A parent in Norfolk, Va., complained that a special ed teacher injected Islamic indoctrination into the classroom.
The story broke in the local paper only because the fifth-grade student was slightly injured, and the mother reported it. This teacher spent two days trying to make her students learn a Muslim "hand sign," according to the criminal complaint.
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that he had never heard of any hand signs in his faith.
This odd dispute prompted many questions. Local citizens wanted to know why this teacher was trying to make her students learn Islamic doctrine. A bigger question is, why was this teacher bringing religion of any kind into the classroom? What about the separation of church and state?The broadest question of all was hardly discussed. Why are fifth-graders spending time on something marginal and specialized, when there's a whole world of information they haven't learned?
The pattern in public schools, for almost a century, has been that extremists of one kind or another try to push aside essential academic information to make room for their personal ideologies.
This teacher of Muslim hand signs is in a direct line going all the way back to John Dewey. He and his Progressive followers announced that schools were wasting too much time on "mere learning," as Dewey put it. Instead, schools should teach children to be cooperative members of a more collectivist society. Muslim hand signs, especially given that they don't exist, are the perfect symbol of what is wrong with our public schools. These schools don't take care of teaching essential facts and skills because they are so heavily engaged in the trivial and tangential.
To have any chance of success, students must learn to read, write and count in the first few grades. Then the students move on to geography, history, science, literature and the arts generally. Our Education Establishment, notoriously irresponsible, will say, "Oh, we don't believe in drill and kill." But they're all in favor of fiddle and faddle.
Far more than most parents realize, throughout American public education there's a deep hostility toward knowledge (i.e., actually knowing anything). This hostility needs to be understood, directly confronted, and driven out of the schools. The all-too-common formula is to teach little and to teach it inefficiently. Why not teach more and teach it cleverly?
Arithmetic? Reform Math curricula turn children into basket cases. Reading? Memorizing sight-words nullifies that ability. Knowledge in general? The schools have a variety of evasions: a) such-and-such information is not necessary or too difficult; and b) we need to devote more time, for example, to Muslim hand signs. See how it works? By any pretext possible, public schools create intellectual wastelands.Instead of driving knowledge out of the schools, we should be bringing more in, singing its praises, and making sure kids learn more, more, more. The human brain is designed to want new knowledge. You could build a world-class school on two principles: facts are fun; and knowledge is power.
Unfortunately, our corrupt Education Establishment believes that facts are too much trouble and knowledge is a waste of time.
Would you like to annoy our Education Establishment? Don't settle for dumbing-down. Instead, do everything possible to promote literacy for all, real math, and genuine academic, intellectual and scientific content.
RELATED ARTICLE 1: "45: The Crusade Against Knowledge--The Campaign Against Memory" http://www.improve-education.org/id70.ht...
RELATED ARTICLE 2: "47: Teach One Fact Each Day"http://www.improve-education.org/id73.ht...
RELATED ARTICLE 3: "60: Smart Content Makes Kids Smarter"http:://www.improve-education.org/id88.h...
RELATED VIDEO: "Kids Need A Solid Foundation of Basic Facts and Knowledge" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUyLxsabk...
NEWSPAPER STORY MENTIONED IN PARAGRAPH 2: http://hamptonroads.com/2012/10/mom-says...