Education is not indoctrination – is it?

This week’s post is about education as a form of indoctrination.  It has been an issue that has been bugging me for some time.  The tipping point for me was a conversation (using Facebook) with someone about their comments.  While I presented facts they resorted to abuse, hyperbole, and straw man arguments.  I got to wondering why?

Now, I know I am heading into dangerous territory.  And, I MUST stress this is not about supporting one side of politics or the other.

What concerns me is that education is about exploring both sides of an issue and, based on the evidence, coming up with an informed opinion.

Let’s take for example the Marxism 2014 conference hosted at Melbourne University.  If we look at the program there are topics such as:

  • Schools or corporations? neoliberalism in education

  • Vygotsky and how children learn

  • Elite schools and the formation of the 21st century ruling class

There is also a School of Rebellion for young children, with topics such as:

  • AGES 5 – 8: STRONGER TOGETHER: WHY UNIONS MATTER This session will introduce young people to the ideas of collectivity and union organising by focussing on children, work and how things have changed since the 18th century.

  • AGES 9 – 12: REFLECTIONS ON SCHOOL: ORGANISING A STUDENT STRIKE This session will look at participants experience of schooling. What is fair authority? What isn’t? And finally how kids have organised in school against the most unfair of practices.

  • AGES 5 – 8: SCULPTING REBELLION Join sculptor and radical artist Van Rudd for a hands on session where participants will sculpt their visions of a better society

Another area where I think there is a degree of indoctrination is around the issue of climate change.   A few years ago my oldest was required to sit in and watch an Inconvenient Truth, a film so riddled with errors that an English court required the students to be handed a booklet outlining the errors.  Others have also outlined the errors (see here and here).

When I asked the teacher if they would show the Great Global Warming Swindle, I was told that the science is settled.  I attempted to reason with the teacher only to be told that the science is settled.  So, I showed my daughter the above link, and she chose to watch and makes up her own mind.  I did not ask her what she thought, and I have not asked her to have an opinion that is closer to her parents.

Now the issue of indoctrination does not just reside in high schools.  The following links also discuss this issue form a US and Australian perspective:

Now, I want to re-enforce that I do not want to prescribe your personal views, opinions, and beliefs.  BUT, I do have a problem when the education system is used not to educate but indoctrinate.

Education is providing both sides of an argument and allowing the individual to use the facts presented to form their opinion and, the facts presented should be presented in an unbiased manner done – nothing more, nothing less.

What do you think?  Remember if you are leaving a reply, make it about the facts and don’t get personal.

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