Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A great column by Thomas Sowell on education

I greatly admire Thomas Sowell. Janine and I have read many of his books, and learned from every one that we read.

In A Letter from a Child he makes a great point that many people involved with government schools too often see their job as the manipulation of children's minds, rather than educating them. He starts with:

Recent videos of American children in school singing songs of praise for Barack Obama were a little much, especially for those of us old enough to remember pictures of children singing the praises of dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
But you don't need a dictator to make you feel queasy about the manipulation of children. The mindset that sees children in school as an opportunity for teachers to impose their own notions, instead of developing the child's ability to think for himself or herself, is a dangerous distortion of education.
Parents send their children to school to acquire the knowledge that has come down to us as a legacy of our culture-- whether it is mathematics, science, or whatever-- so that those children can grow up and go out into the world equipped to face life's challenges.
Too many "educators" see teaching not as a responsibility to the students but as an opportunity for themselves-- whether to indoctrinate a captive audience with the teacher's ideology, manipulate them in social experiments or just do fun things that make teaching easier, whether or not it really educates the child.


I am so glad we can homeschool our children. We can protect them from the brainwashing that passes as education in public schools.

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Sebastian said...

You know, I see this in the rise of environmental studies even while students abilities to identify and describe the lives of common plants and animals declines.
Rainforests and acid rain and global warming are taught while nature study and skills of personal interaction and observation are not valued.

Henry Cate said...

Yeah, one of the problems is government schools teach environmental studies in terms of conclusions, rather than addressing any kind of science.

If the students understood the science, they might challenge the conclusions.