Last week as part of my mandated professional development I observed another teacher teaching their students. I use the term 'teaching' loosely- indoctrinating is a more accurate description of what that teacher does every day in her classroom.
The class began with students being given an article by a very liberal slanted New York Times columnist named Garry Wills. The topic of the article was about how George Bush has destroyed our economy and country, and that the best hope for America is to support the Democrats agenda without question or thought.
At no other time were any other articles assigned on this issue, and at no time was any other viewpoint presented by the teacher to the students. In the self-contained world of that classroom, there was one agenda presented and information and views presented from that one liberal direction alone.
After reading the article, the teacher then asked the class to talk about the arguments put forth by the author and discuss why they were true and what implications they have for the future of America. Yup- once the class of innocent high school students was provided with information from one point of view only the next step for that teacher was to have the students validate that information and internalize it so that it wasn't just something that they read, but something they would really believe. She had the students practice lines from the article, and pretend to debate 'conservatives' by offering up straw men arguments and then having the students act out how to be a super liberal. Once students became comfortable with the ideas, the thoughts, and the arguments, the teacher made them comfortable playing the part and believing in those things. With a sick feeling in my stomach, I watched the indoctrination occur, knowing that every day this is what this teacher did.
Afterwards, I asked the teacher what her goals were with this lesson. "I want to teach students to think critically about issues that they face in the world and talk about how they can change the world," she said. I did not point out to her that taking data and validating it and talking about why that data was true is not critical thinking; in fact, it was the opposite of critical thinking. Teaching students critical thinking is what we do in my classroom- we taken arguments from liberals and conservatives and attack them and tear them apart, looking for weaknesses, holes, or flaws in their theories and arguments. This teacher did the opposite- she made students read and then buy into liberal views.
I tried to point this out to her in a very cautious and roundabout manner, and her defenses went up. She told me "In order for these kids to become good students, it is important that they know that George Bush and the Republicans are wrong and that their views are not acceptable in our society. They hear otherwise on trashy talk shows and Fox News and from their parents, so it is my job to teach them that those people are wrong and that I am right and that they should always follow President Obama."
To this teacher, and to thousands of teachers around the nation, their job is not to teach math, science, reading, writing, or history. Their job, as they believe it to be, is to indoctrinate the youth of our nation into accepting and fighting for tyranny. Their jobs are to teach students to disobey their parents and throw down man so that he can be raised up again as a new man, more progressive and communist. This teacher had dozens of lesson plans created for this purpose (I went through her folders and piles on her desks when she wasn't looking) and every day she was dedicated in her mission.
As I went back to my classroom, I was conflicted. In my room, I present both views and work hard to not indoctrinate students one way or the other. And I am one of the more conservative teachers in all of my district. If I'm being moderate, how warped are students going to be when the moderates lean left and the leftists dedicate their lives to moving students left. What sort of students are our education system going to produce? It is a scary thought indeed.
UPDATE: Thanks for checking out this post! If you liked it, take a couple minutes to look around my blog and my archives and read some other stories of interest! Enjoy!