Back in the days Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt was a senior policy advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education (Reagan’s first term – she was relieved of her duties in 1982), staff employee of the U.S. Department of State, and co-founder of the educational activism group Guardians of Education for Maine. These days she is most famous for raging and ranting about how current problems in education and prevailing anti-intellectualism in the US are caused by former Soviet KGB agents.
Much of her, uh, research and worries about the American education system are summed up in her 1999 book The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. According to the book, schools and universities are part of a conspiracy to suppress creative thinking and brainwash children into toeing the party line. There are several reasons why this should be obvious: For instance, since teaching a child to read, write and do basic math isn’t and shouldn’t be expensive or hard, the fact that education is currently costing a lot of money and takes a long time must be due to the efforts put into subsequent brainwashing.
More precisely, the public education system silently and nefariously work to eliminate the influences of a child’s parent, religion, morals and patriotism to “mold the child into a member of the proletariat in preparation for a socialist-collectivist world of the future.” These evil plans, and the psychological methods used to implement them, were formulated primarily by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education (which ostensibly is at the heart of a great plot to start several large-scale wars and military conflicts to create world peace) and the Rockefeller General Education Board, but were adopted by the Ford foundation and even the president himself: during her stint in the Department of Education Iserbyt allegedly discovered, to her disbelief, how these socialist-collectivist policies originated all the way from President Reagan, Vice President George H. W. Bush, and their policy advisers, including the CIA. Yes: Reagan himself was really a communist agent – Iserbyt suspects he came under communist influence when he was a member of the National Advisory Council of the American Veterans Committee, apparently a communist front organization. And not only Reagan but his administration, the government, various large organizations and even multinational companies. If you don’t see some obvious problems with Iserbyt’s theory on your own, we’re not sure we can help you. One wonders, though, whether Iserbyt might be under some misconceptions concerning what counts as “communism” and “brainwashing”.
Further proof that she is right is the fact that some critics call her a “kook”.
Diagnosis: Well, “kook” sums it up pretty well, but “raving lunatic” seems even more appropriate. We doubt that her own influence is particularly momentous these days, but plenty of crazies have taken up similar causes.