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Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt

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Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt (1930–2022) was once a senior policy advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. She was also a co-founder of Guardians of Education for Maine, an educational activism group. She promoted a conspiracist view of educational problems that attributes American anti-intellectualism to the the evil machinations of former Soviet KGB agents.[1] If you hear the sound of hoofbeats in Central Park, then surely it must be the sound of… former Soviet KGB agents dressed up as zebras.


In 1999, Iserbyt published The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.[2] The book outlines Iserbyt's criticism of the American education system, wherein, according to her, schools and universities are used to suppress creative thinking, and to encourage students to toe the line.

Some of her findings:

  • A child who can read, write and compute at a sufficient level should have no limitations on controlling his or her own destiny. Providing such basic education is not and should not be expensive, but the subsequent brainwashing is an expensive and long process.
  • In 1972, a survival problem was presented to a class where a lifeboat was overloaded and students needed to decide who to toss off the lifeboat to ensure that some survived. When the students found a method that allowed all people to survive, the professor rejected it and insisted the problem be done again.
  • After Iserbyt questioned the educational value of some pedagogical methods, she discovered that some critics were calling her a "kook" for maintaining what she believed was a principled position.


  1. Charlotte Iserbyt. Former KGB Heads to Helps Spy on Americans. 2003 April 24.