"The vast majority of today’s science teachers simply do not understand what it means to learn. They do not understand that there is a necessary order to learning, and that adhering strictly to this order is the only way to ensure that the student has a clear, independent grasp of the material.
“Today’s teachers seem more concerned with enabling their students to parrot impressive-sounding words than they are with fostering their ability to think. That is why a high school chemistry teacher of Kira, one of my former students, said the following when he began a section on quantum theory: 'This material is far too complex for any of you to really understand—but don’t worry, we’ll only spend a few days on it.'
"Such 'teaching' is a betrayal of the purpose of education, which is to give children the essential knowledge and cognitive powers necessary to be independent, productive, happy adults.
“In terms of content, to the extent that the hierarchy of knowledge is violated in students’ education, they learn nothing of the material they are being taught; they learn only to repeat what they are told.
“In terms of method, to the extent that the principle is violated, students fail to learn what it really means to come to know something; this is replaced with the deadly lesson that knowledge of complex, abstract scientific issues is gained by parroting the words of an authority.
"Students who have no true concept of scientific knowledge are ripe for pseudo-scientific propaganda. In today’s schools, the leading propagator of such propaganda is the environmentalist movement. For example, it is routine for seven-year-olds to be taught that catastrophic global warming is imminent, that it is caused by man, and that industry and Republicans are 'selfishly' leading us toward an apocalypse for their own short-term gain. In talking to these children and seeing them interviewed, what is most disturbing is the certainty they project in taking a position on as complex an issue as long-term climate change—when they have no knowledge of the principles of chemistry, physics, or meteorology.
“Many parents understandably object to such indoctrination because of its anti-capitalist, pseudo-scientific content; the more fundamental objection to make, however, regards the anti-hierarchical method that it exhibits—a method that makes all learning, even of the truth, a form of indoctrination."
—Lisa VanDamme, “The Hierarchy of Knowledge: The Most Neglected Issue in Education,”