The making of a black underclass
By Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld
In a few short weeks, many thousands of black children will enter first grade
in public schools all over America where, inside of a year, many of them will become
full-fledged reading failures and, thereby, future members of the black underclass.
There is no reason why anyone with an education should be relegated to the underclass.
But that's the rub. The system will pretend to educate, while systematically using
teaching methods, such as whole language and invented spelling, that create reading
disability and dyslexia, thus putting that child on the road to academic failure.
Thus, intelligent children who, with proper instruction, would otherwise become
truly literate are relegated to the junk heap of our society because of a perverse
elite that is hell-bent on dumbing down the nation. Inner-city black children suffer
the most because their parents are least able to understand what is happening to
their children in the public schools.
In America, we compel children to be subjected to wholesale educational malpractice
with hardly a complaint from our intellectual establishment. The only people who
genuinely care are so-called right-wing "extremists" who write books critical of
the system, which are never reviewed by the academic community.
Here's what Professor Anthony Oettinger of Harvard University, a rabid advocate
of dumbing down, told an audience of corporation executives in 1982:
The present "traditional" concept of literacy has to do with the ability
to read and write. But the real question that confronts us today is: How do
we help citizens function well in their society? How can they acquire the skills
necessary to solve their problems?
Do we, for example, really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write
in "a fine round hand" when they have a $5 hand-held calculator or a word processor
to work with? Or, do we really have to have everybody literate – writing and
reading in the traditional sense – when we have the means through our technology
to achieve a new flowering of oral communication?
Of course, the original purpose of universal compulsory education was universal
literacy. However, the academic elite are now asking whether or not everybody ought
to be literate. But every parent who puts a child in a public school expects that
school to teach their child to read in the traditional sense. But now we are dealing
with teachers who ask "do we really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or
how to read?"
But make no mistake about it. Even though they have no intention of teaching
those children how to do sums, or write in a fine round hand, or read and write
in the traditional sense, they still want them in the classroom for 12 years. What
for? To turn them into abject failures.
Regardless of whether the child will be going to a better public school outside
his or her neighborhood or to a charter school, chances are very good that he or
she will be trained to read by one of the whole-language programs that produce reading
disability and dyslexia.
How can this be, you might ask. Hasn’t whole language been thrown out and replaced
by intensive, systematic phonics? Unfortunately, not. The educators may not call
the reading program whole language, but you can be sure that it will be whole language
in a new disguise. The new program is generally referred to as “A Balanced Approach.”
It is all part of the dumbing-down agenda, which is the basis of our dumbed-down
The reason why the schools are not teaching reading by way of intensive systematic
phonics is because there are virtually no primary teachers capable of doing so.
Their training at college emphasized whole-language instruction. Therefore, even
if they wanted to teach intensive systematic phonics, they would not know how to
The American public-school system has become a sadistic trap for the unwary.
It turns some teachers into sadists, who gain secret pleasure in the knowledge that
they are destroying the intellect and spirit of millions of young Americans. And,
unfortunately, there is nothing in President Bush's education reform that will change
this. Thus, the only solution for parents is to get their kids out and either teach
them at home or put them in a private school they can trust.