The Online Newspaper of Education Rights

Special Edition: April 2023

Editor’s Note:
This month, special guest author, Dr. Mary Byrne, Ed.D., provides an in-depth study of how public schools in America have changed over the past 100 years, and exposes the forces behind their decline. The following six informative, well-researched and-documented articles show us the who, what, when, and why of these changes.

The History of How Public Schools Have Changed

Parents and grandparents of children currently in American public schools recognize that a decline in academic instruction and the mass exodus of certified teachers nationwide, paired with an increase in disruptive classroom behavior, are indicators of a looming disaster in their children’s future. They have been overwhelmed by and suspicious of the changes in K-12 education’s national mission for workforce development, comprehensive sex education curricula, data collection on individual students, and ineffective discipline policies begun under the Obama’s Race to the Top grant program (p. 37). Despite a sense that “something is not right,” they are at a loss to identify the cause of their discomfort and suspicions.

Another segment of Americans who may not have direct contact with children in K-12 schools recognize the federal government’s increased suppression of parent speech at school board meetings and the encouragement of individual states to adopt “a new vision for the historic state-federal partnership in education” as undermining the U.S. Constitution’s implicit doctrine of limited government. Others know that the increased role of the federal government in K-12 schools has not improved students’ reading and math scores for decades and are at a loss to justify the costs of a U.S. Department of Education or explain who orchestrated the changes to diminish local control of school curricula or why they have been programmatically rolled out.


A Fabian Wolf Disguised in Sheep’s Clothing
— Hidden Meanings in Common Words

One of the iconic symbols of the British Fabian Society is a wolf with a sheep skin tied to its torso, which represents one of the Fabian Society’s tactics of deception, shrouding true intentions with benevolent rhetoric. One such tactic is linguistic confusion. The deceivers use words interchangeably that actually have incompatible meanings, or they use common words in public discourse that are understood by the naive public to have a commonly shared meaning but members in the know understand the words’ hidden meanings. Examples of these deceptive tactics are the hidden meaning of the word progress and the replacement of the word republic with the word democracy.

Roger Baldwin, a member of the League for Industrial Democracy (an American satellite of the British Fabian Society) and founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, explained the hidden meanings of these words as used by socialists in the know. Progressive meant “The forces working for the democratizing of industry by extending public ownership and control”; democracy meant “strong trade unions, government regulation of business, ownership by the people of industries that serve the public.” “Notes” on p. vi described the NCSS’s “substantial revision and reproduction and editing” in the Handbook’s sixth edition, suggesting that the choice of the word democracy to replace republic was deliberate.


The Sixth Edition and Acceleration of
Social Reconstruction in American Schools

Recall that J.E. Morgan, long-time NEA Journal editor and editor of the original American Citizens Handbook copyrighted to the NEA, also edited the sixth edition of the Handbook that was copyrighted to the NCSS. Harold Ordway Rugg, a member of the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University, is recognized as one of the “Founding Fathers of the National Council for the Social Studies” which early on became a department of the NEA. Rugg was influenced by Fabian Society ideas and promoted “progress” toward America’s social reconstruction and a planned economy. Similar Progressive ideas are seeded in the content of the sixth edition through entries titled “Democracy as a Great Social Faith” and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms,” in addition to the previously included section on the United Nations.

Writing during the Great Depression (1929-1939), Rugg believed that the American economy was flawed because it was “utterly undersigned and uncontrolled.” According to a 1941 TIME magazine article, his awakening began on Jan.1, 1920 when he went to Teachers College's new, progressive Lincoln School. Rugg encountered the Fabian Society and Progressive thought leaders on the Columbia faculty including John Dewey. Rugg decided to organize a Teachers College group famously known as Frontier Thinkers. The group held bimonthly discussions on "reconstructing" U. S. education and teaching teachers a new jargon.


American Teachers’ Unions and Fabian Society Influence

Leo Casey, writing for the Albert Shanker Institute, explained how Fabian Society ideas infiltrated the ranks of teachers in the United States through organized labor and the formation of teachers’ unions:

“In the early twentieth century, there was a great deal of trans-Atlantic cross-fertilization between British and American leftists, with London and New York as the two intellectual centers in this exchange of ideas. From the Women’s Trade Union League and the settlement house movement to Fabian Society proposals for reform and the idea of labor party...and campaigns for birth control, sex education and the decriminalization of gay sex, New Yorkers often drew inspiration from their British counterparts. The American Teacher [magazine] followed the development of the National Union of Teachers in the United Kingdom, and New York teachers on the left increasingly looked to it as a model of what could be done in the United States.”

Columbia University philosopher John Dewey was instrumental in this trans-Atlantic cross-fertilization of Fabian socialist ideas and teachers’ unions in the United States.


Dr. Mary Byrne is an educational consultant and a co-founding member of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. She holds a doctorate in special education from Columbia University, and has spent the past 38 years in education and education research at all grade levels.

To read the complete, unedited version of
Dr. Byrne's article, click here!

Fabians and Faith

Fabian Society founder Edward Pease wrote in The History of The Fabian Society,

“It must be added that though the tradition that Socialism excludes the established creeds was overthrown by the Fabians ..., the Fabian leaders did not break the tradition in their own practice ..., no leading Fabian found a refuge for his soul in the temples of any established denomination.... The work that came to our hands in our first two decades was materialistic work ... the materialistic atmosphere gave way, and the Society began to retain recruits of a kind that it always lost in the earlier years as it lost Mrs. [Annie] Besant.”

Pease’s comment about losing Besant highlights her importance to members of the Fabian Society. G. Bernard Shaw nominated Annie Besant to the Fabian Society very shortly after its creation. Pease described Besant “as an advocate of Atheism and Malthusianism” and as one of seven authors of the "Fabian Essays” but Besant did not remain materialistic.


Fabian Socialism:
A Cousin of Marxist Communism

As a kind of creed, G. Bernard Shaw wrote the Fabian Society’s Manifesto which includes the tenet, “That the state should compete with private individuals—especially with parents—in providing happy homes for children, so that every child may have a refuge from the tyranny or neglect of its natural custodians.” Shaw, whose own childhood was unstable, was influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx (he socialized with Marx’s daughter). Marx’s Communist Manifesto called for “abolition of the family.” Similarly, Shaw’s Fabian Manifesto called for the “emancipating” of children, placing the authority of the state over the authority of parents.

Shaw contributed many tracts to the Society including Fabian Tract No. 233 which advocates for socialism defined as,

... the complete discarding of the institution of private property by Transforming it into public property and the division of the resultant public income equally and indiscriminately among the entire population .... In Socialism, private property is anathema and equal distribution of income the first consideration. (p.3)


Book Review

Stolen Youth: How Radicals are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation

By Bethany Mandel and Karol Markowicz
DW Books™, a division of The Daily Wire® 2023



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