About eight years ago my wife heard Diane Ravitch being interviewed on NPR. When Anchee got home, she told me I’d be interested, and I’ve been following Diane’s blog since and have read a few of her books on the war being waged against our public schools.
Make no mistake about this issue; it is a greed-based war of power and corruption that mostly old, white billionaires and corporations managed by old, white CEO’s launched against the people’s public schools long before I learned about Diane Ravitch.
I was a public school teacher for thirty years working in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California from 1975 to 2005. The two schools I taught at the longest were Giano Intermediate and Nogales High School in La Puente, California. After President Ronald Reagan’s flawed and misleading “A Nation at Risk” report was released in 1983, it didn’t take long for news and opinion pieces to start appearing in the media blaming public school teachers for literally everything that was allegedly wrong in the United States, including poverty and the number of Americans in Prison.
National Public Radio reported, “The idea that American schools were worse just wasn’t true,” says James Guthrie, an education professor at Lynn University in Florida. Guthrie published a scholarly article in 2004 titled “A Nation At Risk Revisited: Did ‘Wrong’ Reasoning Result in ‘Right’ Results? At What Cost?” … “I looked at it every which way,” he says now. The authors in 1983 “were hell-bent on proving that schools were bad. They cooked the books to get what they wanted.”
Did you know that one of the leaders in this war against our public schools is Bill Gates? But, he isn’t alone. There are others like Eli Broad, the Wal-Mart Walton family, the Koch brothers, and Betsy DeVos. Taking a page from Hitler’s Nazi propaganda machine, these greedy, power-hungry enemies of our public education system created a misleading phrase and have relentlessly repeated it through the years. That phrase was the school to prison pipeline.
There is the Republican-Nixon-Reagan to prison pipeline, but there has never been a school to prison pipeline. If anyone reading this doesn’t believe me, look up President Nixon’s War on Drugs (launched June 1971. Click the previous link and scroll down to find that date). Then President Reagan doubled the War on Drugs when he became president and the prison population in the United States exploded and eventually became the largest prison population in the world with China in a distant second place. Don’t forget that China has more than four times the population but several hundred thousand fewer people in its prisons.
If you are interested, you might want to read this report out of Stanford University about Nixon’s War on Drugs. “The United States has been engaged in a “war” for nearly 25 years. … We spend $50 billion per year trying to eradicate drugs from this country. According to DEA estimates, we capture less than 10 percent of all illicit drugs. … Does $50 billion a year for a 90% failure rate seem like a good investment to you?”
If you do the math, the total spent on that war comes to more than 1.25-trillion dollars, while individuals that think like Bill Gates blame the public schools and public school teachers for the results of Republican President Nixon and Reagan’s War on Drugs.
Anyway, back to public education, there were other false claims in this war on our public schools: too many teachers are incompetent and we can’t fire them, the teachers’ unions are corrupt, test scores are too low, et al. It didn’t take me long after 1983 to start thinking that there was a conspiracy behind all of these lies demonizing public school teachers, but I convinced myself that couldn’t be true, because if the public school system in the United States was destroyed, it would be the end of our Constitutional Republic and a return to 1900 when 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty, only 7-percent graduated from high school, and 3-percent went to college.
Who were most of these high school and college graduates in 1900?
They were the children of the wealthiest, elite, white Americans like Bill Gates and his family.
After World War II, The United States became a great nation because of our public schools that have become the foundation of our modern Republic and Democracy. Once our public schools are gone, this county will return to 1900.
Then almost ten years ago, I started reading Diane Ravitch’s blog and some of her books and discovered from all the facts and evidence I was reading, that I had not been wrong. There was a deliberate conspiracy to destroy our public schools and it started back in the 1970s and went viral after 1983 thanks to the Republican Party and their President Ronald Reagan, and that war on our public schools is getting more vicious by the year and continues to escalate. The vampire corporations and extremist autocratic billionaires like Bill Gates and their paid-for-troops are not stopping, and the lies and dirty tricks they keep pulling out of their hats-from-hell seem never-ending.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
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August 4, 2019 at 12:35
I totally agree w/ your premise, your analysis of history and how the war on public schools burgeoned in the 1970s and took off under Ronald Reagan (whose racism was exposed this week in a newly released audio recording of an October 1971 conversation with President Richard Nixon.) I argue w/ hubby, who thinks Bill Gates is just swell, esp. b/c he is giving away money to schools that need resources (both public and charters). Yet hubby doesn’t realize Gates has been very prescriptive in the way he wants $$ spent, tying student test scores to teacher evaluations (using faulty “science”); using Common Core standards, which pretty much everyone has soured on b/c of the way it was implemented; Gates’ failed experiment w/ small school high schools… the list of things that didn’t work goes on and on. I think Gates is still giving away money to schools, but based on his past experience, it’s been reported he is directing the ed reform less as part of the grantee process. Let’s hope, b/c Bill Gates doesn’t know much about education reform.
August 4, 2019 at 13:26
I think Bill Gates knows next to nothing about everything under the sun. From what I’ve read about his success, it was due more to his ability as a salesman than anything else.
That is why I think of Bill Gates as a door-to-door salesman that was in the right place at the right time to pitch that product even though it was inferior to some of the competition back then.
Bill Gates also sees the world through the prism his father raised him to see through, and that is Eugenics.
“Eugenics is the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.”
Bill Gates also has the best PR machine money can buy, and that group of sell-outs has created a fake image of Gates with a saint’s halo that is so bright it hides the monster below it.
August 8, 2019 at 16:58
It was shocking to read the audio transcript of Reagan’s racist comments about the African leaders who supported China instead of Taiwan. Nixon better couched his racist views, but Reagan’s racial comments were not softened at all.
Regarding Gates, I totally concur. However, there are other reasons why Gates pushed for Common Core. Common Core testing is computer-based unlike the previous standardized tests. Common Core forced school districts across the nation to purchase PC computers supported by Microsoft’s operating system. Plus, whenever a new standardized test is implemented, this creates a whole new industry of study guides, work shops, Common Core consultants, etc. Common Core made school districts even more strapped for cash, but Bill Gates and his social/professional network of entrepreneurs made billions of dollars.
August 8, 2019 at 19:29
I haven’t listened to Reagan’s racist comments yet and maybe never will.
I agree Gates was using Common Core as a way to keep profits up for companies like Microsoft and others he probably owns shares in. It is a tragedy that the greed for more wealth is destroying a public education system.
August 8, 2019 at 17:10
You wrote a very profound Ed-Op debunking the school-to-prison pipeline premise pushed by “The Nation At Risk” report, Betsy Debois, some educational consultants, etc. You provided convincing counter arguments against Nixon’s War on Drugs, along with Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs. Overall, the War on Drugs immorally pushed a myriad of minorities into prison.
Hopefully, we will never have a war on drugs again. These wars don’t work, and they make our prisons over-crowded. I don’t know why so many Americans decide to take drugs, but this is something the CDC must examine. We can continue to disrupt the drugs coming in from Mexico, China, etc., but the underlying root of the problem is there is a huge DEMAND for drugs. Between the recent mass shootings and the rampant drug use in the United States, one is left to wonder, “What is wrong with our society?”
August 9, 2019 at 10:23
“What is wrong with our society?” Good question. I think the answer is mostly “stress” (caused by a number of different factors like poverty, loneliness, bad relationships, demanding jobs, et al.
This study attempts to answer your question, too, but was titled “Why Do People Take Hallucinogenic or Dissociative Drugs?”
“Hallucinogenic and dissociative drugs have been used for a variety of reasons (Bogenschutz, 2012; Bonson, 2001). Historically, hallucinogenic plants have been used for religious rituals to induce states of detachment from reality and precipitate “visions” thought to provide mystical insight or enable contact with a spirit world or “higher power.” More recently, people report using hallucinogenic drugs for more social or recreational purposes, including to have fun, help them deal with stress, or enable them to enter into what they perceive as a more enlightened sense of thinking or being. Hallucinogens have also been investigated as therapeutic agents to treat diseases associated with perceptual distortions, such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and dementia. Anecdotal reports and small studies have suggested that ayahuasca may be a potential treatment for substance use disorders and other mental health issues, but no large-scale research has verified its efficacy (Barbosa, 2012).
In addition, the War on Drugs never ended. Most if not all of the laws that came with the War on Drugs during the Nixion and Reagan era are still on the books putting people in jail.
In fact, we are not the only country where people that live in poverty and/or are stressed use inexpensive drugs to numb themselves. In Southeast Asia, the peasants chew the betel nut to deal with their problems/pain. Chewing that nut turns their teeth black. When I was in Vietnam in 1966, almost all of the peasants had black teeth.
In Africa and some of the Middle East, they chew Khat, another drug that helps numb you from the stress of being poor and/or in danger.
August 10, 2019 at 11:48
Thank you for your response Lloyd.
Yes, spiritual leaders from ancient civilizations took hallucinogenic drugs to precipitate “visions.” I do understand why people from poverty-stricken countries, such as Vietnam, take drugs to escape from their harsh, everyday living circumstances. Illegal drugs also have therapeutic uses like you mentioned.
However, in the U.S., RECREATIONAL drug use is prevalent in the upper middle class and wealthy areas of the United Statesl. You mentioned stress, boredom and poor relationships as reasons for drug use. I am hoping that the Mindfulness movement will prove an alternative to recreational drug use to combat hyper-stress that our modern society produces. Hopefully, Americans, who are overly stressed, could learn healthy, mindful ways to reduce their stress level.
When it comes to poor relationships, that is a harder one to fix. Our divorce rates are going up, there is more bullying in high school and our national politics leads to demonizing “the other side.” These aspects of American society concern me. We don’t seem to have a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Dolores Huerta, or a John F. Kennedy who can get Americans to work together, accept our differences, to listen to “the other side” but respectfully disagree, etc.
When it comes to boredom, Mindfulness could help again. Mindfulness, spirituality, and other forms of soul-searching avenues could help Americans embrace each moment of the day. To appreciate the “simple” tasks that everyday life brings. I notice that rides at Magic Mountain have to become even more spectacular to grab people’s attention, movies have less character development and more special effects to grab people’s attention, and national politics have become absurd at times; the absurd seems to capture people’s attention. Many Americans become too easily bored, which could be a result of overuse of social media as well. Hopefully, some Americans will learn that there is nothing wrong or boring about a peaceful moment, just sitting and listening to see the unseen around them, letting their mind just rest, do nothing but with intention, etc.
Thank you again for responding.
August 10, 2019 at 13:52
I understand what you mean by mindfulness but there is an old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” If people do not think of doing that or don’t want to do it, they won’t.
That is the challenge, getting people to actually face what is bothering them after they give too much power to the anger/depression that causes them to turn to drugs to escape.
I’m currently watching CSI Cyber Season One, and I think it was the 4th episode that I watched last night where the FBI team is dealing with a group on the dark web that only exists because of the internet. This group of very dysfunctional individuals is scattered around the world and the only reason they met each other was that they enjoy watching other people suffer and die, and to become a member, you have to go out and create in incident and film it showing people suffering and dying and share it with the group. If the incident is horrible enough, you become a member.
I also read in the last couple of days, that a study revealed that about 22 percent of young people have no friends because they are not living life in the real world. They spend too much time online or texting with virtual friends they will never meet,
And here is a study that shows how much illegal drug use there is:
“Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—9.4 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number is up from 8.3 percent in 2002. The increase mostly reflects a recent rise in the use of marijuana, the most commonly used illicit drug.
Marijuana use has increased since 2007. In 2013, there were 19.8 million current users—about 7.5 percent of people aged 12 or older—up from 14.5 million (5.8 percent) in 2007.
Use of most drugs other than marijuana has stabilized over the past decade or has declined. In 2013, 6.5 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 2.5 percent) had used prescription drugs nonmedically in the past month. Prescription drugs include pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. And 1.3 million Americans (0.5 percent) had used hallucinogens (a category that includes ecstasy and LSD) in the past month.
Cocaine use has gone down in the last few years. In 2013, the number of current users aged 12 or older was 1.5 million. This number is lower than in 2002 to 2007 (ranging from 2.0 million to 2.4 million).
Methamphetamine use was higher in 2013, with 595,000 current users, compared with 353,000 users in 2010. …
The United States has the third-largest population in the world with more than 327 million people after China and India.
And you are correct that drug use in the U.S. has become a recreational thing for wealthier and better-educated people. Do you know what caused this? During the Vietnam War, the CIA was not provided funds from Congress for a lot of what they wanted to do so they ended up making a deal with Nationalist (KMT) Chinese generals that fled with their armies to Thailand in an area called the Golden Triangle when the Communist Chinese won the Civil War in 1949.
The deal was: The KMT generals that were now warlords supplied the CIA with cocaine and marijuana and the CIA used their own private airline called Air America to transport these drugs to the United States where they were sold to raise money for things the leaders at the CIA wanted to do that Congress would not fund.
The focus of this black illegal operation that Congress didn’t know was going on until it was too late was to sell these drugs to poor minorities to raise funds to run illegal operations out of the CIA.
But at the same time, LBJ’s war on poverty was happening and there was an attempt to end segregated schooling.
Part of LBJ’s goal was to build public housing in middle-class communities so poor children would go to schools with middle-class children and be influenced by those middle-class children to be more successful in school, but when those poor families moved into public housing in middle-class communities, they brought their drugs with them and introduced those drugs to the middle-class kids that they became friends with.
And more recently, we had pharmaceutical companies bribing doctors to give their patients addictive opioids and that created the opioid epidemic. And the Opioid Epidemic is worse and more widespread than the use of cocaine and marijuana ever was.
“Starting in the 1990s with the increase of prescription painkillers, the Opioid epidemic has become a modern health crisis. It has been likened to a plague due to the high number of overdose deaths left in its wake. When people talk about the opioid epidemic, they are referring to a variety of behaviors and events related to the abuse of prescription painkillers and/or Opium-derived illicit substances. The abuse of prescription Opioids (e.g. Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Heroin, and et cetera), hospitalizations, overdoses, and deaths are all aspects of the Opioid epidemic currently affecting the 2.1 million Americans with an Opioid addiction. An average of 115 Americans die each day from Opioid-related overdose.”