Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, July 17, 2020

What Is the Difference between Teaching and Indoctrination?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when the rising generation is taught correct principles, true history, and how to find truth. Elementary and secondary school children are in school approximately six hours per day and five days per week for nine months out of every year. A problem arises, however, when parents allow other people to have extended influence on their children. How are parents to know what children are being taught?

            Church leaders and socialists agree that early childhood is the time to teach/indoctrinate society. King Solomon is credited with the saying, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). So, how do we know if a child is being taught good principles and skills or just being indoctrinated? Why is it important to make sure that children are being taught properly?

            Teaching is the tool for education. A teacher is an authority figure that teaches ideas, principles, and knowledge to other people. Education is the process of learning from a teacher. For teaching to take place, there must also be learning on the part of the student.

            According to Auguste Mevrat, “indoctrination happens through many channels – entertainment, speeches, and censorship – but its main instrument is the school system. Teachers have a captive audience of malleable young minds for several years. They may not have figured out how to make students smart and productive, but they can at least make them submissive and obedient.”

            I have been pondering a question that I read recently that goes something like this: “Who has been teaching the rising generation to hate America?” Who told our children and teenagers that Christopher Columbus was a terrible person? Who convinced our young adults that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other Founding Fathers were not good men and should not be held in a place of honor? Is this what our children are learning in public schools and universities?

            What kind of liberal garbage is being fed to our young adults on college campuses? I recently saw a chart showing 82% of college professors are liberal and 18% of them are moderate. There are few, if any, conservative professors on most college campuses. How can young adults learn to compare liberalism and conservatism when they are taught only liberalism? Is it a coincidence that young adults are the ones pulling down statues and destroying monuments to our Founding Fathers?

            According to Mevrat, “Curriculum should help guide the teacher to create lessons and use materials that will train the students to think and function independently. Instead, most public-school curricula … do the opposite.” He then explained why he considers Common Core to be indoctrination.

Common Core has facilitated progressive indoctrination by smothering independent though and stifling intellectual development. It effectively trains students not to think by emphasizing skills over content, process over product, and relative standards over absolute ones.

            Mevrat indicated that all areas suffer. In the humanities, studies “focus on teaching supposedly practical skills rather quality content.” Students are assigned journalistic nonfiction and taught research skills rather than “reading great poetry and literature.” “Instead of reading for meaning and writing clearly, students read for bias and learn to write fluff.” History is one of the areas that suffer the most because students are taught “everything except remembering actual history and synthesizing information.” This means that “both literary and historical content is drained of relevance or meaning. While students learn to process data, they do not think about anything in particular.”

Math and science are hurt more by Common Core’s obsession with the process over the product. Reaching the right answer means little in Common Core math. It is more important that students learn various arbitrary methods through which they can arrive at an answer. Students receive more credit for following a needlessly complicated breakdown, complete with color-coding and an array of abstract terms, for relatively simple computation….

Mevrat wrote that “some students can make their way through the Common Core curriculum without knowing much math or science at all,” and they stop thinking because it is meaningless. This brings about “a pervasive relativism in education.”

…Content is interchangeable, and mastery is either illusory or impossible. Knowledge becomes subjective. One text is as good as another. One period of history is as important as another. One theory or formula is as useful as another. It is hard to learn how to think when there is nothing real to think about.

In such a system, thinking is only the articulation of opinion; it has no bearing on truth. This means that people don’t really need to think critically and understand why they believe what they do. They just need to have the right viewpoint and force others to conform like they’ve been forced to conform. They engage in arguments where the loudest voice wins because no one’s points are better than another. They pressure instead of persuade.

This, in turn, leads to tribalism – groups of people united in feeling and opinion, but not in reason and truth. The lack of thought makes all these groups vulnerable to mass media and prevents any organized resistance to an encroaching state or lawless ideologue in power. Indoctrination is complete when perception (i.e., whatever is on the screen, whatever an “expert” says, whatever is popular) really does become reality for most people because they’re too stupid or apathetic to respond rationally.

            How can we reclaim the rising the generation from the indoctrinated masses? Mevrat said that the “only real solution to indoctrination, then, is good teachers. These good teachers include “parents, mentors, and other knowledgeable adults” who “train students in methods of thought while supplying the stuff of thought. They teach a person to evaluate an argument properly, find actual solutions to problems, and determine what is true and what is false.”

            We need to look for – and be – the type of teacher that does not promote “one ideology over another” and “trust [the] student to reason through to the right position…."

Only clear thought will be the death of foggy indoctrination. If people want to pass on their ideas on to the next generation, they should focus on building up logic, not just giving them the right texts to read and TV shows to watch. The goal should be to understand the reasons, not follow the signals of the right tribe.

At some point, indoctrination will always collapse on itself and leave mediocrity in its wake. Teaching, by contrast, is what will sustain our culture and bring out its virtues. It fosters the presence of active thought – not uniform thought – and it is what will ultimately mend and civilize our sorely divided country.

It is our responsibility to make sure that the rising generation is taught and not indoctrinated. By seeking out good teachers for our children, we can strengthen our homes, communities, and nations.

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