Gradually and then Suddenly: THE HUMANIST CURRICULUM

Written March 4, 2023         Published March 7, 2023

Having taught middle school and/or high school since January 1987, I have – of course – seen my fair share of evolution and devolution n our schools.  As the reader moves forward, knowing that I have taught that long and at public (government), private (independent) and now charter schools is important.

Last year, I found this book N.E.A. – TROJAN HORSE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION.  I have a podcast series on this book.

The book is very important!  If you want to have one answer about how we have arrived in the world of public (government) education, this book is ONE answer.  There are more answers to this question:  WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO SCHOOL?

My new favorite quote about public education’s “progress” (depending on how the reader defines progress).  In Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, he writes the following passage: “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”  The quote is PERFECT for what has happened to public (government) education!

  • When did parents lose control of their children’s education?  Gradually and then suddenly.
  • When did teachers become “change agents?”  Gradually and then suddenly.
  • When did schools become “synthetic families?”  Gradually and then suddenly.
  • From the NEA – TROJAN HORSE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION (published in 1984):  The simple truth is that the American classroom has become a place where intense psychological warfare is being waged against all traditional values.  A child in an American public school is little more than a guinea pig in the psych. lab. manipulated by a trained “change agent.”  All of this is being done with billions of federal dollars in the greatest scam in human history.  If Americans put up with this much longer, they deserve the ruin they are PAYING FOR.  When did this happen?  Gradually and then suddenly.
  • When did our children become depressed and filled with anxiety?  Gradually and then suddenly.


From the book, “The road to a humanist curriculum began in 1918 with the NEA’s Seven Cardinal principles which stressed humanist ethical values to replace those of traditional religion.  This writer (Samuel Blumenfeld), who attended the public schools of New York City in the 1930s, remembers hearing the school principal open each weekly assemble with a short passage from the Bible, usually a Psalm.  When that practice stopped, is not known.”

The next paragraph, “But the undermining of the Judeo-Christian TRADITION (my emphasis) was well underway when in 1933 John Dewey and 33 other liberal humanists drew up and signed that extraordinary document known as the Humanist Manifesto.  It reflected all of the influences of science, evolution, and the new psychology which were reshaping American Education.  It called for the abandonment of traditional religion and replacing it with a new secular religion better able to accommodate the new more relativism inherent in a MAN-CENTERED (my emphasis), godless world.  That secular humanism is a religion is easily proven by the Manifesto’s own words…”  At the bottom of the page, I have given the reader a link to the document.

From the chapter, here is a list of articles from NEA JOURNALS that would show the NEA is supporting the “Humanist Curriculum.”  Please consider fact checking those articles.

  • April 1936 “Objectives for Curriculum and Method” by William H. Kilpatrick
  • November 1941 – ” The Case for Progressivism in Education” by William H. Kilpatrick.  From the book, “Parents and critics were forever urging educators to get back to the basics, and it was always necessary to answer them.”  Just think, that was the case in 1941 and it is even more the case in 2023!
  • February 1949 – “Some Skills for Improving Group Dynamics”
  • April 1949 – “Improving the Group Process:  Group Dynamics and Local Associations”
  • April 1950 – “What makes a Group Tick?”  From the book, “In May 1951 the Journal published its first article on “Teenage Drug Addicts.”  It reported that in New York state, arrests of youths 16-20 years old for violations of narcotic law had risen from 74 in 1947 to 452 in 1950.  In the December 1951 Journal, Dr. Lester A. Kirkendall, one of the future signers of the Humanist Manifesto II, did an article on sex education for the schools.  In the February 1952 issue, Hollis L. Caswell, dean of Teachers College, spoke out against the mounting criticism of PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION (my emphasis).  He wrote:  “The disposition of laymen to INVADE (my emphasis) the professional field of selection of instructional materials is a THREAT to sound curriculum development.  A year later (1953), Caswell wrote another article for the Journal decrying the fact that “Public education is currently encountering criticism of unusual intensity and scope.”  The April 1953 issue asserted that “Current attacks on TEXTBOOKS must be met with calm, constructive, and courageous action.”  Does any of this specific citation from the book sound like it is happening today?
  • September 1960 – “Behavioral Sciences Can Improve College Teaching” by Professor W.J. McKeachie of the University of Michigan
  • January 1962 – “The Teacher – Agent of Change” From the book, “…the article explained:  National Training Laboratories of NEA initiated a program for classroom teachers … at Bethel, Maine … The training lab is an intensive learning experience … in which a staff of social scientists help translate research findings into classroom practice.  Objectives include greater sensitivity in observing and interpreting social and psychological factors in learning groups…”
  • November 1967 – “The ‘New’ Social Studies.”  From the book, “The article explained:  Probably the most obvious change occurring in the social studies curriculum is a breaking away from the traditional dominance of history, geography, and civics.  Materials from the behavioral sciences – economics, anthropology, sociology, social psychology, and political science – are being incorporated into both elementary and secondary school programs … Recent students of political socialization suggest that attitudes toward political institutions and processes are formed at an early age.  In the new curriculum, therefore, basic political concepts are introduced in the primary grades.”

In the chapter, THE HUMANIST CURRICULUM, more articles are cited.  You have plenty of articles to research.  Buy the book, NEA – TROJAN HORSE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION!

Bottom line … how did public (government) education change?  Gradually and then suddenly.

You (parents / grandparents / people who are working with children / etc.) need to return to the classroom!  Our nation is suffering from dedicated humanists!  Their way is not working!  Look at all the increases of attempted suicides, completed suicides, gender dysphoria, increase number of ‘Wellness Centers,’ lack of civility on our campuses, and on and on.  You can decide.  Is the Humanist Theory the causation or correlation to the tragedies?  Is the lack of emphasis of Judeo-Christian traditional values the causation or correlation to the tragedies?  When you read the articles, I have given you below, you will see that there is a real struggle going on between those who believe in the “Humanist Theory” vs those who believe in “Judeo Christian Traditional Values.”  Our children are in the middle of this struggle.

** To help you and me with “correlation” and “causation”:  Correlation and causation describe the relationship between two variables. However, while one (correlation) describes how variables are associated, the other concept (causation) is concerned with how one variable might affect another, if at all.,one%20variable%20might%20affect%20another%2C%20if%20at%20all.

Here is, again, THE point of the chapter,

“The simple truth is that the American classroom has become a place where intense psychological warfare is being waged against all traditional values. (My emphasis) A child in an American public school is little more than a guinea pig in a psych lab, manipulated by a trained “change agent” (my addition:  referring to the 1962 article listed above). All of this is being done with billions of federal dollars in the greatest scam in human history.  If Americans put up with this much longer, they will deserve the ruin they are paying for.”  

If Americans put up with this much longer, they will deserve the ruin they are paying for.  Since the publication of NEA – TROJAN HORSE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION, 39 years ago, how much longer can this go on?

The next and final chapter of the book?  THE POINT OF NO RETURN:  ARE WE THERE?

Well … Are we there?  I say, ‘NO.’  We are closer.  That is for sure.

I wonder if the “Humanist Curriculum” would approve of Ernest Hemingway or “The Sun Also Rises?”

One more thought … there are now music teachers selecting music not just because it sounds beautiful.  No.  Music teachers are selecting music based on the composer’s identity and/or “topic” of the piece of music.  Beethoven’s THIRD SYMPHONY may fade away because of his identity (white male) and/or does not cover a “topic.”  Sounds like “humanism” is in the music room.


Articles of interest:

Living The Humanist Values:  The Ten Commandments
Living Humanist Values: The Ten Commitments –

Humanist Manifesto I  (two interesting names who signed this?  John Dewey & R. Lester Mondale – older half-brother of Vice-President Walter Mondale)
Humanist Manifesto I – American Humanist Association

Humanist Manifesto II  (yes.  R. Lester Mondale signed this Manifesto, along with behaviorist psychologist B.F. Skinner; Alan F. Guttmacher, president of Planned Parenthood)
Humanist Manifesto II – American Humanist Association

Christianity versus Humanism
Christianity Versus Humanism (

Humanism versus Christianity
Humanism vs. Christianity: The Great Battle Of Our Times (

NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education: Blumenfeld, Samuel L.: 9780941995078: Books