Green Room

Fighting the fanaticism in education

posted at 4:31 pm on June 4, 2013 by

For the last several decades, courts have done their best to rid public schools of any reference to religion in order to impose a separation of church and state in education.  What’s replaced it, Glenn Reynolds writes in his USA Today column, is another kind of religious fanaticism that borders on the pathological.  It’s the Church of Guns are Evil, and the crusade has already taken the form of the ridiculous:

Lego guns, cap guns, bubble guns, nibbled Pop Tarts, and fingers are no threat to safety. And the wild overreaction in these cases says there’s more going on here than simple school discipline. As I said, who treats a 5-year-old this way? It smacks of fanaticism.

In fact, it seems like a kind of quasi-religious fanaticism. I think it’s about the administrative class — which runs the schools with as little input from parents as possible — doing its best to exterminate the very idea of guns. It’s some sort of wacky moral-purity crusade. If a few toddlers have to suffer along the way, that’s tough. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

But that raises two questions. First, what business do public schools have in trying to extirpate “impure” thoughts? Aren’t we supposed to celebrate diversity? And, second, why should public schools decide that a longtime staple of American childhood, the toy gun, is suddenly evil?

When Horace Mann first campaigned to introduce compulsory public schooling, the model he chose was based on the schools in Prussia. Some of his critics objected: The Prussian system, they said, was based on the presumption that the government was smarter than the people. In America, presumption was precisely the reverse. Mann won out, but the result raises some questions about who’s smarter.

Actually, the events of the past week tend to answer those questions rather than raise them.  Be sure to read the whole piece, but keep this in mind — the hostility to religion in education even as a reference was about secularizing values in an institution that forms succeeding generations.  What values replaced those that have been driven out?  Besides hysteria, I mean …

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Glenn is right on the money.

Once they took educators out of majors in college and placed them into ‘Colleges of Education’, then there was no way to give proper input.

Education is horribly broken.

Nethicus on June 4, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Education has been taken over by prideful secular Leftists who think that they are smarter than parents, the Founding Fathers, and the God of the Bible. They want to push their utopian vision onto the kids, and to keep any counter-arguments out of the school. In their eyes, any means is justified by their noble intentions and desired ends. This is the way it is with all would-be arrogant dictators who think that they know better than everyone else.

mydh12 on June 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Horace Mann, who wrote his Seventh Report to the Boston School Committee in 1843.

Education has been broken for well over one hundred years. The Left simply reached critical mass in their brainwashing within the last fifty or sixty.

Provincial Liberty & Education

“Against School”

John Dewey

John Dewey, who lived from 1859 until 1952, was a “progressive” philosopher and leading advocate for secular humanism in American life, who taught at the University of Chicago and at Columbia. He signed the Humanist Manifesto and rejected traditional religion and moral absolutes. In Democracy and Education, in pompous and opaque prose, he disparaged schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking “skills” instead. His views had great influence on the direction of American education–particularly in public schools–and helped nurture the Clinton generation.

INC on June 4, 2013 at 5:23 PM

mydh12 on June 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Look at the first four posts listed under the John Dewey link:


Children: The Pawns of Utopia


INC on June 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

John Dewey the Progressive

John Dewey the Humanist

I’ve included a post on G. W. F. Hegel because philosophy permeated utopian thinking.

Hegel: Romancing the State

INC on June 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Cracking down on images of guns is a psychological defense mechanism against anxiety about crime.

Count to 10 on June 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Cracking down on images of guns is a psychological defense mechanism against anxiety about crime.

Count to 10 on June 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM

I’ll disagree with you about this. It’s about raising a generation, or, at least a sizable proportion of a generation that will fear guns and be amenable to a state ban on guns. Then, when the state has it’s ban on privately held firearms, it’ll be game over for the American Experiment.

trigon on June 5, 2013 at 2:46 AM

Glenn is right on the money.

Once they took educators out of majors in college and placed them into ‘Colleges of Education’, then there was no way to give proper input.

Nethicus on June 4, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Not sure when that would have been? Separate “teaching colleges” were once quite common. Also, it wouldn’t make sense to major in say accounting and accept a low-paying position teaching it in a public (or private) high school as a career choice. Another thing is that not having interned is a possible path to disaster in the classroom. There are indeed too many ‘warm bodies’ with no experience taking up space in the classrooms. Some work out all right, many do not.

Education is horribly broken.

Society is broken.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 5, 2013 at 3:04 AM

There’s also the legal angle here. If a school has an incident involving a real gun, the lawyers will look for any evidence the school did not do EVERYTHING it could to eliminate any thought or mention of guns.
If a school did not actively discourage all forms of guns – toy guns, finger guns, cookie guns, imaginary guns, drawings of guns – then the lawyers will twist that to say the school was actively encouraging gun use.

Marcola on June 5, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Of course you are right Ed. Vouchers are the answer in my opinion and the only way to break the unholy alliance between the Dems and the Teachers Unions while allowing parents to choose the values that will be imparted to their kids.
At the same time…let’s remember that the fundies want to control education just as much as the libs. Check out the Louisiana science laws which were once again sustained this spring.
I don’t want science in church or A church in my science class. And I DO want my government class teaching the Constitution…not some Libs opinion of it.

camaraderie on June 5, 2013 at 12:27 PM