In the last six years the basic ethical standards which guide us have been warped into the acceptance of lying and dishonesty. If we do not change this trajectory we will descend into a dark age. Dr. Edith Hamilton, (1867-1963) educator, historian and philosopher, pointed out that the demise of past civilizations can be traced to the Vital Lies they told themselves that clouded their ability to survive. By not confronting those who cloud our future, those not aware that our nation is presently on this unethical path, will be complicit in the destruction of the American dream.

Many of the leaders of our government have confirmed that the bigger the lie and the more times it is told, establishes a new truth—which is a lie. Few are able to confront this. The United States has moved into a period where these false truths cloud our thinking.

In 2012, I wrote the book, Vital Lies: The Irrelevance Of Our Schools In The Information Age. At that time, I could not imagine that in less than five years large segments of the US population, many religious institutions, and at least one of our political parties would reject our ethical standards and accept lying and dishonesty as their driving ideology.

There is no room in this blog to identify and discuss the lies a past president tells, or even the daily lies squeezed out on networks like Fox. As an educator, I focus on the perpetuation of misinformation that deeply affects our schools. The latest news cycle exposes a vital lie about testing.

Yale University has just announced that they will use standardized tests like the SAT to determine university admission. A majority of people believe that standardized tests—in fact most tests—are measurement devices. However, the primary use of these tests is as teaching tools which are used to inculcate information that some group, board, religion, or government uses to conform others to their beliefs. High scores = effective indoctrination. Parts of these tests are teaching tools used to determine if the student has learned the information but the information is designed to maintain social class, racial and color superiority, and sorting structures that focus their students so they believe what they are supposed to believe, not necessarily what is true. It is hard to correct misinformation taught this way, so few try.

Colleges and universities have been moving away from reliance on standardized test because they were discriminatory and full of bias. They were not good predictors of student success. This new trend is regressive and supports the vital lies that: (1) tests are measurement devices and not teaching devices; and (2) there is a correlation between test performance and life success. A much better indicator would be the ability to assess critical thinking, life experiences, examples of collaboration, and actual contribution.