(NOTE: In September of 2010 I wrote the following post for another site. I am presenting here again as I believe a distinction needs to be made between the two competing world views at odds in our country and our world today.)
There have been quite a few stories recently regarding concerns about what our children are learning in our public schools. The revision and/or presentation of history in a manner that leaves out important pieces of information has been a concern for some time. Recently the concerns have been about how Islam and Christianity are being presented. Salon.com has a response presented from the other side of the argument. Fox News airs a special report today “Do you know what textbooks your children are really reading?”
I’ve also come across an interesting article on Chinese textbooks and their approach to teaching about the Korean War that is worth reading. In fact, this gentleman has quite a few articles worth reading. In one of them, “Victims: History, Perception, and the East West Divide” he shares the following from a Chinese blogger: “…this sense of being bullied from the west is rooted in the control of public opinion in China, the obstruction of the free flow if ideas, and students who from a young age are instilled with the notion of ‘Westerners bullying Chinese people.” It seems this is not just an American problem.
The title link takes you to an article discussing the International Baccalaureate Program in some of our High Schools. If you read the linked article above and visit their website you can get a range of opinions on the program. When looking into this program I did a search and found that the world view at the core of this program is not one that I agree with….but I had to look closely because it “sounds so wonderful.”
Before you jump to the conclusion that I just want to teach our schoolchildren another biased view of history please stay in your seat. I have to be honest, I always had a sense of uneasiness with the concept of Manifest Destiny even when I first heard about it in school. As I said in an earlier post, I believe we should learn the good, the bad and even the ugly to truly learn from history.
Why does any of this matter?
Because those who possess much of the power and control over how and what our children learn seem to have a particular world view, a Progressive world view.
If you take a quick tour of Progressive influences on our education system, I would suggest beginning with John Dewey. In How Now Shall We Live, Charles Colson presents: “Dewey rejected the traditional belief that an idea is an insight into an objective reality, to be judged by whether it is true or false. Instead, he argued that ideas are merely hypotheses about what will get the results we want and their validity depends on whether they work.” (page 93) (Note: I have a note I wrote on this page that says: Darwinists believe there is no transcendent truth, yet they believe that Darwinism is objectively true?”)
Next consider the 1930’s George S. Counts, who “called upon teachers to begin controlling the evolution of society. He urged them to redeem society, to stop being merely transmitters of the culture and become creators of social values…reach deliberately for power to build a new social order.” (Colson, page 335) His “Dare the School Build a New Social Order?” can give you further details on his views. His new social order involves our economic system “evolving into a collectivist pattern.”
Then you come to B.F. Skinner’s Walden Two and behaviorism. Skinner argues that “because the reality of consciousness or mental states cannot be observed, they cannot be described scientifically; therefore, they are not real. Only observable, external behavior is real.” (How Now Shall We Live, page 177) This utopian thinking shifted education from the classical aim at the search for truth and training moral character to a new aim: “if human nature was nothing more than a reactive mechanism, then it could be manipulated and shaped by the laws science discovered. Education became a means of conditioning, with the child treated as essentially passive rather than an active moral agent.”(also page 177.)
Then, consider Mary Calderone, former Executive Director of Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS.) In a 1968 article she said: “the real question facing sex educators is this: ‘what kind of person do we want to produce to take the place of human nature as we know it today, and how do we design the production line to create this advanced creature?” and “..the best thing we can do for our children is to prepare them to view all notions of right and wrong as tentative, changing, and relative (emphasis mine). Then, loosed from the old values, they can be inculcated with the values of a scientifically trained elite (consisting of professionals like herself, of course) who know what makes a human being truly healthy.” (Colson, page 241 & 242) This is interesting information in light of the recent Sex Ed controversy in Montana.
Why does one’s world view matter? One more quote from How Now Shall We Live sums up my response to this:
“We easily forget that every private decision contributes to the moral and cultural climate in which we live, rippling out in ever widening circles–first in our personal lives, and then in the broader society…..every decision we make reflects our world view. Every choice, every action, either expresses a false world view and thus contributes to a disordered and broken world, or expresses God’s truth and helps build a world that reflects his created order.” (page 294)
Whether you believe in a supreme being or not, truth does exist. A transcendent truth that is consistent with what we experience in the real world. To re-phrase something C.S. Lewis said: The theist, who believes in a transcendent source of truth and the materialist (Progressive for this discussion),who believes everything is relative, hold different beliefs about the universe. They cannot both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.
Finally, to all of this we add in the concept of the “useful lie” sometimes used by Progressives and the Muslim concept of “taquia”(or lying for the faith) and you have great difficulty “fact checking” and finding the information that will lead you to truth. I have faith, though, that we will get there with vigilance, perseverance and determination. There is always hope.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Texas school board concerned that textbooks are too nice to Muslims (salon.com)
- State ed board tackles alleged pro-Islamic bias in textbooks (chron.com)
- Rule on Islam’s portrayl in textbooks to be considered (brvanlanen.wordpress.com)