G.K. Chesterton wrote that, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”1 “Reflect for a moment – how would you characterize the soul of modern American society? To me, the soul of our society is based on entertainment, materialism, personal fulfillment, relativism, lazy agnosticism, and moral perversion. I do not want the soul of secular society to be passed to my kids. But wait, you say, how does a public school pass the soul of our society to children?” Jackie Jameson, Regents School of Charlottesville
Classical Christian School
By Jackie Jameson, March 2018
Regents School of Charlottesville
#1 – Public Schooling Has a Purposeful Agenda for Social Change
In a 2007 study of the self-reported goals of public schools as expressed in their mission statements, the most frequent goal of schools was civic development. The second most common goal was emotional development. The third most common goal of public schools in America was cognitive development. So if you are looking for your kids to get just the cognitive development piece of the pie at school, it is interesting to note that it is public school’s self-reported third priority. And that you can’t get the cognitive development piece without giving the school permission to shape your child into the civic and emotional being that the school thinks best.
I am all for my children being civic beings. But the big question is what kind of civic being my children are being shaped into, who is doing the shaping, and why. Two groups of people are in charge of education in America: the university and the teachers’ union. The university gains its influence by training teachers and school administrators. The union gains its influence by collective bargaining and the money it exerts politically. Both groups have specific agendas.
The ideology coming out of teacher preparation programs is that schools should become agents of change to stand up to cultural imperialism and right the wrongs of society. Celebrating diversity and promoting multicultural understanding is no longer enough. “Teaching for social justice, democracy, and inclusion is increasingly emphasized in teacher education programs worldwide… . These ideals are central to our work as teacher education faculty in the United States….”2
Social justice doesn’t sound so bad, right? Except when you look a little deeper, you find that “Social justice education (SJE) comes from a variety of viewpoints, including Marxist, feminist, postmodernist, humanist, critical, and ecological perspectives.”3
Here are some typical self-reflections of students going through teacher preparation programs today:
- “I thought I was doing enough by being tolerant and accepting of those different than myself. Now, I see that tolerance does not move this society forward. I need to be active in creating an equitable world for others.”4
- “By not intervening we let the dominant voice and ideas of what is ‘normal’ get louder and louder.” 5
- “Being a teacher is an opportunity to open new doors for kids and teach them things that they may not hear about at home,’ one candidate expressed as she considered the conservative climate surrounding our university.”6
The goal of liberal university teaching programs is radical social change. Their self-reported goal is for “teachers to challenge culturally hegemonic portrayals of history, examining how women, people of color, youth, and other traditionally excluded groups contribute to and change their worlds. They nourish students’ critical literacy and consciousness by interrupting and interrogating the texts used in the classroom, and make explicit connections between historical and contemporary examples of struggle and resistance. Overall, they see their work as preparing students to critically transform their worlds.”7
This is actually a socialist agenda and an agenda that is against religious liberty. It is the agenda that has led to safe spaces and restricted dialogue currently plaguing college campuses. One of the proponents of Social Justice Education writes:
“Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. … The goal of social justice education is to enable people to develop the critical analytical tools necessary to understand oppression and their own socialization within oppressive systems, and to develop a sense of agency and capacity to interrupt and change communities of which they are a part.” 8
- Chesterton, G.K. Quoted. National Education Association. American Education Week Sample Quotes, November 13-17, 2017. Available at: http://www.nea.org/grants/35593.htm.
- Ritchie, Scott et al. Teacher Education for Social Change: Transforming a Content Methods Course Block. Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University 15(2): 64.
- Kunkel-Pottebaum, Holly. Mission Possible: Teachers Serving as Agents of Social Change. 3University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, Education Doctoral Dissertations in Leadership. 2013: p. 13. Available at: https://ir.stthomas.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https:// www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1038&context=caps_ed_lead_docdiss
- Ritchie, Scott et al. Teacher Education for Social Change: Transforming a Content Methods Course Block. Current Issues in Cmparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University 15(2): 72.
- Ritchie, Scott et al. Teacher Education for Social Change: Transforming a Content Methods Course Block. Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University 15(2): 72.
- Ritchie, Scott et al. Teacher Education for Social Change: Transforming a Content Methods Course Block. Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University 15(2): 74.
- Dover, Alison, Henning, Nick, and Agarwal-Rangnath, Ruchi. Reclaiming agency: Justice-oriented social studies teachers respond to changing curricular standards. Teaching and Teacher Education 59 (2016) 458.
- Bell, L.A. (2007). Theoretical foundations for social justice education. In M. Adams, L.A. Bell, & P. Griffin (Eds.), Teaching for diversity and social justice (pp 3-4). New York: Routledge.