Not the first time it's been said, I suppose; but that doesn't make it any less depressing:
Failing Grades on Civics Exam Called a ‘Crisis’
Fewer than half of American eighth graders knew the purpose of the Bill of Rights on the most recent national civics examination, and only one in 10 demonstrated acceptable knowledge of the checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches, according to test results released on Wednesday.
At the same time, three-quarters of high school seniors who took the test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, were unable to demonstrate skills like identifying the effect of United States foreign policy on other nations or naming a power granted to Congress by the Constitution.
“Today’s NAEP results confirm that we have a crisis on our hands when it comes to civics education,” said Sandra Day O’Connor, the former Supreme Court justice, who last year founded icivics.org, a nonprofit group that teaches students civics through Web-based games and other tools.
This is exactly the desired result of the long game enacted originally by such hatriots as Karl Rove and Tom Delay: you win by turning minds to mush. And you do that with a multi-faceted and entirely cynical approach, one that makes Machiavelli seem like the Mahatma: degrade or destroy public education, corner the market on credulity by roping in the religious, and discredit legitimate media while single-mindedly replacing it with an Orwellian propaganda empire (so there's no mistake about the Orwellian part, and as a little knee-slapper for those in on it, label it "Fair and Balanced.")
Things in the night that go bump in the polls.
In a positive feedback loop that makes one question the impossibility of perpetual motion, these pieces reinforce one another exponentially; there's now a perfect substrate of ill-informed people, anxious for their perceived aggrievement to be redressed, entirely lacking in the tools of critical thinking that might cause them to question what they're being told, and to where they're being led.
Gary North explains why getting students out of public schools is key to the Christian dominionist camp. “So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”
And the Christian Right has been busy enacting this vision. One of the first goals of the Christian Coalition was to take control of 500 local public school boards, and it's a strategy the Religious Right has continued. ...
... In addition to getting Trojan horses on school boards, the Religious Right has played a significant role in disseminating anti-public school propaganda and forming alliances to support vouchers for private schools.
A nation of the deceived. By design. And working like a charm.