It turns out that Christian schools have their problems too. But even these drawbacks may result from too much reliance on the methods and texts of public schools. “So why do Christian schools not use Christian books?” the Mel Gabler’s Educational Research Analysts Newsletter asks. “Often, they say, because public school texts teach superior critical thinking skills.”
“Yet about 75 % of public school edition answers to ‘critical thinking’ student text questions are verbatim quotes from the student text narrative.”
The Gablers’ researchers are based in Longview, Texas, in a state considered make or break for textbook publishers seeking customers. Their other fertile sales ground is California.
“This is rote memorization by another name,” the Longview reviewers conclude. “The great American public school textbook critical thinking hoax is just marketing hype.”
“Still, these Christian publishers will never match public school textbooks at multiplying teaching aids.”
One of our readers offered a dispatch on post-secondary education that shows, once again, that the use of indoctrination in place of instruction is not a practice that is exclusively limited to colleges and universities. “Back in the school year 2003-2004, I watched and occasionally attempted to discuss with certain students assigned to me for counseling minutes, their homework assignments: (I noticed Michael Moore’s’ Fahrenheit 9/11on their pile of books),” he wrote. “When I politely and discreetly asked if there were any opposing viewpoints being discussed, the students looked at me sort of like poker-faced and said: there is no other material being given out to challenge Moore’s book.”
“I was livid, of course, but in an “intern” position and no real power-base to confront this,” he remembered. “I did help a few students to think outside the box and notice that the only material given them was Moore’s book; no other materials were offered to challenge Moore in the arena of debate and influence.”
“The end result was easily misled students who left school without the practice of critical thinking,” he concluded. “Sad, I’m sure, but I know this goes on all over America unchecked and unbridled.”
“If the ‘left’ was so sure of itself and its positions like Moore’s now discredited book, they would welcome debate and dialog and alternative materials to allow their students to develop ‘critical thinking abilities’…” Yes, it would.
The Parent Teachers Association has come a long way from the Harper Valley variety that Jeanie C. Riley sang about in the 1960s. “In fact, the PTA has been losing members steadily for almost a half-century now, from a high point of more than 12 million in the early 1960s to a current membership of about half that,” Rita Kramer reported in The Wall Street Journal on February 24, 2006. “Today only about a quarter of K-12 schools in the U. S. have a PTA chapter.”
“The reasons for this decline are familiar ones: money and politics.” The political part involves the left-wing National Education Association teachers’ union.
“With polls indicating that the union label is a liability with the public, an arrangement has developed whereby the NEA provides needed financial support for the PTA, which in turn bolsters union positions at the grass-roots level,” Kramer reported. “As one union official puts it: ‘[T]he PTA has credibility…we always use the PTA as a front.’”
“Not only does the PTA support the NEA on issues that protect the public-school teachers’ monopoly, the parent group also speaks up in favor of the NEA’s more radical curriculum ideas, like sex-education programs that replace ‘don’t’ with ‘how to’ and that propose the inclusion of a gay/lesbian unit starting as early as kindergarten.”
Leave it to an Ivy League college to find a politically correct excuse for failing schools. “Children exposed to high levels of city air pollution while in the womb are nearly three times more likely to have mental deficiencies than other kids, an explosive Columbia University study has found,” Carl Campanile reported in the New York Post last month. “The analysis compares the learning ability of 183 3-year-olds from Harlem, Washington Heights and the South Bronx with the level of pollutants they were exposed to before birth.”
“The moms wore air monitors while they were pregnant, and the kids are being studied over a number of years.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.