The comments to a perfectly sane article about the value of teaching logic and critical thinking in elementary school are fascinating, terrifying, aggravating and all too typical in some ways. For example, it takes just 25 comments or so before some of the participants start calling each other names based on their assumed political views. The entire thread is enlightening reading, but the most provocative part is the discussion sparked by this comment:
If you teach your kids logic they’ll have conflicts with their teachers lol. I know because all of mine have had issues and it should not be this way. My youngest corrected a teacher in the 2nd grade because she was teaching something wrong. My daughter ended up going to ISS(in school suspension). I was called and they said while your daughter was correct, she cannot correct a teacher. They had put my daughter in ISS and wrote on the whiteboard 4=eight and as soon as my daughter agreed with that statement she could go back to class. She was in ISS all day. I was proud of my daughter and disgusted with everyone that would treat a 2nd grade little girl the way they treated her. Was glad that she wasn’t in that school very long.
This is also the source of the KABOOM!, as you can see. North Korean brain-washing methods have apparently penetrated some parts of the American teaching establishment. My head exploded in protest, but I can’t say I’m surprised.
Some random observations, and then I’ll leave the reactions to you:
- I am afraid to even consider what I might do if I found that a school had tried to force my child to acknowledge that “4=eight.” I also find it ominous that the obvious progressive in the discussion attempts to spin this as something other than an outrage, and to turn the complaining parent into the villain.
- That guy writes in part,
“You clearly have a narrative. I have no idea how much of that narrative is accurate or inaccurate, but the totality with which it divides the world into the good “in-group” (you and your children) and the bad “out-group” (the public schools and everyone who works in them) strongly suggests that it is a heavily (attribution) biased narrative in a textbook way. And what your narrative suggests, bundled up with this harshly expressed set of biases, is a striking lack of empathy. The rest of the world is full of malice for failing to accommodate you in every way; you alone are virtuous in your fight to ensure that they do. (I’m not surprised to see you declare, downthread, that liberals are “bat shit crazy,” since the current right-wing in America is strongly characterized by a lack of empathy for others and a strong belief that the world exists to privilege you, at everyone else’s expense.)”…
What? Since this “narrative” reflects horribly on his profession, the story must be a “narrative,” and ideologically motivated. This seems like an example of someone interpreting the actions of others through their own ethical maladies. I have empathy for a single participant in this indoctrination exercise: the second-grader. Aww, was the poor teacher embarrassed to have a seven-year-old point out that she was wrong? Tough: she deserves to be embarrassed, as does the school that employs her, perhaps. Maybe the shame will motivate her to be more competent.
- Of course a student should challenge a teacher who is giving out bad information; the student also better be sure she’s right, and be taught how to do it politely and respectfully. You will not be surprised to learn that I had a penchant for correcting teachers, though I don’t recall starting quite that early. My Dad, he who left several jobs when he refused to follow what he believed to be wrongful orders, both taught and modeled the principle that authority should be challenged, including his own.
- I don’t want to be too much of an alarmist, but I continue to find the drift to totalitarian methods and attitudes in liberal bastions like lower and higher education very troubling and threatening to American ideals.
UPDATE: I just saw this article. Hmmmm. Can’t have that now, can we? Time to beef up those Re-Education Centers with sensory deprivation tanks…