Schools' mission statements, student manuals and course descriptions are clotted with the vocabulary of "progressive" cant -- "diversity," "inclusion," "classism," "ethnocentrism," "racism," "sexism," "heterosexism," "ageism," "white privilege," "ableism," "contextualizes subjects," "cultural imperialism," "social identities and positionalities," "biopsychosocial" problems, "a just share of society's resources" and on and on. What goes on under the cover of this miasma of jargon? Just what the American Association of University Professors warned against in its 1915 "Declaration of Principles" -- teachers "indoctrinating" students.
In 2005, Emily Brooker, a social work student at Missouri State University, was enrolled in a class taught by a professor who advertised himself as a liberal and insisted that social work is a liberal profession. At first, a mandatory assignment for his class was to advocate homosexual foster homes and adoption, with all students required to sign an advocacy letter, on university stationery, to the state Legislature.
When Brooker objected on religious grounds, the project was made optional. But shortly before the final exam she was charged with a "Level 3," the most serious, violation of professional standards. In a two-and-a-half-hour hearing -- which she was forbidden to record and her parents were barred from attending -- the primary subject was her refusal to sign the letter. She was ordered to write a paper ("Written Response about My Awareness") explaining how she could "lessen the gap" between her ethics and those of the social work profession. When she sued the university, it dropped the charges and made financial and other restitution.
The NAS study says that at Rhode Island College's School of Social Work, a conservative student, William Felkner, received a failing grade in a course requiring students to lobby the state Legislature for a cause mandated by the department. The NAS study also reports that Sandra Fuiten abandoned her pursuit of a social work degree at the University of Illinois, Springfield, after the professor, in a course that required students to lobby the Legislature on behalf of positions prescribed by the professor, told her that it is impossible to be both a social worker and an opponent of abortion.
In the month since the NAS released its study, none of the schools covered by it has contested its findings. Because there might as well be signs on the doors of many schools of social work proclaiming "conservatives need not apply," two questions arise: Why are such schools of indoctrination permitted in institutions of higher education? And why are people of all political persuasions taxed to finance this propaganda?
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