Are Kids Adults In Training?: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering from those constitutional and foundational principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions today’s education system, education reform and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!
Air Date: 04/20/2017
Guests: David Barton and Rick Green
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
President Thomas Jefferson said, “ I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! It’s Thursday, so it is Foundations of Freedom Thursday! Everyday we’re talking about these hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
But Thursdays are a little bit different. We take your questions, you can email those into [email protected], that’s [email protected]. And we try to zero in on some constitutional questions, some application of law, maybe some history on the Founding Fathers. All about those foundational principles.
We’re doing that here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state representative. You can find out more about us and the radio program and our organization WallBuilders at our two websites WallBuilders.com and also WallBuildersLive.com.
WallBuilders Live is the radio site, that’s where you can get a list of the 300 stations around the country we’re on. And also get archives of the most recent programs. And then WallBuilders.com, a ton of information there. Both of these are pretty new websites with a lot of great new information if you hadn’t been there in a while, go check them out.
Let’s dive into this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. David, lots of great questions. I know you’ve got a stack of questions. We’re going to try to get as many of those as we can. But people really have been enjoying these Thursday programs because they’re learning about areas of the Constitution, or maybe even amendments over the last hundred years but maybe it’s a law that’s been passed and how to actually make that fit with the Constitution. And it helps you and I kind of decide what we’re going to talk about today because we get to talk about the ones they’re interested in.
Yeah, it’s fun that way. And like you said, there is a stack of stuff. Literally Rick, I have a two inch stack in front of me of questions that folks have asked. So we try to pull out what we can, answer what we can, if they tend to have questions that are covered two or three times from other folks.
So, it’s really fun to see what’s on people’s mind and see where they want to go. And in our case, it’s really fun to see how this relates to our heritage, our history, and the Constitution.
Yep, and we’ve been able to cover a lot of different topics over the last few years. We were enjoying with our producer Justin as he counted these things up and found out that today is number 154 Foundations of Freedom Thursday program. So, David, you’ve answered a lot of questions over those 154 programs.
No, people have asked a lot of questions over those 154 programs.
And you’ve answered a few of them.
I’ve answered a few of them, that’s right.
Nathaniel from Mountain Home, Idaho
Alright, well, let’s see, how many we can get through today. We’ve got several today. Nathaniel sends one from Mountain Home, Idaho. He said, “I’m a new father and future youth pastor.”
Congratulations on both counts, that’s great!
Right, exactly right. He says, “He’s intrigued every time the accomplishments and education of our Founding Fathers at a young age are mentioned. Could you possibly do an episode or two talking about our Founding Fathers at a young age to help us parents and ministers to challenge and encourage our children and adolescents?
Great question, Nathaniel. We’ll certainly let David answer that today. But I also want to tell you that there is some really good video programs out there. David did a whole episode on this. First time we did a TV show together called, “Building On the American Heritage Series.” Great youth accomplishments, it’s really cool!
And then recently “Foundations of Freedom” the television series has a couple of episodes where he talks about a lot of the things that young leaders have done in American history. And then David, I think when Tim covers exceptionalism he talks about that as well, doesn’t he?
Yeah he does. That’s that’s something we cover a lot in presentations especially when we’re talking either parents or to educators. Because accomplishments are all about expectations.
And if you have a higher expectation, I’ve explained it in other ways before talking to school teachers, talking to administration, etc.. For example, you can go to West Point and be trained for the U.S. Army. But you can also go to Fort Jackson and be trained for the U.S. Army.
The difference is you’re going to get trained both ways. But what they’re training you for at West Point is for leadership and therefore they have higher expectations of you, higher demands of you, and you’re going to have to do stuff. It’s going to be a lot more rigorous.
Now, you can be qualified for West Point and decide you want to go to Fort Jackson. You’re just going through basic 12 week or whatever it is training camp and you’re still qualified for the army. But it’s all about expectations. And if educators and parents don’t set higher expectations no one will come up to those expectations.
Do you think we’ve lowered those? Obviously, since the founding era? In terms of expectations of what a young person should be able to accomplish by say, 15 or 18 or whatever?
Well, let me go at it two ways. One we can go constitutionally and another way we can go Biblically. So since since we’re talking about that Nathaniel is a new father and future youth pastor. Here’s the first question I’ve got from a Biblical standpoint.
Relying on the Bible as a guide for the New Testament church and what churches try to do is say, “Hey, we are Christians. We are a Christian church. We’re doing this out of the New Testament.” OK, out in the New Testament show me where there is any such thing as a “youth pastor.” We don’t have that.
There is no youth pastor anywhere in the Bible. And that goes back to a distinction that was made in the early 1920s back with Progressives. And it’s worked its way into the church.
Adults In Training
Now, I’m saying this as a former youth pastor who youth pastored for a lot of years. Tim was a youth pastor, too. But it’s all about what you do as a youth pastor. And so what you do is if you look at at those young people as if they’re adults in training you’d handle them completely different than if you look at them as if they’re adolescence.
Adolescence we don’t expect anything. “If you guys just stay out of trouble we’ll make sure you have a lot of fun when you come to church. We’ll make sure everything is fun for you.”
But if you train them as adults in training then your expectations are different and you train them different. It’s the difference between West Point and Fort Jackson basic training. It really changes everything.
And so this all goes back to, and I’m just going to hit it now, because what we’re trying to do with education reform, we can look at educational choice, or reducing tenure for teachers, or getting the teachers unions. That’s like rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic. This ship is sinking. You can polish the brass if you want to but it’s sinking and it has been sinking for 100 years.
The Titanic of Education Is Sinking
It’s been sinking ever since we said, “You know, the way we’ve done education for the last three centuries has been phenomenal. But it’s just time to do something new. We’ve got to do something different.”
And so in the 1920’s there were five major changes made in the way we go at educating young people. Those five changes were not based on metrics. They were not based on a better way to do it, or a way that works well. It’s not based on, “Well, we’ve had bad results in the past.” It’s all based on, “Let’s do something new.” And that’s really where education is today. That is what Common Core is all about.
Common Core, “Man, we haven’t done anything major in education in 30 years. Let’s do Common Core.” “Why don’t you guys test it first?” “No, no, it’s going to work. We used means tests.” “No, you didn’t.”
And that’s why now Kentucky and New York who have had common core longer than other states have abysmal results. This stuff didn’t work. “Yeah, but it was time to do something new.” And so that’s where we are with education. We’re trying to fix things that have been fundamentally shifted since the 1920’s. We’re trying to finesse the edges here, and change some structure here. No, no, no, let’s just blow up and go back to what used to work and that’s prior to the 1920’s.
What we’ve done is church has done the same thing. Church has said, “What’s public school doing? Ok, let’s just bring that over and put religious values around it.” No, let’s not do that. Let’s look at what works and what doesn’t work.
Almost like they follow the culture instead of shaping the culture the right direction. They let the culture shape them.
History of Education
Well, why not? We’ve been raised in a public school system, all of us. I don’t know of anybody that I know of who went to school in the 1920’s. Which now it puts you about 120 years old, so there’s nobody to tell us about what it was back then. We have to rely on history.
That is, by the way, one of the things we have here at WallBuilders library is we have the history of education. We have textbooks from all the way since the first textbook published in America in 1690. We have more than 300 years of textbooks and we can look and see. And we have testing results and we have measurements and we have all sorts of reports of what worked and what didn’t.
You even have some of the desks, you have those cool desks right there in the library.
We do! You’re right, and have tell you, Bro, I’ve got some Civil War desks and they are for like sixth graders and a man they got to be smaller than most kindergartners I know. A tiny desk! But that’s got a lot done.
Yeah, I never tried to sit in one but I have picked them up and moved them. They are heavy even though they’re small.
They used real wood back then, none of this composite stuff.
Hey, David, gotta take a quick break. We’ll come back and we’ll pick up where we left off talking about the things in the library that really gives us the history of education. Not just the history of the country and the Constitution and that sort of thing. But the history of education that’s happened over the last couple hundred years here in America.
Stay with us folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton with another moment from American history. As the American War for Independence began, the president of Yale was the Reverend Naphtali Daggett. When New Haven, the home of Yale, came under attack, about a hundred citizens rushed out to meet the British.
The Reverend Daggett galloped by them on horseback, his clearable robes flowing behind him in the wind. He took up a solitary position atop a hill. The 2500 British soon put the townsfolk to flight but the Reverend Daggett continued to stand alone firing down on the advancing troops.
A British officer confronted him, “What are you doing there, you old fool? If I let you go, will you ever fire again on the troops of his majesty?”
“Nothing more likely,” was the preacher’s reply. America’s early pastors personally confronted danger and courageously led their communities.
For more information on Pastor Daggett and other colonial Patriots, go to WallBuilders.com.
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
Welcome back to WallBauilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday today and we’re on our first question of the day from Nathaniel in Idaho dealing with how young people in the Founding Fathers era did so many amazing things.
David, it’s been a big question. You’ve been biting off in chunks, and you started with the way education changed the expectations of what we have for young people. You were just explaining as we went to the break some of the cool stuff we have in the WallBuilders Library now on education. Not just the Founding Era and the Founding Fathers themselves and their writings but so many cool artifacts and you were talking about the different textbooks and everything and even the desks and the different things from throughout American history.
Five Changes in Education Since the 20’s
Yeah, I’m going to go back before that. Because the stuff in the library reflects an older era where we had better results. And so let me just tell you that five changes that progressives did in the 1920’s that we’re still stuck with today.
The first change is they took everything to what’s called age graded. In other words, “We’re going to put all all eight year olds in second grade, or third grade, or whatever it is. Nine year olds go here.”
So if you’re born by September then you can be in this class. So, we’ve got all the stuff based on age. We used to base it, not on age, but on intellectual capacity. That is, you could be a really, really smart person that was illiterate. But in a practical sense, you had great knowledge. But maybe you decided when you’re 14 years old, “I’m going to learn to read.”
Well, we put you in a first grade class. We don’t put you in a sixth or seventh grade class. We put you in a first grade class. And then as you progress maybe you go through three grade levels in one year. Or maybe you’re a six year old that goes through three grade levels in one year. Do we hold you back because you can cover all that ground? No. We want to challenge you individually where you are to move forward from where you are.
What we do now is say, “We’re going to put you all in a group and we’re going to challenge the group to move forward. We’re going to test the group, and we’re going to talk to the group, and we’re going to treat you like a group. We don’t treat you as individuals.”
We hold back somebody that might have been ready to move forward.
That’s right. It also means you shoot for mediocrity. Because we’re trying to move the bulk of the class forward. Which means the really smart kids will hold back and the kids aren’t doing so good we’re going to put them in the group and we’re going to do social advancement or whatever we want to call it, different states have different titles, but we’re moving the group forward. We’re no longer dealing with individuals.
Everything about God, everything about American history, was individual. I deal with you as an individual and I have expectations for you as an individual and that’s why we educated you, was as an individual. Well, we don’t do that now.
So we are stuck with mediocrity. We are stuck with our smart kids being bored in class, we’re stuck with teachers 85 % of their time, they tell me that most of their time is spent trying to keep discipline in the class not in teaching. This thing is not working.
The second thing that happened is they went to compulsory education. We used to say, “Education is a really good deal. Here’s what it produces for you. If you want a good job, education.” And some kids said, “Well, I don’t want an education. Some parents said I don’t want my kids having education.” That was their choice.
Now, they paid for it and then they decided, “No, I need to go back to school and get my GED or whatever.” But we started saying, “No, we’re going to force you all to go to school and we’re going to force you to go for a certain period time.” So, instead of education being voluntary, we’re now forcing them.
How can you force people to learn if they don’t want to learn? This is the old, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Well, now we’re going to force you to learn. And in that kind of coercion there’s a reaction against that.
People don’t like being forced to do anything. Now, that’s why we’re told and Proverbs 13, I think is verse two, it says, “A wise teacher makes learning a joy.” When you’ve got good teachers kids want to learn.
They come to it. But not if you’re forcing kids that don’t want to be there to be there. They’re going to be disruptive, they are going to be problems, that’s part of the system. “Well, if they don’t get an education it’s going to hurt them.” “Exactly.” And they’ll figure that out and they’ll come back and get their GED. Later they’ll go, “You know, I really should have had an education.”
And think of what we do to the other kids in the classroom by disrupting that room. That student that they didn’t really want to be there is now causing a lot of the disciplinary problems, distracting from the learning, setting a bad example, and sometimes pulling down some of the other kids with them. It’s just a really bad formula.
It is bad formula. The third thing they did was they said, “You know, no one in America goes to school past the eighth grade right now.” And by the way, that’s phenomenal stuff. After you finished eighth grade you went and got a job and a career or you went to college.
Eighth Grade Exit Exam From 1920
So we’re talking what is now a high school would be headed toward college in ninth graders. So we had voluntary education, we had eighth grade is as far as you go. And as we do our interns over summer, Tim always starts out them with an eighth grade exit exam.
These are kids in college, we start them out with an eighth grade exit exam out of Colorado, Nebraska, or Oklahoma, or wherever. We have not had a single kid yet pass the eighth grade exit exam from the 1920’s.
So this really did work, and kids today now in college don’t know as much as an eighth grader knew back then. But they said, “We don’t think we want you for eight years, we want you for 12 years. That’s what we want.” And so we changed it from eight to 12 and that hasn’t increased our knowledge.
As a matter of fact, we continue to come in right in the bottom in every international testing for about the last 25 years we’re always in the bottom quarter. Usually, the last or next to the last. So that hasn’t worked, having extra years.
“But we’ve got to do that. We’ve got to have that happen.” No we don’t. They’re quite capable of learning more before that.
Extended the School Year
The fourth thing they did was they extended the school year. We used to go about three months a year. They said, “No, it’s got to be nine months. No, let’s make a 10. Do I here 11?
And so we keep extending the school year. And that’s not showing to have more knowledge. You know if this really made sense we would be blowing out the charts on international testing. We would we would pin back the ears of every other nation out there and math and science and reading.
It’s not doing it. We’re saying go 12 years. It’s compulsory you can’t avoid this. And by the way, you’re going to go for 9 to 11 months and we’re extending the school day. And it’s still not working. So again, we’re polishing the deck the deck furniture on the Titanic as it goes down.
Teaching Not To Think, But How To Learn
And the fifth thing, and this is the biggest is they said, “Students, we’re no longer going to teach you how to think. We’re just going to teach you how to learn.”
Well, that now puts teacher in charge of knowledge. Instead of showing you how to fish, we’re now going to hand you fish. And this is what opens up for indoctrination in such a big way is whatever you get taught by your teacher that’s what you believe. And if you see it on the internet, man, it has got to be true because nobody would lie to me about this. And instead of teaching you to think for yourself and get knowledge and dig out knowledge and feed yourself go fish for yourself. We’re now going to hand you everything
Great For Socialism
Which is great for socialism but really bad for limited government and for independence and and for entrepreneurship and all the other things we want. So those are the five things that have happened. And the churches really bought into a lot of this.
How do what do you for Sunday-School? We do it by our age. What do we do with it? All year long. All this stuff. There’s no model for this Biblically in the Bible.
Many Bible Heroes Were Kids
And if you look at most of the heroes in the Bible, I mean, David was down in his pre-teens when he was killing lions and bears. Samuel is believed to be four or five years old when he had the revelation of God that said, “Hey you need to tell Eli that God’s going to knock him off. And here’s what’s going on in the temple.”
I mean you go to these Bible folks. We’ve been talking about Esther’s age. It is believed to be that Esther was somewhere in that 14 to 15 year old range. She’s a queen? Yes she’s a queen.
So there’s no biblical model for what we’re doing here. And this is you know education has just not produced the same results since the 20s that it did before the 20s.
That’s why what you’re saying is it’s not just the Founding Era. Amazing stories you’re saying go all the way back to the Bible.
And young people were doing amazing things at a young age the model was high expectations at an early age.
That’s exactly right. And with that model you have remarkable results.
And one thing, we’ll take quick break here. When we come back, David, I’m just thinking as we go to break about you know Paul’s admonition to put away childish things. And at what point in life is he talking about there? And is that part of the model we need to be coming back to?
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back. Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power in inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Chasing American Legends
The American story is filled with legends, myths, and heroes that are larger than life. Including true stories that are simply unbelievable.
We’re the Green family and for years we’ve been traveling the country sharing the stories that shaped America. You don’t have to look far when it comes to a hero. All you have to do is look at history.
We’re chasing the truth about the heroes of our past and finding answers for the future. It’s called Chasing American Legends. You can watch it on hundreds of stations across the nation. For showtimes and listings visit RickGreen.com. And if you prefer you can stream it directly from our website.
Join us as we investigate America’s heroes, legends, and legacy. With passion for America balanced by humor and curiosity, Chasing American Legends brings a fresh approach to storytelling, through access to authentic worlds of timeless, national treasures.
Each episode is a fun journey through America’s most amazing moments. And we want you along for the ride. For more information on where you can watch Chasing American Legends, visit RickGreen.com.
Abraham Lincoln said, “We people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Putting Away Childish Things
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Today taking your questions. Actually had a great question out of Idaho today is taking of our whole program. Which is great today. We haven’t talked about a lot this history of education and the expectations for young people in a while.
I was just pointing out as we were going to break that scripture where Paul talks about no longer acting like a child or thinking like a child. This is perfect for what we’re talking about reasoning like a child. How does that apply to this in terms of our model and our formula as a nation for when we should say it’s time to start putting away those childish things?
You know in the Bible we’re always told like train up a child. We started really early with children. And now we know we found this out decades ago that by the time a child is 5 they have acquired 50 percent of all the knowledge that they will ever acquire.
By the time they’re 6 they have 60 percent of the knowledge they acquire and then it goes downhill from there. So if you do not utilize those first six years or you spend them with coloring books and you spend them with watching videos or whatever man you’ve given up 60 percent of your shot to really shape that kid.
And so that’s why we had a different view. And we talked about it and Building an American Heritage Series you mention foundation of freedom. You mentioned that.
John Quincy Adams, eight years old has a musket with the Massachusetts Minute Men doing the military drills. When he was 11 years old, he was secretary to the ambassador to France and on through.
We talk about Founder after Founder the does this young. Why? Because nobody told them they couldn’t do it and they don’t have an idea of what age they are until you tell them, “It’s your birthday. You’re three years old or four years old.” They’re just a blank slate to write on.
And I learned this going through the Bible looking at history looking at the Founding Fathers. I learned it. And while I did not do this with my own kids, I demanded a whole lot more of them and demand is not the right term. I expected a lot more and they performed a lot more. They came up to the expectations.
Spelling Was Harder in 1782
Noah Webster talks about that. If you look at his 1782 spelling book he talks about these are hard words. He said but then again children love a challenge and if you give them these hard words they will learn them they will come up too it. And that’s the book we used until 1932 for spelling.
And today, man, a Ph.D. couldn’t understand most of the words in it. So we’ve changed our expectations. But with my grandkids I realized, “You know I’ve got a blank slate here.”
And so our three year old grandson, man, when he was 3 years old I already had him on his own four wheeler because nobody told him he couldn’t. Because now I put the boundaries around him and told him exactly how to do it. I instructed him. I trained him. We went through it day by day. He rode it beside me.
We went over the things and when he was three years old he got his first gun. And again, all the all the stuff he does not have the experience to know it. But I can train him I can teach him how to shoot it. And he was very good at it. Out in the country we have plagues of not locusts but grasshoppers that hit our pastures.
And so he got really good at taking that– three years old — taking that that B-B gun and shooting grasshopper’s off the branches of trees.
You know, how come– “No, you’re not old enough. Wait till you’re six or seven.”
That’s ridiculous. I lost four years there that could have been using. And so when you go–and you can tell what they can and can’t do. And you know, I don’t expect him to pick up a 500 pound weight when he’s three years old. I’m reasonable. But then again I know that his mental capacity can develop.
And so when he was just a tiny child I would take him out on the four wheeler and point up in the sky. I would tell him everything I saw, “Do you see that? That’s the moon. It’s quarter phase right now. Oh you see over there. This is the winter time of the year and so what you have there is Orion. He’s in the southern sky and you can tell he’s Orion.”
And I would I would talk to him just like he was a teenager and I did that for the first two or three years. And man has his vocabulary is massive on what he can say and understand and the words he handles because he’s been hearing that stuff. I didn’t say when you’re four or five years. I didn’t talk to him on one syllable words.
And by the way, John Adams has a great letter to his wife, Abigail, where essentially he says he says, “Do not talk baby talk to our kids because you will have wasted all of those years where you could have been teaching them the full English language. And when they get older they’ll find that that’s not the language they want. There they are learning baby talk. And that was another thing that challenge my expectations.
So you know, going back to what Nathaniel’s got there. The Founding Fathers did it. But it was done in the Bible long before that. It was done by generations and centuries and millennia of people up until the Progressive’s got a hold of us.
Adolescence is Now 33
And when they did, now we are so far behind. I think Rabbi Lap told us one time that the official age of adolescence is now 33 years old is recognized by the U.S. government.
Talk out about thirty three, the age of adolescence now extends to 33. You know how nuts is that. Well, that’s our mentality. So quit teaching these quick give a fish to these kids and start teaching them how to fish
Get away from that progressive stuff we’ve been doing for the last 100 years. That has not been working at all. And let’s go back what works. And you know that would be my my answer to looking at young people and what Nathaniel raised.
He’s a new father. Man, don’t waste any time at all. You start reading to your kids. You start challenging them with thoughts. You take them out with you on walks. You show them what the differences between this tree and that tree and that’s an oak tree and this is an elm tree and you can tell because of the leaves.
They just soak it up. 50 percent of everything they’ll learn will be learned by the time they’re 5 years old. So don’t underestimate that.
Man, that’s sounds like David, you’re also challenging us as individuals. So, it doesn’t matter even if we aren’t able to change the system if you will, in terms of the public schools or even your private school. That doesn’t mean that you as a parent can’t add to it. And like you said have high expectations and set different goals and expectations for your kids and the community as well.
Let me be real frank here. Whether you’re homeschooling, Christian schooling, or public schooling and we all now educate on this bad philosophy. And so wherever you are do not let school be your babysitter.
You take control of those kids, your grandkids and you start teaching them according to these ways of thinking. It will make a huge difference no matter where they go to school.
Good stuff, folks. Thanks for listening today. Foundations of Freedom Thursday has been our program. Today you can get more of those on our Web site at WallBuildersLive.com. We appreciate you listening to all those live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”