When education becomes (literal) indoctrination

It’s not as if this is going to come as any sort of shock to the system for most conservatives, but the nation’s public school systems and colleges have turned into a breeding ground for woke thinking and the spreading of the most progressive theories of social evolution. This evolution of groupthink has been going on for quite some time now, but for the most part, it’s been an unofficial policy. But as columnist George Will points out in his latest essay, even that trend has begun to change. In Illinois, legislators are poised to codify a State Board of Education proposal that would make it official government policy that all public schools “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives.” Yes, you read that correctly. No insufficiently woke viewpoints will be allowed to see the light of day in the state’s public schools and any wrongheaded mavericks exposing children to the “wrong” sort of thinking may find their careers cut short after having been found guilty of thought crimes. (Marshall News-Messenger)

On Feb. 16, a joint committee of the state legislature will decide whether to turn into a legal requirement the State Board of Education’s recommendation that — until a slight rewording — would mandate that all public-school teachers “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives.” If the board’s policy is ratified, Illinois will become a place congenial only for parents who are comfortable consigning their children to “education” that is political indoctrination, audaciously announced and comprehensively enforced.

Imposing uniformity of thought is the board of education’s agenda for “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading” (CRTL). This builds upon Illinois’ 2015 law requiring teachers to implement “action civics,” which means leading their pupils in activism on behalf of various causes. CRTL would make explicit that only woke causes are worthy causes.

As Will notes, the rollout of CRTL hasn’t been without a few bumps in the road. After some pushback, the brain trust behind this plan graciously agreed to change the word “progressive” to “inclusive.” But that’s a distinction without a difference since the two words are basically interchangeable in the current liberal playbook.

I will also note something about the acronym the BoE chose to employ. At a quick glance, CRTL looks awfully similar to the CTRL key on most standard laptops, doesn’t it? And CTRL translates to “control.” I think you can fill in the rest of that conclusion on your own.

The public schools in most of America have been looking like a lost cause from a conservative perspective for at least a few generations. In the past, however, the changes were more organic. Liberal culture on college campuses and among the faculty bred new graduating classes of aspiring educators who had been immersed in the same mindset. Those graduates went on to take positions in the public school system. From that point, much like a COVID superspreader event, they began indoctrinating the children from an early age, preparing them to go on to the same colleges that produced their teachers. Thus the cycle continued.

What’s going on in Illinois is something else entirely, though. They are preparing to institute a mandatory system where freedom of speech and the open debate of ideas and philosophies will not only be shut down, but the muzzling will be done under the auspices of the state government. Parents who are concerned about this sort of officially endorsed brainwashing will no longer have the option of simply moving to the next town over in the hope that the schools will be better. They will need to flee the state.

And as Will points out in his column, people have already been doing that in droves. Between 2010 and 2020, Illinois saw more than a quarter of a million people move out of the state. More recently, the trend has further accelerated. From July 2019 to July 2020, nearly 80,000 residents of the state packed up their moving vans and fled.

But that’s no sort of long-term answer. All the members of the Illinois diaspora are simply leaving millions of others behind to face an increasingly hostile state government. The people of Illinois have the power to change course, but only if they are willing to face up to the current reality and stop electing the same crazed people year after year. If they refuse to do that, then they have unfortunately brought this sort of thing upon themselves.