Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (The more that changes, the more it’s the same thing.)
— French proverb
In part a review of The Educator & the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation by Anthony Cody. (New York, Garn Press, 2014. 199 pages, no index. $15.30 from abebooks.com)
By Franklin Sanders
Anthony Cody doesn’t like the Common Core. I can’t say I blame him. This “curriculum” will utterly transform education and its goals, standardizing students even more straitly than public education already homogenizes them. It will also make money — lots of money. Maybe that’s why, as Mr. Cody discovered, the Gates Foundation is its driving force. If it succeeds, Common Core will generating billions in revenue for the corporations who do the centralizing, standardizing, and digitizing of American education.
But such programs don’t stop with their affect on students and pocketbooks. Cody believes Common Core will strip teachers of independence and initiative and worsen public education. (He also believes it will destroy teacher unions and usurp local control of education.) Of course, Mr. Cody is right, if historically uninformed.
[Please read Marceaux, ‘illegals,’ libertarians slip past mysterious gap in driver license law. — DJT]
Common Core is actually nothing new. It is merely the newest chapter in the oligarchs’ 175 year-old plan to produce by public education)a docile and heavily consuming middle class (in America, everybody is middle class). The Boston elite began this process about 1840, importing the Prussian educational model. And this has always been accomplished the same way — by private foundation money through private education organizations and government, overriding all local teacher, parent, and local government control. Bill Gates is doing nothing new. He is simply continuing a long American tradition of oligarchical social engineering by education.
Common Core’s principles
What are the tenets of Common Core? Mr. Cody deftly sums them up:
➤ Data Collection. “Quantitative data — especially test scores — would allow the education system to measure success and failure for the first time.” p. 7
➤ Competition. “There needs to be market-style competition in education, both between schools and within them.” p. 7.
➤ Kill teacher’s unions. Teacher unions and due process restrict the ability of managers to fire [teachers] who are ineffective, so both should be weakened or eliminated. P. 7.
➤ Centralize control. “Democratically elected school boards are often an obstacle to sustained reform.” P. 7
Mr. Cody also neatly describes the Gates Foundations’ tactics. Tuck these away in your brain, because the Oligarchy has used these same tactics to impose its will for over 150 years. These methods are applied across a host of oligarchy goals, whether the issue is the environmental movement and global warming, international trade, financial and economic issues, or cultural, social, and moral change. And the change agents are always oligarch-funded foundations that operate under the self-proclaimed, self-righteous purple toga of purely philanthropic public interest.
Don’t you dare question their motives!
➤ Funding. Funding through private, tax-free foundations founds the movement. Foundation funding literally spawned and fed the environmental movement in 1960s and early 1970s. By 1988 the top 30 US eco-organizations had budgets totaling over $1.1 billion, most of that foundation money.1 They threw in billions, virtually unlimited money, and then drew in government money, as explained below.
➤ Certification. “Research by various think tanks result[s] in reports that support Gates’ views. These reports are used in education policy settings, and the authors are flown around the country to testify before law makers in support of favored reforms.” P. 7. This process is certification. It slaps the “Expert” stamp on both the policy and its advocate, the report writer. This is often labeled “the prestigious fill-in-the-blank Foundation”, so that questioning its authority is cut off from the beginning. Their authority has been certified so as to place it beyond question.
➤ The Pincers Movement: Pressure from Below Mr. Cody cites this as “Advocacy by ‘grassroots’ groups willing to support the Gates agenda.” There are dozens of such groups, which organize in various constituencies. For example, when a bill was brought up in the Indiana State Legislature that would gut due process and seniority protections for educators, a Gates’ funded group called Teach Plus provided teachers to testify in support at the state capital.” P. 7. Usually foundation money is used to start and fund ”grassroots” groups.
➤ The Pinchers Movement: Mould Public Opinion “Sponsor[s] media outlets and programming to support the cause of Gates-style reform. This includes [documentaries] Waiting for Superman and Education Nation, but also extends to funding news outlets like PBS Newshour and National Public Radio.” P. 7. In other words, they mould public opinion by funding. Good old propaganda, folks.
➤ The Pinchers Movement: Pressure from Above The Oligarchy captures government policy and government spending. “[The Gates Foundation supports] direct influence on the U.S. Department of Education, through which [it] has been able to leverage federal expenditures in education in line with Gates’ priorities. After [placing] several high ranked Gates Foundation officials at the Department of Education in 2009 [Note the revolving door – FS], the competitive grant program known as Race to the Top was born. The criteria for judging these applications w[ere] aligned with Gates’ priorities, and the Gates Foundation provided assistance to states willing to sign a memorandum of understanding in support of the Common Core standards.” P. 7-8. In other words, first they co-opted the federal government, then they bribed state governments to impose their policy.
➤ Bribes to Professional Organizations for Compliance More of the “certification” tactic. “Grants for implement[ing] reforms such as Common Core standards by professional organizations like ASCD . . . the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and even teacher unions, which have received millions for this purpose. Such grants pay for active compliance with reforms, and rob these organizations of their ability to be independent or critical…The Gates Foundation has spent more than $200 million [to create and promote] the Common Cord standards, distributed to scores of organizations.” P. 8. Those who go along with the agenda receive big grants; those who oppose the agenda do not. Fund & certify your friends, starve and discredit your opponents.
The wrong conclusion
Mr. Cody writes, “This sort of focused, agenda-driven advocacy is new to the field of education. . . The Gates Foundation has created an unprecedented role for philanthropy as the central driver pushing forward public policy in education.” (Emphasis added) P. 8 & 9.
Gates’ efforts are absolutely not new or unprecedented. As I will show you, a similar agenda, funded by similar foundations, with similar goals of indoctrination, standardization, and data collection, was launched before the War for Southern Independence and accelerated after that War. It has been steadily working ever since. I understand Mr. Cody’s outrage that a private (if very rich) individual is seizing control of public education by his money. I share his outrage that the result will damage liberty, education, and children. However, absolutely none of this is new. None of it. And that increases the tragedy, and darkens it.
What Mr. Cody’s outrage grasps but cannot swallow, is that there is no democracy in the United States, and certainly not in education. He quotes a 2014 paper, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” by Gilens and Page:
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” P. 9
Read it again. The above explains why you get the same government policies no matter which party is elected or how great the public’s opposition, and why official government policies are always those the Elite promotes.
Purpose of Common Core
Let’s boil this down. What is Common Core’s central purpose? To harvest education for the Elite. To centralize, standardize, and digitize education and the student. To funnel all the money now controlled and spent locally on education into the coffers of those corporations with lavish influence in Washington. And to produce a different student product: computerization will dehumanize and destroy education, reducing it finally to bare minimum vocational training.
Think of American Education as an unplowed field. The Gates Foundation is the corporate farm that has taken possession of the field through its government influence. Common Core is the farming equipment. With Common Core, humans will be farmed educationally. We are already farmed healthily through actual Big-Ag and the medical-pharmaceutical industry.
Now Americans will be farmed educationally. Common Core is just another loathsome form of human farming. We and our children, dear friends, are the sadly ignorant and uneducated seeds raised to stunted crops solely to enrich and empower those behind Common Core. God have mercy on us.
Harvesting education & humans
In the May 2015 Moneychanger I interviewed Catherine Fitts about the Elite’s plans for education and healthcare. She says,
“Two of the [local economy’s] functions that still generate a lot of money are education and healthcare. *** Those two areas are two of the last parts of the economy that haven’t been centralized. However, a tapeworm is always hungry. It keeps eating till there’s nothing left.
“Now if you can standardize healthcare treatment and standardize K-12 education curriculum and testing and require everything be digitized into an online system, you capture a complete flow of all data. You have a platform that allows you to re-engineer everything into software and online systems that also re-engineer most of the labor out of the process. *** That means *** software developers and online systems [can] re-engineer most of the equity out of the local community and into corporations. This depends on radically reducing labor costs. You only need make sure that the humans get standardized ***. [I]f you can set the tests and the curriculum exactly the same in all 50 states with Common Core federal mandates, life becomes much easier for the software developers and online systems. ***
“You start with standardized testing and curriculum, but then you add vouchers and attach a Common Core curriculum requirement to it. It is the same corporate takeover of education that we’ve seen in healthcare.
“All this is simply a means to streamline equity into corporate ownership and make everything digitally accessed and controlled. However, the reality is, you don’t standardize human beings to make life easy for machines. . . . That means education will be rotten and healthcare will be rotten, because the fundamental premise that this kind of centralization and standardization works with human beings is absolutely insane.’
Public education real and imagined
Mr. Cody imagines that “public schools have been an institution under mostly democratic control.”2 With all due respect, nothing could be further from the truth. From its very beginning in New England, Elites (“oligarchs”) have imposed compulsory public education from the top down to remake sloppy, unpredictable mankind into the image they desire. In modern times local school boards have over and over been proven powerless to maintain local control or stand before the onslaughts of federal education policy or its teaching fads. Education policy is set in Washington and New York, not in Frog Bump, Utah. Just ask any ex-school board member how much success they had fighting sex or drug education or any number of other diktats from on high.
My parents were teachers. I grew up around teachers. I know how devoted teachers can be to their student’s welfare. However, with all due respect to all sincere teachers, the failure of education in the United States is merely another failure of socialism. It is not education that has failed, but public education.
What’s wrong is not one new outrage, but the entire system of compulsory public education itself.
Without history we understand nothing
I turn to John Taylor Gatto’s indispensable and irreplaceable Underground History of American Education. Everyone ought to undertake this extraordinary reading adventure. However, many years before I knew about Gatto I had already met and learned from the great educator Samuel L. Blumenfeld (1927-2015) who was also a dedicated historian of education. His books are still available at http://www.howtotutor.com.
In Western civilization the classical idea of education was to teach the student to lead a “good life.” To be able not merely to read or write, but to discern good from evil, beauty from ugliness, and truth from falsehood, and to live out the truth. Public education, on the other hand never aimed at any such ideal, and in the last five decades has become no more than vocational training. I include college in that transformation. The liberal education is dead. Public education has also killed the ability to think independently and critically.
The public education model imported by Massachusetts Brahmins like Orestes Brownson and Horace Mann in the 1840s was Prussian, and totalitarian from the outset. It unabashedly aimed not at classical education, but at training and indoctrinating children as useful, “good” members of the state.3 Here’s what Prussia wanted centralized schooling to deliver:
➤ “Obedient soldiers to the army
➤ “Obedient workers for mines, factories, and farms.
➤ “Well-subordinated civil servants . . .
➤ “Well subordinated clerks for industry
➤ “Citizens who thought alike on most issues
➤ “National uniformity in thought, word, and deed.”4
More it changes, more it’s the same
From its earliest beginnings, there has been no shred of democracy in public education. It has always been a scheme by some elite — Boston Brahmins or Seattle Gateses — to indoctrinate children according to its own model. Generally it clothes itself in the high-moral toga of up-lift or do-gooding or helping the poor or some other hypocritical nonsense. After the War for Southern Independence, Big Money through foundations, foundation money, and government tried to impose its version of public education to produce a docile and heavy-consuming working class.
Is public education socialist and totalitarian? What else can you call a system based on compulsion, and compulsion of the vilest kind, smashing the sacred bond between parents and children?
No conspiracy theory is necessary to see the free man’s objection: Public education will teach according to some standard, but whose? Who will pick the curriculum? Who will set its goals? Whoever does this has stolen the place of parents, and destroyed their ability to raise up their own children according to their own conscience. Public education is the death of self-government.
If that’s not socialist and totalitarian, I’ll eat my hammer and sickle.
Now below you will find the story of just one man and one Oligarch’s foundation, pursuing the same goals as Bill Gates, over a century ago.
Remolding the South
In 1867 after the War Between the States Massachusetts-born merchant banker & financier George Peabody5 founded the Peabody Education Fund to promote “intellectual, moral, and industrial education in the most destitute portion of the Southern States.”6 Between the time the fund was born and terminated in 1898, it distributed $2,500,000, or in gold terms, 120,938 ounces.7
The object of the Radical Republicans in Reconstruction was to destroy Southern culture and Southern society, which had been based on principles of classical education. Reconstruction meant re-education. Before the War there was no compulsory education in the South, yet also little illiteracy.8 There was an abundance of private grammar schools and every town of any note had a female academy or college. Memphis had five colleges and a medical college. The war destroyed those schools and scattered teachers and professors. From Washington the Radical Republicans imposed the compulsory New England system on the South using foundation and government money and government force.
“No former Confederate state could re-enter the Union until it had added a public, tax-supported education system clause to its new post-war constitution. Several Southern states refused to accept such a clause. They understood that it meant a hostile world-view would be forced upon their children. But, eventually, all the “rebel” states acquiesced. Otherwise, they would have remained territories forever.”9
Jabez L.M. Curry
Enter Alabamian Jabez Lafayette Monroe Curry (1825-1903). Curry was a lawyer, Baptist minister, college president, diplomat, member of the US and Confederate congresses, Confederate combat officer, and a prolific writer and orator. He wrote uncounted essays and pamphlets and speeches against centralization and for local rights and local self-government. Yet tragically, in the end he joined and furthered that very oppression and centralization he despised.
After an illustrious career as a politician before and during the war, Curry entered the Confederate Army and fought as a scout under Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Shortly before the war ended, his wife died. He went home to Talladega, 40 years old, physically and mentally exhausted, and a widower with two little children. On 30 May 1865 he was arrested on trumped up charges of rebellion. He went to Washington, saw President Johnson whom he had known before the war in the U.S. congress, and obtained a pardon. But it left him a non-citizen, barred from voting, politics, practicing law, or speaking in public, and those disabilities remained until 1877.
Without any prospects, he fell back on his interest in education. He was elected president of Howard College in Marion, and his main function was fund raising in the impoverished South. In June 1867 Curry married again and in 1868 resigned the presidency, moving to Richmond. He was elected Professor of History and English literature at Richmond College. While at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia for a rest, he met the terminally ill and ultra-wealthy financier, George Peabody, the same oligarch who had endowed the Peabody Education Fund.
That meeting became the turning point in Curry’s life. The Fund was supposed to aid education in the South, and was run by the “general agent,” Barnas Sears of Massachusetts, formerly secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education and president of Brown University. Curry also met him at White Sulphur Springs.
Sears picked Curry as his successor. As a Confederate, most Southerners respected him, and he was embracing “the new reality.” In 1881 Curry took over Sears’ position as general agent. Sears’ strategy was to turn the Peabody Fund into a “matching grant fund that linked independent private schools to the corrupt, militarized Southern state governments. A private school would raise one-third of the money, Peabody one-third, and the carpetbag administration one-third for its operation. Barnas Sears not only enmeshed the Peabody Fund with the occupation governments, he also collaborated with the brutal Freedmen’s Bureau. Both organizations pooled their monies to entrap private schools in a web of state and military control.”10
The government connection
The Peabody fund was none too subtle about its other federal government connection: President Ulysses S. Grant was a Peabody board member. That, together with securing government funding for Peabody endowed schools, established the pattern Mr. Cody today finds so alarming in Mr. Gates. Alarming, but not new. In a moment we’ll meet another government connection created only to “gather data.”
Curry undertook an energetic schedule of travel and lobbying for public education in the South. He was especially concerned to convince state legislatures to establish normal schools (teacher training schools). Clearly, if you control teacher training, you control what they teach and the educational outcome in the child.
Though all of his work as head Peabody lackey contradicted his former principles, Curry succeeded. State normal schools were established in all Southern states and compulsory public graded schools on the New England model were spread every where, even to the countryside, imposing on children and parents an alien and unwanted model of education.
The bureau of education
In 1867 the U.S. Interior Department created a small new agency, only one supervisor and four clerks: the Bureau of Education. What was it assigned to do? Collect data. “To ‘collect such statistics and facts as show the condition and progress of education in the various states and territories.’
“And yet, within a few years it employed or had access to 12,000 Interior Department personnel and controlled most Southern schools and many in the North. The Bureau of Education would *** nationalize American education. This five-man bureau would become the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.”11
Radical teaching methods and teacher control
John Eaton took over the Bureau and under his leadership adopted the “New Psychology” approach to education, a new way of looking at children with a revolutionary curriculum.
Educational materials would be presented to children in specific sequence based on their neural maturity. Materials that excited strong electrical flow to the brain or induced a more rapid heart-beat were desirable. ‘Interest’ meant this kind of physiological stimulation, not emotions, enthusiasm, purpose or beliefs.
This was completely at odds with the educational ideals of Western civilization. This emphasis on physiology meant a major shift away from the emphasis on the spiritual and respect for tradition, toward the ‘now’ of raw sensory reactions. *** Within a quarter century, physiopsychology spread into the North as well and erased all the culture of the United States.12
Curry’s disillusionment: Education Frankenstein
After a three year stint as Ambassador to Spain, Curry returned to his job at Peabody.
“Now it disillusioned him: ‘The spirit of the age is set in strongly toward the mechanical, the empirical, the practical. This spirit has become rampant in Normal School. Teachers are no longer to be educated but “trained,” and this training is to be done in laboratories, where students are encouraged to operate on children. The inevitable but deplorable consequence of this is that normal schools have lost the respect of educated men, and it is very commonly taken for granted that a teacher “trained” in these schools is a man or woman of slender scholarship who expects to succeed by “devices” and “methods” . . . Children are “materials,” and on this material young men and women are to operate for the double purpose of making discoveries in infant psychology, and of learning the art of teaching by the experimental method. . . The “pedagogical laboratory” rediscovers truths in the mental life that in one form or another have been well known for centuries. It is barely conceivable that after countless experiments and disasters, some essential new truths may be added to what is already known.’ . . .”13
Working with the federal government, the oligarchs had captured education, teachers, and teacher training schools.
The other oligarchs
Space and time fail me to lay out similar educational work of foundations set up by oligarchs Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and Henry Ford. These all did yesterday what Gates is doing today. If you want to educate yourself, read John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education. What I hope to have shown, however, is that Common Core, like No Child Left Behind and all the rest of the train of “scientific” fixes for public education, is neither new nor exceptional. Rather, public education in the United States was spawned, fed, fattened and raised to its present state by oligarchs bent on imposing their will on the unwashed masses.
And the solution? Not to waste even one single second crusading against the latest lunacy in public education. Rather, the best protection for your children is to withdraw from public education completely, to step out of the way exactly as if it was a boulder hurtling down a mountain to destroy you.
The answer is to homeschool, or find a private school that offers genuine classical Western education. The answer is to turn those kids loose, and let them learn.
Used by permission. Franklin Sanders is publisher of The Moneychanger, a privately circulated monthly newsletter that focuses on gold and silver and the application of Christianity to economics, culture and family life. We have subscribed to this newsletter for more than 20 years, and consider it a must read. Franklin is an active trader in gold and silver (he’ll swap your green Federal Reserve rectangles and give you real money in return). He trades with savers and investors outside Tennessee. Twelve issues, 14 silver dollars (371.25 grains fine silver, Std. of 1792), or $22 in U.S. 90% silver coin, or other gold or silver equivalent; F$149 if you have nothing but paper “money.” Single copies, $3 in silver, F$10 in paper. Franklin Sanders, P.O. Box 178, Westpoint, TN. 38486, phone (931) 766-6066
1 Larry Abraham with Franklin Sanders, The Greening: The Environmentalist’ Drive for Global Power (Phoenix: Double A Publications, 1994), p. 170.
2 Cody, op. cit., p. 177.
3 John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education (New York: the Oxford Village Press, Revised ed. 2006).
4 Ibid. p. 132-133.
5 [After 1864] “Peabody, Morgan & Co. … took the name J.S. Morgan & Co.. The former UK merchant bank Morgan Grenfell (now part of Deutsche Bank), international universal bank JPMorgan Chase and investment bank Morgan Stanley can all trace their roots to Peabody’s bank.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Peabody
6 Quoted at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peabody_Education_Fund
7 Valued at $1,086.00 per ounce, this gold would today be worth $131,338,345. I suspect that the purchasing power of an ounce of gold through those very deflationary years (1867-1898) would have been even greater. However, another inflation calculator converts the 1867 value to 2014 prices as $39.68 billion. http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php
8 I can’t now find my reference, but remember that one of the French DuPonts settling in Delaware in 1803 wrote home that he estimated the literacy rate in the southern US at 98%.
9 John Chodes, Destroying the Republic: Jabez Curry and the Re-Education of the Old South. (New York: Algora Publishing, 2005). P. 141
10 John Chodes, The Paradox of Jabez L.M Curry: State Sovereignty to Federalised Schools. (Tuscaloosa: League of the South Institute for the Study of Southern Culture & History, 2001). Pp. 42 & 43.
11 Ibid. p. 61.
12 Ibid. pp. 67-68.