For anybody who is on the fringes of American life in any area, and who is serious about what he believes in, the present public school educational system is a threat to him and his children.
Let me give you an example. If a child is enrolled in a tax-funded high school, he will have to take a course in United States history. This course has been basic to the American indoctrination system for over a century. I have talked about this in the past. Beginning in 1911, the most important textbook in American history was released in its first edition. This was by David Saville Muzzey. That textbook dominated American high schools for the next half century. It was nationalistic. It was anti-Christian. It was pro-federal government. It was written by a political liberal who was also a theologically liberal Protestant. He was not a professor in any university. But in some years, his textbook outsold all other American history textbooks combined. I read that textbook in 1958.
THE TEXTBOOK AS A RECRUITING TOOL
As the testing system has become more comprehensive, especially the testing system for getting into a university, the examination systems have been based on textbooks. Whatever is taught in a textbook in a lower division course in the university is supposed to be used as a guideline for writing a high school level textbook. The examination system is tied to the college level textbook. So, the high school level textbook is supposed to enable the better students to pass an Advanced Placement exam or a CLEP exam, thereby gaining college credit.
The college level textbook has two purposes, but one of them is primary. The primary purpose of the college level textbook in any field is to prepare potential candidates who will go into the field as upper division students. The professors need to fill lots of slots of upper division students, because that enables a few of those students to go to graduate school. The higher the level that a student ascends, the more his presence in a classroom counts for meeting the university’s FTE requirement, which is the full-time employment requirement. A graduate student counts for about three times what a lower division student counts for. So, the more graduate students in the department, the more likely the department is going to get its funding for the next year, or even increase it.
The second purpose of a college-level textbook is to gain public support for whatever the field is. The professors want voters to continue to fund state education. They want voters to have an appreciation for the particular department, because they want tax money to fund the department. There is constant competition for the voters’ money, and university professors want to make certain that they are not excluded for the sake of some other special-interest group’s income.
The two goals are somewhat related, because they focus on a particular department. On the other hand, the two goals are in conflict, because the specialized training necessary to enter the next rung on the ladder of academic specialization is in conflict with presenting the best case to the general public, meaning lower division students who will not major in the field, so that they will continue to have respect for the particular academic field. The specialized training that is necessary to move up the ladder of specialization is in conflict with the broad training necessary to gain political support for more educational funding.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)