A Little School Project

So my son in junior high got the following choices for a school project:

You are a belligerent group of environmental activists from an organization called “Save the Rainforest.” Design a campaign to raise money to protect the rainforest. Audience: General Public

As a group of concerned citizens your team will write a letter to our State Senators about the US policies regarding the destruction of the world’s rainforest.

You are a team of naturalists reporting to the world about the fragile ecosystems in the rainforest. Tell about what was, what is and what will be if we keep up our current rainforest activities. Include pictures with captions. Naturalists are non-political; they simply study the natural world. Audience: General Public

Other choices included; Building a save-the-rainforest website, create a save-the-rainforest presentation to business leaders, a travel agency promotion to convince tourists to see the rainforest “NOW, before it is too late,” information for rainforest products that will only be available for a limited time — “due to ecosystem changes” — and a press conference at the UN reporting the discovery of 2 new species that should “provide convincing information about why world leaders should work to protect the rainforest.”

Guess what class this is for? Give up?

It’s his science class.

Since when is public relations and political activism considered part of science? Golly, I wonder where anyone could get the idea that public schools are used for political indoctrination? I wonder where anyone could get the idea that a generation of scientists raised up since the 1960s might have been trained to subordinate their science to politics?

It says a lot about the rot of our institutions that few see a problem with such assignments in our schools. I am sure that many think this a dandy way to make boring old science seem “relevant.” The post-modernist disease of viewing politics as the center of all human activity has infected the 8th grade.

19 thoughts on “A Little School Project”

  1. And guess what? The indoctrination is universal. And it works. And you are paying for it. And these kids will all vote. And this is the only education most of them will ever get. Oh, sorry. Some will go on to college. Where it is worse.

    The Left were smart. They took over the schools. Barring some miracle, the future is theirs.

  2. I’m willing to bet that this ‘assignment’ came whole cloth in the mail from some environmental group and the teacher is passing it on, ‘as is,’ as the assignment.

    It’s not just incidious indoctrination, but academic laziness on the part of the teacher.

  3. > laziness on the part of the teacher

    It certainly is that. And it could have made such a great lesson, too — “Using the scientific method, determine whether the following statements made by environmental groups are true…”

  4. > Barring some miracle, the future is theirs.

    I don’t know about that. Almost all of those of us under 40 on the Right went to such schools, and when we emerged from those liberal cocoons, we noticed that the real world bore little resemblance to the one our teachers had lectured about. That discrepancy is increasing.

    Also, students today can immerse themselves in other points of view to their heart’s content, thanks to the Internet. I shudder to think of the torment I could have inflicted on my teachers if blogs had been around when I was in high school.

  5. Lex,

    Barring some miracle, the future is theirs.

    I don’t know, this sort of stuff actually seems to generate a lot of cynicism on the part of the kids. They understand when they are being manipulated.

  6. Yeah. I know. Propaganda breeds cynicism. But it is still a disaster that this stuff goes on, and too many people end up accepting it as normal. I met a guy the other day who teaches the senior honors seminar in one of the well-regarded magnet schools in Chicago. What do they spend Fall Semester reading? Noam Chomsky. God help us.

  7. Stuff like this has been going on for decades, however I don’t recall anythings so devoid of educational (especially regarding science) value.

    If this was a communications class, I wouldn’t be concerned. But you might want to ask the school to focus on teaching science.

    I wouldn’t care about the “indoctrination”. Student see through it, the moderately intelligent ones. The others are either apathetic, or already have chosen to be tools.

  8. It’s not just incidious indoctrination, but academic laziness on the part of the teacher.

    True, although I would be surprised if the teacher actually knew enough science to teach it. So what else is a helpless teacher to do but show movies and make propaganda. I wonder what grade the class is part of? I wonder if the school a university school?

  9. Lex: kids never listen to their elders or believe a word they say. Mine are 19,21 and 23, it’s about right for them.

    Shannon: That’s the way our middle school handled science. Needless to say, the kids learned nothing. High school barely caught them up. Once they got to college we found out how far they were behind their well educated counterparts. It was painful.

  10. Robert: I would say a word for Miss Scotta Sheets, about thirty-five years my elder as a junior in high school, to whose world history I listened pretty closely in a time when I was generally malinterested in the whole project.

    It can happen.

    It’s just sad, though, that things like Shannon’s example go on the way they do. It’s rotten, and everybody knows it.

  11. I agree with Billy. A charismatic teacher can have a big impact, for good or ill. I had some very good English and History teachers in high school and I can see the impact they had on me to this day.

    The guy I mentioned above teaching Chomsky is a very nice, smart, earnest guy who went into teaching out of idealism and makes way less money than he might have otherwise. He will have an impact on his students. There is a lot of this going on.

  12. Nowhere in the comments do I find the most obvious steps for a concerned parent to take—visit the school, speak to the administrator, speak to the teacher, find out the source of the material, request, and then demand, some form of actual science be performed in relation to the subject, and do some good old fashioned parental guidance with the child by assigning readings and research for facts instead of rhetoric.

    If necessary, go to the PTA or other agencies that have input and cause a stink.

    Is this too much trouble? Has everyone just conceded that the “education professionals”, no matter how bizarrely uninformed and ideological, are going to be allowed to spread whatever manure they are pushing this year instead of actually teaching real science in science class?

    Maybe the reason some believe the future belongs to the multi-culti, green ideologues is because they have little interest in contesting the field.

    The educational system, and the current philosophies behind it, are intellectually bankrupt, and increasingly ineffective in their supposedly major function—the education of youth.

    This situation cannot possibly improve if the reaction to such nonsense is some generalized venting on a blog and not much else. Get off your can and do something about it.

  13. “Get off your can and do something about it.”

    I did! I send my kids at great expense to Catholic school, which has some defects, but nothing like what Shannon refers to here. We need vouchers so people can vote with their purchasing power.

    Of course, raising a stink is a good thing, too.

  14. I just meant to say that I do not worry about indoctrination.

    I do worry about them starting Chemistry in College about two months behind the rest of the class.

  15. Putting aside the political slant of the ideological indoctrination is a winner. These students are being robbed of their education and parents shouldn’t put up with it. If the school can’t be bothered setting up a lesson plan, the students shouldn’t show up.

  16. I think we are missing/forgetting something here, indeed it seems to drop out of the conversation whenever education comes up: ego

    We are assuming, mistakenly I suggest, that the teachers in question (the psuedo-science teacher and Chomsky-guy, does he have a ponytail? most do) care about educating students.

    I think this is false, as what most teachers care about, especially in the grades after students cease being influenced by anyone other than their peer group (say 4th or 5th grade), is themselves.

    Most teachers just want to feel good about themselves, so the psuedo-science and Chomsky. Nothing to do with eductation, just ego.

  17. What is disturbing is the school Shannon is talking about is a well regarded school. Shannon’s son will go on to attend what is considered to be a top rated high school. Assignments like the one Shannon’s son recieved will continue. I fell behind in math in science because of the same education. As a college student I have to take remidial courses. Unless student’s parents step in children will fall behind and will be ill prepared for college.

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