Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined Moms for Liberty, a new national group of women advocating for greater parental control over what children learn in school, during the summer to make the case for what he called education rather than indoctrination. To loud applause, he declared, “Our education system is for educating kids, not indoctrinating youngsters.”
This way of thinking is a part of a daily expanding national movement. 1 in 4 teachers reported restrictions respondents to an August study were restricted in what they could say and discuss in the classroom. dozens of states have now passed or are considering passing laws does restrict what educators can teach their students about social issues.
The governor of Florida’s ideological opposite, educators, have called attention to the indoctrination that the DeSantis method of instruction and learning entails.
However, DeSantis and those across the nation who are accusing educators and institutions of indoctrination are missing the obvious: All education involves some degree of indoctrination, and whether school curricula are considered to be indoctrination or education largely depends on your point of view.
Indeed, educators on the opposite end of the political spectrum from the governor of Florida have called attention to the indoctrination inherent in the DeSantis approach in terms of teaching and learning. It is against the state’s Stop WOKE Act for professors to advise students to experience guilty about past injustices. Because it forbids discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in the younger schools, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation gained its moniker.
In reality, whatever curriculum teachers provide their kids comes from a particular viewpoint. It can be their own opinion or that of researchers, academics, members of the modern media, internet sources, or textbook authors or publishers. No teacher can pretend that their own education, their own experiences, or their own set of views have no bearing on the lessons they choose to communicate to their students.
In fact, early supporters who considered universal public education as crucial to democracy were driven by the conviction that education should convey particular values along with basic knowledge and skills. The traditional American public education like Horace Mann founders were dedicated to using education to instill civic principles. Mann argued that students needed to learn to overcome ignorance, selfishness and passion, so as to engage in self-government intelligently.
The goal of public education has always been to indoctrinate students in the social and governmental ideology American society expects them to carry on, according to eminent scholars such linguist Noam Chomsky have argued. Traditional education, according to Chomsky, is used to teach children obedience and submission.
Even critical and creative thinking has its own ideology and beliefs that it is guided by. The philosophy that creates world views is deeply ingrained in decisions about who should receive an education and what important in curricula. Universal literacy has just recently been a goal for all citizens, not only the elite who were prepared for power and leadership. The clash between religious and scientific thinking can be seen in debates over the evolution curriculum.
The principles of liberal education, particularly in the post-internet era, emphasize assisting kids in finding reliable knowledge about the world and preparing them to use that information to establish their own opinions. But the information chosen always reflects different presumptions about what children need to know in order to be useful members of our society, regardless of whether, for instance, it highlights both the nation’s shortcomings and its achievements.
Teachers understand these difficulties as experts, and they education rather than indoctrination0. We expect instructors to put aside their personal convictions and impart the truth in the best way possible, just as we expect the Catholic Supreme Court justices who recently voted to overturn Roe v. Wade to resist letting their religious beliefs influence their decisions on abortion rights. Teachers today may struggle to discern the truth, just like the rest of us, and good people may disagree, but the pursuit of the truth is essential to the educational process.
In order to ensure that students confront and battle with such problems, teachers are prepared to present occasionally opposing opinions during this process. For some, indoctrination into the idea that America is unique is being undermined by teaching about our differences and our increasingly diverse culture, but for others, it is an endorsement of the American way of life and the democratic ideal of fair opportunity for everyone.
The use of the word indoctrination shouldn’t scare or intimidate parents or the general public or cause them to have negative opinions about the material taught in public schools. The most important principles that proponents of 21st-century education reform, as well as education philosophers like education rather than indoctrination1 and education rather than indoctrination2, have advocated are instruction that opens the mind, that places a focus on problem-solving, inquiry, and critical thinking, and that teaches students to think for themselves rather than slavishly ingest the information that has been imparted to them by their teachers.
In this case, teachers are powerless to taint or even affect the conclusions that pupils reach. If Florida’s schools adopted such a system, DeSantis and worried parents might be able to set their minds at ease and learn to trust their kids.