Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's not about indoctrination; it's about bad education

Michelle Malkin has a post about another 9th Circuit ruling involving education. (You remember the last one, which said that a school district can ask children sexually explicit and instrusive questions, not for educational purposes, but for the school's own agenda.) This one said that it's okay for a history class to have students in the class pretend for three weeks that they are Muslims. The students apparently don't learn religious doctrine; instead, they just go learn rituals ("enter tent with right foot," "wipe bottom with left hand" kind of stuff). Two Christian families challenged this as religious indoctrination, only to have the Court say that it wasn't. I have to say that, for once, I agree with the Ninth Circuit. The curriculum Michelle Malkin makes available on her blog shows that what the students were doing has about as much to do with Islam as watching the Disney movie Aladdin does. The "study" is about ritual, utterly devoid of religious content. It's more an indictment of the stupid way in which children are taught in school today, than an example of a school district trying to indoctrinate students in a single religion. Actually teaching the children would have involved studying paganism in the Arabian peninsula before Mohammed, learning about his religious ideas, comparing them to then existing ideas (Judaism, Christianity, paganism), examining their development over time, learning about the nexus between religion and the state, etc. Instead, the type of "educational" role-playing in which the students engaged is just the type of demeaning time-waster that characterizes American education today. After all, why acquire actual information when you can spend time pretending that you're engaged in rituals that are utterly unrelated to real religious doctrine or thinking. If I were a Christian family, I'd be thanking my lucky stars that our school districts are not involved in religious education (thank you, Founding Fathers, for the wisdom you showed in enacting the First Amendment). Our traditional approach to education is so watered down, so disrespectful of the students' intellect, so afraid of anything approaching ideas or critical thinking, that all that the schools would be capable of teaching would be a faded simulacrum of the real thing. Let the schools stick with their environmental indoctrination, and their cartoon-like games, and be grateful they're keeping their hands off the real thing.