Let's start off with a few quotations, then a question. In reference to the president's State of the Union: "Sounds a lot like the things Adolf Hitler used to say." "Bush is threatening the whole planet." "(The) U.S. wants to keep the world divided." Then the speaker asks, "Who is probably the most violent nation on the planet?" and shouts, "The United States!"
What's the source of these statements? Were they made in the heat of a political campaign? Was it a yet-to-be captured leader of al-Qaida? Was it French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin? Any "yes" answer would miss the true source by a mile. All of those statements were made by Jay Bennish, a teacher at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo.
During this class session, Bennish peppered his 10th-grade geography class with other statements like: The United States has engaged in "7,000 terrorist attacks against Cuba." In his discussion of capitalism, he told his students, "Capitalism is at odds with humanity, at odds with caring and compassion and at odds with human rights."
Regardless of whether you're pro-Bush or anti-Bush, pro-American or anti-American, I'd like to know whether there's anyone who believes that the teacher's remarks were appropriate for any classroom setting, much less a high school geography class. It's clear the students aren't being taught geography. They're getting socialist lies and propaganda. According to one of the parents, on the first day of class, the teacher said Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto" was going to be a part of the curriculum.
This kind of indoctrination is by no means restricted to Overland High School. School teachers, at all grades, often use their classroom for environmental, anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-parent propaganda. Some get their students to write letters to political figures condemning public policy the teacher doesn't like. Thomas Sowell's "Inside American Education" documents numerous ways teachers attack parental authority. Teachers have asked third-graders, "How many of you ever wanted to beat up your parents?" In a high school health class, students were asked, "How many of you hate your parents?"
Public education propaganda is often a precursor for what youngsters might encounter in college. UCLA's Bruin Standard newspaper documents campus propaganda. Mary Corey, UCLA history professor, instructed her class, "Capitalism isn't a lie on purpose. It's just a lie," she continued, "(Capitalists) are swine. . . . They're bastard people." Professor Andrew Hewitt, chairman of UCLA's Department of Germanic Languages, told his class, "Bush is a moron, a simpleton and an idiot." His opinion of the rest of us: "American consumerism is a very unique thing; I don't think anyone else lusts after money in such a greedy fashion." Rod Swanson, economics professor, told his class, "The United States of America, backed by facts, is the greediest and most selfish country in the world." Terri Anderson, a sociology professor, assigned her class to go out cross-dressed in a public setting for four hours. Photos or videotape were required as proof of having completed the assignment.
The Bruin Alumni Association caused quite a stir when it offered to pay students for recordings of classroom proselytizing. The UCLA administration, wishing to conceal professorial misconduct, threatened legal action against the group. Some professors labeled the Bruin Alumni Association's actions as McCarthyism and attacks on academic freedom. These professors simply want a free hand to proselytize students.
Brainwashing and proselytization is by no means unique to UCLA. Taxpayers ought to de-fund, and donors should cut off contributions to colleges where administrators condone or support academic dishonesty. At the K-12 schools, parents should show up at schools, PTAs and board of education meetings demanding that teachers teach reading, writing and arithmetic and leave indoctrination to parents. The most promising tool in the fight against teacher proselytization is the micro-technology available that can expose the academic misconduct.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.