. Having analyzed statistics, tests data and newspaper reports, witnessing the above stated, the author makes a conclusion, that American educational system appeared in a state of deep crisis, caused by crude educational innovations.

Stormer determines two basic reasons for degeneracy of school system. The first reason is simplification and primitivization of teaching process. For example, no attention is longer paid to correct spelling. Children are encouraged to guess how words are pronounced and written, when they look at the pictures in spite of being taught to read and write the word.

Correct spelling in such approach is said to be a work of computer. Mathematics textbooks teach children, that correct calculation is also not important, because it can be done by computers, so children are tolled to guess of the result, not to count it by themselves[1]. Downfall of students educational level results in downfall of teachers level. Stormer brings an example of Massachusetts’ testing for incoming teachers in 1998, where 56% of candidates failed. In order to help more teachers pass, the State Board of Education had to lower the standards of tests[2].

The second problem with recent educational reforms is that even the smartest children have to undergo manipulative techniques, which change their thinking values. They have to adopt faulty “humanistic” and “universal” values, to become future leaders of “new social order”. Stormer points, that there are many devoted teachers at schools, however, the system of education itself is ill due to government attempts not only to educate, but to change the thoughts and feelings of students to make them “correct”.

The most destructive element of such manipulative changes, as Stormer believes, is undermining of traditional values, resulting in destructive social processes. Comparing textbooks, which were issued 40 years ago and modern ones, the author pointed 12 basic values, which appeared to be undermined, including marriage an family, paternal authority, substitution of situational ethics with absolute terms of good and bad, change of attitude towards national independence and sovereignty.

In chapter 2 he gives an example of Illinois State Board of Education, which gave a test to 11th grade students in Illinois schools with provoking questions about their sexual behavior. The tests caused much public indignation, and the newspapers blamed, that educational bureaucrats were “determined to force their vision of permissive sex education on parents and students – even when the vision conflicts with Illinois law”. However, almost no reaction of authorities followed, and an information was passed, that the Illinois State Board of Education acted under instructions of supreme bodies[3].

Stormer specially notices, that he does not write about a conspiracy, because educational reforms are conducted openly with a declared aim to substitute intellectual development with vocational development. Public schools are substituted with Schools-to-Work. As Henry Hyde a Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee noticed, “Behavior modification is a significant part of restructuring our schools. School children will be trained to be “politically correct,” to be unbiased, to understand diversity, to accept “alternative life-styles..[4].” The modification of school system under Stormer is a systematic action, openly and deliberately conducted by the government to change the entire American society.

The main value of the book is that it attracts attention to the destructive phenomena in our education and provides a good factual summary of such phenomena. Stormer attempts to explain those trends systematically and in a way succeeds. However, he does not provide any strategy of actions to overcome the situation. The book is written from traditional position and attributes all failures to “undermined values” and government efforts, not taking other factors into account, such as massive migration of poorly educated persons or objective factors of social change in the postindustrial era.  Moreover, the book concentrates only on the worst things, not analyzing positive effects of educational reforms, therefore, it appears to be a little overweighted.

References

John A. Stormer (1998), None Dare Call It Education, Florissant MO, Liberty Bell Press
[1] John A. Stormer (1998), None Dare Call It Education, Florissant MO, Liberty Bell Press, p.- 17
[2] John A. Stormer (1998), supra note, p- 21
[3] John A. Stormer (1998), supra note, p-56
[4] John A. Stormer (1998), supra note, p-117