If there is one true cancer in the land of education, according to our Education Establishment, it's the torture known as "drill and kill."
Progressive educators always hated Drill and Kill. It hurts the child, we are told, and is the end of genuine learning.
For the last hundred years, our Education Establishment condemned the direct transmission of knowledge from teacher to student. These elite educators are constantly in a rage that students might be forced to prepare for a test in the traditional sense, that is, they know facts.
And yet, when it helps their agenda, the commissars will turn on a kopeck. Suddenly, 2 + 2 equals 5, or else. George Orwell, in his disquisitions on totalitarianism, explains that when power is the goal, Truth will often be tortured until it submits. 2 + 2, on another day, may equal 3.
Thus, evil Drill and Kill turns out to be the most wonderful perfect answer to your child's literacy needs. Thank you, Big Brother.
There is one essential skill, and it is reading. However, from 1932 to the present, our Education Establishment embraced a defective method called Whole Word. The essence of this method is memorizing words as designs or sight-words. Not a few words but all the words--that was the dogma for 70 years. (Now the modified dogma is that children must start by memorizing 220 high-frequency words, such as see, it, is, was, run, see.) And how are these words to be memorized? There's only one way. You stare at them, draw them, and name them on flash cards, over and over, until your response is automatic. In short, Drill and Kill of the most drastic sort is the essential ingredient in learning to read, according to Whole Word theory.
So now Drill and Kill is a GOOD thing. In kindergarten and first-grade, and sometimes into second and third grade, kids are drilling and killing their little brains in an attempt to memorize the English language as graphic designs. It's difficult for smarter children, and nearly impossible for average children. So here we have a total about-face of the most blatant and dishonest kind.
At this point, we might want to stop and marvel at the utter shamelessness of our Education Establishment. They are saying that 2 + 2 equals 5.
Here is a list of words that one might want to savor: obvious, patent, transparent, evident, manifest, unambiguous, open and shut, clear, straightforward, unequivocal, unmistakable. All of these words describe the obvious duplicity and hoax of saying that Drill and Kill is lethal and then, when convenient, saying it's delightful and exactly what kids must do.
The amount of Drill and Kill required to memorize even 100 sight-words is huge. A program now used in some schools aims, in the first year, for only 36 words. If the expert is saying that 36 is a year's work, you know this is a very hard task indeed.
Meanwhile, the relatively modest amount of memorization required to learn American history, biology, etc. is quite doable. It's a good thing, even fun. Children learn a few facts each day and as the weeks and months go by, they become expert. But, as already noted, knowing facts is scorned, so our Education Establishments labels the whole business Drill and Kill, and tries to prejudice the community against it, thereby undercutting most academic progress.It is unpleasant to contemplate the truth here. Drill and Kill, in the amount required to memorize the English language, is a hopeless project. One can only conclude that the Education Establishment never wanted children to be good readers, just as they didn't want them to know much factual information. So they prescribed, at each point, exactly the medicine that would do the most harm.
Orwell wrote about the ability, among the party elite, to accept contradictory facts. The party member has to show endless enthusiasm for whatever is said to be true. One week they love a country; the next week they hate the same country.
Unfortunately, our public school teachers are conditioned in the same way to hate Drill and Kill, and then to turn around and require Drill and Kill in the teaching of reading. Arguably, teachers are as much the victims of this perversity as students and parents.
But what about the professors at the top, the ruthless elite orchestrating all this turning on a kopeck? Surely they see the huge contradiction. Or are they such good party members that they actually don't realize that they are living in a dishonest, self-contradictory world?
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