Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The De-Valuing Of America by William Bennett

In The De-Valuing Of America, William Bennett gives his perspective of his long government career. Bennett was the Secretary of Education under President Ronald Reagan, and what was known as The Drug Czar under President George H.W. Bush. Bennett was known for his strong opinions and his ability to create programs that worked towards the outcomes he wanted to occur.

When it came to drugs, Bennett felt it was a major misservice to our young people to just throw in the towel and say that there is no way to stop drugs. He focused on interdiction and making drugs more expensive. As he traveled throughout the country, he found that parents wanted the government to intervene, and that improving the drug issue would also improve street crime, lack of student motivation and other ills that are often called endemic. During his tenure, in July of 1989, The National Institute of Drug Abuse released it's ninth National Household Survy on Drug Abuse. From the book:

The estimated number of Americans using any illegal drug on a "current" basis had dropped 37 percent: from 23 million in 1985 to 14.5 million in 1988. A survey of high school seniors recorded record significant drops in their overall use and tolerance of drugs. Drug use was down everywhere: in inner cities, in rural and suburban areas, among blacks and whites, rich and poor.

Bennett also held views on education that were not in the mainstream of educational thought. He believed that different standards for children of different races or cultures was reverse discrimination, and set those with lower standards up for failure in later years. He disliked the trend of multicultural education, if it came at the expense of the canons of Western civilization. He was not a fan of teacher unions.

I've had this book for quite a while, and finally decided to read it. It was interesting to me to read his viewpoints and his championing of conservative tenets, and to hear his take on this period of history. This book is recommended for fans of history and political science.

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