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Some of the most fun I’ve had as a writer was compiling the education chapter (Chapter Six) of We Are Doomed. For the connoisseur of human folly, education is a banquet.
Surveying the field of modern educational practice, “in touch with reality” is not a phrase that leaps spontaneously to mind. There is no area of social policy where we see more clearly the destructive effects of the modern epidemic of happy talk, no area where the magical thinking of our intellectual cheerleaders is so clearly, painfully at odds with cold grim fact. Our educational practice is driven by our educational theory; and to enter the world of education theory is to leave the solid surface of the earth altogether, to float up to the Academy of Lagado in Gulliver’s Travels, where learned men worked at extracting sunbeams from cucumbers …
Education is a vast sea of lies, waste, corruption, crackpot theorizing, and careerist log-rolling. If, as H.G. Wells asserted, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe,” we have lost the race, and had better brace ourselves for the catastrophe.
Sane books about education do occasionally get published, though. Two years ago almost to the day, I reviewed one such here at VDARE.com: Prof. Ray Wolters’ The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform, 1967-2014.
From my review:
Ray Wolters has written an excellent and fascinating book about education, casting his net wider than most theorists of the subject would dare. I … congratulate him on a fine work of modern social history.
Now I see from one of Steve’s commenters that Prof. Wolters has come to the attention of the CultMarx ideological enforcers.
What happened was that the American Historical Review, which is an academic journal, commissioned a book review from Prof. Wolters (who is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Delaware).
The book to be reviewed was Ansley Erickson’s Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits, published last year. Prof. Erickson is Assistant Professor of History and Education at Columbia University Teachers College.
I haven’t read Prof. Erickson’s book; but the promotional blurb at Amazon.com gives off a strong odor of sunbeams from cucumbers.
Be that as it may, the fact of American Historical Review having assigned this book to Prof. Wolters caused historians nationwide to take to the fainting couch.
No less than six academics wrote to the Review in protest. Their sputtering is hilarious to behold.
• Wolters is an avowed white supremacist who claims that school desegregation cannot overcome racial achievement gaps … (Campbell F. Scribner, University of Maryland).
• His preoccupation with so-called “sociobiology” represents a poisonously ideological and misguided framing of the debates about racial equality … (N. D. B. Connolly, Johns Hopkins University).
• For white readers such as myself, your decision to give the stamp of authority to Wolters’s racist beliefs is infuriating. For many of your readers of color, it is also devastating … (Andrew W. Kahrl, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African and African-American Studies).
• I am not suggesting any kind of ideological litmus test for historians …
Of course not! Perish the thought!
… who must be free to explore the past and to frame any theories that can be supported with evidence.
Free! Completely free!
But there is no evidence — none …
None, I tell you — None! None!
… for the scientific racism that Raymond Wolters is trying to revive. The problem with his ideas is not that they are racist and offensive, although they are surely that. The problem is that they are false. (Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania).
• By choosing Raymond Wolters as a reviewer and allowing him to air his [sic] “theory” of sociobiology as a criticism of Erickson’s book, you both unfairly treat her work and misrepresent the state of U.S. history and the history of education … (Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, The New School).
Worst of all:
• I reviewed [Prof. Wolters’] book Race and Education in Teachers College Record in 2009. At that time I pointed out that … he had granted a personal interview to a website called vdare.com, which is classified as a “white nationalist hate website” by the Southern Poverty Law Center … (Zoe Burkholder, Montclair State University).
Eeek! Pharmacies in college towns nationwide are experiencing a run on sal volatile.
American Historical Review has of course gone into full cringe mode in response to these letters. They have pulled the review; although they concede, with an air of bafflement, that:
[Prof. Wolters’] university webpage reveals him to be a legitimate scholar with a fairly long and solid publication record; our database also confirmed his status as an academic who has published in credible scholarly venues.
I congratulate Prof. Wolters on having caused so many conniptions among the log-rolling classes, and I look forward to his next book.