How education changes

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
H.L. Mencken

Too much of what is called ‘education’ is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.

Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination.
Thomas Sowell

It was with disbelief that I read this report in Breitbart which informs us that: a new teaching aid telling primary school children that terrorists kill people because they believe they are treated “unfairly”; and that the teaching aid, which contains forewords by NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless and the director of the Jo Cox Foundation, describes terror incidents in which people launch indiscriminate attacks on members of the public as a type of war. continuing: terrorists kill people because they think they are being “treated unfairly and [are] not shown respect. It should be also noted that this teaching aid contains a foreword by Jo Cox Foundation director Iona Lawrence which impresses the importance of fostering tolerance.

Only the other day I got into conversation with an ex-teacher who mentioned that during the Gulf War pupils were prompted to write to serving soldiers in general terms, asking them what they were doing, what their life was like, what they did in their spare time; and continuing by explaining what they (the children) were doing. The children received more replies than letters they wrote; and said replies were likewise in general terms, stating points like there was so much sand they were trying to build as many sand castles as they could – I paraphrase and ‘trunkate’ in that the ‘physical’ aspect of war was not mentioned.

This teacher recalled that one soldier, an ex-pupil of her school, arranged to visit one morning, in full ‘desert kit’ including ‘sun hat’, at which time he spoke to all the pupils and answered their questions. This ex-pupil was aged approximately 18/20 and was prompted to do that which he did, on behalf of his regiment, as he and his companions had been ‘touched’ by the letters they had received.

This ex-teacher also informed me that during the Iraq War edicts were issued that meant teaching staff were forbidden to talk about that war and that any such questions were to be ‘side-tracked’.

Just what do children of primary school age know of the mindset of terrorists, especially ‘self-sacrificing’ terrorists?

Just where are the parents who are allowing the minds of their children to be ‘moulded’ according to the political doctrine du jour?

Since when should political doctrine have been allowed to infiltrate our education system?

I can recall as a child – and bear in mind that until the age of eleven I was in West Africa – being made to listen to the news each evening on the BBC World Service; at the end of which I was ‘quizzed’ by my father about that which I had heard and whether I had understood said content. There then followed  questions about what did I think of ‘this and that’; followed by my need to justify my views.

Is that not part of ‘education per se; and what has happened to that aspect of education? How have we, as a nation, allowed our education system to become a ‘football’ – as has the health service and law & order, to name but two – to be ‘punted’ back and forth between political parties of the left and right?

I recall vividly that part of my education involved the presentation of fact – especially in subjects such as history, geography and English literature – and what we thought about that which we had learned. Invariably the question was ‘turned’ and the teachers were asked what they thought; the answer received being one that it mattered not what they thought, what was important was what we thought. This, more often than not, resulted in a ‘conversation/debate’ within the class with the teacher playing ‘devil’s advocate’.

A further thought: it cannot have escaped the attention of people that those of the political elite invariably send their children to university where they study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE); and a fat lot of good that has done our nation –  just cast an  eye over the current incumbents of the  ‘green benches’………

While education is ‘controlled’, as it now is by political ideology, it is becoming more obvious that not only does the passage of time produce knowledge, it also produces ignorance.  As the passage of time removes people with first-hand knowledge of an earlier era, they are replaced by people ignorant of those times and therefore easy targets for demagogues.

We, who had a ‘decent’ education, no doubt recall the ‘Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire’ – what we are now witnessing is the ‘Fall of  what was once ‘Great’ Britain’. The fault of that is ours – every one of us – and not the ‘demagogues’ that we have allowed to now rule our lives and our reasoning.