Tuesday, October 16, 2007

College: Education or Indoctrination?

If you've been homeschooling for any length of time, you may have already noticed that the older people of your acquaintance tend to picture the public schools of today like those they went to, the ones they fondly remember.

But of course the public school of today is nothing like those of 50 or more years ago. So when they question you about why you would choose to homeschool and thus reject public school, you have to realize that they have the wrong picture in their heads of what you're rejecting.

The same could be said of parents like me who went to college. We often picture college the way it was when we were there. But like the public schools, today's college campuses have changed. Parents now spend tens of thousands of dollars to send their children to colleges where they'll come out with a degree, but not always an education; in many cases, what they absorb is more of a social indoctrination than a solid education.

Filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney recently created a documentary, "Indoctrinate U," about the extent to which colleges and universities now indoctrinate students by restricting opposing viewpoints. Here's the description from the Web site for the documentary:

Speech codes. Censorship. Enforced political conformity. Hostility to diversity of opinion. Sensitivity training. We usually associate such things with the worst excesses of fascism and communism, not with the American universities that nurtured the free speech movement. But American higher education bears a disturbing resemblance to the totalitarian societies that are anathema to our nation's ideal of liberty. Evan Coyne Maloney's documentary film, Indoctrinate U, reveals the breathtaking institutional intolerance you won't read about in the glossy marketing brochures of Harvard, Berkeley, Michigan, Yale, and hundreds of other American colleges and universities.

"When we think of going to college, we think of intellectual freedom. We imagine four years of exploring ideas through energetic, ongoing, critical thinking and debate," Maloney said. "But the reality is very far from the ideal. What most of us don't know is that American college students check their First Amendment rights and individual freedom at the door."

Hailed by the New York Sun as one of "America's most promising" documentary filmmakers, Maloney has assembled a scorching indictment of higher education in America today, one that should make students, parents, trustees, lawmakers, and concerned citizens sit up and take notice. The London Telegraph has called the long-awaited feature-length film "as slick and incisive as anything by Michael Moore."

This documentary sounds like worthwhile viewing for all homeschooling parents, and particularly those who are currently helping their college-bound teens choose a college or university. You can fill out a form on the site to request that the documentary be shown in your area. Screenings in some cities have already begun. Check here for the next scheduled screening.


Dana said...

I saw enough of that at my University and I graduated awhile ago.

Not that long ago, I guess, but not yesterday, either.

The one difference I see between sending the child off to college and lower grades is that at that point the student is an adult and the brain is pretty much developed. It seems to me (and I am speaking as a mother of young children!) that at some point if we haven't done our job as parents, it really doesn't matter where we send them.

I hope I am training my children well enough to meet with any challenges to their faith, whether in higher ed, the work place or whatever else may come up.

christinemm said...

Not only are the schools not what they were 50 years ago, they are not what they were in the 1980s. That was discussed on 20/20's documentary "Stupid in America" with John Stossel (check YouTube for free online viewings from your home computer) and also was mentioned by Bill and Melissa Gates on their 2 hour show with Oprah Winfrey in which they called for a re-do of the current school system as a whole (education reform).

Barbara Frank said...

Dana, I agree with you re: the preparation of our children. However, this is also an issue of time and money. When they’re indoctrinating (or attempting to indoctrinate) your child, they’re using up the time that is meant to be spent learning, i.e. the reason he/she is going to college. And when you and/or your child are spending $10-15-20,000 or more each year (after scholarships) on college, do you really want that money to be spent on the salaries of the indoctrinators?

Christinemm, I saw that documentary and it was very good. I didn't see the show with the Gates and Oprah. I'm with John Taylor Gatto: the system works the way it was intended to work. I just don't agree with those intentions!

Dana said...

I definitely agree with you there. When I went, it was for the piece of paper I needed in order to teach. A state school was the most cost-effective...and I was paying for it anyway (through tax dollars). : )

Lostcheerio said...

I still believe that college is what you make it, to some extent. Defying the system is part of the learning experience.

Barbara Frank said...

Dana, I also went to a state school, mostly because we couldn't afford private school. At that time (quite a while ago), I was exposed to a wide range of professorial viewpoints. Now, I'm not so sure it would be that way.

Lostcheerio, defying the system is apparently not necessary for those who agree with the professors...and with the restriction of free speech :0

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!