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Mighty Joe Clark vs. The Educational Industrial Complex

Christopher Harris

I was just watching this clip from the 1989 movie LEAN ON ME, where Principal Joe Clark addresses the parents of the approximately 300 students, that he had just thrown out of the school, and it got me thinking about education in America today. I thought, where are the Joe Clark’s of today?  When I thought a little deeper on it I came to the conclusion that there are no Joe Clark’s today, because the “Educational Industrial Complex” will not tolerate them.

You see, in his January 17, 1961, farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned America of the growth of the “Military Industrial Complex”. He said:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Ike gave that warning back when the U.S. economy was generating approximately $563 Billion, and total Government spending (Local, State, Federal) was $164.8 Billion. The Federal Government alone was spending $105 Billion. His reason for concern was that approximately 54 percent of that ($57 Billion) was Defense spending. Across the board, when you look at all Government (Local, State, Federal) spending, Defense spending accounted for approximately 35 percent. If you do the quick math, that means that about 11 percent of the entire GDP of this country was being spent via the military. However, in 1961, our military was the most powerful force for freedom and democracy in the world.

Additionally, in 1961 our educational system was one of the most respected in the world. When you look at all Government (Local, State, Federal) spending across the board in 1961, Education spending accounted for approximately 12 percent ($21.2 Billion), and 3.7 percent of our entire GDP.

Fast forward to today, and we live in an age where the President of the United States of America is a man “of color”. But the most important thing is to know who he was and still is, and how it shapes his thinking.  He is a former “Community Organizer”, which is pretty much all you really need to know about him, once you understand exactly what a “Community Organizer” is and does, according to the Leftist bible, Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals”.  Understand that a “Community Organizer” is the epitome of a true believer in Leftist/Regressive/Socialist ideology. It goes without saying that everyone who is a true believer in that ideology walks in lockstep with the Educational Industrial Complex, otherwise known as the Public School System, or the Public Indoctrination System. Granted, they don’t believe in putting their own children in that system…just everyone else’s children.

In 1988, Robert Fulghum authored a book entitled, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, which became a best-seller. Most people don’t know his name, but many people are familiar with a quote of his, because it has become a bumper sticker that you can see on the cars of many people who make up the Educational Industrial Complex. He said, “It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.”

Bumper Sticker - Great day - education- bake sales

It’s actually so popular that it has been enshrined in the Library of Congress. The only problem is, it’s not really true. Not even remotely so. The fact is, we are spending more now on education than ever before. But what are we getting for our money?

Today, our military is at its weakest point in decades and our educational system is abysmal to say the least. Today, we have an approximately $17 Trillion economy, and total Government spending (Local, State, Federal) is $6,227.7 Trillion, or 36.6 percent of the economy. The Federal Government alone is consuming about $3,758.6 Trillion (22 percent). Across the board, when you look at all Government (Local, State, Federal) spending, Defense spending ($815.5 Billion) accounts for approximately 13 percent. If you do the quick math, that means that about 4.8 percent of the entire GDP of this country is being spent on Defense. In 2015, our educational system is a relative laughing stock, across the board, when you look at all Government (Local, State, Federal) spending, Education spending accounts for approximately 14.8 percent ($922.6 Billion), and 5.4 percent of our entire GDP.

You see, when you look back at that video clip of Joe Clark, and you think about the world we live in today, you have to agree that if Joe embraced the Marxist mindset of the typical Leftist/Regressive/Socialist minded “African-American”, he would have spent the entire time telling these children how “unfair” life is (which is true), and that they are actually “victims of society” (which is not). He would have spent time telling them that they are entitled to welfare and things of that ilk, simply because of the socioeconomic status they were born into. He would have spent time telling them that they were entitled to be held to a lower standard of behavior and achievement, simply because of the color of their skin,  Essentially, if he had the “Community Organizer” mindset, he would have spent the entire time, “tickling their ears”.

LEAN ON ME, Morgan Freeman, (L), portraying the high school principal, Joe Clark, (R), 1989.

LEAN ON ME, Morgan Freeman, (L), portraying the high school principal, Joe Clark, (R), 1989.

But, Joe Clark was not and is not (he’s 77 years old today) a typical Leftist/Regressive/Socialist minded “African-American”. Joe Clark is an American Black Man…cut from the same stone quarry as one of greatest Americans and Educators in history, Booker T. Washington.

Now unfortunately, as Hollywood is prone to do, some of the story of Eastside High has been altered to make a better story. The truth is, the test scores at Eastside High did not significantly increase, as I am sure Joe Clark sincerely intended. As stated in a March 27, 1989 interview with People Magazine, he concluded that his inability to make his students academically competitive was not his problem; it was the Educational Industrial Complex’s fault. He said, “I see a system that perpetuates inferiority in the inner cities. With inadequate teachers, inadequate supplies, inadequate leadership. I see black and Hispanic youth being exploited. I see now that I’m helpless in raising the educational standards to a reasonable degree at Eastside or anywhere in an inner city. And that tells me, ‘Joe Clark, maybe you don’t want to be part of the destructive mechanism.’ “

Revered Economist and thinker, Thomas Sowell once said, “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”  Today, 54 years after Ike’s dire warning, we are spending less than half as much on Defense, and almost a third more on Education. and nothing has gotten better with either one of them. Have you ever met a Leftist/Regressive/Socialist minded person who didn’t believe that they could create a utopia…if only they had enough money to spend to make their fantasy a reality? Of course, their money is never enough. They have to have access to and control over your money also. But today, we have given the Left nearly everything they asked for, and nothing has gotten any better.

When you think about what the Educational Industrial Complex has managed to do, another Thomas Sowell quote summarizes the end product of 54 years of Leftist indoctrination disguised as education very well. He said, “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” At the end of the day, all that has happened is the forced exploitation of American’s checkbooks and the “Closing of The American Mind”, by the Educational Industrial Complex. Someone should have warned us.

Closing of The American Mind - Allan Bloom

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Comments

  1. Marsha

    Excellent points I started school in 1960. Our day started with prayer and salute to the flag. Academics, not socializing was the agenda ; character, not feelings fueled it. By the time I had graduated high school in 1973, God was out, patriotism was out, character was out. They were replaced with, If it feels good do it “. Of course that opened up to unchecked sexuality, drugs, disrespect for authority, and ethnic priorities. The educational system had to add classes to accommodate the consequences and education and character got pushed aside even more.

    Nothing has gotten better, but worst. By the time my last three children but school age, I decided to homeschool. At least I have them a chance to focus on what mattered like back in Ike’s day

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