Impacting Education 1800/2020

A timeline of progressive socialist influenced by the educated elite have gained a foothold in the of the hearts and minds of young people for over 50 plus years through our public schools. Who are these people? What means did/are they using? What social issues were/are at play which give them the right to control the future – our children?
I could date myself and reminisce about the good old days when our kids were in school, but those good old days have been clouded by the more I read and learn concerning the manipulation of our education system. In recent years President Jimmy Carter gave us the Department of Education, President Barack Obama gave us Common Core and there is the 1619 Project is an attempt to rewrite history by the New York Times.

Historical records indicate that the education system starting in the colonies was limited but good. Sadly, it began to morph into a manipulative conglomerate in the late 1800’s by progressive socialists including political leaders. We are experiencing the consequences of the poorly educated today.
It is my hope that once we understand where this started, how education was manipulated and the real picture of where we are today, we will have the facts and information to correct this swamp.

There is a considerable amount of documentation that shows a timeline of the rise and fall of the education system in the United States. Some historical records would have you believe that education was nonexistent and poor at best prior to government intervention. That is far from the truth as the “Federalist Papers” were written for the common man. A study was done by DuPont de Nemours which showed that only four in a thousand Americans were unable to read and write legibly in 1800. Many were self-taught and knew several languages, algebra, geometry, science, grammar, and history. The schoolhouse was one of the first building to be built in a frontier town because parents were willing to build it and pay a teacher out of their own pockets.

A figure that was instrumental in the progressive Utopian lifestyle was Robert Owen, a Welch Utopian who rejected Christianity and private property. He founded the “New Harmony” communist commune in Indiana around 1813. He was intent on proving that collectivism was superior to individualism. (This was decades before Karl Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto”.) He also believed that there should be a nationalist system of education. Decades later, Horace Mann, a collectivist and Utopian, would import that statis system into Massachusetts as the Secretary of Education. How better to control the future?

Then we were fortunate to have Orestes Brownson who was a prominent New England writer and editor who rejected Owen’s philosophy because he believed it was a direct attack on religion via the education system being proposed. Prior to the Civil War children were homeschooled or attended church (religious) or private schools. This was a time of sacrifice, struggle, and survival to preserve and pass on a way of life to the next generation while contending with a hostile environment. Catholic schools dramatically increased in number due to the influx of over 5 million immigrants in the 19th century. Likewise, early America saw Protestant churches open schools to accommodate the many large and smaller denominations.

Until the mid-1800’s government intervention into education was practically unheard of. What existed was a “free market” education system where churches and parents worked together creating the finest and best education that was dramatically superior to what is offered in our public schools today.
Public schools or “common schools” began to show up in the Northern states in the 1850s with Massachusetts and in the 1870s in the Southern states. Because tax money was being collected and distributed to the “common schools”, enrollment shifted significantly to these schools because they were “free”. Church run schools and private schools did not receive this support. We all have heard the term, “follow the money”.

It is at this point the Blaine Amendment was introduced. Although it failed to get through Congress it was eventually incorporated into 37 State Constitutions. This amendment forbade funding to church schools that did not accept state and federal support. By the 20th Century a substantial number of Protestant schools had welcomed federal and state funding. They were guaranteed that prayers were offered, and the Bible would be read from time to time. The Catholic school system refused to accept this funding. In an attempt to squash the parochial schools, anti-Catholic forces used the Blaine Amendment in their respective states.

UPDATE: In July 2020, the United States Supreme Court of ruled that the Blaine Amendment is unconstitutional in the case of Montana vs. Espinoza in support of school choice.
By JoAnn Windholz/July 2020