Veteran writer and education expert Samuel Blumenfeld has died.
Blumenfeld, whose latest book, co-authored with Alex Newman, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children,” was published last month by WND Books, lost a battle with cancer on Monday.
Joseph Farah, WND editor and CEO, said Blumenfeld influenced his thinking.
“Sam Blumenfeld helped awaken me to the desperate straits of our public schools decades ago when he was a lonely voice in the wilderness on this topic,” Farah said. “It was a privilege to work with him on his last book – and perhaps his greatest triumph and epitaph – ‘Crimes of the Educators.’”
Blumenfeld was born and raised in New York City, where he attended public schools. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and saw combat during the last weeks of the Italian campaign. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1950 then spent 10 years as a book and magazine editor. He also taught in public and private schools, including one for children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems. In 1970, he turned his attention to writing full time.
In addition to WND, his articles and columns have appeared in the New York Times, the Herald Tribune, Reason, American Opinion, the New American, Inquiry, the Chalcedon Report, Insight, Education Digest, American Education, American Legion Magazine, the Teaching Home, Practical Homeschooling, Home School Digest and Boston Magazine, among others.
Before writing “Crimes of the Educators,” Blumenfeld authored nine other books on education: “How to Start Your Own Private School,” “The New Illiterates,” “How to Tutor,” “Is Public Education Necessary?” “Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers,” “NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education,” “The Whole Language/OBE Fraud,” “Homeschooling: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children” and “The Victims of Dick & Jane and Other Essays.”
Much of Blumenfeld’s work was dedicated to exposing what he saw as a faulty method of teaching children to read and championing an alternative. His 1973 book, “The New Illiterates,” blamed the “whole-word” method of reading instruction for dyslexia and reading disabilities in many children.
Blumenfeld’s answer was always the same – intensive, systematic phonics. In 1983, he published “Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers” as a way to help parents, teachers and tutors teach children to read in an easy, effective manner.
He hoped his reading instruction guide would allow parents to bypass the government school system by homeschooling their kids. Homeschooling was another topic near to Blumenfeld’s heart. He argued for it in his 1997 book, “Homeschooling: A Parents Guide to Teaching Children,” and his 1973 guide “How to Tutor” walked parents through the best ways to teach their children reading, arithmetic and cursive handwriting.
Because of his deep knowledge of educational topics, Blumenfeld was invited to lecture and teach at numerous conventions, conferences and workshops, especially those dealing with homeschooling. He was also a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows.
Blumenfeld previously served as chairman of the Massachusetts branch of the Reading Reform Foundation. In 1986, Bob Jones University awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree.
His co-author Newman provided WND with a statement.
“Sam was a giant among men and a true American hero. Words cannot begin to describe what an honor and what a blessing it was to work with him. His research and his books laid bare so much of what’s wrong with education in a way that nobody has ever done before,” Newman said.
“But Sam didn’t just point out the problems – he offered solutions that work. His book, ‘Alpha-Phonics,’ to teach reading the correct way has been a huge blessing to my family and to countless other families across America. I know because I’ve heard from many of them.”
Newman said all of Blumenfeld’s books “should be considered essential reading for every educator and parent in this country.”
“We’re talking about the minds of America’s children – the future of our country and our liberty is in their hands,” he said. “Sam cared so much about keeping America free, and he understood that it all begins in the classroom. He was a humble and wise man, and it was truly an honor to get to know him and to work with him on his final project.
“I am sure that he is with God now, in a better place; and that is comforting. But he will be so sorely missed.”