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Opinions absent knowledge
Posted By Elizabeth Farah On 09/19/2001 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Just one week has passed since the Islamic terrorist attacks on our nation. If you’re like me, the subjects of Islam, terrorism and war have successfully marginalized the concerns to which we normally commit our minds and time. This is to be expected. However, the concerns of Sept. 10 and before are still the concerns of today. So, though this first column “after 9-11″ is harder to write, we must continue working to restore America and rescue the minds of our children.
Let’s look at the government-school system in light of the 9-11 tragedy – are there any lessons to be learned?
All across America, students and teachers are having meaningful discussions about the tragic attacks of last week. Their debates are substantive and elevated. Teachers are informing the mind of the American student with the stuff of reason: discernment, logic, wisdom and understanding.
I believe – and there is no way to quantify this – that knowledgeable, thoughtful instruction will be sadly lacking. The usual exchange of ignorance and opinion – masquerading as “critical thinking” exercises – will abound.
I am well aware that everyone – including our children – needs to just “talk about it” and “get it all out.” The best place for this kind of thing is at home with family and friends.
The schoolroom is a place for instruction, not a place for free-flowing encounter sessions.
What would a teacher teach about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? I believe a good teacher would put the horror and chaos into order for her students. This should be done by expounding on the history, philosophy, politics, culture and religious doctrines of the combatants: Islam, Israel and America. This kind of study is desperately necessary. Why? Because the crises that define an era form judgments – they sear them into the mind and soul. We can leave our children in a rolling, endless sea of politically correct inanities, or we can train them up for the leadership positions they will someday fill. We can give them the foundation and framework that will create a context of meaning, or we can leave these kids out in the cold night with no roof over their heads.
Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Do you think 1 percent of the teachers in our government schools have studied Islamic doctrine, the history of the rise, decline and resurgence of Islam and the history of Israel? Will our teachers be willing and able to discuss the subject of Middle Eastern politics, the Hegelian dialectic or the concept of Jihad? No! It will not happen!
You may, in a compassionate moment, cry “foul!” – “Elizabeth, you are expecting too much from elementary school teachers!” I reply, “I am not expecting too much.” Teachers, if they are to be worthy of that designation (and their salary), should be willing to know history, philosophy, theology and current events relating to the most relevant cultures and nations. Teaching opinions, absent knowledge and understanding, is not just a waste of time – it is dangerous. This level of knowledge is not difficult to attain. It does, however, take a willingness to settle for nothing less than an educated mind. If they are unwilling to do this, they should be barred from discussing current events in the classrooms.
From experience, I will say I doubt teachers would be willing to forego discussion of current events in their classroom. A lot of class time is filled up with much banter about issues and events of the day. No one has to really “know” anything – just speak your mind. What is the result? Our children are taught that opinions have the same weight as truth. They can’t discern between good information and bad. In addition, these students who are the future parents, politicians and educators of our nation will be no better qualified to pass on an understanding of our current events, even though they are now living through them. Imagine your parents or grandparents unable to explain World War II.
Let’s go back to the issue of whether teachers should be required to know something before they teach it. Do they have the time? Some teachers may say no, and that may be right – but only because of the time students majoring in education waste learning faddish ideologies and methodologies. A rigorous liberal arts education should be a basic requirement to teach – any grade level. But most of our teachers didn’t receive that kind of instruction, and the result is that ignorance passes from one generation to the next.
Understanding the world is important to ourselves and our descendants. We all know that ignorance of history condemns us to great horror. We have now witnessed that horror more intimately than ever before. Radical Islam and its ultimate goals are so misunderstood by a shamefully ignorant America that the attack was inevitable and all but guaranteed success. So many innocents are dead, widowed and orphaned. But it does not have to be this way. Ignorance is a relatively easy malady to cure. Let’s begin!
Personal note: As you know, I have had a tough time responding to every e-mail I have received. However, I have read every single one. I have set up a forum if you would like to join me in discussing this column and the issue of government education. If this concept proves popular, WorldNetDaily will be setting up its own forums section. Hope to “talk” to you soon.
Next month’s issue (October edition) of WND’s popular Whistleblower magazine will be devoted entirely to public education. Titled “Dumbed down: The deliberate destruction of America’s government schools,” it will forever change the way you think about America’s education system. You may subscribe to Whistleblower at WND’s online store.
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