Friday, April 11, 2014

Schools are Places of Indoctrination Rather than Learning

Image representing Al Gore as depicted in Crun...
Al Gore via CrunchBase

by Graham, Ambit Gambit:

A new British report pings the British education system for indoctrinating students on questions of climate change and sustainability. In this, Australia is no better.

Climate Control: Brainwashing in schools lays out in detail instances not just of bias, but active coercion, at a number of levels from core curriculum down to the choices that teachers make in the classroom.

For instance, despite a British court deciding that Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was propaganda and had to be appropriately labelled before use in the classroom, it is still being recommended in the curriculum materials, without any counter recommendation to movies, such as the Great Global Warming Swindle, which could provide an alternative perspective.

To those of us who believe that educations’s function is to teach thinking and knowledge, this is deeply disturbing, but hardly surprising.

The current Australian Curriculum is full of references to “sustainability”, which is a concept without any intelligible meaning in most of the contexts in which it is used, apart from in the very short-term.

I’ve had personal experience of how the system works through the daughters of a friend who studied geography in a Queensland school.

Their teacher, Ms P, was not just a global warming warrior, but also imparted valuable information to them over the course of the years, such as that only the Greens care about education.

At one stage, in response to a perception imported from the classroom that rainfall had decreased in Australia I produced a Bureau of Meteorology graph demonstrating that rainfall had in fact increased. I was told they weren’t interested in the facts, they wanted to pass the subject.

The teachers I had at school, who were Socratic in approach, and never ever gave me a hint of who they might vote for, would have welcomed the intrusion into the classroom of an unruly fact and the discussion which would have ensued.

If this approach has survived in any discipline in school you would expect it to be in philosophy. Alas, you would be wrong.

Modern philosophy classes consist not of discussions of Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Hegel, Mill even Wittgenstein or Marx and what it means to be good or the nature of human rights, but pop-cultural tours of issues like abortion guided by bit players like radical utilitarian, vegetarian and eugenicist, Peter Singer.

They still teach them the logical concepts that underpin philosophy, but without seeing them applied by anyone with any skill, leading to lowest common denominator thinking.

There is hope.
A spokesman for Michael Gove [UK Secretary of State for Education], has said that teachers who do not offer a balanced view on issues like climate change are breaking the law.
Would be nice to think it could be the same here - teachers actually legally required to be balanced - but even better if there were no need in the first place.
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