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Giving Away the Keys to Rome: The Leftist Indoctrination of Americas Future
by Gary Schneider
14 October 2003High School

Public schools have succumbed to the blight of progressive ideological bias in the classroom, employing a “social studies” curriculum that is dominated by leftist notions of social engineering and a revisionist, post-modern perspective.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) recently conducted a forum to discuss and raise awareness of an issue that should be of paramount concern to all Americans: the systematic dissolution of American cultural heritage that is effectively taking place in our schools.

Most U.S. public schools today, at virtually all grade levels, have succumbed to the blight of progressive ideological bias in the classroom, employing a “social studies” curriculum that is dominated by leftist notions of social engineering and a revisionist, post-modern perspective.  Its de-emphasis on substance and fundamentals has created an educational environment that is ripe for intellectually dishonest indoctrination. 

The many manifestations of this curriculum and teaching methods have grand names like “multicultural education,” “multiple intelligence theory,” “cooperative learning,” and “constructivism.” But what it comes down to is this: our children are being taught that everything is relative, there is no right or wrong, all cultures are equal, truth and understanding exist only as the individual chooses to derive it and, most importantly, feel good about yourself.  The only absolute truth that seems to get any play is that America is an imperialist, racist and oppressive nation.

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, in an extensive study, “Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?” argues that, “Social studies education scholarship over the past 20 years has focused on such politicized and often superficial topics as peace studies, the environment, gender equity issues, multiculturalism, and social and economic justice.”  Hence, course curricula and supplemental materials, such as text books, are rife with unbalanced perspectives and/or fundamental factual omissions. 

One example of this can be found in Minnesota’s rules governing the licensing of teachers. These rules require all teachers to “understand the cultural content, world view, and concepts [of] Indian Tribal Government,” and the "vital role of the American Indian value system…”  Yet there is no comparable requirement for them to understand America’s founding principles, world view, or the vital role of our Founder’s value system.  Furthermore, textbooks there omit “under God” from discussions on the Pledge of Allegiance, are critical of the American Revolution, and teach that free market economics is “imperialism”  whose evils are linked to Christianity.  Conversely, positive perspective is given to the Russian revolution, command economics and even Stalin, Lenin and Castro’s Cuba.

There are many, many more examples.

Lack of historical contextual balance, perspective and relevant fact omissions naturally create truth impaired skeptics and blind cynics who are generally disinterested in civic responsibility and participation in the political process.  They are also unprepared to intelligently address the myriad complex domestic and global events that impact them.

Following 9-11, a time when American parents were desperately trying to determine what to teach their children about these evil events, the education establishment provided the insensate answer to teach them to feel good about themselves, not to blame anyone (because Islam is really a religion of peace), to embrace diversity, and consider that perhaps America was actually to blame for this evil.

It is no wonder we have scenarios such this described by Steve Miller in FrontPage Magazine on June 14, 2002:

The school newspaper condemned the notion of a military response. A Muslim leader was brought to the school to explain the splendor and glory of Islam. One of our administrators, who should have been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, instead got on the PA and questioned the morality of our pending air campaign. Perhaps most discomforting, was when several days after 9/11 my history teacher handed out a lengthy article lambasting the United States as absolutely wicked and condemning the notion of a military response.

The objective transfer of knowledge on the fundamental subjects of history, economics, geography and civics has now been replaced in priority by “courses” designed to promote cultural relativism, self-esteem and a liberal activist mindset.  There has been a documented shift in the study of the positive aspects and mechanics of our Democracy, to an emphasis on the critical scrutiny of the American system. (See for example, The Training of Idiots, Civics Education in America’s Schools, by J. Martin Rochester.) This amounts to the indoctrination of students to left-of-center notions of what it means to be a good American citizen and, to me, begins to explain the nescient positions oft assumed by the newly indoctrinated left.

Sadly, the combination of this system-wide philosophical shift in our government schools, along with the collective discounting of American history, purpose and accomplishment, is creating citizens whose measure of patriotism is blind scrutiny and activism that is nearly devoid of historical fact or context. 

How then can we reasonably expect subsequent generations of America to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty for themselves and their posterity, if they have nary a clue about what this means and how our forefathers prescribed its furtherance and defense.  The reality is we cannot.  Fatuous post-modernist notions that each student can reason their own, equally valid concept of truth, right and wrong, simply will not cut it in a world that is more black and white than most academicians would like to concede.  History proves that not all philosophies, societies, governments or cultures are equal … or equally moral. 

For the sake of America, our schools have the basic responsibility to teach the three Rs and what it means to be an American -- as they once did.  Other nations are tied together by their ethnicity.  America is an exceptional nation, comprised of immigrants and tied together by a common set of principles.  These principles, laid out by our founders, are the literal ties that bind.  To marginalize them, through intentional neglect or misplaced scorn, is to literally debase the United States.  Perhaps this is the left’s goal. Regardless, it is the impending result of their skewed “educational” policies and it must be righted.

It is past time that mainstream America challenge the new status quo, champion educational alternatives and counter the influence that has been ceded to Academicians in their left leaning ivory towers. Specifically:

Openly challenge the status quo.  Be aware of what your children are being taught and challenge your school districts to properly account for subjects that are being neglected and address subjects with which you disagree.  If you are a teacher, challenge left wing teachers unions, such as the National Education Association (NEA), on their PC curricula and liberal political advocacy.  Your membership and dues facilitate the dumbing down and indoctrination process.  Rather, seek out alternative teacher groups such as the Association of American Educators (AAE) which objectively pursue excellence in education.

Support the creation of an educational marketplace that includes school choice (vouchers).  The establishment of a legitimate educational marketplace that is comprised of home schoolers, independent/private schools as well as government-sponsored schools will foster a competitive marketplace where you are empowered.  In a competitive and accessible marketplace, needs are properly addressed, quality of service improves and all citizens benefit. 

And lastly:

Require educators to adhere to fundamental guidelines in education in the form of an Academic Bill of Rights.  The Academic Bill of Rights is a movement in higher education to establish greater philosophical balance and protection from (predominantly left wing) political and social bias in education.  This noble mission is equally as valid and necessary at all grade levels of education in this country.  This Bill of Rights in Government Sponsored Education should minimally include the following:

1.    Transfer of knowledge will be absent of opinion. 

2.    Pre-established biases will not be used to influence or otherwise manipulate the student toward any political or social perspective.

3.    Course content and reading in social sciences will reflect diverse concepts and viewpoints to include the objective, comprehensive study of American History, Economics and Civics.

4.    Academic reward or punishment will not be levied based on the adherence or rejection to/of political or religious beliefs.

5.    All teachers and teacher organizations must maintain a position of political, social and religious neutrality.

Academics and teachers unions must be exposed and held accountable for their undemocratic policies and politically correct curricula.  The marginalization of their leftist influence will be had only when concerned Americans get active, get involved and deliberately reacquire power by challenging the new status quo, facilitating educational choice and countering the leftist agenda with an Academic Bill of Rights.

For a free self-governing people, during these precarious times, it is imperative that fair minded Americans re-establish objective, comprehensive and unbiased educational standards at all levels of our government sponsored schools.  Surely, we can afford nothing less.

Gary Schneider is the President and founder of TheRealityCheck.Org.

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