by Don Feder
An earlier version of this article appeared in FrontPageMag.
NOTE: Almost all of us have heard of Horace Mann and John Dewey as
pioneers in public education in America, which began in Massachusetts in
1830. But as Paul Harvey used to say, most people don’t know the rest
of the story.
This is what America's schools see as their mission. From the San Gabriel, CA, Unified School District web page.
When America was founded there were no public schools. Public schools
were created not to educate, but to indoctrinate. From Marx to Dewey to
the current leadership of the Democrat Party and the National Education
Association and American Federation of Teachers, revolutionaries have
always targeted youth and seen schools as the spearhead of the
When he was governor of Virginia in 2015, Terry McAuliffe (who was
deservedly defeated in this election) was pushing Critical Race Theory
(CRT) in the schools, something he claimed did not exist in his 2021
campaign for governor.
When McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools
what to teach,” he was articulating a first principle of public
education going back to its beginnings in the early 19th century: “Give
us your money. Give us your kids. Then close your eyes. Shut your mouth.
And let us do our job of transforming society.”
Today, the cutting edge is Critical Race Theory (whites are
inherently evil), the 1619 Project (America is inherently evil) and what
one proponent called the Queering Up of public education.
A Kansas school apologized for handing out a “Gender Unicorn”
worksheet which asked students, “Do you know your identity or are you
still in identity confusion stage?” In Broward County, Florida, an
elementary school class went on a field trip to a gay bar. (“Mommy,
what’s fisting?”)The National Education Association (NEA) makes
sure that America's teachers have all the "tools" to indoctrinate
children in the LGBT agenda.
But these are just the latest mutations. Sex education, which started
in the 1940s, quickly devolved into sexuality education – where students
learned a variety of perversions in the name of disease prevention and
For at least twenty years many schoolchildren have been taught more about Malcolm X than George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.
Overt anti-Americanism in the schools may be relatively new, but it has a long pedigree.When the virtual "distance learning" took over
during COVID, parents began to see what was actually being taught to
The Marxist concept of universal education
The seeds of today’s horror show were planted at the outset. The
basis of today’s educational radicalism comes from early Marxist
In “The Communist Manifesto” (published 1848), Karl Marx decreed,
“The education of all children from the moment that they can get along
without their mother’s care, shall be in state institutions at state
expense.” When the workers’ revolt failed to materialize in capitalist
countries, state education became the engine of revolution.
Writing in the 1920s, Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci said,
“Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration
of schools, universities, churches, and media (and then) by transforming
the consciousness of society.” Hence the long march through the
And so, socialist ideology has captured the schools. In his book,
“American Marxism” (published in July), Mark R. Levin writes: “It is
academia and its rule over the education of generations of students that
serves as the most potent force for Marxist indoctrination and
advocacy, and the most powerful impetus for its acceptance and spread.”
Mann and Dewey: The radical foundations of American public education
While Europeans Marx and Gramsci preached the importance of education
to the coming revolution, Horace Mann and John Dewey laid the
foundation for public education in America.
Generally acknowledged to be the father of state schools, Mann was a
utopian and an admirer of the collectivist communities (early attempts
of socialism) established by industrialist Robert Owen (the George Soros
of his age) in the Northeast and Indiana.
In the 1830s, Mann pioneered the first public school system in
America in Massachusetts, by setting up the first State Board of
Education and becoming its first secretary. Mann later went to Prussia
(then the cradle of statism) to learn how government schools could mold
impressionable minds.Horace Mann (left) and John Dewey were monumental in shaping - and radicalizing - the public education system.
John Dewey (the father of so-called Progressive education) carried
Mann’s work into the 20th century. As Mann had looked to Prussia for
inspiration, Dewey made his pilgrimage to the USSR. As Levin documents:
“Dewey was an early fan of the Soviet Union and its ‘educational system’
– or, more precisely, its massive propaganda effort where obedience and
conformity were contorted into a new unity.”
Dewey was a signer of the 1933 Humanist Manifesto (“a socialist
cooperative economic order must be established”). He said: “You can’t
make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think
for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is
coming, where everyone is interdependent.” Indeed.… And into the 21st century
In the 21st century, Marx’s and Dewey’s work of social transformation
is carried on by the teachers’ unions and their auxiliary, the Democrat
Critical Race Theory is the Marxist model of oppressor and oppressed applied to race. Queering Up applies it to gender.
Again, it’s not about teaching children how to think but what
to think. That’s why the fight over Critical Race Theory and mask
mandates has turned so vicious, with Attorney General Merrick Garland
threatening to treat unruly parents as domestic terrorists.
And it’s why the 2.3-million-member National Education Association
(NEA), at its annual convention in July, voted to increase its support
of Critical Race Theory and work to fight against so-called “white
supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy …
capitalism… and other forms of power and oppression” that are said to
animate opposition to CRT. (It’s also why the NEA gives 94% of its
campaign contributions to the Democrat party.)The other major union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is also heavily into the CRT agenda. This photo, from their website, shows the AFT president and secretary-treasurer at a George Floyd memorial.
These are the people who get to spend an average of 15,000 hours per
student indoctrinating the captives of America’s public school system.
Final thoughts from MassResistance: In
order to effectively fight what’s happening in our public schools, we
need to understand the many decades of momentum behind this radicalism,
and that a certain kind of people have been attracted to its power
structure. None of this is accidental – and it will take a very
deliberate, unrelenting, and focused effort to change it.
Don Feder is a former columnist for the Boston Herald and currently works with The Ruth Institute. He is also a long-time friend of MassResistance.