Indoctrination Camps

Steve Benen at the Wash­ing­ton Month­ly has a post up about the Repub­li­cans who want to do away with pub­lic schools. He quotes Rick San­to­rum talk­ing about Mussolini’s Fas­cist Italy. His uncle

used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good lit­tle fascist.…I don’t know, maybe they called it ear­ly pre‑K or some­thing like that, that the gov­ern­ment spon­sored to get your chil­dren in there so they can indoc­tri­nate them.

The upshot here is that there are sev­er­al Repub­li­cans who are increas­ing­ly will­ing to talk about doing away with pub­lic schools alto­geth­er. This amounts to a will­ing­ness to do away with uni­ver­sal edu­ca­tion (since they would even­tu­al­ly want to cut the vouch­ers to less than what schools charge).

What’s fun­ny here is when have the schools not been about indoc­tri­na­tion as well as edu­ca­tion? When I was in school, we said the Pledge of Alle­giance (“under God”) every day. What is that if not indoctrination?

Con­ser­v­a­tives have lost the bat­tle over con­trol of the indoc­tri­na­tion mes­sage and their final last ditch effort is to do away with pub­lic edu­ca­tion alto­geth­er in hopes that the vast major­i­ty of pri­vate schools will indoc­tri­nate the way the Con­ser­v­a­tives want.

To recap: when the com­plaint is that the schools are indoc­tri­nat­ing, they mean the schools are indoc­tri­nat­ing the wrong thing.

When they want to do away with pub­lic schools, they want to do away with uni­ver­sal education.

I Can’t Stand It

There is a very old Peanuts strip that I am remind­ed of late­ly. In the strip, Lucy is walk­ing with Linus and explain­ing to him the ori­gin of tele­phone poles. She says some­thing along the lines of “The tele­phone pole is actu­al­ly a tree spe­cial­ly devel­oped by the phone com­pa­ny to grow with­out branches.”

Char­lie Brown over hears this lec­ture, drops his head against one of the phone poles and says “I can’t stand it.”

Pres­i­dent Oba­ma plans to deliv­er an address to the nation’s school chil­dren that “will chal­lenge stu­dents to work hard, set edu­ca­tion­al goals, and take respon­si­bil­i­ty for their learn­ing.”

Con­ser­v­a­tives are up in arms that the Pres­i­dent wants to indoc­tri­nate the nation’s school chil­dren with his “social­ist agenda.”

So work­ing hard, set­ting edu­ca­tion­al goals, and tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty now con­sti­tutes a social­ist agenda?

I can’t stand it.