Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

How liberals are made

I had this recent conversation with a 17-year-old (not my son):

Me: So, if you could vote in next November's Presidential election, who would you vote for?

Teen: Barack Obama.

Me: Oh? How come?

Teen: He seems like the right choice and the best qualified among all the candidates.

Me: How did you arrive at that decision?

Teen: Our U.S. History teacher made us analyze this article, and we put three columns up on the board of pros and cons for each of the candidates, Obama, Clinton, and McCain, and Obama had the most positives of the three.

Me: (shocked) But he's a socialist, and so is Hillary. Their far-left economic policies will be terrible for the U.S. economy.

Teen: (shocked) Socialist? What do you mean?

I was shocked that a high school history teacher would use one newspaper article (obviously slanted) to indoctrinate a classroom of ignorant teenagers into favoring Barack Obama, with their not even recognizing that's what she had done. Is this how our educational system pretends to produce critical thinkers?

The teenager was shocked because after "studying" an article, making columns of qualities, and going through the motions of learning an important lesson about U.S. politics from her teacher, she had been given only a very limited view--with a liberal slant--of the matter. So choosing a Presidential candidate to vote for wasn't that simple?

Where do such teachers come from, and how are they allowed to continue to "teach" our children? Are educational colleges "Training Cultural Soldiers, Not Teachers"? Is there a movement to deliberately exploit the fact that "...the absence of conflicting viewpoints...encourages students and staff to believe that liberalism represents the only reasonable vision of a just society"?

It's pretty clear to see that often, the term "diversity" means that of race, not of opinion.

It can get really bad for some high school students who disagree. But then, since the world began, there have always been some teachers who hate being shown up by students more well-informed and well-reasoned than they are. Woe betide the student who gets in their way.

Liberal/leftist indoctrination permeates the middle schools too. I confirmed this recently by looking through my daughter's sixth-grade social studies textbook. Liberal/leftist/progressive indoctrination, including in such current political fads as one-way multiculturalism and global warming, extend even into the elementary schools--and even into such subjects as math.

Higher Education either remains in denial or continues to help the indoctrination along by offering minimalizing, off-topic spin as a cover.

Instead, read all of David Horowitz's short essay, "The Political Assault on Our K-12 Schools" for the big, alalrming picture of what's going on:

Educators who advocate teaching for “social justice” share radical views of American society. That is their right as citizens; but they have also made these radical views the central focus of their educational programs for students in America’s public schools, which is not. Social justice teaching violates the professional obligations of teachers in a democracy to educate students not indoctrinate them. Political indoctrination in the classroom not only violates the professional obligations of educators, it undermines America’s democratic commitment to providing a solid academic education for all of the nation’s children.

In recent years teaching for social justice has become a powerful movement in American schools of education. Among its leaders are William Ayers, a former leader of the terrorist Weather Underground and self-proclaimed “street fighting communist,” who is Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ayers is the inspirer and editor of a twelve-volume Columbia Teachers College series “Teaching for Social Justice;” Peter McClaren, Professor of Education at UCLA, and influential theorist of the teaching for social justice movement is the author of a widely read book describing Che Guevara as the most important pedagogue of the 20th Century. And the outgoing and incoming presidents of the 25,000 member American Education Research Association, the major umbrella organization of the education school professorate, are both supporters of the doctrine of teaching for social justice in K-12 classrooms. In fact the AERA has just hired its first Director of Social Justice....

Since its inception, public education in America has been about creating the next generation of citizens of a democracy, meaning individuals who can think for themselves, not citizens who are force-fed orthodoxies or doctrines of a sectarian nature. The mission of America’s elementary and secondary schools has been to serve American pluralism: to educate a community of citizens who disagree with each other into a common culture of tolerance and respect. The goal of America’s public schools is encapsulated on the Seal of the United States: “E Pluribus Unum”: out of many one.

The leftist political agenda of “social justice educators” undermines the American public school system as we have known it. The historical ideal of public schooling as a means of assimilating all children (and particularly the children of new immigrants) into a common civic and democratic culture is now under assault by the education professors advocating teaching for social justice and deriding the common civic culture ideal as nothing more than capitalist hegemony.

A democracy cannot tolerate the corruption of its educational system by a political faction, whatever its persuasion. The “social justice” movement in American K-12 schools is a surrogate for the radical left, whose purpose is to indoctrinate public school children in sectarian political and social ideas. As such, it threatens the very foundations of this republic. A diverse community like ours cannot survive if its taxpayer supported educational system becomes the captive of a particular political faction....

(Yes, that same William Ayers.)

Incredible, you say? Overblown alarmism? If you check it out, you may realize you really must teach your own children well, especially to become critical thinkers and to recognize valid and invalid argumentation, logical and verbal fallacies and psychological persuasion techniques (such as appeals to emotion and how subliminal messages work). That way, they won't be shocked, unprepared, or vulnerable when they go off to live on their uber-liberal college campuses (the one educational setting where things may actually be getting a little better for conservative students, according to this 2005 Wall Street Journal article).

As a parent, you can't assume America's teachers are teaching your children to think and analyze ideas and viewpoints and opinions critically, fairly, or thoroughly. You can no longer assume that all of America's elementary and secondary teachers even want that to happen.

BONUS POINTS: In the interests of being fair and balanced while being educational, I offer--

The Communists' viewpoint of the "Right Wing Demand for 'Balance' in Education"

How liberal college teachers think when they want to 'get past the resistance' of "conservative freshmen" without "triggering their massive hostility." As one prof cautions another, "Conservative freshmen are not, I think, the appropriate audience for the full force of our agenda, all at once."

Heh. Not everybody in America is asleep to such aims.

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