Do We Still Have the Right Stuff?

In October 1957, the people of the United States awoke to a sound that shook the country to its foundation.  The Soviet Union had launched a 220-pound sphere into orbit called Sputnik.  It housed a small transmitter that emitted a 20MHz beep every few seconds and it told the world that the space race had begun.  For 21 days, Sputnik circled the globe as a reminder of Soviet supremacy in science and technology.

The reaction in the United States was profound. Filling the science-gap was considered critical to the future of freedom and democracy. The US Mercury space program was launched and by 1961, we put our first astronaut into space.  Curricula in schools changed and standards were raised.  The results were impressive. According to Michael Barone, statistically speaking, Americans who graduated high school in 1964 were the best educated generation in the nation’s history.  Unfortunately, that generation and their progeny proceeded to dumb down and corrupt the educational system for the next fifty years. Because of this, today, we face a new crisis, but this one has nothing to do with science; we now face a history-gap, and it’s tearing us apart.

If events over the last several weeks have proven anything, it’s that many of our young have absolutely no clue about the basics of American history. For decades, our schools have intentionally failed in their responsibility to teach kids about the exceptionalism of America.  The history of identities replaced the history of America many, many years ago.  Today, the effort to tear down statues and monuments is the logical outcome of a broken and biased education system that has used a warped interpretation of America’s role in the past to instill hatred, contempt, and doubt throughout our culture.

This must end.  Our country depends on it.  Changing our national understanding of history is as critical to our existence as our reaction to Sputnik was in 1957.  The problem is that removing the flawed anti-American views from our public education system will take decades; colleges and universities will take even longer.  For now, the best place to start is private schools, parochial schools, and homeschoolers.  Regardless of the path, we must start today.  We can save ourselves, but we have to look to the past to do it.