‘The article has deeply demented me’

Back on Feb. 17 I offered another column on an American of great character and achievement — in this case, George Washington — who wound up better educated with only a few years formal schooling than our high school “scholars” of today. (In fact, John Taylor Gatto goes beyond that — asserting that locking kids up in today’s enervating youth propaganda camps virtually guarantees we will produce no new Washingtons.)

This drew a Feb. 19 letter from a reader who insists we now “live in a different time. … We no longer live in either an agrarian or manufacturing-based economy.

“By and large, children no longer work on family farms in hopes of taking over upon their parents’ death,” this wise reader instructed me, “and the concept that someone can expect to work on an assembly line for 30 years and retire with a comfortable pension has become a relic of a bygone era.

“Our economy has evolved into a technology-based marketplace where competition requires an educated work force. Increasingly, employees must comprehend and use mathematics and science as well as have the ability to communicate effectively.”

Hey! Now I get it. Men like Washington, Franklin and Jefferson went to school for only a few years, yet somehow without benefit of instruction by any credentialed graduates of our fine modern teachers colleges managed to outmaneuver and defeat the greatest army and power in the world, build and run a new nation, lay out entire new cities, and treat with foreign nations with little more than their rudimentary mastery of geometry, trigonometry, French, Latin, philosophy, world history, and so forth.

Today, on the other hand, it takes 12 years to bring our high school scholars to a level of learning far beyond that achieved by those pathetic yokels of yesteryear, a point from which they’re ready to open up bold new frontiers in biochemistry, electrical engineering, and so on.

In recent days, several of those scholars — on whose schooling the taxpayers have lavished $8,707 per year (construction included) for at least 8-and-a-half years — have written in to respond to the wave of incidents in which Clark County schoolkids have lately been shooting each other on the way home from school.

Leave aside, for a moment, the fine examples of common sense and character development presented by those 16-year-old (alleged) shooters, themselves. Let’s just look at a few letters submitted by their young classmates, just to bathe in the reflected luster of young intellects ready to enter that modern “technology-based marketplace” that “requires an educated work force” as well as “the ability to communicate effectively.”

The letters arrived in groups of 20 or so, in waves lasting about half an hour, during late weekday mornings or early afternoons. Almost certainly, these young folk were urged to write their letters as part of a classroom project at Palo Verde High School — one of Las Vegas’ “better” schools, in the upscale Summerlin suburb. These are not intercepted “text messages”; they are letters formally submitted by high school freshmen (a few were upperclassmen) for publication at a major metropolitan newspaper.

Why the teacher skipped the part about “proofreading, correction, and rewriting,” I do not know. Perhaps teacher herself saw nothing wrong with these missives, which appear here precisely as received.

To somewhat muffle the screeches that I’m “singling out these children, who are just doing their best, for abuse and thus crippling their self-esteem,” I have deleted the writers’ names, though I assure you we have them.

“The article I read in the Review Journal is called SECOND TEEN CHARGED IN FATAL SHOOTING, and the article has deeply demented me,” writes our first young scholar.

“I personally think that the the young shooters of this crime should get jail time, but I don’t think they should get any more than a couple of months to pay for the crime they committed. Im pretty positive that the teens in this crime understand what they did was wrong even if it was attentionally or an accident.

“I personally believe that they only reason the kids actually shot the weapon was to scare their peers, but ended up bieng fatal. My response to this article isnt because I believe that the young teens arent wrong for what they did, but no kid diserves to go through everything that Ezekiel Williams, and Gerald Q. Davison are going through. Their just kids, and I also believe that if the places were switched, and the boy who died was black, and the teens were white that their wouldn’t be this much contraversy going on.

“I’m not a racist or anything like that but if that was the case than they probly wouldn’t even be in a real jail right about now.”

End of first letter.

“This letter is in respnse to the Leter Erine Mathews,” begins our second lad, obviously stealing a few valuable minutes away from mastering physics, calculus, and quantum theory, the better to work on his “ability to communicate effectively.”

“I myself attend Palo Verde and am a freshman.At my attendnce here i have seen very little racism at this school. If the Situation was reversed i do not belive that there would be a much differnt outcome. I belive it was more gang related. From what i hear around the school is that his cousin Zeak is what made him do it. Zeak and the kid wereing througing up gang signs. Then later in the day the shooter was gonna be abducted into the gang that his cousin Ziek is in. So for him to be allowed they said he had to shoot this kid and if he didnt they would kill him. So he did as he was told. That is why i feel it has nothing to do with raceism but more gang related.”

Another compassionate youth who should not have been allowed to advance from the third to fourth grade — but who is clearly well-versed in the concept “innocent till proven guilty” — writes “I think it is rediculous that this shooting even happened. Jerald is probably scared out of his mind and he should of thought about his actions cause i garentee he is probably regreting everything. but I think he should get the death penalty.”

A fourth young technologist presumably takes time away from mastering the manufacture of gallium arsenide chips in chemistry lab to write: “I am a Palo Verde Freshmen and this shooting is really affecting us all in a lot of different ways. Expically the football team. …”

One of the young ladies asks, “Where are the parents? In todays invorment kids don’t have that special bond with their parents because all these students worry about is being with their friends going to get high and what pary they should hit up next. … Parents obviosly are not watching who there child is hanging out with. …”

Another young lady offers: “There has been even more shooting since the insadent. I really cannot believe that teenagers have not ‘woken up’ and realized that this is life. Ending a life over drama, etc. is absolutely rediculas. …”

Although it’s the spelling and punctuation that first leap off the page, it’s also worth noting the striking lack of sophistication, development, and rebuttal here in both idea and argument.

Part of John Taylor Gatto’s point in “The Underground History of American Education” is that today’s typical shriek that “They’re only 15 or 16!” can be shown to have no biological basis. David Farragut was given command of a sailing ship at the age of 14. Thomas Edison was working a full-time job in a railroad baggage car and also printing his own newspaper at the age of 15. Washington was out in the woods on his own, working as a professional surveyor, at age 16. Today’s notion that 15-year-olds must of necessity be overgrown infants with ethical notions about as sophisticated as the nearest video game is a dangerous myth MANUFACTURED by the purposeful extension of infanthood through imposed intellectual entropy and isolation from the real world in the government schooling institution, the better to convince us these incompetent dweebs need three more years of being locked up and carefully herded around — at $8,000 per year per butt in seat.

Finally, what could be more absurd that this assertion that it is I and Mr. Gatto — seeking to free children from prison schools built on the 19th century Prussian model — who cling to an outmoded idea of education better suited to prepare students to work on some 19th century assembly line?

In “The Underground History of American Education” — you can download it FOR FREE — Mr. Gatto exhaustively documents that the current structure of our youth training camps, every superannuated “child” jumping to his or her feet and marching to the next classroom as the bells sound at 55-minute intervals, was designed PRECISELY to mimic and prepare children for the world of the 19th century factory with workers performing their functions along the assembly lines, or else the infantry of the 19th century, lining up and firing their volleys in unison on command, NOT the needs of a modern technological society that puts more emphasis on independent, “outside-the-box” thinking.

The current schooling institution is NOT preparing a quick-witted generation with the well-rounded education and critical thinking skills necessary to adapt quickly to a fast-changing 21st century — as the letters above hint, though giving these kids a real test in history, literature, or algebra would probably be even more sobering — but rather for the kind of automaton-like behavior that was judged necessary for the subservient “worker class” in the 19th century.

Which is one very large reason so many of our science and medical grad students now come from overseas, why such a curiously large number of our successful entrepreneurs these days turn out to be escapees (“drop-outs”) from the propaganda camps, why our currency and our economy are now collapsing before our eyes.

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