(Bernard Schriver) – One of the most serious problems impacting the ultimate fate of our Constitutional Republic is the fact that many of the folks charged with the civics/citizenship education of our young people are themselves not educationally qualified to properly prepare their students to assume their responsibilities of citizenship in a manner consistent with the principles, values & vision of our Nation’s Founders.
Why is this so?
In an article published in 1952, Doctor Ludwig von Mises, one of the intellectual giants of the 20th Century and the premier advocate of the free-market economic philosophy (the Austrian School), wrote the following: “The pseudo-liberals monopolize the teaching jobs at many universities. Only men who agree with them are appointed as teachers and instructors of the social sciences, and only textbooks supporting their ideas are used.”
Logic and common sense alike tell us that those college graduates who go on to teach the social sciences in our high schools, for say 25-40 years, teach THEIR students year after year what they were taught by their “progressive” professors same textbooks containing the very same leftist perspective.
I had a direct-experience confirmation of this reality recently when I asked a very popular local high school teacher if the textbook he uses in the economics courses he teaches explains the “Austrian School” of economics and references Ludwig von Mises?
The teacher frowned deeply and replied: “Who is Ludwig von Mises?” “What is the ‘Austrian School’ of economics?”
He had never heard of either.
When I asked him if his course textbook mentioned John Maynard Keynes and explained the “Keynesian School” of economics, his frown disappeared and was replaced by a wide smile of instant recognition.
“Of course”, he exclaimed.
I submit that this would be the response of the overwhelming majority of our high school social studies teachers, if they were asked the same questions I asked.
Let us suppose that a teacher is assigned to teach a course titled “Principals & Principles of Philosophy” using a textbook that covers Plato and his philosophy in great detail, but does NOT say one word about Aristotle and his philosophy – and the teacher has never heard of Aristotle, to boot.
Also, let us suppose that a teacher is assigned to teach an American literature course using a textbook that never mentions Mark Twain – and the teacher has never heard of Twain, to boot.
Finally, let us suppose that a teacher is assigned to teach an English literature course using a textbook that never mentions William Shakespeare – and the teacher has never heard of Shakespeare, to boot.
It is obvious that these three teachers would not be academically qualified (even though state-certified) to teach these courses.
Indeed, they (and the state authorities certifying them to do so) would all be guilty of flagrant examples of educational malpractice, in the very same way that the economics teacher mentioned earlier in this piece is not qualified and is guilty (along with the state agency certifying him to teach the course) of educational malpractice.
One of life’s truisms is that “we know what we know.” These well-meaning educators know what their leftist professors have taught them. What is problematic is that they do NOT know many things that they need to know in order to prepare their teenage students to gain an informed, balanced, and mature understanding of American citizenship as understood by the Founders of our Republic.
The fundamental question is this – can a society based on free-market / limited-government principles (the philosophy of individualism) survive in the long run if each rising generation is taught only the economic and political theories (the philosophy of collectivism) that systematically subvert the principles and values of the very economic system which makes possible the creation of the wealth without which the educational system could not exist – wealth that can never be produced under economic regimes based on those collectivist philosophies so strongly advocated by those “educators” guiding the civics/citizenship education of each rising American generation?
Only time will answer this question – but the signs are ominous, indeed!
Bernard Schriver is an Educational/Public Affairs Consultant providing curriculum advisory services to secondary level public, private, and parochial school personnel. His services are also available to home school parents and students. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.