Written on Monday, June 11, 2012 by David L. Goetsch
Indoctrination is one of the favorite strategies of the left for the simple reason that it works. Give liberals the public schools, which America has done, and they will take our children, which they are doing. Liberals understand that the best way to grow the next crop of liberals, environmentalists, and secular humanists is to indoctrinate them while they are young, and the best place to do that is in the classroom. Ironically, most American parents simply hand their children over to public educators for their daily dose of indoctrination with little or no thought to what takes place in the classroom. Too busy or too complacent to pay attention, many American parents who are not liberals, environmentalists, or secular humanists are allowing their children to be systematically transformed into these things.
An example of environmental indoctrination is the “environmental literacy” graduation requirement approved by the Maryland State Board of Education. Maryland educators adopted the environmental literacy requirement—which would more accurately be called the environmental propaganda requirement—at the urging of leftwing organizations that are determined to undermine business, industry, and capitalism. One such organization is the No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLI). NCLI is an environmentalist group that advocates major societal change to prevent further global warming. Notice the presumptuousness of “further global warming.” NCLI’s agenda, like those of all leftwing environmental groups, is anti-business and anti-industry. The organization is a collection of environmental alarmists who base their anti-business, anti-industry agenda on false assumptions and inaccurate science.
The curriculum Maryland adopted at the urging of groups such as NCLI requires students to “explain how human impacts threaten current global stability and, if not addressed, will irreversibly affect earth’s (sic) systems.” Notice that the curriculum does not instruct students to explain why they believe or do not believe—on the basis of competent research—that human impacts threaten current global stability. Rather, students are required to accept the false contention as a fact. Of course to do otherwise would be teaching instead of indoctrinating, and heaven forbid that a student in Maryland be given an opportunity to actually conduct research, study the data, think critically, and draw conclusions. Let this be done and students might begin to ask inconvenient questions.
The centerpiece of the Maryland curriculum and a major tenet of groups such as the NCLI is the misnamed concept of environmental justice. The curriculum instructs students to identify a local example of an environmental issue such as the location of a facility that is potentially hazardous to health in a neighborhood. Writing in The Washington Times, Matthew Melchiorre had this to say about the concept: “Unfortunately, advocates of ‘environmental justice’ usually end up harming those they claim to help. That’s what happened in Convent, La., a low-income, largely black community. Local residents and the NAACP welcomed the construction of a plastics factory that would have brought more than 2,000 well-paying jobs to the area, but the Sierra Club and Greenpeace—raising fears of dioxin pollution falling disproportionately on blacks—lobbied against it. Although the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality debunked the dioxin-poisoning fears, the EPA denied the company the necessary permit for constructing the facility.”
The Sierra Club won, Greenpeace won, the bureaucrats in the EPA won, but 2,000 low-income black citizens who needed well-paying jobs lost. Yet, in a Maryland classroom, students will be taught that this and other such outrages are examples of ‘environmental justice.’ What may be even worse than the environmental indoctrination taking place in the classroom is the time and attention it takes away from teaching what students really need to be learning. While wasting their time being indoctrinated, Maryland’s students are not engaged in learning real subjects such as math, science, reading, writing, and non-distorted history. If students learn the basic skills taught in real courses, they will be able to develop into critical thinkers who can make up their own minds about such issues as global warming, population growth, and environmental justice. But, of course, that is exactly what the left fears most.