TheBlaze’s Erica Ritz contributed to this report.
Michelle Malkin tackled education reform and the ever-contentious Common Core standards during Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon event. Covering a different side of the coin, historian David Barton later delved into the historical roots of religion in education and how the system has profoundly changed over the past few decades.
Both made their remarks during the Independence Through Education conference — an education panel covering a plethora of associated education issues.
Michelle Malkin’s Views on Common Core and Education
At the start of her speech, Malkin expressed that she was thrilled and energized to gather with so many Americans who are concerned about education in America. She also praised Beck for bringing together the highly-engaged crowd and for championing such an essential issue.
“It’s because of [Beck] that I believe that in this room we have amassed the most effective and informed group of people to help stop Common Core,” she said.
Malkin also called for citizens to get involved to stop the left’s “fomenting and plotting and conspiring to hatch these progressive education schemes and to use our children as their political pawns.”
But rather than limiting her critique to progressives, she also extended her frustration to Republicans who have sold out, in her view. These individuals who are supposed to be defenders of small government are abandoning the values they claim to so ardently adhere to, Malkin contends.
“The reason why this is so important is because there are people who purport to represent limited constitutional government…and local control of the schools,” she said. “[People] who are getting in bed with people who have nothing less than the destruction of parental rights as their agenda.”
In order to understand education in America and the government’s Common Core initiative, Malkin said that the first step is to be informed. The second objective, she said, is to be engaged, telling the crowd that they should use social media to ensure that their voices are heard.
“We need a critical mass and what Twitter and Facebook allow you to do is have a diffusion of knowledge and a knowledge base,” she said, calling for people to insert themselves in the discussion in an effort to save the nation’s schools.
As for Common Core and the current reforms, Malkin noted that the federal government used stimulus money to force states into compliance. To drive home the dangers of education reform proposals, she compared the initiatives to Obamacare.
“If you think Obamacare is bad, wait until you get a load of Obamacore. … it may as well be Bushcore — Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, George Walker Bush and the entire wing of the Republican party that has forsaken the [small government] role that the federal government is supposed to play,” Malkin said.
Teachers, rather than bureaucrats, she argued, are supposed to discern how to “deliver and impart” lessons.
“The collectivist mission of these educators is completely explicit and we cannot collaborate with people who are trying to bring this country down,” she added.
Malkin said that the battle never ends. While the key players change, the “unholy alliance” unfolds again and again. Conservatives, she argued, must get involved in the battle to stop Common Core.
David Barton Covers Faith in the Education System
Later on during the Independence Through Education conference, Barton covered a different side of the issue, focusing on how God and morality have been removed from public schools.
Barton argued that there are two points to consider when looking back at teaching in America, as it originally stood 200 years ago. The first is that one of the primary goals of education was to “teach religion, morality and knowledge.” The second was the role of faith in teaching important thinking skills.
The historian also noted that religion was so important that new states being admitted to the union were required to embrace “religion, morality and knowledge,” which is why these elements made it into many states’ constitutions.
“You could not get into the U.S. as a territory if you schools were not teaching religion, morality and knowledge,” Barton said.
Additionally, the way in which children are instructed has changed. Rather than teaching kids to analyze and examine what they read and consume as the U.S. once did, young people are now taught to “learn.”
“They took education away from thinking and they said, instead of thinking, what we want you to do is learn instead,” Barton added.
While this may seem like it’s not such a bad thing on the surface, the historian believes that the change made schools teacher-based instead of student-based, putting the power in the hands of the professors. There is no longer an analysis of all angles, but a regurgitation of what the teacher said.
The cause of this evolution? In the 1960s, Supreme Court decisions stripped religion and morality out of society. Barton argued that this change makes us gullible, because “we stop thinking and we learn.”
“We don’t analyze, we don’t think, we don’t process. We just receive,” he said.
Objective truth comes from religion. Not having this, he argued, is damaging. STDs, underage pregnancies and violent skyrocketed when religion and morality taken out of schools.