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The Train Wreck That is Our Education System
by Dennis Campbell
10 October 2003High School

The public school system is not a train wreck waiting to happen -- this train was derailed long ago.


Is to say that state-run schools indoctrinate rather than educate simply "bias…without any basis in the reality of managing a terribly complex institution beset with impossible standards set by the state and feds?"

That comment was in response to a commentary critical of the leftist slant of state schools, in which American history is poorly taught, if taught at all; America is portrayed as villainous and students subjected to leftwing indoctrination.

Well, consider the following.

A Los Angeles Times reporter visited a middle-school "academy," supported by tax dollars. At the time of his visit, most students were creating protest signs.

Some were watching a video of Guatemala's civil war -- in which, the instructor emphasized, America had aided the wrong side: "The U.S. supported the government and they were our friends. We gave them weapons so they could kill their own people."

The guerillas were heroes. "What's a guerrilla movement? People fighting for change, right? For economic and political reforms, right? And they opposed the military government." Much like those chaps who made Cuba a worker's paradise 40-some years ago.

Later, the students picketed a Taco Bell with their homemade signs. "Taco Bell is unfair. Please don't buy your tacos there," they shouted, picketing because a farm worker rights organization had said Taco Bell underpays workers who pick its tomatoes.

Squealed one of the teachers: "Social justice is kicking in!"

What understanding of the roots of our freedoms, our constitutional form of government and the great men -- not only men, but white men! -- who created our magnificent republic is being imparted here?

Perhaps the protest signs were well-written and skills being developed to help write a good business letter or marketing report. But one wonders if they will leave equipped even to fill out an employment application -- problematical, if one talks to those who hire young people.

Steve Miller is a graduate of California's Santa Monica High School, at the Sunshine State's liberal locus. In several articles for FrontPageMag.com he detailed his experiences with state "education."

"My own U.S. history teacher instructed us that our nation's past fears about Communism were unjustified; in fact, that capitalism had been a sinister force in the world," he writes.

"The Mexican-American War (or, as it was referred to in class, the 'North American invasion') was labeled a barbaric undertaking. We were told that through America's history as a 'terrorist nation,' she brought upon herself the sinister attacks of 9/11. Teachers compared this country to the worst regimes in world history while excusing the atrocities of its enemies."

He continues, "…teachers handed out articles conveying a wide array of leftist perspectives, but no article from a conservative point-of-view ever balanced these sentiments. Students…were informed that the U.S. could be termed a 'fascist' country.… One teacher even called George W. Bush 'the son of the devil,' and another claimed he was 'not a good Christian,' because of his efforts in Iraq."

The student body was exposed to a plethora of leftwing, but no conservative, speakers.

When Miller and a friend asked that conservative intellectual David Horowitz be invited to address the student body, the request was granted -- and rescinded once administrators discovered that this particular David Horowitz was not the popular consumer advocate.

Nine months later, and only after several appearances by Miller on local talk radio, Horowitz spoke. The reaction to his talk was typical of leftists unable to effectively debate articulate conservatives: He was verbally harassed, shouted at and slandered. The program was video-taped, but Miller was denied a copy.

According to Miller, his conservative essays routinely received low grades -- and lest you think this perhaps was due to his poor academic ability, he presently is enrolled in prestigious Duke University.

Anyone who peruses news sources other than the mainline media knows that examples of indoctrination passing for teaching, from grade school through college, are without limit. It is worse in colleges and universities, where conservative ideas, speech, and especially speakers, are stifled, often in a heavy-handed way.

These young people will become the adults who will guide America. If we do not want them guiding it over a cliff, we had best do something to pry them from the grip of leftists. Home-schooling is a good alternative to state schools. Private schools and vouchers are others.

But perhaps the best course would be the complete dismantling of our state-run education system. It is not a train wreck waiting to happen -- this train was derailed long ago.

Dennis Campbell is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to Internet and print publications
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