Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Regarding USA Public Schools

This is taken from a longer essay posted to math-teach (I fixed a typo in this edition).

So my view is this: the USA public schools should allow teachers to be role models when it comes to civic participation, i.e. it's OK for a teacher to talk about how she or he is active, has been active, or plans to become active, in the affairs of our Republic. However, it is not OK for the curriculum as a whole to neglect giving due attention to the views and opinions of the USA's
chief architects. And it is not OK for the curriculum to neglect basic training in the use of reasoning and logic, in support of civil discourse. So if the teacher shares his or her views, he or she must also allow that these views are open to scrutiny, analysis, and criticism in the light of logic and the principles of sound reasoning.

My view is that the USA, when founded, was boldly counter to many extant schools of thought, which would continue to fight the USA, both domestically and abroad. My view is that the USA public school system is not "neutral" on the matter of supporting and sustaining the core values of the USA, and people questioning what I mean by "core values" should join me in a study of the relevant literature, which is vast, but not all that fuzzy on many key points. We have the Constitution, we have the Bill of Rights, we have the great essays and speeches that have defined the contours of a philosophy and ideology. This literature is properly a focus of study in USA public schools.

I think it's possible that the USA might be terminated, as an experiment, removed from North America. Most likely, this wouldn't happen as a result of a nuclear holocaust or violent takeover. It would happen because the people living here no longer upheld the values and principles upon which the USA was founded. They would keep waving the flag, continue filling the offices, continue polishing the public buildings. And yet the USA would be gone, long gone, perhaps replaced by some Christian theocracy, at permanent war with Islam. This may sound like science fiction, but if the USA public schools do not do their job, then how do we imagine the USA will continue. The torch must be passed.