Glenn Beck thinks the American public school system is a hotbed of indoctrination that ought to be abolished. No word on what he thinks should replace a system responsible for the education 50 million children every year, but Beck is a vocal proponent of home schooling and vouchers for private school education.
And to be fair to Beck, he believes that the media, the federal government and being alive in general is agenda-laden and bombarding us average Americans from “dawn to dusk” with propaganda filled rhetoric that subverts the great truths.
Abolish public schools?
Normally, I dismiss Beck as a shrewd huckster who willingly plays along with the “indoctrinating” machine of the moment because it’s profitable for him to do this, so it pains me to have to agree with him.
Not about abolishing public schools.
That’s just nonsense. Access to education regardless of race, gender, religion and socio-economic standing is the American way. It’s one of the pillars holding up our way of life, making it possible for people to climb from one level of the social strata to the next and providing as level a playing field for getting ahead in life as most children will ever have again.
And from a practical standpoint, abolishing public education would cripple our economy even more than the current recession because for the vast majority of parents in the U.S., public schools are an important component in their day care strategies.
Are We All Indoctrinated?
But Beck’s right about indoctrination on all counts. We are subject to messages designed to convince us of the rightness of this or that point of view all day long. These value systems filter through our collective consciousnesses via television, the internet, social media, entertainment, our jobs, our houses of worship and it is most definitely in our children’s schools.
Yes, schools are about indoctrination to some extent. It isn’t all reading and math. The recent uproar caused by the Texas Board of Education’s wholesale revision of American history proves Beck’s point. Local schools exist to push the values of the community, the state and the federal government.
I was thinking about this very issue yesterday while sitting in the gym of my daughter’s elementary school. We live in Canada now, but the aim of public education is basically the same. Teach children basic skills and instill the foundations of good citizenry.
Is Canada Different?
At the beginning of the assembly, the children stood and sang “O Canada”, the national anthem, as they do before all assemblies and at the start of each week. It was no different than the Pledge of Allegiance I led my middle school students in every Monday morning for several years after 9/11. Nor was it any different from the fact that sporting events began with the Star Spangled Banner and that at some point between grade 8 and grade 12, every child in my Iowa school district learned about the Founders, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
While we are born Americans, we learn to be United States citizens just like we learn our creeds in church and about our culture through the media.
And it is indoctrination, if one wants to get all technical about it.
Beck is part of it too
The irony of Beck’s rant is that he is as much a part of the machine that seeks to mold minds and souls as any of the culprits he named. He is part of the “problem” and offers no viable solutions. If indeed this “indoctrinating” is an issue for him at all or just something to rant about on a slow news day.
Abolishing public schools would actually leave our kids more vulnerable to the misinformation and self-serving agendas passing themselves off as truth because they wouldn’t have the intellectual skills to disseminate fact from fiction, leaving them at the mercy of indoctrinator’s like Beck himself.
The pot was calling himself out with the kettles and making an excellent argument for the necessity of public education as the lunatics are clearly in control of the asylum and our kids need all the protection we can give them in the form of a good education.