Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Warning - Too Much Education Causes (gasp!) Liberalism!

In the weeks and days leading up to and following the election there were a flurry of postings about how the Red States stack up against the Blue States as far as IQ and education. There have been several recent stories about religious groups pushing "Intelligent Design", which is creationism decked out in a dress and lipstick, in public schools. Health textbooks are being rewritten to define marriage as a lifelong commitment between "one man and one woman", instead of between loving partners. The list goes on.

Is this over-reaching by a small group of zealots, or is there a concerted effort to purge the educational system of "liberal" ideas? From Smirking Chimp:

It's Happened to a Lot of Good Christians

By Dr. Teresa Whitehurst, CounterPunch

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to a conversation I overheard at Starbucks in Nashville last winter. I was distracted from my work on that cold and rainy night by two young men who sat down in upholstered chairs next to my table. One was talking and the other was listening, in what appeared to be an informal college orientation.

"The only trouble with Lipscomb [a conservative Christian college nearby] is that old man Lipscomb made a rule that the college couldn't have a football team, so that's a bummer. But it's a great school, and you're gonna love it.

"Now you do have to be careful about one thing," he said more quietly, coming closer and speaking in hushed tones, "My professor told me that you have to be careful not to get too much education, because you could lose your foundation, your core values."
The neophyte nodded solemnly, his eyebrows raised with worry.
"If you get a bachelor's degree," the seasoned student reassured, "you'll probably be okay. But my professor said that when you get a master's, and definitely if you go beyond that, you can lose your values. He said that college students have to be watchful because if you get too much education, you could turn -- LIBERAL. He's seen it happen to a lot of good Christians."
The young men paused for a moment, shaking their heads at the dangers that lie ahead...

The article goes on...

Justin Pope describes the anti-liberal movement to "balance" college courses with the politically correct and religiously correct rightwing views (justified by research or not), but not just on conservative Christian college campuses:

"Leading the movement is Students for Academic Freedom, with chapters on 135 campuses and close ties to David Horowitz, a onetime liberal campus activist turned conservative commentator. The group posts student complaints on its website about alleged episodes of grading bias and unbalanced, anti-American propaganda by professors - often in classes.

"Instructors "need to make students aware of the spectrum of scholarly opinion," Horowitz said. "You can't get a good education if you're only getting half the story.""

One thing that the "liberal, leftists" don't do is take these groups seriously and offer a counter measure - until it's too late. There has been plenty of reaction on blogs and newspaper opinion pieces to each, individual article that has hit the wire about school boards instituting some measure of censorship or discrimination. There is plenty of outrage over censorship issues, or teaching that slavery was "a good thing". But as one incident fades and another one takes its place it is treated as an individual event instead of a series of events that may be connected. What is lacking is a coordinated effort to investigate what and who is behind this "movement" to undermine public education.