We are fixin’ to screw up our kids’ heads bigtime. We are in the process of turning their educational experience into an opportunity for political organizations to spoon feed our students propaganda instead of wisdom.
The entire education establishment, from teachers to state superintendents, has opened itself to being a gateway for the political to indoctrinate our kids. They, collectively, are motivated more by scoring political points for their side than they are by turning out educated students.
Don’t believe me? Just look around here in Wyoming. Our classrooms are rapidly being turned into nothing more than battlegrounds for the adults’ culture war. Each side is battling to claim our public schools for their own, to use as a fulcrum to gain political leverage.
The Left wants to use the classroom to turn out rainbow unicorns, fattened on a progressive agenda until they think they are chipmunks who need litter boxes in their safe place. The Right wants to convert the classroom into a public catechism, complete with uniforms with red hats, the Pledge and fervent anti-communist prayer.
Both sides would rather see generations of automatons taught WHAT to think by the powers-that-be, instead of well-rounded students who are taught HOW to think for themselves.
Both sides fully understand that independent thought is an existential threat to dogma. Thus, both sides are safer when students are force-fed pre-packaged systems of thought, instead of learning to use their own minds in a complex world.
The losers in this adult tug-of-war are the young Wyomingites, born with that most amazing of instruments, the human brain, who are not permitted to nurture that treasure because the grown-ups are pissing in each other’s boots over the hot-button dog-whistle issue of the day.
But, in a larger sense, the real losers will be us and our civilization if we permit the intellectual growth of the next generation to be stifled by political zeal.
The Old Testament Sumerian God, Moloch, demanded that children be sacrificed in his fiery belly. Twenty-First Century education in America, driven by politics, is behaving just like Moloch.
When we deny our children the tools to think for themselves, and instead insist that academic success consists of accepting without question what is presented to them, we are sacrificing them to a world that will always take advantage of them.
Without good cognitive skills like logic, skepticism, analysis, deductive reasoning, curiosity and an openness of mind, young people will have no defense against the pervasive atmosphere of advertising and propaganda that surrounds them.
We will have provided a new generation of victims for a banal consumer culture and for the next fire-breathing populist demagogue who comes along. That, my friends, is sacrifice.
We would do the future State of Wyoming a huge favor if we, her citizens, could summon the will to insulate our schools from political horseshit regardless of its source. We should stop acting like frightened Sumerians, who are willing to sacrifice their kids to keep from rocking the boat. We need to start acting more like cowgirls & cowboys.
Rugged independence is a cornerstone of the cowboy creed, and we don’t need a new generation of political robots coming out of our schools. And independence of action begins with independence of thought. Our kids need to learn to think for themselves.
We should insist that schools provide our kids with the mental tools that they’ll need to figure out the world that we’re leaving them. We should tar and feather anyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, who tries to use Wyoming kids as pawns in some political game.
And we’ll do our young’uns a huge favor if we don’t try to turn ‘em loose with a pre-determined roadmap of the world, but rather a good owner’s manual for their own brains so that they can make their own decisions.