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History of America's Education Part1:
Johnny is in trouble

April Shenandoah
March 20, 2002


Johnny is in trouble — not because he is playing hooky from school, but because he is attending school. Some of the most negative influences that young people can face today are found in public schools. In the past few decades this has clearly worsened. In 1940 the top offenses in public schools were chewing gum, talking in class, unfinished homework, and running in the halls. Today the top offenses are drugs, drunkenness, assault, murder and rape. While at school, Johnny not only is confronted with drugs immorality and violence, but he is also receiving a second rate education. From 1963, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores dropped consistently each year.

As a result of decreasing literary skills, college textbooks are being rewritten at a lower grade level so that the students can understand them. Most newspapers and magazines are written at about a sixth grade level which is now the reading level of the average American (of which I'm one). If you aren't buying this - compare the literacy level of today with early America, read the Federalist Papers, which were written for farmers and other common citizens in New York. Today's college graduates find them difficult.

You may say, "but Johnny is getting better grades than ever." This is true, which makes the problem even worse, for many young people do not know how little they are actually learning. I've just come to that conclusion in my own life. I am just now educating myself on subject matter that I should have been taught many years ago.

Take for example, the young man who graduated as valedictorian from his Washington, DC high school yet was refused admission to George Washington University because his SAT scores were so low. Due to his excellent grades, in high school, he considered himself a superior student. However, in the words of the dean of admissions of George Washington University, "He's been deluded into thinking he's gotten an education."

What is the problem?

Most educational leaders acknowledge that there are problems with our public schools, and most of their suggested solutions involve spending more money. However, in the past few decades the public education system has dramatically increased its expenditures. In 1950, $8.8 billion was spent; in 1985, $261 billion; in 1990, $353 billion; in 1992, $445 billion. Washington, DC schools spend more than $10,000 per student, but is near the bottom of all cities nationally in academics. Increased spending is on the way, yet with all this spending educational skills have decreased.

Lack of money is not the problem in our public schools. First of all, where there are no absolutes or discipline, there will be confusion and chaos. Secondly, there has been an agenda in place for many years to turn the tide of education towards a socialist creed. As early as 1932, Dr. George Counts wrote a 56-page booklet entitled, Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order? In 1948, Dwight Eisenhower appointed Dr. Manfred Kridl, a well-known Marxist, to oversee a "Chair of Polish Studies" made possible by an endowment from the Communist government of Poland.

As the years went by, and your children passed through the grades, you may have noticed that subject matter changed. Teaching methods, types of study and government programs were added, everything changed. It is a documented fact that for many years American schools have been infiltrated with a steady stream of amorality and humanism. For many years, both parents and teachers have sensed the heavily financed anti-American influences in the classrooms. How about this statement from the 1970 book "The Naked Capitalist" - if "they" have their way we will develop a prospective nightmare in our schools - schools without grades, without discipline, without prayers, without the Pledge of Allegiance, without Christmas, without Easter, without patriotism, without morals, without standards of speech or standards of dress". HELLO! Already, wherever "they" have taken over the educational system, we see the worst of their products. Surely the nation deserves something better than this for the billions it is spending.

The basic problem is with the philosophy that forms the foundation of education in America. Colossians 2:8 is very insightful in this matter: "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." It has been said that the philosophy of education in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.


April Shenandoah is the author of So…Help Me God! published in 1999, by Eden Street Productions.

After serving as the Los Angeles press contact for the Pat Robertson presidential campaign - April spent more than ten years researching and gathering material pertinent to the "changing" world we live in.

Shenandoah's Freedom Tea Party forums educate those unaware of the stripping of America's freedoms. She sits on the board of The National Council of Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina and ABC-Learn, Inc., in San Fernando, California. Shenandoah wears the unofficial title of Ambassador of Prayer.


Read her full biography at Sierra Times

Copyright © Sierra Times.com
Sierra Times reprint statement:
Reprint permission granted, as long as you include the name of our site,

the author, and our URL:
http://www.sierratimes.com

 

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History of America's Education Part2:
Noah Webster & Early America

April Shenandoah
March 27, 2002


Noah Webster would not recognize the dictionary that bears his name today. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language defines education as: "1. the process of educating especially by formal schooling; teaching; training. 2. knowledge, ability, etc. thus developed. 3. a) formal schooling. b) a kind or stage of this: as, a medical education. 4. systematic study of the methods and theories of teaching and learning."

In Webster's original dictionary published in 1828, his definition was: "Education - The bringing up, as a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties."

To Webster, the central goal of education was to train youth in the precepts of Christianity. He stated, "In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government, ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."

In Webster's United States History Book, he has a chapter on the U.S. Constitution. In there is a section with the heading, Origin of Civil Liberty, which contains this: "Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion... The religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government..."

Education in Early America: Education in early America was much different than that of today, in form and results. Most education was done by the home or church. This is where the ideas and character were implanted in our founders. Such training produced one of the greatest group of men - in thought and character - of all time.

Samuel Blumenfield says: "Of the 117 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, one out of three had had only a few months of formal schooling, and only one in four had gone to college. They were educated by parents, church schools, tutors, academies, apprenticeship, and by themselves.

Almost every child in America was educated. At the time of the Revolution, the literacy level was virtually 100% (even on the frontier it was greater than 70%). John Adams said that to find someone who couldn't read was as rare as a comet. When tutors were hired they were most often ministers, and those that went to college were instructed by ministers.

The first school in New England was the Boston Latin School. It was started in 1636 by Rev. John Cotton to provide education for those who were not able to receive it at home. The first common (public) schools were thoroughly Christian. In 1642 the General Court enacted legislation requiring each town to see that children were taught, especially "to read and understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of this country..."

As time went on private schools flourished more than common schools (especially as the Puritan influence in common schools decreased). The Christian community saw the private schools were more reliable. By 1720 Boston had far more private schools than public ones, and by the close of the American Revolution many towns had no common schools at all." There were no public schools in the Southern colonies until 1730 and only five by 1776.

History repeats itself, as today the issue of public schools Vs private is a hot button. As far as home schooling goes, we are just returning to the days of old. Statistics show that home schooled children are above average in SAT scores, and best of all they can read.


April Shenandoah is the author of So…Help Me God! published in 1999, by Eden Street Productions.

After serving as the Los Angeles press contact for the Pat Robertson presidential campaign - April spent more than ten years researching and gathering material pertinent to the "changing" world we live in.

Shenandoah's Freedom Tea Party forums educate those unaware of the stripping of America's freedoms. She sits on the board of The National Council of Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina and ABC-Learn, Inc., in San Fernando, California. Shenandoah wears the unofficial title of Ambassador of Prayer.


Read her full biography at Sierra Times

Copyright © Sierra Times.com
Sierra Times reprint statement:
Reprint permission granted, as long as you include the name of our site,

the author, and our URL:
http://www.sierratimes.com

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History of America's Education Part3:
Universities, Textbooks and Our Founders

April Shenandoah
April 4, 2002


Bill Maher, of Politically Incorrect, said,"America has never been a Christian Nation". However, as we read about the founding of our universities and the first textbooks that were used in this country, we can not dispute our Christian foundation.

106 of the first 108 colleges were started on the Christian faith. By the close of 1860 there were 246 colleges in America. Seventeen of these were state institutions; almost every other one was founded by Christian denominations or by individuals who avowed a religious purpose.

Harvard College, 1636 - An Original Rule of Harvard College: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, (John 17:3), and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning."

William and Mary, 1691 - The College of William and Mary was started mainly due to the efforts of Rev. James Blair in order, according to its charter of 1691, "that the Church of Virginia may be furnished with a seminary of ministers of the gospel, and that the youth may be piously educated in good letters and manners, and that the Christian religion may be propagated among the Western Indians to the glory of Almighty God."

Yale University, 1701 - Yale University was started by Congregational ministers in 1701,"for the liberal and religious education of suitable youth…to propagate in this wilderness, the blessed reformed Protestant religion…"

Princeton, 1746 - Associated with the Great Awakening, Princeton was founded by the Presbyterians in 1746. Rev. Jonathan Dickinson became its first president, declaring, "cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ."

University of Pennsylvania, 1751 - Ben Franklin had much to do with the beginning of the University of Pennsylvania. It was not started by a denomination, but its laws reflect its Christian character. Consider the first two Laws, relating to Moral Conduct (from 1801): "1. None of the students or scholars, belonging to this seminary, shall make use of any indecent or immoral language: whether it consist in immodest expressions; in cursing and swearing; or in exclamations which introduce the name of God, without reverence, and without necessity. "2. None of them shall, without a good and sufficient reason, be absent from school, or late in his attendance; more particularly at the time of prayers, and of the reading of the Holy Scriptures."

Some other colleges started before America's Independence include: Columbia founded in 1754 (called King's College up until 1784), Dartmouth ,1770; Brown started by the Baptists in 1764; Rutgers, 1766, by the Dutch Reformed Church; Washington and Lee, 1749; and Hampton-Sydney, 1776, by the Presbyterians.

It may surprise many to know that the Bible was truly the first textbook. The New Haven Code of 1655 required that children be made "able duly to read the Scriptures… and in some competent measure to understand the main grounds and principles of Christian Religion necessary to salvation."

a. The Bible was the central text - John Adams reflected the view of the founders in regard to the place of the Bible in society when he wrote: "Suppose a nation in some distant region, should take the Bible for their only law-book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited!… What a Utopia; what a Paradise would this region be!" John Adams, Feb.22, 1756

b. Hornbooks - Hornbooks were brought to America, from Europe, by the colonists and were common from the 1500's - 1700's. A hornbook was a flat piece of wood with a handle, upon which a sheet of printed paper was attached and covered with transparent animal horn to protect it. A typical hornbook had the alphabet, the vowels, a list of syllables, the invocation of the Trinity, and the Lord's Prayer.

c. Catechisms - There were over 500 different catechisms used in early education. Later, the Westminister Catechism became the most prominent one.

d. The New England Primer - It was the most prominent schoolbook for about 100 years and was used through the 1800's. It sold over 3 million copies in 150 years.

e. Webster's Blue-Backed Speller - First published in 1783 it sold over 100 million copies. It was one of the most influential textbooks and was based on "God's Word."

f. The McGuffey Readers - Written by minister and university professor William Holmes McGuffey, the McGuffey Readers "represent the most significant force in the framing of our national morals and tastes" other than the Bible.

While there were many other textbooks (especially in the 1800's), the ones just mentioned were some of the most important.

Education in Religion was central to our Founders: Benjamin Rush signer of the Declaration of Independence wrote, "…the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this, there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments." The type of education that shaped our Founders character and ideas was thoroughly Christian. It imparted Christian character and produced honest, industrious, compassionate, respectful, and law-abiding men. It imparted a Biblical world-view and produced people who were principled thinkers.


April Shenandoah is the author of So…Help Me God! published in 1999, by Eden Street Productions.

After serving as the Los Angeles press contact for the Pat Robertson presidential campaign - April spent more than ten years researching and gathering material pertinent to the "changing" world we live in.

Shenandoah's Freedom Tea Party forums educate those unaware of the stripping of America's freedoms. She sits on the board of The National Council of Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina and ABC-Learn, Inc., in San Fernando, California. Shenandoah wears the unofficial title of Ambassador of Prayer.


Read her full biography at Sierra Times

Copyright © Sierra Times.com
Sierra Times reprint statement:
Reprint permission granted, as long as you include the name of our site,

the author, and our URL:
http://www.sierratimes.com

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Those Blasted Presbyterians: Reflections on Independence Day

July 4, 2014 by dwsweeting

“We are subject to the men who rule over us, but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against him, let us not pay the least regard to it.” Book Four, Calvin’s Institutes

“I fix all the blame of these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians.”  So one colonist loyal to King George wrote to friends in England.

Around the same time, Horace Walpole spoke from the English House of Commons to report on these “extraordinary proceedings” in the colonies of the new world.  “There is no good crying about the matter,” he said.  “Cousin America has run off with the Presbyterian parson, and that is the end of it.”

The parson of which he spoke, was  John Witherspoon—a Presbyterian minister, as well as a descendant of John Knox.  At the time, Witherspoon was president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton).  He was also the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence.

From the English perspective, the American revolution was often perceived as a “Presbyterian Rebellion.”  And its supporters were often disdained as “those blasted Presbyterians.”

The Presbyterian Revolution
Most American Christians are unaware of the fact that the American Revolution, as well as the new American state, was greatly shaped by Presbyterians and the Calvinism that was at its root.  Some modern-day  Presbyterians have moved light years away from the convictions of these early colonists.

An estimated three million people lived in the colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Of that number, “900,00 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, while over 400,000 were of Dutch, German Reformed and Huguenot descent. That is to say, two thirds of our Revolutionary forefathers were trained in the school of Calvin.”  (Carlson, p. 19)

As one historian puts it, “When Cornwallis was driven back to ultimate retreat and surrender at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the Colonial Army but one were Presbyterian elders. It is estimated that more than one half of all the soldiers and officers of the American Army during the Revolution were Presbyterian.” (Carlson, p. 16)

To the man, Presbyterian clergy joined the Colonialist cause. It was said that many of them led the Revolution from the pulpit.  In doing so, they paid a heavy price for their support for independence.  Many lost family members or their own lives.  Some had their churches burned to the ground.

The Presbyterian Drive
We forget that many of the early American colonists had left England precisely because Presbyterian Christianity was rejected.  After its brief reign as the established church through the English Civil War and the work of the Westminster Assembly, Britain returned to Anglicanism.  Thousands of non-conforming Presbyterian ministers were then ejected from their churches.  Some, such as the Covenanters, were martyred in a period that came to be known as “the killing times.” Rigid laws of conformity drove many to seek a better life somewhere else.  After 1660, many Presbyterians began to make their way to the colonies in North America.  It was these individuals who brought a new strength to the colonies as they inched their way forward towards independence.

They had little loyalty, and often outright hostility, to the crown of England.  They were armed with the theology of John Calvin, mediated through John Knox, and solidified during the English Civil war. It was a theology which devalued the divine right of human kings, and elevated the worth and dignity of the individual under God.  This theology shaped the early American understanding of civil liberty.

It shaped our founding fathers. The idea of human equality which influenced John Locke, who in turn,  influenced our founding fathers, was learned from the Puritans. Locke’s father had been on Cromwell’s side during the English Civil war.

It also shaped the general population under the influence of the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was a massive 18th century religious revival that shook the colonies. It was promoted by preachers such as Gilbert Tennent and George Whitfield who travelled up and down the coast calling for a return to a robust Christian and Biblical faith.  Emphasizing the new birth and a Calvinist theology, the Great Awakening had an immense influence on colonial sentiments in the generation just preceding the American Revolution.

Consider then, some of what was at work in the American consciousness preceding the revolution. There was the memory of their horrid experience in England. There was the worry that Anglicans would establish this same kind of church in the colonies. There was a persistent fear of the imposition of bishops who were viewed as “holy monarchs,”  (monarchy in any form was considered bad)!  There was a belief in the absolute sovereignty of God. God alone is Lord of all and the author of liberty. There was a corresponding belief in the absolute equality of individuals (king and peasant, clergy and laity) under God’s law. There was the belief that no human should be entrusted with absolute power, given our radically fallen human nature.  There was a belief that there should be a separation of powers in any new government that is established.  And because of their experience in England, there was the belief that religious freedom and freedom of conscience should be respected.

In other words, for these Presbyterians, liberty is affirmed, but it is not an absolute liberty. It is always to be lived out under the sovereign creator God. It was this theology, a theology rooted, not just in Calvin, but in the Bible, which ultimately gave the colonialist the will to resist.

The Presbyterian Legacy
So this year, as we celebrate our independence once again, and as we think of early American courage, and the genius of our founding fathers, let us not forget those blasted Presbyterians who sought to understand liberty in light of the Bible.  A liberty which conceived of a nation and its entire government under God.

Sources:  Our Presbyterian Heritage, Paul Carlson (Elgin:  David C. Cook, 1973)Presbyterians: Their History and Beliefs, Walter L. Lingle and John W. Kuykendall, (Atlanta:  John Knox Press, 1988), The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World, Douglas F. Kelly, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey:  P&R Publishing, 1992)

http://donsweeting.com/2014/07/04/those-blasted-presbyterians-reflections-on-independence


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