What Are We Teaching Our Children
- 28 August 2010 by Author 0 Comments
What Are We Teaching Our Children
By Richard Larsen
Not Published – Idaho State Journal
The first paragraph on the Idaho State Department of Education website proclaims, “We at the State Department of Education are determined to create a customer-driven education system that meets the needs of every student in Idaho and prepares our students to live, work and succeed in the 21st century.” As our children prepare to return to school soon, we should be grateful that we live in Idaho where what is taught in the classroom for the most part seems to reflect the stated objectives.
Other parts of the country are not so fortunate. A dear friend, who is a high school teacher here in town, forwarded to me a mailing from Illinois that delineates some of the problems with education in the Land of Lincoln. What follows is a very small selection from that mailing which details some bizarre classroom instruction.
One District 211 high school social studies teacher regularly shows a film in his classes about a boy who was raised as a girl as well as another video titled 30 Days: Straight Man in a Gay World. He also shows Tough Guise, a film that claims that the media is controlled by rich white men and becoming increasingly violent as a backlash against societal gains made by women and homosexuals.
A teacher at North Shore High School shows an R-rated movie in his class that depicts an actress giving herself an abortion with knitting needles. A student whose parents didn’t want him to see the video was given an option of spending time in detention as an alternative.
Another high school, Deerfield, features a required Freshman Advisor class in which homosexual, bi-sexual, and transgender upperclassmen discuss their sexual attractions with freshmen.
Students who attend Glenbard North’s required health classes are given a survey featuring one question that queries students on how they know they’re heterosexual if they had never had a “good” same-sex lover.
A book titled Beloved is required reading in many English classes in Illinois. It’s a novel set in the civil war era which depicts men engaging in sexual activity with livestock. What’s doubly disturbing about this is the fact that the book is on the Advance Placement Reading List for the state.
Another book titled The Perks of Being a Wallflower is on the suggested reading list for gifted 7th graders in District 15, and is also used widely throughout Illinois. Its theme is based on the “perks” of being a voyeur of teenage promiscuity.
These are just a few of the many examples of source material utilized to “teach” the young people of Illinois. Does it come as a surprise, then, that our educational system is falling behind the rest of the world? Testifying before Congress a few months ago, Andreas Schleicher, a senior education official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, declared, “America’s education advantage, unrivaled in the years after World War II, is eroding quickly as a greater proportion of students in more and more countries graduate from high school and college and score higher on achievement tests than students in the United States.”
When this type of material is used in an educational setting, it can only be to the detriment of our young people, psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, and morally. How a sentient adult, especially one entrusted with the minds of our children, can possibly find socially or educationally redeeming value in such tripe is beyond my comprehension.
While Idaho is a thousand miles from Illinois geographically and culturally, the possibility of curriculum “creep” should keep us attentive to what’s being used here to “teach” our children. There’s a difference between teaching tolerance and indoctrination. How disconcerting that many educators across the country don’t seem to make that distinction, and our children pay the price for it.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” This verity should give all of us cause to be concerned with the future of the nation, if what is used as “educational” material in Illinois is any indication of what our current philosophy of the classroom is.
The Northwest Ordinance, one of the most significant codices of our founding documents, passed by the Second Congress, included in it’s text, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” While religion has long since been vanquished from our public educational system, morality and knowledge must be inextricably conjoined in our classrooms to ensure a viable culture and society for future generations.
Consequently, the teaching of immorality should not be confused with tolerance, and intentional destruction of our social mores should not be confused with social progression.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board.