Monday, July 26, 2021

Differentiating Education From Propaganda

Remarks prepared for delivery to my local Board of education tomorrow night:

Good evening. 
I address the board as a resident of this town for more than 40 years, a taxpayer, a former elementary school teacher and university instructor and a lifelong public relations practitioner.  
Education is not indoctrination. Education involves giving students the basic information and tools they need to gradually and deliberately make their own way and draw their own conclusions about the world around them. As John Dewey said: "Education is not an affair of telling and being told." Indeed, education is much more active and dynamic than that. 
Introducing little children (who are not really color conscious) to the idea of race; telling students that racism is systemic, that it's baked in the cake; asserting that white people are automatically privileged oppressors and people of color are automatically oppressed -- none of this is education. Instead, it's propaganda, pure and simple. 
And yet, if some of what I'm hearing and reading is correct, caught up in a near hysteria of "wokeness", the school system and its leaders seem to be headed in precisely that direction -- away from the open, tried and tested tenets of traditional education and toward a radical, dangerous course of indoctrination and enforced restrictions. And some even suspect that you're moving in this direction surreptitiously, hoping that parents and taxpayers won't catch on until it's too late. Well, I'm here tonight to caution you: If this (or anything like it) is the plan, you'd better think and think again before you head any further down that road.  
And I would gently remind you as well that there are many of us whose kids are long since out of school but who are still footing the bill for education in this town. Nobody consulted us. But we're here. We're invested in this town and its children. And we won't stand idly by and watch this happen.  
Put simply, get back to basics. Teach our kids how to learn; how to make themselves useful to one another and to the community; how to be self-sufficient, productive citizens; how to discover their talents and put those talents to use for our town and our nation -- a nation, I might add, that is still very much worthy of the very best we have to offer. 
Thank you!

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