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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Indoctrinating Our Toddlers

Apr 14, 2009

Public, state-provided education is relatively recent, not even 200 years old. Prior to state education, parents were the primary educators of their children. In addition to teaching children the basics, they could also pass on deeply-held values and beliefs.

But with most children in the West today spending a large part of their early years in state schools, the values and ideologies of the state, not the parents, become dominant. And those with values which are hostile to that of most parents are quite happy to exploit this to the maximum.

Indeed, this has been a deliberate policy. Consider a few examples. The father of modern education, John  Dewey (1859-1952) made it clear that he wanted state control of education in order to rid it of any traces of Christian values and beliefs. He was a signatory to the Humanist Manifesto (1933), and pushed what he termed a ‘new religion’: secular humanism.

He even penned an article in 1922 entitled “Education as Religion” in which he states, “We make a religion of our education. . . . Faith in education signifies nothing less than belief in the possibility of deliberate direction of the formation of human disposition and intelligence.”

He also said, “Schools do have a role – and an important one – in production of social change.” And he reinforced this by saying, “I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

He knew that public education could be used as an instrument of social change. And the change he wanted was away from Christianity and toward secular humanism.

Another signatory of the first Humanist Manifesto, Charles F. Potter (1885-1962), was not shy about his intentions when he wrote this: “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings?”

More recently pragmatist and postmodernist Richard Rorty (1931-2007) said, “I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.”

All this demonstrates that for many of our elites, public education is far from just teaching the three R’s, but is a means of thought control, pushing worldviews which are often hostile to that of parents. It is a form of social engineering and propaganda.

We have a great example of this in today’s newspapers. It seems a new Federal Government draft document, “Early Years Learning Framework” is seeking to target primary school kids as agents of social change and political correctness.

Here is how one press account describes it: “Victorian babies, toddlers and preschoolers are set to become political activists under new Federal Government guidelines. The April 2009 draft Early Years Learning Framework wants teachers to make under-fives:
-Contribute to reconciliation, including flying the Aboriginal flag and inviting elders to give talks.
-Use ‘social inclusion puppets’ and ‘persona dolls’ to explore exclusion and ethical issues.
-Challenge and resist bias and discrimination.
-Take action in unfair situations and learn to act when injustice occurs.
-Assess and act on power dynamics as they get older.”

And all this is for those under five! If it seems like radical activism and just so much PC nonsense, that is because it is. And as already mentioned, secularists and social activists know that the earlier they can get to our children, the better they can push their radical agendas on to them.

And the warning lights should be sounding. Whenever you hear talk of “diversity,” “discrimination,” “social inclusion” and the like, you know you are likely to have a group of coercive utopians planning their next assault on childhood and parental values and beliefs.

Such terms usually occur in the context of promoting all worldviews, ideologies and beliefs – except for Christianity that is. And they also commonly occur in discussions of sexuality, where the aim is to soften people up to accepting and embracing all forms of sexuality, all the while denigrating traditional marriage and family.

All of which is why so many parents are voting with their feet and getting out of the public education system. They are opting for independent or religious schools, or even for home-schooling. At least that way they know they will have a bit more control over what their children are receiving in their education.

They will be a bit more assured that political correctness and anti-Christian and anti-family bigotry will be less on offer. No wonder countries such as Germany have outlawed homeschooling altogether, and sent parents to prison for daring to defy the State on this.

Only two institutions stand between an ever more powerful state and the individual – the family and the church. That is why both are under such ferocious attack nowadays, and that is why education especially has been used to bash both institutions. This latest move of PC silliness and indoctrination is simply the latest in a long line of efforts by the State to gain further control over our young people. Expect more to come.

www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25330473-2862,00.html

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16 Responses to Indoctrinating Our Toddlers

  • Hi Bill,

    As you point out, the schooling system has for a long time pushed a humanistic agenda. At first it was very subtle: teaching a superficial Christian curriculum but diminishing the importance of the family by replacing the authority and influence of parents with that of teachers and peers. Then the curriculum slowly changed to be more openly humanist (evolution in science classes, millions of years in history and geography, perverted texts in english etc. etc.) Sometimes a ‘religious instruction’ class was left tacked on to preserve the pretext of Christianity, but often even this was used to push liberal and even non-Christian views. Now we are moving into the final stage where the goal of openly teaching humanist philosophy and explicitly using this philosophy to direct children’s behaviour will be achieved.

    It amazes me the number of Christian parents who don’t seem to see how far along this road the education system has come. The killing of the frog by slowly heating the water comes to mind.

    In my view, the best answer for Christian parents is home-education. For most it will require a huge upheaval of lives and ideas, but a truly Christian world-view, to the highest academic standards, can be taught whilst the authority, support and cohesiveness of the family will be maintained.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • I believe Barenness Maxine Mckew is pushing for this and the agenda that has been outlined above reminds me of the Chinese Cultural revolution. In some instances eg seeking equity for children and people with a disability, for the aged, and migrants and others on the fringes of society is justifiable but you watch as these “values” sessions will be used to attack Judeo-Christian concepts of God, the family and traditional moral values.
    Wayne Pelling

  • Hi Bill, pardon the advertisements :-).

    In support of your comment to extract our children from the hands of the Philistines, there are a number of good suppliers of quality Christian homeschool material.

    Two local suppliers:
    Kingsley Educational (our family business, based here in Melbourne) http://www.kepl.com.au and Light Educational Ministries (friends of KEPL, based in Canberra) http://www.lem.com.au stand firmly for Christian education outside of government influence, and can direct readers to other resources, for any who are interested.

    John Angelico

  • I have to say, as much as Christian education in independent schools is to be commended, it really does depend on the individual teachers as to what gets taught. I went to one such school and many teachers taught us these humanistic, politically correct views (sometimes more liberal than my public school friends receieved).

    Now, I’m studying at university to be a teacher and this is coming up again. In my first lecture, we were taught that teachers should “provide an example for students of value-based living”. Another student asked if it was possible to teach values without teaching morals, religious or social beliefs? Another student shot straight back at her “That has no place in schools!” and then yet another student commented that we have to act out what we believe but we must believe what everyone else believes! The lecturer had no comment but promptly changed the subject.

    It’s clear to me that future teachers are also struggling in this whole debate because the line is invisible between teaching and setting a ‘life-example’. If even my lectuers don’t understand the issue (and our textbooks provide conflicting guidance) then what are we to do?

    Christie Ewens

  • Thanks Christie

    Yes you are right. While we expect to see a lot of ideology and activism in public schools, sadly often some Christian schools can be more or less as filled with humanistic and secularist orientation. Often a decidedly biblical worldview is lacking in some Christian schools. So pulling kids out of secular schools into Christian ones may not always be the answer either. Parents must check closely what any school is teaching and promoting.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,

    As a CRE teacher in Victorian state primary schools, I totally agree with your warnings. I was not aware of some of the reasons behind Dewey and other early educators pushing for the ‘totally secular’ line, having swallowed the bit about a truly secular education – as opposed, I now suppose, to a state imposed Christian religion. It is interesting to me that compulsory, free and secular education occurred at roughly the same time as our Federal Constitution was being framed, and which included the bit about separation of church and state. You have rightly pointed out how far we have travelled …I suspect in a direction that our forefathers and Christian Constitution writers would never have guessed. Now in Victoria, alongside an apologetic inclusion of traditional RE, we find the inclusion of the invitation for the regular class teachers to teach comparative religion. I am sure we will hear more about this very soon. But the secular approach to this will, if we don’t protest, could or will basically attempt to totally discredit the teaching by us CRE teachers.

    Perhaps we could or should fight back by ensuring that the under fives, whether in state funded or private pre-schools, include an early years version of the revamped CRE for preps.

    Perhaps in Victoria, now with it’s Charter of Rights, we could call for the Right to REAL freedom of speech and religion in state schools, by encouraging the inclusion of alternative views in science, politics and beliefs i.e. comparative religion using an Aussie Christian worldview. Maybe, as John Howard tried to do, some basic history should be taught that includes reference to our country’s early history, giving acknowledgement to the freedoms that our Christian forefathers saw fit to be included in our Constitution and legal system, a system that is also under great threat from those who are conned by the promotion of multi-culturalism, tolerance, equal opportunity and rights. It is a pity that currently this can only be achieved by sending our children to Christian schools.

    Brian Tideman

  • Whilst Obama, in the video clip, supplied by Mark Rabich, unashamedly disowned Christ as being the absolute Truth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md2bf9DNVB4 , homosexual philosophy, the Trojan horse of evolutionary humanism, is being taught as an objective and absolute truth: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/edwest/blog/2009/04/14/diversity_is_turning_britain_into_east_germany__a_nation_of_sneaks

    The idea that children should not be taught any set of beliefs, for fear of indoctrinating and brainwashing them, but instead should be left to find out the truth for themselves, is deliberately misleading. They are being indoctrinated every second by the society around them. The materialistic philosophy falls on them like black, atomic dust, as it does on all of us, mainly through the Mass Media and Sex eduation programmes.

    In imposing its own agenda of promoting tolerance, non-discrimination, inclusion, diversity and equality it is antithetical to judgement, discernment, discretion, debate, argument and anything that might cause offence, distress or tension. Controversy, so fashionable two decades ago, especially amongst the intellectual elite, that indulged in endless conversations and that ridiculed certainty or strongly held convictions has finally achieved its goal. Differences are not allowed. Good and evil, true and false, carry equal value. Ultimately there is no place for antithesis or dissent. In the world of politics it means that a totalitarian one party state, where dissenters and dissidents are silenced by one means or another. When one gets rid of an ultimate authority, in place of absolute morality and truth, the vacuum has to be filled with something and that is the absolute rights of the ruling elite.

    Tony Blair, one the ruling elites, recently said, “On many issues, I think the leaders of the Church and the Church will be in complete agreement. But I think on some of these issues, if you went and asked the congregation, I think you’d find that their faith is not to be found in those types of entrenched attitudes [code word for belief in the unchanging word of God]. If you asked ‘what makes you religious?’ and ‘what does your faith mean to you?’ they would immediately go into compassion, solidarity, relieving suffering. I would be really surprised if they went to ‘actually, it’s to do with believing homosexuality is wrong’ or ‘it’s to do with believing this part of the ritual or doctrine [again, code word for belief in the unchanging word of God] should be done in this particular way’.”

    Folks need to wake up to the fact that Christianity and Evolutionary Humanism are totally and absolutely antithetical. They cannot co-exist. It will be either one or the other. There is no room for both. There is no room for you and me my dears.

    David Skinner, UK

  • One of the weapons used by the secularist is the notion that secularism is rational and Christian religion, in particular is irrational. A spin doctor of Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell, famously said that in Britain “We don’t do God.” The assumption, nay the proud claim, of all secularists and atheists is that they are 100% neat materialists. In other words, all “religious” are in some way escapists into the irrational, into the transcendent.

    If as they claim that there is no ultimate, rational basis for belief in an absolute truth or beauty that exists over and above our understanding then the logical conclusion is that nothing has any value or meaning, certainly not with regard the complexities and mysteries of personality, free will, final cause and purpose. When two people kiss it is nothing more than a reciprocal exchange of microbes and carbon dioxide. We live lives where the spiritual world is non-existent and where our actions are governed only by our genes, impulse and our physical passions. No faith is required to live this kind of life.

    If secularists were able to consistently demonstrate that they did live as materialist, like animals in the field, or chimpanzees that are content merely to say “Here I am in this field, eating this grass” and that this is all there is to existence, then their claim might carry some weight. But they do not walk the talk. Animals, though demonstrating “tooth and claw” do not demonstrate either the heights or depths of human behaviour.

    Secularists, unable to accept the meaninglessness of a materialist world make a transcendent leap into sex, art, music, drugs, violence, the occult, homosexuality, alcoholism, suicide and obsessive behaviour. In other words, the only escape from the meaningless of material existence that they have created is a leap into virtual reality, compensatory obsessions, comfort or stimulation that will blot out the pain of man’s existential isolation.

    In a world where man is less than a machine: simply a small pile of chemicals or as one writer said, “a little puddle of water whose only freedom is death,“ human nature becomes desperate to break out of the deterministic box and to transcend a meaningless existence. As such our children are increasingly seeking release in the occult, drugs, pornography and violence, even suicide as a final existential experience.

    We must not let the secularist get away with it but must demonstrate that they also are people of faith, of vision, and in their case mirage. We need to expose every false argument.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1169145/Religion-hatred-Why-longer-cowed-secular-zealots.html

    “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4

    David Skinner, UK

  • Indoctrinating our toddlers.
    I would like to respond to the above paper on your statements “Public, state-provided education is relatively recent, not even 200 years old. Prior to state education, parents were the primary educators of their children”.
    I have three problems –
    1. That government education did not exist before c1800 and 2. That parents were the main educators of their children and 3. If the foregoing are correct, then the Reformation had no impact on education.
    If you are referring to Australia, obviously it is scarcely 200 years old. If you are referring to other countries, please think again. For example, at the Reformation, John Knox’s stated aim was to have a church and a school in every parish. However, schools existed prior to this. Medieval Scotland had schools and universities, with Grammar schools in all the main burghs and some small towns, with the High School of Glasgow established in 1124 and the High School of Dundee in 1239. St Andrew’s University was founded in 1413, Glasgow University in 1451 and Aberdeen in 1495. Scotland’s first Education Act was passed in 1496 by James IV, requiring that education in Latin, arts and law be compulsory for the eldest sons of barons and free-holders.
    The Protestant Reformation brought into being the national Church of Scotland and John Knox’s aim for a church and school in every parish, though this was not achieved in his lifetime. In 1561 he and other ministers set out a national programme for spiritual reform, including the “virtuous education and godly upbringing of the youth of this Realm” with a schoolmaster to be appointed to every church. Education was free for the poor. Reformation concepts such as the priesthood of all believers and the supremacy of Scripture, made widespread literacy important.
    By the end of the 17th century a considerable proportion of the Scottish population was literate. School life began at the age of five and school was attended six days a week for ten to twelve hours a day, starting at 6 a.m. When in class, subjects incorporated piety, with the Bible as the reading text. All learnt reading and writing, Latin was taught to some older children and arithmetic taught in the burghs. Children of the nobility were often educated at home by tutors, but most Scottish gentry sent their sons to the local schools with their tenants’ children. This continued in the 18th century, contributing to the Scottish enlightenment and the industrial revolution.
    While the above refers to Scotland, and Scotland was Europe’s most literate country, none-the-less, I can hardly believe that other European countries had no state provided educational facilities before the 19th century.
    Anna F. Ward

  • Schools themselves have a basic problem. What are they FOR?

    http://www.spinninglobe.net/againstschool.htm

    Within that scope, Christian schools in general do far better than average. In short, they actually care about the individual students.

    A couple for whom I have done IT work are exemplerary, such as by going to some pains to know enough about visuo-spatial learners to actually be capable of conveying information to them in powerful, appropriate ways.

    One of them uses DansGuardian rather than relying on rules & threats (often totally ineffective) to keep children & obscenities separate. This is a more useful approach than that taken by large-denomination parochial schools, which in turn are distrinctly more effective than state schools.

    Leon Brooks

  • Here’s another take on the what-are-they-for question:

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/0795n.asp

    Leon Brooks

  • Thanks Anna

    There is no question that the church was heavily involved in education for centuries. My point was that private education (eg., parents, churches) predominated, and public education (eg., government-run secular schools) are a much more recent phenomenon.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill

    As a prospective father myself, what would you recommend parents do about their children’s education?
    Send them to school but give extra curriculuum teaching to counter the state’s indoctrination? Homeschooling? Only private schools? Do you have a list of good ones?

    Cheers,
    Damien Spillane

  • Thanks Damien

    Those are important questions with no single easy answers. Each parent must prayerfully consider what is the best way to go here. Some may choose homeschooling, if they have the time and the ability to do it. Private, Christian schools are an option as well, but they obviously cost more. Some will do all they can to instil their faith and values at home, and trust God to protect their kids while at the public, secular school system (we did that).

    Some may use private schooling for the primary years, but revert to the public system for the secondary years. Some may reverse this process. Getting Christian parents onto the school boards in the secular system is another thing to consider. That can make a real difference.

    And bear in mind that many Christian schools have either more or less adopted the whole humanistic curriculum and values system, complete with value-free sex ed and a whole range of other trendy secular concepts. So if you do go for a Christian school, you need to check them out carefully first.

    In one sense, the current public education system is so leftist and secular, that a parent has to really think carefully and pray this one through. But having strong Christian students acting as salt and light in the public system is also very important.

    So there are many considerations to take into account here. I thus have no particular bit of advice for you. All I can do is pray with you as you seek God’s wisdom here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill, not sure if you have already mentioned this site but here is an article I saw which you might be interested in (related to the topic of education) and would like to follow as it further unfolds:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/04/30/cgy-bill-evolution-law-alberta-classes-teachers.html

    Regards
    Servaas Hofmeyr

  • Thanks Servaas

    I had not seen that as yet, so thanks for the tip.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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