Tuesday, March 6, 2018

No neutrality in education

Aaron Baker is an 8th-grade history teacher in the Mid-Del school district who promotes “radical social justice in Oklahoma public schools.” We disagree about most things, but in a recent blog post he was right on target with these observations:
Middle school is a highly impressionable stage of adolescence. It really isn’t a question of “if” middle school students are being indoctrinated, but “what” they are being indoctrinated into [emphasis in original]. A big part of middle school education is to start them on the road to thinking critically. But most 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are not there yet. Middle school students, more often than they themselves realize, still take most “truths” at face value. They are receiving moral and ethical cues from everyone around them; family members, teachers, youth pastors, and peers. Teachers can and should play a valuable role in shaping a student’s worldview. … 
No curriculum is truly objective, but math at least leans toward objectivity. Social studies, on the other hand, leans heavy toward subjectivity. Even in the presentation of “hard facts,” social studies teachers have to make subjective decisions about tone, choice of words, and body language. In addition, the overwhelming amount of information requires that social studies teachers constantly omit certain facts. This is invariably a subjective decision.

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