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Education Reporter

No Improvement from Preschool 

FORT SMITH, AR - Retired educator and former Fulbright scholar Margaret Brogley, who spent nearly 40 years in the classroom, says public education is failing because of the methods and materials used, not because there aren't enough toddlers enrolled in preschool. In a letter to state early childhood education officials, legislators, and the Governor of Arkansas, Mrs. Brogley confessed to political incorrectness by taking a stand "totally against early childhood education."

Brogley recalled that in 1931, James W. Reynolds, then a recent graduate of Columbia University Teachers College, told her American History class about a movement afoot to make children wards of the state. "I thought, no parent would allow that!" Brogley wrote. "However, I have lived to see it happening. No doubt, Mr. Reynolds heard it from John Dewey, the father of 'progressive education,' for Dewey was teaching at Columbia when Mr. Reynolds was a student."

"Three years ago," her letter continued, "I attended an Early Childhood Conference in Atlanta, where then-Secretary of Education Richard Riley and three people from other countries were guest speakers. The thrust of the entire meeting was to enroll the child in school from infancy on. I was reminded of Reynolds' statement made 70 years ago!"

Mrs. Brogley noted that over the past 40 years, education has been dumbed down, from fuzzy math to the dearth of phonics reading instruction to the inability of many students to use cursive handwriting. "For 50 years, we have heard of the necessity to improve education," she wrote. "How long will it take? Every time the 'experts' fix the situation, it becomes worse. Now, the child is to learn to read by the 4th grade. Why so long? I am no genius, but I learned to read before the first year was over."

Brogley recalled that public education began "a fast downward trend" — from which it has never recovered — in the mid-1960s with the granting of federal aid. She urged Arkansas officials to "Get copies of the [Goals 2000/School-to-Work legislation and compare them with Vladimir Turchenko's book The Scientific Technological Revolution in Education." She suggested: "Also, obtain a copy of We the People, mandated by H.R. 1, to learn what children will learn about government!"

"Will education be improved [by enrolling young children in preschool]?" Brogley asked rhetorically, then answered her own question: "No, but it will cost billions of dollars . . . Adding more school years to a child's life will accomplish nothing."

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