Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Are Public Schools Committed to Teaching Scientific Fact? Or Secular Dogmas?

Religious schools, we would expect, indoctrinate certain things as truth which they persist in asserting in the face of counter-evidence. Public schools -- so we are told -- teach Scientific Knowledge which changes as new discoveries are made. Scientific knowledge is self-correcting.

But the self-correcting aspect of science in the field need affect neither the school curriculum in any timely manner; nor, the life experience of an individual student. The biology I remember from my high-school studies fifty years ago was outdated by the time I entered college four years later. I found out about that decades later since I studied no biology in college.

If diplomas are to be counted on as indicators of reliable information, regular updating ought to be required for maintaining a high school diploma or undergraduate degree, much in the way of CPR certificates. Without such updating, last year’s “scientific fact” may be this year’s indoctrinated dogmas.

But any social studies teacher can attest to, there is substantial indoctrination in public schools in the name of Patriotism, Law and Social Stability. In my twelve years of public schooling I never once heard of Harriet Tubman, Wounded Knee, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Grange movement, Robber Barons, or the AFL-CIO among many, many others.

No less pernicious is the inculcation of prospective teachers with nostrums heavy on hyperbole as though they were based on scientific fact, e.g., All children can learn, Protect self-esteem, Consider learning style, Education for Democracy, International Competitiveness, etc. Because such indoctrination is not based on religious sectarianism, public schools are not protected from, indeed, they have become inundated with, dogmatic ideologies imposed with totalitarian rigor.

To examine these issues further, see Personal Liberation Through Education

-- EGR

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