Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Not Ike and Tina Turner

In this morning's NY Sun, the paper's Bradley Hope does a good job at uncovering what we knew instinctively was being passed off as education at New York City's Beacon School: indoctrination masquerading as "social justice." There is simply no place in the public schools for these kinds of ideologues. Critical thinking is not developed through the heavy-handed use of left wing agit-prop.

This is precisely why the DOE needs to come down hard on this politicization of the curriculum, and why we are so skeptical of the effort by the department to open up a high school for Arabic language and culture. The seemingly welcome cultural opening is easily transformed into something a good deal less salutary when ideologues take over, as they will certainly do with dopecrats at the helm of the department.

This is brought home by Hope's story when he quotes the blissfully ignorant remarks of a former Beacon student about teacher Nat Turner; "He focuses on things that you don't normally focus on...you are able to question things that you thought were just the way it was." In the jargon, this is known as deconstruction. The problem is that it is the kind of critique that is reserved exclusively for the dominant cultural ethos, and is never applied to the perspective of the critical educator herself.

It is the kind of one way street that reminds us again of the cold war anecdote about the American and the Soviet citizen who meet on the street. The American tells his acquaintance, "In my country we are all free to criticize the president." To which the Soviet replies; "My country is no different than yours. In the Soviet Union we are also all free to criticize your president."

What's missing at the Beacon's of the world is true academic diversity and intellectual challenge. The student's remarks quoted indicate the mindset of someone who believes that some sort of new truth has been revealed. Kids at high school age are so susceptible to this kind of influence that in some cases it can be seen as intellectual child abuse. The "red diaper Baby" syndrome is the prime example of the impact of this kind of "education." It's time to clean house at Beacon-now!