When is school most pernicious?

When people talk about indoctrination in schools, they often mean college, but it’s clear to me that the key indoctrination has happened well before then.  Students arrive on campus as fully-formed Red Guard militants, and they police speech more zealously than the faculty, the latter living in fear of those they supposedly instruct.

When people talk about homeschooling, it is often in the context of grade school.  On the one hand, these are clearly the years when most adults know the material sufficiently well.  On the other hand, mastery of the material is not the main challenge to teaching.  Grade school students know less, are less self-motivated, have shorter attention spans; they are the most difficult to teach.  Grade school is also the optimal time to diagnose learning disabilities.  This is not an argument for public school, private school, or homeschooling, just an observation that the best choice for a given family in a given place will depend on which of the three can best handle these issues.

When does Leftist indoctrination primarily happen:  grade school, middle school (what was called “junior high” in my day), or high school?  On the one hand, you want to get them when they’re young, impressionable, and easy to control.  On the other hand, you have to teach at their level, so in grade school you can only give them your ideology at grade-level sophistication.  I’ve long thought the Church is at a huge disadvantage in that we only get to do religious education up till confirmation, meaning middle school.  Leftist indoctrination continues through graduate school, so it’s no wonder people come away with the idea that Christianity is intellectually a middle school-level belief system.  Also, which medium does most of the work:  school, entertainment, or family?  Someone really should research these issues.  My guess is that the sweet spot for ideological indoctrination is middle school to high school.  Identity formation, which is arguably more important, can happen much younger.  In this post, I focus on academics, which is presumably better at indoctrination than identity formation.

I hear high school students are protesting for gun control.  I have no opinion on gun control one way or the other, but I’m creeped out by the way Leftists mobilize adolescents.  At that age they should be students, not advocates; the two mindsets are inimical.  I believe high school is when this starts.  (Am I wrong?)  By college, they are certainly well trained.

Middle school and high school are also the least useful.  By this age, the decent to good students are self-motivated and would learn much faster on their own.  They would probably be better off being allowed to do so, engaging with the school only for final exams, band, and sports.  Mediocre students might perhaps benefit from occasionally visiting a tutor.  That leaves the bad students, who don’t want to learn and shouldn’t be forced to.

Not that I have a practical way to make it happen, but these would then be the ideal years to partially disengage from the school system.

5 Responses

  1. As a relatively recent product of public primary and secondary education and private postsecondary education, I can say with confidence it starts from the beginning and continues through the end. In elementary school I got a full-court press about smoking and various environmental issues. In junior high I had Social Studies and English teachers pushing various degrees and gradations of socialism that were generally unrelated to the day’s ostensible subject. In my particular high school things mostly cooled off with the exception of one long-term substitute Social Studies teacher who would go off on longwinded rants pushing anarcho-socialism a la mid-’30s Catalonia (he eventually got fired for sustained screaming at a girl to the point where she broke down crying and ran out of class to the nurse’s office). In college I took an intro-to-psych elective where the professor railed for a good half an hour during the first lecture about how Science(tm) had disproved the idea of souls and mocked a Pangloss-esque hypothetical interlocutor – as an engineering student I was sorely tempted to ask him what a Psychology professor would know about science, but by that point in my life I had developed just enough tact to keep my mouth shut.

    Good luck with your kids, Bonald. My wife is looking into Seton and a couple of other curriculum providers, though our oldest still has a little time before he needs any real schooling (and frankly, kids learn very little the first few years so even if we screw up he won’t be too far behind). I don’t think parochial school is in our reach financially if we ever want to buy a house. There are a couple of cooperatives in my area where people teach each other’s kids subjects where they have expertise, so when our children get old enough perhaps I’ll try to refresh my memory of integral calculus to the point where I can be of some help there, as in just a few years I have forgotten practically everything outside of FFTs and graphical convolution.

  2. — I hear high school students are protesting for gun control.–
    Who honestly in their right mind believes a couple of highschoolers are organizing all this out of their basements? They were hand picked by pernicious alphabet elements, trained to parrot lines on television and the rest is done by the fakenewsjewmedia.
    The clash between NRA and “europeanstylesocialists” is a racial conflict, a spiritual conflict, between goyim and Jews. A racial minority is seeking to seize power. Guns were up until now the sole space wherein the White man was still allowed to openly and proudly advance his own interests in and thus manifest his own identity and will to live.

    Now even people who don’t particularly care about guns are beginning to see the picture as they can’t stand to see the insolent mugs of these brats on a visceral gut level.

  3. In my experience as a high school teacher, and before that as a student, left-wing teachers are completely open about their beliefs. They will tell students what to believe, encourage them to join campaigns and write letters and go to marches for those causes, and even mock and belittle students who disagree.

    Conservative teachers are generally unwilling do do this. Knowing we are in the minority, we propose with our actions a truce of neutrality. I try to avoid telling my students anything about my beliefs. The closest I come to “brainwashing” is teaching formal logic (from which I hope they can derive solid beliefs). But it’s asymmetrical: the leftists will use tactics we are unwilling and unable to use. Conservative teachers usually know each other by their silence (and conservative students can identify us the same way) but liberal teachers and students (the great majority) take the silence for agreement.

    In this response I’ve left “conservative” vague: there’s no type of conservatism moderate enough to be considered socially acceptable in a school. So someone like me, a traditional Catholic with monarchist leanings, is no different from a socially liberal libertarian. If you aren’t a leftist, you are decidedly outside the norm in a school setting.

  4. Agree with this post. For example, when I entered college, most of the freshmen were already left-liberals. Of course, I did know students who started out conservative and became liberal over the course of their college years, but they were not the majority, and their conversions had a lot less to do with their professors than with their encounters with their fellow students. Of course, there’s also the easy sex, alcohol, and drugs that aid these conversions.

    In my own experience, one thing I have found interesting and depressing is the number of people who seem to have rejected conservatism and/or their faith after college. I know a number of people who made it through college with their virtue intact (and not because they were losers), only afterwards to succumb to cohabitation, no longer attending church, etc. It seems that if you don’t get married soon after college, the post-college environment among white collar professionals is perhaps even a more toxic sewer than college is: now you’ve added money and status (and perhaps more anonymity) to the mix, but without the countervailing responsibilities toward a wife and children.

  5. Ban school.

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