Is there anything more hallowed, more valued in any society or culture, than the sacred responsibility of teaching? Is any responsibility more important to our thriving than the shaping of young minds, the perpetuating of truth, the molding of character – the nurturing of the ability to make wise and valuable choices?
Personally, I don’t think so.
In fact, as I neared the end of my own high school years, I determined that I would train to be a high school teacher. I had considered medicine because my mom was a registered nurse; I’d also thought about being an architect, since Daddy was one, and a building contractor. But my summers working as a day laborer, digging ditches and pouring concrete in the sweltering Nashville sun, turned me against that profession. When I boiled it all down to what I really wanted to do with my life, I decided the most worthwhile thing I could do was to teach.
I was in a Christian high school, and I noted how my male and female teachers went about their jobs. I saw that they really cared, not just about whether I was learning subject matter, but about the kind of person I might become. They set high standards and insisted that students really did the work and absorbed the information. And because I could see they lived by their own high standards every day, in their personal lives, it never entered my mind that they might lie to me, that they might consciously, knowingly, teach me falsehoods.
But the strong likelihood today is that the majority of America’s high school and college kids are being duped, misled and brainwashed – taught lies, by some of their teachers!
I know this is a strong charge, and I hate to make it against people I hold in such high esteem, but the facts back it up.
I’m a contributor to The Fund for American Studies, created by the venerable newsman Fred Barnes and his associate Roger Ream, and I strongly believe in their quest to hold our institutions of learning to a high and honorable standard. They see the obvious: If we don’t teach our young the true history of our nation and its purposes, in just a generation we might no longer be that nation. We could just dissolve into the vast sea of passing time and be forgotten – a brave experiment that lost its way.
To try to save our future, literally, the FAS will be teaching more than 700 college students this summer about America’s foundational principles of limited government and individual liberty. They’ve been doing this for some time and, hopefully, will continue this essential work for years to come.
Why? Isn’t this stuff taught already in high school and college history and government classes?
No. Alarmingly, these days in most schools, the ideas of our Founding Fathers are rarely taught at all! They’re seen by too many teachers as backward, as racist, sexist – and outright oppressive!
As FAS has authenticated, in the increasingly rare cases where our Founding Fathers’ ideas are taught, it is often done with a hostile or ungrateful attitude, at times so extreme that it would shock most of us who not so long ago went to school in what now seems a much different time.
For instance, what appears to be the hottest new American history textbook, “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” authored by James Loewen, tells students:
Perhaps we are all dupes, manipulated by elite white male capitalists who orchestrate how history is written as part of their scheme to perpetuate their own power and privilege at the expense of the rest of us.
What? This is a book meant to teach our kids about how America came into being? How this country became the greatest in history?
Loewen goes on: “… textbooks [others’, not his, of course] misrepresent the U.S. government and omit its participation in state sponsored terrorism.” Sometimes his scurrilous polemic is the only “textbook” used in an “American history” class!
At Temple University in Philadelphia the book was required reading for the entire incoming freshman class in 2003! The only book universally assigned to all freshmen – and Temple’s undergraduate student body is over 24,000 students.
At Penn State, the book is used in an introductory course to American history with only novels to supplement it. These novels include one about the destruction of Native American tribes, one about the African slave trade and one about American soldiers’ supposed massacre of civilians in Vietnam. There is no material assigned that tells of the early settlers and their reasons for creating a new country based on Judeo-Christian principles. And this isn’t happening in just a few of our “best” or “elite” schools; it’s an overwhelming trend in most of academia!
Under headings like “International Relations” or even “English Literature,” kids are encouraged to enroll in programs like the following:
“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies”: To get a minor in this program at Temple University you might take a course called “Gay and Lesbian Lives,” which includes no academic or scientific research but features “autobiographical accounts … in which a significant portion of the narrative focuses on same-sex erotic attraction and/or gender difference.” Higher education? Tax-supported preparation of our young? Preparation for what, we must wonder.
“Africana Studies”: This department at University of Pittsburgh offers “Racism and Capitalism,” which explores “the relationship between imperialism, colonialism, slavery and slave trade, and the consequential global pauperization, impoverishment, oppression and structural incorporation of Third World peoples and all people of color in the Diaspora into the capitalist world economic system.” Make you proud to be an American? It’s not meant to.
Your kid can get a degree in International Relations, of course, but at USC, just down the road from me here in L.A., you’ll have to be tutored by professor Laurie Brand, the openly anti-Zionist director of the program. Hardly an unbiased, objective educator, Brand signed a public statement in 2002 accusing Israel of conducting an “ethnic cleansing operation” toward the Arab population, “sending people into exile because they want to plunder their land”! Perhaps her courses should be called “Brainwashing 101.”
If all this bothers you as much as it deeply concerns me, please go to the Fund for American Studies website and find out what your fellow citizens like Fred and Roger are doing about it. As they point out dramatically, Tomorrow matters today, and they’re training young Americans to carry the torch of liberty and love of country to the next generation, and the next. And they are determined to challenge our teachers, on every level, to teach truth without bias and history without revision. I truly believe most of our educators – being at heart still the gallant sort I remember from my own school days – want to do that.
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