Monday, August 30, 2010

The Kids May Not Be All Right

This intro is a bit extreme, but it's not too far from the truth:

Our kids have become cannon fodder for two rival ideologies battling to control America’s future.

In one camp are conservative Christians and their champion, the Texas State Board of Education; in the other are politically radical multiculturalists and their de facto champion, President Barack Obama. The two competing visions couldn’t be more different. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Unfortunately, whichever side wins — your kid ends up losing.

That’s because this war is for the power to dictate what our children are taught — and, by extension, how future generations of Americans will view the world. Long gone are the days when classrooms were for learning: now each side sees the public school system as a vast indoctrination camp in which future culture-warriors are trained. The problem is, two diametrically opposed philosophies are struggling for supremacy, and neither is willing to give an inch, so the end result is extremism, no matter which side temporarily comes out on top.

Both visions are grotesque and unacceptable — and yet they are currently the only two choices on the national menu. Which shall it be, sir: Brainwashing Fricassee, or a Fried Ignorance Sandwich?


Ellen K said...

I think this pandering to the polar ends of the political spectrum is leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouths. Most Americans are somewhere in the middle. Some are socially conservative and fiscally moderate, others are the opposite. But the world views at either end are so absolute that nobody, not even the most adherent believer can stick to the entire agenda.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I think this pandering to the polar ends of the political spectrum is ignoring the obvious: that the public education system has always been, to a significant degree, an instrument of indoctrination and that's contributed to the less-then-stellar performance of the institution in a variety of ways.

Ellen K said...

Allen, I don't claim to talk about schools in general, just mine. And the economy has pushed many former private school kids into our classes. My observation is that the kids who were recommended for advanced or AP classes are woefully unprepared. And this is echoing through English and Math as well. Without those standards you claim drag down schools, many private schools are simply making up grades and letting parents assume all is well. A neighbor's child graduated from a Catholic high school in the top ten, she couldn't cut it at UT and had to do community college her second year. While there is much wrong with public education, there are also problems within the private and charter ranks as well.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Sorry Ellen but the dominant player is the district-based public education system and the shadow it casts distorts the entire profession of education and the practice of education. That influence shows up as a dilution of what's considered a good education and not just within district-based schools.

What I'm getting at is that the inherently politicized nature of public education means that whoever's in charge will dictate the direction of the curriculum and someone's always in charge. If it isn't the school board then it's the administration and their agenda is going to be, generally, to make their own lives more secure and easier. Hence, a lowering in educational standards.

Anonymous said...

Decisions, directions, and curriculum choices within the community schools has long since been riped from the purview of those residing in the community. Liberal Left, Conservative Christians, or Multiculturalists matters not. What matters is that the parents of those children being educated have the most say in how they are educated - not POTUS, the Dept of Ed, or any other special interest group.