Students Accept Majority Tyranny


The following commentary about the state of learning and teaching of government and political science in our public schools (excerpt below) crossed the Designated Conservative‘s digital desk this week.   It is another excellent posting by…

A Conservative Teacher, and it should cause you to be afraid, be very afraid for our country…and then go and do something about it!

Last week I was asked by a testing group out west to help grade some essays that students wrote. I apologize for not being too specific- I always fear for my future employment when I write posts like this. Thousands of students from the area took this test, which was designed to evaluate how well students understood how government worked in our society. These students all took either a semester or year-long course in government prior to taking this class, and all the students who took the test were either seniors or juniors in high school (17 or 18 years of age).

I personally graded over a thousand of these essays over several days of work. In doing so, I was able to read first hand what the students in our classrooms thought and believed, and what I read chilled me.

The test asked students to discuss the advantages of being in the majority party in Congress compared to being in minority party. The correct answers included

  • being able to control the agenda,
  • controlling debate,
  • having the presiding officer,
  • setting the rules for debate, and
  • having their majority also reflected in committees.

The majority party was put in place by citizens in free elections and should have these powers. In general, students were unable to identify a single advantage listed above, and the average score for these students was just above a zero. After years of school and a class on government, they knew almost nothing about government. But my point is not that the students are not being taught, because they are being taught. My point is what they are being taught.

According to most of the students (about 2/3rds), the advantage of being the majority party in Congress, like the Democrats are today, is that

  • they can pass laws that favor themselves,
  • they can vote to transfer money from the minority party’s districts and supports to the majority party’s districts and supporters,
  • that being in the majority means they can pay themselves more money and the minority party less,
  • that being in the majority means that they can tax anybody they want, and can do ‘whatever they want.’ [bullets and bold text added for emphasis]

The phrase ‘the majority party can do whatever they want’ was written on over half of the essays that were written….

UPDATE:

The test described above is an evaluation of knowledge and comprehension regarding what is taught in a public school government class. If these are the answers from 2/3 of the students in the sample, then something is very wrong with what is being taught. Considering the ignorance among the adult public school teaching population about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, political parties, and what federalism actually means, I’m not surprised that such ignorance is passed on to students. It is unfortunate that our public schools are so completely insulated from oversight and the consequences of a dumbed-down curriculum….

A Conservative Teacher goes on to say,

“Sometimes people question where I get my ideas on government from, and ask for ‘evidence’ that students are not learning what they need to learn in schools and instead are being indoctrinated with liberal left-wing propaganda. This is evidence.”

Click here to read the entire article.

If you would like to see an example of the kind of thinking that comes as these children move into adulthood, click here.

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This entry was posted in 2010 Election, Education, Michigan and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Students Accept Majority Tyranny

  1. jonolan says:

    Sounds like the teacher’s students have a far better understanding of our government and realpolitik than he does.

    He claims that their OK with these things, but I don’t think acknowledgment of truth is same thing as endorsing that situation.

    • I hope you will read the whole post on A Conservative Teacher‘s site. If my excerpt leaves that impression, I probably need to go back and add a bit more.

      This is a test of knowledge and comprehension regarding what is taught in a public school government class. If these are the answers from 2/3 of the students in the sample, then something is very wrong with what is being taught. Considering the ignorance among the adult public school teaching population about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, political parties, and what federalism actually means, I’m not surprised that such ignorance is passed on to students. It is unfortunate that our public schools are so completely insulated from oversight and the consequences of a dumbed-down curriculum….

  2. jonolan says:

    I read the whole article.

    No matter what the curriculum was in the students’ class, they managed to acquire real knowledge of government from somewhere. Their answers prove that.

    # they can pass laws that favor themselves,

    # they can vote to transfer money from the minority party’s districts and supports to the majority party’s districts and supporters,

    # that being in the majority means they can pay themselves more money and the minority party less,

    # that being in the majority means that they can tax anybody they want, and can do ‘whatever they want.’

    These ARE the real – and realpolitik – benefits of the majority party in modern US government. By comparison, the advantages that they’re suppose to have are trivial and ancillary.

  3. jonolan says:

    Can you honestly say that this isn’t how our government actually functions? If not, how can you describe me as cynical?

    • To me, acceptance that this is the way things work in government is also an acknowledgment that it can’t be changed for the better (a “this is the way we’ve always done things” mentality). I recognize that our federal (and my own state) government is completely disfunctional, bloated, and a drag on our country. However, I will not stop exercising my hope that we can make a difference. I believe in the Constitution and love my country too much for that.

  4. jonolan says:

    There’s where we differ. I accept what is the truth of how our government functions. I do not, however, approve of it, nor am I satisfied to let its current course continue unopposed.

    AS for the students in the article – I do not know whether they merely answered truthfully and accurately or whether they approve of- or are apathetic about the current situation.

  5. The students think that is the way things work and accept that it is the way things work. They lack knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of the revolutionary ideals of freedom, liberty, property rights, limited government, etc. They only know, and fully accept, living in a world where one man can bankrupt companies and then trasnfer them to himself and his friends- they accept and write about how they are content with a government that takes money from minority political groups and transfers it to the rich- to them, that is ‘democracy.’

  6. Good for you- keep believing that- I still do too, and is part of my mission as a teacher- to blow their minds with amazing ideas like life, liberty, and property.

    My blog post was news- it was what I observed (sadly) after reading thousands of essays for the Advanced Government (AP) Exam.

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