The government has cancelled the Enviroschools programme, for which they earn my belated congratulations.
It’s a first step in beating back the forces of darkness, and if my saying that sounds like hyperbole then just listen right up. The intellectual warriors of the left have long known that the best way to start their “long march through the culture” was first to capture the schools. (Or in Sue Bradford’s case, to start them.) Capture kids early before they realise the statist noose they’re putting their heads into, that’s been the story. As Australian Education Union president Pat Byrne said in an address to her union's conference, openly acknowledging the ideological bias that dominates the school system:
“We have succeeded in influencing curriculum development in schools, education departments and universities. The conservatives have a lot of work to do to undo the progressive curriculum."
Or, when it comes to the environmental indoctrination, as Michael Sanera and Jane S. Shaw say in their introduction to their book Facts, not Fear:
Childhood was once supposed to be idyllic and carefree. Children were allowed to be children. But today many schools are plunging our children into environmental activism.
“Kids have a lot of power,” writes John Javna, author of 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, a best-selling book found in many [American] classrooms. “Whenever you say something, grown-ups have to listen . . . so if saving the Earth is important to you, then grown-ups will have to follow along.”
We want out children to learn good citizenship [and, not incidentally, to read and write]. We don’t want them to be polluters when they grow up. But often, instead of being taught information that will lead to intelligent choices in the future, they are being enlisted in trendy causes ands sent out to bring their parents “on board.”
Environmental activism is the latest in a series of social reforms championed in our schools. Schools are fighting the war on drugs, encouraging physical fitness, fostering self-esteem, teaching about sex [and about Te Tiriti] – you name it. And now our children are supposed to save the Earth. The way these issues are taught shapes the way our children think.
Sure does. And given the way they’ve been taught – and what their teachers are teaching them – it’s no wonder, as philosopher Stephen Hicks points out, that “results from a recent [American survey indicate] one in three schoolchildren fears that the Earth will no longer exist and over half believe it will be a nasty place by the time they grow up.”
All of this is aside from the issue of sorting out the complicated science. The issues here are the psychological set (negative emotionalism versus we-can-handle-it confidence) and the educational methods used (indoctrination versus informed critical thinking).
On this very topic, my short Wall Street Journal article from some years ago about neither indoctrinating nor overloading children — “Global Problems Are Too Big for Little Kids” — is online in text [pdf] and audio [mp3].
Hicks’ short WSJ article linked above is a brilliant demonstration of why the educational methods involved violate what educator Lisa van Damme calls “the single most neglected issue in education”: the Hierarchy of Knowledge.
It’s a truism that you can’t teach calculus before arithmetic. In trying to convey their sense of urgency about the world’s problems, many teachers are committing an analogous error.
Children are not able to deal with problems of international garbage disposal when they are still grappling with issues of personal hygiene. They are not able to put in context issues of international race relations when they are struggling with how to deal will schoolyard bullies and being talked about behind their backs.
When students are overloaded, they become frustrated and frightened. When they think the problems they are being asked to consider are too much to absorb, they give up trying to understand. If the teacher persists, the student simply mouths the appropriate words to appease him or her.
My college freshmen classes are regularly populated by young adults who are convinced that no solutions are possible and so it’s useless to try, or who are so desperate for answers that they latch on to the first semi-plausible solution they encounter and become close-minded. Both apathy and dogmatism are defense mechanisms against feeling that you are living in a hostile world whose problems are too big for you to handle. And these are attitudes children often acquire early in their school careers.
This does not mean educators and parents should pretend that problems do not exist. But many of these issues, by definition, are complex global issues—issues that many adults have difficulties dealing with intellectually and emotionally. We need to take extra pains to teach our children about the principles involved on a scale they can grasp.
So having said all that, when you realise how successfully eco-fascists have taken over the education system – when you see what your children are being fed at a time when their brains are not yet even fully formed – when you see how brainwashed are the braindead graduates of the factory schools – chanting with heel-clicking blindness all the mantras they’ve been fed on “sustainability,” “protecting the planet,” and “saving the world” – “saving the planet” when they can’t even look after themselves yet – then you will know that cancelling the Enviroschools indoctrination programme is just one small step on the way to liberation from the grey ones.
The programme is not so much about educating children, but indoctrinating them – producing, as its website baldly states “a generation of innovative and motivated young people, who instinctively think and act sustainably [emphasis mine]” with all that such a thing implies, not excluding the dog whistle of politics.
Watch that video again at the Green Party’s Frog Blog to see just what “a generation of innovative and motivated young people, who instinctively think and act sustainably” actually looks like. They’re like a frog that’s been pithed before it’s even had a chance to become a tadpole.
So all this should now help you put in context The Herald’s announcement of the scheme’s axing:
Teacher aides who help children learn about recycling, saving water and growing their own food have been scrapped by the Education Ministry because those are not considered "core" skills for children to learn.
A spokesman for Education Minister Anne Tolley said . . . the Government was focused on "core spending priorities" of raising literacy and numeracy and increasing the numbers of pupils leaving school with educational qualifications.
"This programme does not contribute directly to these priorities."
Bravo, I say. Spend time and money on what schools should be doing, make the information on how they’re doing widely available instead of hiding it, and you’ll save taxpayers’ money and stop wasting children’s time – and stop endangering their future.
And bravo too for having a spokesman. If that’s another sign a sign that PC is being rolled back, then I could well become a fan.