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Location: MInneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am now a simple Grandpa who's life is made richer as each grandchild is born. My wife and I have raised five children and the 30 year love labor of raising them has begun to yield sweet fruit..... And then there are fruits of 30 years in ministry ... I am a satisfied old man full of the joy of the Lord.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Worldview 11

Some of the founders of humanistic public education in America are;
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) a man who had five illegitimate children and gave them away to foster homes.
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 - 1847) He believed that affection could replace discipline
Friedrich Froebel (1782 - 1851) He believed a child was inherently good, and needed self expression through play. He is the man responsible for instituting kindergartens in America.

Kindergarten teaches a child to expect play and fun at school. It is completely accepted today but was a scandal in 1898. Read this report from Frederic Burk in 1898.

The Puritans brought literacy and education to America. Religion was the first priority in their lives. They had a totally Biblical worldview and understood why this was important. Other founding groups in America did not have these principles. To the Puritans scholarship and Christianity went hand in hand. Since the printing press began making the Bible available to men they immediately saw the need for every man to be able to read. They began Harvard as the first college in America in 1636. Amazingly this was done only 6 years after their arrival in 1630. They passed a law called the Old Deluder Law in 1647. It was designed to frustrate the plan of the Old Deluder (satan) to keep mankind ignorant and unable to read the Bible.

This law required all Puritan villages to raise funds and hire a teacher whenever a village population topped 50 families. When they reached 100 families they were required to do the same and build a school house. These were the first schools in America. They were local, private, and privately funded. There were no school boards. There was no state department of education.

The textbooks used were the New England Primer (1690), and later (1836) the McGuffey Readers (122 million sold). They were full of Biblical examples and virtue. In 1783 Noah Webster published the Blue-Backed Speller. It replaced the New England Primer and sold over 100 million copies. You can do a simple web search and read pages from these books online.
Bible illustrations were used extensively.

At that time America had the highest literacy rate in the world. The average farmer could read at what is now college level. Now we are ranked 49th.

# The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
# The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
# Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).
# "The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).
# Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!
This decline in literacy has been stunning and dramatic. It came as a Biblical viewpoint of education slowly yielded to a humanistic viewpoint. More about this paradigm shift next issue.


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