Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Socialist Studies at Avondale College

Guest post by Paul Van Dinther

If you thought that socialist brainwashing only happens in American schools, think again. It happens right here today under our very noses.  Avondale College, for example, where my 14-year-old son attends and is subjected to "Social Science" class—more accurately called "Socialist Studies." If you want single-sided socialist  indoctrination, this appears to be the place to come.

My son has grown up in a family with a healthy level of scepticism towards whatever the media dishes up, and my own critical views towards global warming feature regularly at the dining table. A few weeks ago, however, he messaged me that the class was being required to watch Al Gore’s thoroughly discredited film Inconvenient Truth as a lead-up to an assignment on the Kyoto Protocol. (And by “thoroughly discredited,” I mean to a High Court standard.)

My son's critical mind kicked in immediately, and he asked if they would also show The Great Global Warming Swindle as a counterbalance to Gore’s propaganda, but his request was dismissed, except to say it might, may, could, perhaps be shown after the assignment was handed in. Maybe. Several other students voiced equally critical comments about the single-sided view on global warming being presented, which was promptly silenced by a 3 page handout full of highly technical counter-arguments against global warming scepticism. These pages were handed out without either comment or discussion. We now wait with bated breath to see how his assignment will be marked.

But they are not done yet. Today again, another message. This time the class is being shown the controversial and equally one-sided The Story of Stuff—a twenty-minute polemic against capitalism of which Michael Moore would be embarrassed. Already thoroughly exposed, and even banned in at least one State of the US, it is still still apparently suitable to be shown in New Zealand’s compulsory Socialist Studies classrooms, without any opposing views being allowed. Once again a single-sided view is presented.

I don't mind having long-established views challenged, as it only serves to test our own, but this is not a fair fight. This is not learning or education, it is indoctrination pure and simple. Kids in schools are highly impressionable, and this uncritical barrage of indoctrination from those whose wisdom our children are supposed to respect is so overwhelming, and so slanted, that it looks like nothing so much as taking advantage of those that teachers have within their control. One from which only impressionable young kids with careful parent guidance will be able (we hope) to emerge with their thinking matter intact.

It is a type of child abuse of the mind. And the worst of it is, I actually am forced to pay for the brain damage being inflicted.


  1. I don't know what you call them in NZ, but here in America such people are called Progressives and they wholly dominate the public education system.

    What they should be called is Nazis or Fascists, since they resemble them in every particular otherwise - minus only the overt violence, and not always that.

    Unfortunately, those words have been so thoroughly misused by Progressives over the past two generations they no longer can serve as a useful identifier.

    Fortunately, the word Progressive is gradually taking on the same stigma in liberty-loving circles.

    Unfortunately, that stigma will mean very little unless these creatures are driven out of every position of influence in education, the media, and politics.

    And time is running short.

  2. And that is so true. I met this person last week who turned out to be a "Social Science" teacher. (I really dislike the word) It was obvious she was strongly left leaning and upon me asking if her bias was reflected in class she confirmed that that was the case.

    As much as dancing men tend to be gay so too are Social Science teachers socialist. She didn't see anything wrong with that picture.

    Since she was a guest of a friend I let her off the hook.

  3. And that is only the part that actually comes to your notice, and is within a subject that ultimately lends itself for the purpose of indoctrination.
    But the rot goes much deeper in my experience and extends to virtually all aspects of the curriculum, from the examples used in science topics, through the choice of topics in history, right down to the health and sexuality issues that are now considered appropriate in things as the physical education curriculum. And that is secondary school only, the mould is just as present in kindergarten, primary school and especially in universities, where opposing views are simply marked out of existence.

  4. This has been a gigantic scandal for a long time now.
    So many parents use schools as a kind of glorified baby-sitting service and ignore (or aren't educated enough themselves to judge) what their kids are being taught.
    Which means the socialists have a captive, uncritical audience.

  5. As a social studies teacher - I happily champion individual rights and capitalism... however, I always ensure that opposing viewpoints are presented fairly and never mark down students who come to different conclusions.

    So not all social science teachers are socialist. The real problem is the state control of education and the consequential lack of choice in the education market.

  6. I hope that the Labourites at the Standard read this post, where one is shot down for dearing to not be a socialist or not to the Left. Funny that. I don't support Key, either.


  7. Then take your kid out of the stupid school and pay for a proper education for him somewhere else.
    Stop whining and do something and pay for it yourself.

  8. Kids in schools are highly impressionable.

    I would disagree with that. Obviously your son is not - neither was mine.

    The home is more important than the school, and folk think teachers have way more influence than they actually do.

  9. What's your kid doing in a public school?

  10. The problem is not the state school. The problem is the curriculum. My son had to compare Indian and Maori wars in year 10: the narrative he was expected to discuss was that it was all racism and colonialism.

    After 10 minutes on wikipedia -- which ain't right wing -- he was asking why he was not taught these things.

    The schools have to teach to the curriculum, but it is biased. In almost every subject.

    Which means, in NZ, that going private solves nothing.

  11. @Anonymous, @de Boer
    He's in a public school because I already pay for it. Private schools here are no better either. I know a physics teacher from a private school who declared she believes in global warming. I countered that it is not a matter of belief after which she became muddled and confused. Private schools are not great either because from what I hear they are more concerned with appeasing parents than educate people. I suspect private schools only function properly once there is a reputation that is worth defending.

    I agree, we spend a lot of time discussing a wide range of topics at home. But many parents don't care and I think the results can be seen in the quality of our university students and their attitude towards life. In those cases school does have a lot of impact because they are the only input besides American Idol on TV and their mates texting "wuu2"

  12. I'm with Craig on this - I, too, am a Social Studies teacher and not a Socialist. The sad truth of the matter is that many Social Studies teachers don't actually want to teach Social Studies - we'd rather teach History, Classics, or Geography - but the NZ curriculum forces us to have this horrible mishmash of a subject. Because it is compulsory, and because the other subjects are not, most specialist Geographers and Historians are obliged to teach a subject which does not exist at university.

    As an Historian, when it comes to teaching Geography or Economics topics I'm not particularly interested in, I'll normally just follow the curriculum. Many Geographers will do the same with the History based topics. It's not our specialist area and we spend our PD time reading up on stuff to help our seniors pass NCEA.

    Our school has the Al Gore movie - most schools do - but we do have a number of conscientious teachers in the department who teach about the debate and leave students to come to their own conclusions. Often these conclusions are shaped more by the way their family leans, rather than what we teach. It's the same with the Treaty of Waitangi, which my Year 10s are studying at the moment. We're getting through it despite the moans and complaints from some of the kids because we're trying to approach it from a critical perspective - to the point where I'll regularly ask the class "why do you think the book says this?" or "what does the book NOT tell us?" or "why do you think this view might be popular today?". Critical literacy is the key here.

    Finally, it is an unfortunate fact that education has been hijacked by the Left. Most teachers, especially in public schools, embrace leftist views; the courses in schools of education around the country are largely taught by leftists; and so it is not surprising that the post 1970s generations are more self absorbed, self righteous, and increasingly intolerant. This has gone hand in hand with the decline in teacher salaries relative to other professionals, which has made the occupation less attractive to many - except the bleeding hearts of course.

  13. " I know a physics teacher from a private school who declared she believes in global warming. I countered that it is not a matter of belief after which she became muddled and confused."

    True. With you guys it's a matter of doctrine.

    Judge Holden

  14. Richard McGrath17 Jun 2010, 07:47:00

    @Redbaiter: I suppose you would consider Michaelangelo's statue of David, a photo of which has been featured on Not PC in the past, as 'gay porn' too?

    And I prefer egoistic over narcissistic any day. I'm unsure just what 'narcisstic garbage' is.

    @Judge Holden: Don't confuse science with doctrine. Blind adherence to a point of view such as whether or not humans exert a significant influence on global temperature changes, regardless of what the science says, now THAT is clinging to a doctrine.

  15. The sad truth of the matter is that many Social Studies teachers don't actually want to teach Social Studies - we'd rather teach History, Classics, or Geography - but the NZ curriculum forces us to have this horrible mishmash of a subject.

    Isn't this the same in principle to teaching 'science' for the first few years of high school - giving them a taste of several subjects before they decide to specialise?

  16. My blood is boiling just reading that - what a bloody disgrace

    As for THIS from anonymous:
    Then take your kid out of the stupid school and pay for a proper education for him somewhere else.
    Stop whining and do something and pay for it yourself.

    We are FORCED to pay for this mis-education, - some of us cannot afford to pay AGAIN.

    He has every right to whine - or should he just bend over and take it without a word?

    I say Whine and moan long and loud and let the socialists know it is not acceptable - unfortunately its not going to do you any good

  17. If there is one subject I'd love to teach it would be social studies because it Would be an opportunity to show the interconnectedness of decisions we face today with decisions and opportunities taken in the past, and the risks we face if we take a shallow view of an issue in isolation. It is exactly the kind of course that should be mandatory to encourage critical thinking about us as individuals, society, government, the economy, science and the environment.

    When my kids say we shouldn’t be doing X – say cutting down a forest or extracting oil – I always say, ok, but what if our grandparents had said the same? What would your life be like now? Would we be here if our Elizabethan ancestors hadn’t chopped down the oak forests of England and turned them into ships to explore the world? And what’s the alternative today and how will you pay for that.

    Unfortunately I am a hopeless teacher and dislike large groups of children, but we can all have dreams eh.


  18. Hi Dinther,

    On the positive side, your son is getting an education in not believing everything that is being taught to him. Unfortunately, that could be done in far less time, so in effect he is having his learning time wasted in class on useless garbage.

    The only thing you can really do is to stay involved with what he is learning (as you are already doing), and counter any misinformation he is given. You won't get it all, but you'll be teaching him that you are a more trusted source than school.

    I've been thinking about all this myself, as both my children are currently being taught at home by me, but I will most likely put them in school when they are older (maybe the last year or two of high school).

  19. Chris, the school my children attend doesn't use the NZ curriculum.

    As long as that is allowed of course. The Teachers Council is now trying to prevent registration of every teacher who does not teach the NZ curriculum.

    But for now we're independent. Completely.

  20. @Lucia

    Yes it is a silver lining and by my son raising the issue, it is clear that he uses his head. Yet for every kid that gets parent counselling after school indoctrination, I bet there are another 10 that swallow this leftist crap without question.

    But, this afternoon I have accepted an invitation to come to the school and discuss ways to bring more balance to their social science program. The department head and school principal will be attending. That is a good step in the right direction.

  21. @ Dinther

    Well done on being proactive about this - I hope you get a good result. What I tend to find is that most teachers I work with would hate to be thought of as being heavily biased or unfair. This is because students (particularly the secondary variety) will make life hell for teachers who are unfair. So if you kick up a stink - you are likely to get somewhere.

    As an aside: I was once told by a police officer that criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors alike always challenge potential jurors who are teachers because teachers spend all day resolving conflicts and they are likely to come up with a fair verdict - lawyers hate that. Don't know how much truth there is to it - but I (as a teacher) have been challenged every jury selection before getting anywhere near the box.

  22. Lots of home discussions can balance the school imbalance. Kick the TV/PC/PS3 etc to touch and talk... can be done, we did it, successfully.

  23. Good post Paul. I call most teachers child molesters, and I'm probably correct.

  24. Oh great Gregster - so any one who wants to work with children must be a child molester! It is exactly this sort of attitude that keeps quality people (particularly the male variety) away from teaching. Those who are left tend to be the ones promoting the leftist feminisation of education.

  25. @Craig: I'm assuming he left out the last two words of that phrase, i.e., child molesters of the mind, of which is what all teachers should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.

    @Greg: An on that point, just for reference, I have it on good authority that Craig is one of the few who has proved himself to be innocent. [ Well, mostly. ;^) ]

    @Dinther: And could prove useful as an ally.

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