Thomas Sowell

Parents in Fairfax, Virginia, have succeeded in getting rid of one of the endless series of fad programs that distract American public schools from real education in real subjects. Like most fad programs, this one had a high-sounding name: The International Baccalaureate Curriculum.

It also has a left-wing hidden agenda, as so many other fad programs do. One of the program's supporters gushed that it teaches students "how to think globally" and "how to make us part of the world."

One of the parents critical of the program put it quite differently. She said it "promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism, and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty."

None of this is new. This kind of indoctrination has been going on for decades, and the kind of thinking behind it goes back a hundred years, when education guru John Dewey began promoting the idea that schools should be instruments of "social change."

By substituting back-door indoctrination in place of education, John Dewey has done more damage than anyone without an army.

What is new is that some parents are finally waking up and fighting back. They refuse to be conned by pious rhetoric or pacified by bumper stickers that say things like "My child was student of the month at Jordan Middle School" or even intimidated by the standard line, "You are the only one who has complained."

Education bureaucrats will use that line even if you are not even among the first 20 who have complained about some program or practice locally or among the first thousand nationally. There may be court cases all across the country over some program or practice, and they will still tell you that you are the only one who has complained.

While the parents in Fairfax have had the backbone to get this junk program thrown out of their school, largely because it displaced so much real education that their children would have trouble getting into quality colleges, the battle is still raging in nearby Reston, Virginia, where the education bureaucrats are determined to create a generation of internationalists.

"After all," a school spokesmen said, "it is our students who will change the world."

That the kinds of shallow, ill-educated and fad-ridden people who run our public schools should take it upon themselves to decide how the world needs changing is truly staggering. On the other hand, it has long been said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.


Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate