The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is Signed into Law by President Bush. Was it the Latest UN Dumb-Down Agenda?

According to Charlotte Iserbyt, “This is basically the United Nations Lifelong Learning-Brainwashing Agenda under the umbrella of what will eventually be “unelected” school and community councils (council is defined as “soviet” in many dictionaries) which will make all decisions for us at the local level.” Charlotte Iserbyt (Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration, where she first blew the whistle on a major technology initiative which would control curriculum in America’s classrooms. NCLB lowers standards to the lowest common denominator (slowest learner in the class), lowers requirements, and standards, for kids to learn, thus a dumb-down under the guise of “proficiency”.

Confronting the Myths of No Child Left Behind Supporters of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law use many arguments to defend the controversial law. The strongest-sounding arguments have little to do with the law’s actual provisions, while others are simply false. We have prepared this fact sheet to help people reply to the various claims made in defense of NCLB; sort, pick and adapt the points you need. All children can learn to high levels. Yes, most children can, but NCLB works against high-level learning. To be successful, students need skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, communication and collaboration. Good teachers assess these high-level skills and help guide school improvement. Good teachers also know how to teach students who have different backgrounds and learn in different ways. NCLB does not prescribe such strategies. Instead, it relies on standardized tests that measure mainly low-level thinking in a one-size-fits-all format.

Pressure to boost scores leads to teaching to the tests, thereby reducing the quality of learning. On top of these problems, schools often lack the resources to teach all students to high levels, while too many students lack access to the health care, nutrition and stable communities that can support learning. Achievement gaps will remain as long as large resource gaps continue. NCLB is a civil rights law. NCLB seriously undermines its civil rights goal of high achievement for all by fostering narrow, dumbed-down, overly-standardized curriculum and instruction aimed at boosting test scores. Children of color and low-income children suffer from this educational malpractice to a greater extent than their more advantaged peers because urban schools serving many groups of children are the most likely to fall under its test-and-punish mechanisms. This worsens our nation’s separate and unequal school system, in which the affluent get a healthy educational diet, while the poor get little more than junk food test prep. NCLB benefits student with disabilities (SWD) and English language learners (ELLs).

Like all students, SWDs and ELLs need a rich curriculum and “21st century skills” such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication. Unfortunately many of these students suffer from narrow teaching to often inappropriate tests. While their learning progress should be included in public reporting, SWDs and ELLs individual learning needs must be addressed and assessed fairly and appropriately. NCLB shines a light on low-performing schools. Information on how schools are doing, including results broken down by demographic group, should be publicly reported. But to know which schools are doing well and which ones most need help or interventions to improve, and what kinds of help, requires more and better information than just standardized test scores in reading and math. States and districts have failed to provide all students with a strong education. It is true that schools with the most needy students typically have the least resources and do need help — but NCLB is not the solution. Many students have unmet needs that make it harder for them to learn, even with good teachers. States and districts can do more to enhance adequacy and equity, but the federal government also must do more. A strong education is not built on preparation for standardized tests.

Having common expectations for all solves the problem of low expectations. Children need access to rich opportunities and strong support, as well as high expectations. Narrowing schooling to a focus on tests in reading and math is not high expectations. Common expectations do not require standardized testing in every grade, nor does “high” have to mean “exactly the same for all.” Because students best demonstrate their learning in different ways, and because standardized tests are weak measures of many important learning areas, students need a range of different types of assessment. Expecting all students to score proficient by 2014 is a reasonable goal.

This claim was defended with the misleading question, “Which student do you want to leave behind?” The reality is that without adequate resources in schools and communities, children will continue to be left behind, as the Children’s Defense Fund points out. Turning schools into test prep programs leaves more children behind. By 2014, most schools will fail, because every year the bar goes up. While strong and consistent progress is possible, the goal of uniform proficiency by 2014 was never achievable, which the law’s architects knew. The impossible goal has served primarily as a club for beating up the nation’s under-resourced public schools. NCLB does not prevent good teachers from being creative and engaging or from teaching high-level skills.

If teachers do the right thing, their students will do well on the tests. Most good teachers are unhappy with high-stakes testing, but they find it hard to ignore the tests and teach the way they know is best. Pressure from authorities and too little time to focus on both the tests and high-quality instruction are major problems. Teachers should not have to risk punishment to provide a rich curriculum. Schools should be held accountable for doing what is most important with the resources they have – not for teaching to the test and ignoring many vital goals. If the goal is high-level learning, low-level tests should not be the measurement tool; accountability tools must be in sync with high quality teaching and learning. Prioritizing reading and math is necessary. Math and reading deserve major emphasis, but not the exclusive treatment NCLB enforces. Students need — and parents, communities, colleges, and employers want — far more. They seek the education of the whole child, where schools help raise effective citizens and lifelong learners who are ready for adult roles. Students who struggle with reading or math still need a well-rounded education. When students are excited by science, social studies, art or music, it helps them engage in their other subjects. In short, all students need a balanced curriculum in a balanced educational environment.

President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” could be referred to as “No American Left Alone” since what we are looking at is what the National Alliance of Business, which supports “planned economy,” refers to as Kindergarten through Age 80 Education/Training. This is basically the United Nations Lifelong Learning-Brainwashing Agenda under the umbrella of what will eventually be “unelected” school and community councils (council is defined as “soviet” in many dictionaries) which will make all decisions for us at the local level. Former Senator Bill Bradley, N.J., called for this on one of the Sunday morning talk shows about four years ago. The Governors, very recently at their NGA conference, discussed the use of unelected (politically-correct?) citizens to police our communities. This is so unbelievable I find it hard to even write about it.

We can bring back science and history by testing them too. This is not the solution to this problem. Those subjects also will turn into test prep, as is happening in some states. The answer is to include all subjects in public reporting by using evidence from actual classroom learning, not just from test scores. That way the amount of standardized testing can be reduced (and tests improved), while samples of student work can be evaluated to provide comprehensive pictures of how well students are learning across the curriculum. NCLB requires “highly qualified” teachers. The law defines “highly qualified” as having a college degree and passing a test.

A teacher doesn’t even have to be licensed – meaning some are not even minimally qualified. Such unprepared teachers are most commonly hired to teach low-income children. Meanwhile, truly qualified, experienced teachers in rural schools are often deemed “unqualified” because they teach multiple subjects but don’t have a college degree in each subject. In many cases, good teachers are leaving because they no longer want to work in a high-stakes testing environment. NCLB is improving schools and achievement. Since NCLB was implemented, the rate of improvement in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has slowed, even though more time is spent on those two subjects and less in other areas. Grade 8 NAEP reading scores have not risen at all. Test prep has artificially inflated scores on state exams.

Accountability pressures have led to cheating, falsified graduation rates, and pushing kids out of school. The evidence says that test-based accountability undermines the quality of education, especially for our most needy students, even if NCLB defenders can point to isolated cases of apparent improvement. Moreover, NCLB policies actually cut money available to schools that need improvement. Alternative assessments are too expensive, too complex, and rely on teacher judgment. A modest investment in high quality assessments would provide immense educational rewards. Making and using performance assessments helps teachers become better.

A wide array of learning evidence can be quantified for those who want numbers, while richer information is available to educators and parents. Other nations – including many with strong education systems — rely primarily on verified teacher-based evidence. Surveys show teachers to be far more trusted than politicians, who often push standardized tests as a panacea. Standardized tests and reviews of samples of teacher-scored student work can be parts of the verification process. For this approach to work, our nation must invest in our teachers so they are, among other things, good assessors.

Although Pres. Bush, according to a Washington Times article by Bill Sammon, 1/9/02, said in regard to the education bill he signed that “Parents will have more information about the schools and more say in how their children are educated . . . from this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel and to live out their dreams.” Pardon me, but this is a plain lie, and a lie embraced by Mass. Senator Ted Kennedy and others supporting this legislation as well. How can parents have a say in how their children are educated when the federal government is mandating testing of children’s attitudes and values? (Sixty % of the test items on National Assessment of Educational Progress – NAEP are attitudinal.) Bush’s mandate for testing will of course call for a mandated federal curriculum since one can’t test what one hasn’t taught. What tiny bit of local control remained prior to this legislation will be swept away. School superintendents and good teachers are already complaining about having lost control.

Even the New York Times has problems with Leave No Child Behind. It bragged that the more than 1000-page giant education bill will “dramatically extend the federal role in public education” and, indeed, is “a breathtaking intrusion of the federal government on states’ control of education.

This legislation, which passed 381-41 in the House and 87-10 in the Senate in January 2002, is accompanied by the largest dollar increase ever in federal education aid. Education Week, 1/9/02, describes the No Child Left Behind Act as follows: “The mega-measure is accompanied by the largest dollar increase ever in federal education aid. The Department of Education’s overall budget will rise by $6.7 billion in fiscal 2002, to nearly $49 billion.”

The legislation, although pretending to terminate the highly controversial Goals 2000 and the School-To-Work (STW) legislation passed in the nineties under President Clinton and initiated in the eighties under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Sr., actually continues the totalitarian agenda since all states have implemented the requirements of Goals 2000 and STW. Goals 2000 was originally called America 2000 under former President Bush who in addition called for implementing the Soviet system of workforce training in 1991 (See Congressional Record). This STW system calls for quotas for doctors, lawyers, janitors, etc. and limits freedom of choice for children or adults.

Minnesota and Indiana are two of the states that mandate children choose a job/career track in the 8th grade — just like Cuba or any other communist/socialist country! How accurate the National Alliance of Business has been to refer to this agenda as Kindergarten through Age 80 (life-long learning)!

The system is the UN’s lifelong learning (brainwashing) system called for by Lenin (a.k.a. international socialism). Very simply, such a communist system (Lenin’s world government) can only be implemented when the following components have been put in place. Very sadly, to say the least, most, if not all of the following actions have taken place. They are included in my book The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America . . . a chronological paper trail.


The chairman of the Communist Party, U.S.A., 1932, William Foster, in his book Toward a Soviet America, called for a U.S. Dept. of Education, the teaching of evolution, elimination of nationalism and religion in schools, the teaching of internationalism, and for the use of the Pavlovian method (direct instruction) on the students, etc., etc. Note: School choice is a Trojan Horse. The only requirement left to implement school choice is tuition tax credits or vouchers which will take over the private sector. If those choice proposals do not fly in legislatures or in Congress, federally-funded charter schools will be used, as is already the case in many states, to implement the school to work planned economic system.


The planned economy will come to us through school to work legislation. There will be quotas for jobs; no upward mobility for children. Students must select their careers by 8th grade. It is the same as the Cuban system. STW is implemented in all states. This is the failed elitist system which brought the Soviet Union down but which is still being used worldwide. And, now our Congress has voted to implement it. How deliberately dumbed down our Congress seems to be! They don’t even know what form of government and economy we are supposed to have. Of interest is that Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Richard Cheney, spoke eloquently, prior to the election, in opposition to the STW agenda being implemented in the United States. How sad that her advice was not sought or listened to in regard to this most controversial initiative which will result in changing our economic and political system.


The Washington Post refers to President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative as “communitarianism” which is defined in most dictionaries as “a member or supporter of a communistic community” or “a communistic form of government.” The camel’s nose is under the tent right now with Bush using/funding churches to “tutor” students in failing public schools. Churches which accept federal monies will be controlled by the government as in fascist/communist countries. The same federal control applies to private schools or homeschooling families who accept one penny of federal money.


This control takes place through regional government which was referred to by a communist writer for Daily World as the Soviet system that has “worked so well in the Soviet Union!” Regional government is being implemented worldwide. The European Community is a good example of a major region being set up for the world management system (Lenin’s international socialism). Does anyone need to be reminded that unelected councils are appointed councils? Regrettably, we’re getting participatory democracy. You get to participate IF chosen!


The government will direct and fund health care through the schools (school-based clinics for all children regardless of income). Hilary’s health care system (socialized medicine) is being implemented without a whimper from those who fought its implementation. This seamless web includes all services under the umbrella of the school district (birth through death).


Community monitoring will be accomplished through the Community Oriented Policing System (COPS), put in under President Clinton. His administration laid ground work for a strong community crime control strategy with federal, state, and local partnerships to fight crime. From the Clinton Administration’s Law and Enforcement Strategy, March 1999, we read, “Across the country an expanded number of community police officers have been working together with block watches, neighborhood patrols, high school guidance counselors, probation and parole officers, religious groups and local businesses . . . “.  President Bush is focusing more on community policing in schools. His recently passed Patriot Act will enforce this totalitarian agenda and limit citizen resistance. Eyes will be watching over us continually!


Business, education and religious partnerships with the government, pointed out above, extend the socialist/communitarianism agenda. An international conference entitled “Community Schools and Education Policy in Transition Countries During the 21st Century” was held October 9-13, 2000, in Omsk (Siberia) Russia. The goal was “to establish partnership between government education departments and the community school movement” (taken from Russian URL on Community Education.) Community Educator, out of Alaska, in the early 1970s at a Community Education conference in Washington, D.C., defined community education as the Chinese Communist system. Community education now comes under a variety of names including site-based management, regionalism, community Œwhatever’, school-based Œverything’, lifelong Anything’, sustainable development, communitarianism and other terms. (For those interested in this subject, education researchers are in possession of filing cabinets loaded with community education research, and may be contacted through Iserbyt. Deliberate Dumbing Down of America also carries several important entries on Community Education.)


Environmental legislation and sustainable development efforts (beginning with the Earth Summit, Rio 1992 and now finished with Earth Charter in 2000), implement controls on the right to own and use property as one wishes. The President’s Council on Sustainable Development (Clinton in 1996) helped form a joint effort between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties. They came together to form The Joint Center for Sustainable Communities. And the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution endorsing the Earth Charter in 2001.


This psychological method is stimulus-response-stimulus dog/animal training. It has recently been referred to as the Direct Instruction method, which is failed OBE mastery learning. Direct Instruction (same as mastery learning) is now being used to teach reading and math and is especially necessary for workforce training for dumbed down “third world” skills. Skinner said “I could make a pigeon a high achiever by reinforcing it on a proper schedule.” Following this reinforcement method, teachers are forced to read from a script, use hand signals as in dog training, clap their hands and, pop candies in students’ mouths when they get the correct answer. President Bush is mandating this method in his legislation that calls for retraining teachers to use “scientific research based” teaching methods.

Not only is above reward and punishment method being used in the schools, one sees it all around in our communities with citizens who conform to the government agenda receiving rewards and those who resist being ignored, isolated or punished. CHRONOLOGICAL RECORD found in The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America . . . A Chronological Paper Trail:

1930s: Chamber of Commerce plans for UN, regional government, school vouchers, etc.

1932: William Foster, Chairman of the United States Communist Party, has his book, Toward a Soviet America published. It calls for everything that has since been implemented in our nation’s schools, including the establishment of the U.S. Dept. of Education.

1934: Carnegie Corp. plans to change America’s free economic system to socialism/collectivism in the New Order. They pilot an 8-Year Study using Outcome-based Education.

1942: Time Magazine publishes an article revealing plans for the Federal Council of Churches to implement world government.

1945: The United Nations is created by a majority of communists. Alger Hiss and his close friend, Canadian General and psychiatrist Brock Chisholm, made statements calling for using the schools (retraining the teachers) to get rid of the conscience (right and wrong).

1953: Congress set up the Congressional Investigation of Tax-exempt Foundations. Gaither, President of the Ford Foundation, tells Norman Dodd that foundations receive directions from White House in regards to using tax-exempt monies to change America so that it can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.

1958: Eisenhower signs the first U.S.-Soviet agreements.

1965: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act moved our pre-1960 excellent education system from academics to behavior modification and values destruction (beginning of OBE/Skinner method).

1978: The U.S. Department of Education was created.

1981: Due to the Chicago disaster in 1981 when one half of the Chicago inner city school children dropped out due to Benjamin Bloom’s ten year mastery learning experiment on minorities, Spady et al changed the label to OBE. Thus, federal funding of OBE began in 1981. (D.I. is the new label for the failed mastery learning.) President Reagan implements public/private (corporate fascist) partnerships by creating the President’s Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives.

1982: President Reagan scheduled to meet with the developer of major Skinnerian mastery learning program in the Bronx, N.Y.

1984: The federally funded paper entitled “Shamanistic Rituals in Effective Schools” by sociologist Brian Rowan, Spady’s closest associate was presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. It discusses conning inner city parents into believing their children are doing well by using “Effective School Research” (Pavlovian/Skinnerian ML/DI: teach to the test and manipulation of demographic statistics, etc.) Washington Post article entitled “Industrial Policy Urged for GOP” was published May 14, 1984. This article explained involvement of leading Republicans in advocating Republicans shed some of their deep-rooted antipathy to a planned economy.

1985: U.S.-Soviet (Reagan-Gorbachev) and Carnegie-Soviet Education Agreements merged the two nations’ education systems and set in motion a planned economy.

80s and 90s: These were years of involvement of Secretaries of Education, Bell, Bennett and Alexander, and President George Bush, Sr. in America 2000. Clinton continued America 2000, implemented by Secretary Riley, under the new name, Goals 2000.

1990s: Carnegie Corp.’s Marc Tucker, governors, corporations, etc. implemented Goals 2000 lifelong l learning out of UN and Soviet-style STW across country during nineties.

2001: President George Bush, Jr., embraced by Senator Ted Kennedy, MA and Congressman George Miller, CA, call for passage of H.R. 1, S. 1, which completes a socialist takeover. This is the final nail in the coffin. Has anyone looked inside to see who is being buried.


If you want to bake a cake you usually use a recipe which calls for certain ingredients; if you want to implement international socialism (communism) one would have to take certain actions over a period of time which are clearly spelled out in the Communist Manifesto and in William Foster’s “Toward a Soviet America,” and in many other books and documents. Those actions constitute a “recipe” so to speak. All those requirements have been met. I’ve spelled them out for you: free trade, international banking system, U.S. Dept. of Ed with teaching of evolution, humanism (atheism), internationalism, and use of Pavlovian method; faith-based initiatives (communitarianism defined in dictionaries as communism) and choice to control schools and community through the tax dollar, STW to control economy (planned economy), Patriot Act to control “us” when we resist. Now I ask, “What label would you put on a system which encompassed those elements?”

No longer can we who love America and what she stands for say “If we don’t do something, such and such will happen.” We are now obliged to say “International socialism has happened and the United States is a major player in this unthinkable agenda.” Isn’t this tragic? Americans were bamboozled when the Soviet Union fell apart, believing communism was dead, when in fact it simply leaped across the oceans.

We were taken through what I refer to as The Four-Prong Fork, a most diabolical undertaking:


(Put a frog in cold water, heat it up gradually and he stays until he’s dead). The top change agents at the UN, federal government and state government levels, including non-governmental persons and entities, have been at this game for over one hundred years.


This is the use of familiar, nice sounding terms, which have one meaning to good Americans and entirely different meaning to “change agents.” Example: Basic skills used to mean 3R’s; now it means believing in tolerance of all behavior; the need to move to an international system; the need for a new Constitution; the need for a new economic system.


Create a problem; people scream; impose solution; people embrace “it” — not realizing they have been taken to the cleaners through the deliberate creation of a problem. Example: Create high school budgets that create high property taxes which causes people to have to sell their houses and move. Then propose a solution to move funding of education from local to state level; the people embrace the idea since it lowers their property tax. However, locals have just lost all their control of schools to state, federal, and the international level. Also, dialectic includes moving from sound morals and values to situational ethics through constant discussion using group process. Pit “It’s wrong to lie” against “It’s OK to lie” and nearly all agree that lying is wrong. But through discussion and presentation of situations calling for compromise, one arrives at “Sometimes it’s OK to lie.” Then eventually, one comes to the realization it is OK to lie, or kill, or steal, or do anything else that makes one feel good anytime one feels like it.


Our money is spent on social engineering. Tax money is not spent on academic education as most people believe. It appears we are getting a lot of taxation and very little representation. SOLUTION (other than a tea-party) The only solution that has the remotest possibility of saving our country, outside of getting out of the United Nations, is to throw out all rascals who voted for this education legislation in the next elections. The litmus test for candidates running for Congress should be “will they work to abolish the U.S. Dept. of Education and break up that cozy, in-the-same-bed, relationship it shares with the Department of Labor and the UN?”

Choice proposals are traps supported by multinational corporations (David Rockefeller, etc., and by top education union officials — not teachers — who have no allegiance to the USA and care nothing for our children’s upward mobility or America itself.) Education must be returned to the local level, bypassing even state education agencies that take their orders from and receive between 60 and 80% of their operational budgets from the federal government.

Education must be restored to its state of excellence prior to 1960 – the best education system in the world. This can be done, and must be done, if our children are going to have upward mobility and if America is going to survive as a free country.

© Charlotte T. Iserbyt, All Rights Reserved


Recommended Books:

Welcome to the “little edition” of the “big book”–the deliberate dumbing down of america: A Chronological Paper Trail. Since the original publication of the 743-page, 8-1/2″x11″ tome, readers have requested a smaller, lighter version. This new version is in response to those many requests. The afterword, glossary, resources, appendices and index have all been removed from the 2011 version. Of utmost importance is the addition of “Update” which covers the final, but long-planned, institutionalization, since publication of the original book in 1999, of three activities, relatively new to the reader: (1) the use of unconstitutional tax-supported (public/private partnership) charter schools run by unelected boards. These schools use non-graded Skinnerian computer instruction to train for the planned economy (school to work); (2) global values-changing education, including International Baccalaureate programs and (3) restructuring of our nation’s representative governmental structure, using regionalism (socialism) with its unelected councils (soviets), and communitarianism.

At a time when the U.S. education system consistently lags behind its international peers, Dumbing Down America shows exactly why America can’t keep up by providing a critical look at the nation’s schools through the eyes of the children whose minds are languishing in countless classrooms. Filled with specific examples of how gifted children are being shortchanged by a nation that believes smart kids will succeed on their own, Dumbing Down America packs a powerful message: If we want our nation to prosper, we must pay attention to its most intelligent youth. With more than 35 years of experience working with and for gifted children, author James R. Delisle provides a template of what can and must happen in America’s schools if they are to fulfill their mission of educating every child to the fullest potential. Dumbing Down America is a must-read for any individual who believes that the unfulfilled promises to gifted children must begin to be met in America’s schools today, not someday.

Since the early 1990s, the federal role in education―exemplified by the controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)―has expanded dramatically. Yet states and localities have retained a central role in education policy, leading to a growing struggle for control over the direction of the nation’s schools. In An Education in Politics, Jesse H. Rhodes explains the uneven development of federal involvement in education. While supporters of expanded federal involvement enjoyed some success in bringing new ideas to the federal policy agenda, Rhodes argues, they also encountered stiff resistance from proponents of local control. Built atop existing decentralized policies, new federal reforms raised difficult questions about which level of government bore ultimate responsibility for improving schools.

Rhodes’s argument focuses on the role played by civil rights activists, business leaders, and education experts in promoting the reforms that would be enacted with federal policies such as NCLB. It also underscores the constraints on federal involvement imposed by existing education policies, hostile interest groups, and, above all, the nation’s federal system. Indeed, the federal system, which left specific policy formation and implementation to the states and localities, repeatedly frustrated efforts to effect changes: national reforms lost their force as policies passed through iterations at the state, county, and municipal levels. Ironically, state and local resistance only encouraged civil rights activists, business leaders, and their political allies to advocate even more stringent reforms that imposed heavier burdens on state and local governments. Through it all, the nation’s education system made only incremental steps toward the goal of providing a quality education for every child.

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