Thomas Sowell

WHAT would you do if you had just three days to live?

That was the question for an essay-writing assignment in an elementary school in Menlo Park, California. One 11-year-old boy apparently felt that he had some scores to settle, for he wrote about people he would kill during those hypothetical three days. He was then arrested and taken into custody.

The threat of violence is itself a crime but, even for a hardened adult criminal, this situation could be considered "entrapment" -- the authorities' leading someone to commit a crime that otherwise might never have taken place. Locking up this student is part of a whole mindset about "prevention" -- the notion that we can foresee and forestall school violence. This conceit has been spread throughout the media and academia by shrinks, despite a lack of any hard evidence that they can actually do it, as distinguished from talking a great game.

Indeed, there is considerable hard evidence that they cannot do any such thing, for some of the young killers who have opened fire in various schools had been given a clean bill of health by shrinks before unleashing lethal violence against those around them.

Leaving the legal issue aside, what was this teacher doing giving such an assignment?

Unfortunately, she was doing what all too many teachers in schools across the country are doing -- playing games with children's minds, instead of educating them. Nor are these mere aberrations of particular teachers. There are whole mind-game programs mass produced and mass marketed coast to coast.

Largely unknown to the public, the whole notion of education has been radically transformed over the years, so that it no longer means conveying the accumulated knowledge and understanding of a civilization, but shaping children's psyches and indoctrinating their minds with politically correct ideologies.

Not only are there individual education gurus and ideological movements which promote the intrusion of such activities into the schools, the educators themselves are apostles of this new mission and the nationwide teachers' union -- the National Education Association -- is pushing the same agenda.

The February issue of "NEA Today," the union's own publication, featured an Oregon teacher who created "a social justice curriculum" that teaches her predominantly minority students to focus on how "life is pretty unfair" and how "oppressed peoples" have been treated. She is not only a teacher but also one of the education gurus, since she has written a book titled "Reading, Writing and Rising Up."

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate