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Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 1999 /29 Elul, 5759

Thomas Sowell

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Goodbye to Sara and Benjamin? -- RECENTLY A COUPLE of dear friends visited us, bringing with them their six-year-old twins, Sara and Benjamin. These are some of the loveliest children you could meet -- not just in appearance, but in their behavior.

They are the kinds of kids you can see in Norman Rockwell paintings, but less and less in the real world.

Now Sara and Benjamin are going off to public school and it is painful to imagine what they might be like a year from now. Most people are unaware how much time and effort the public schools -- and some private schools -- are putting into undermining the values and understanding that children were taught by their parents and re-orienting them toward the avant-garde vision of the world that is fashionable in the educational establishment.

Today's educators believe it is their job to introduce children like Sara and Benjamin to sex when and in whatever manner they see fit, regardless of what the children's parents might think. Raw movies of both heterosexuals and homosexuals in action are shown in elementary schools.

Weaning children away from their parents' influence in general is a high priority in many schools. Children sit in what is called a "magic circle" and talk about all sorts of personal things, with the rule being that they are not to repeat any of these things to anyone outside this magic circle.

Sometimes they are explicitly told not to repeat what is said to their parents.

Some handbooks for teachers warn against letting parents know the specifics of what is being done and provide strategies for side-stepping parental questions and concerns. Glowing generalities and high-sounding names like "gifted and talented" programs conceal what are nothing more than brainwashing operations to convert the children from their parents' values to the values preferred by educational gurus.

Right and wrong are among the earliest targets of these programs. "There is no 'right' way or 'right' age to have life experiences," one widely used textbook says. Another textbook tells children that they may listen to their parents "if you are interested in their ideas." But, if there is a difference of opinion, parent and child alike should see the other's point of view "as different, not wrong."

Sara and Benjamin are only six years old and are going into the first grade. Will any of this apply to them? Yes. There is a textbook designed for children ranging from pre-school to the third grade, which tells children about their rights and about asserting those rights to parents. Whenever "things happen you don't like," you have "the right to be angry without being afraid of being punished" it says.

In other words, don't take any guff off mommy and daddy. Who are they? As another textbook says, parents are just "ordinary people with faults and weaknesses and insecurities and problems just like everyone else." In many of the textbooks, movies and other material used in schools, parents are depicted as old-fashioned people who are out of touch and full of hang-ups.

What these smug underminers of parents fail to understand is that the relationship of a child to his or her parents is the most extraordinary relationship anyone is likely to have with another human being. No one else is likely to sacrifice so much for another person's well-being. If the avant-garde ideas taught to children in schools blow up in their faces, it is the parents who will be left to pick up the pieces, not the glib gurus.

Most of the classroom teachers who carry out such educational fashions and fetishes have no idea where they originated or what their underlying purpose is. In reality, many of the techniques and strategies used to break down the child's values, personality and modesty are straight out of totalitarian brainwashing practices from the days of Stalin and Mao.

That is the origin, for example, of the personal journals that children are required to keep in schools all across the United States. These journals are not educational. Gross mistakes in spelling, grammar and usage are ignored, not corrected. These journals are gateways to the psyche and the first step in manipulating little minds.

As our friends departed and went off to enroll their children in the public schools, I could not help wondering if I had seen Sara and Benjamin for the last time. Would they still be the same sweet children after they have been used as guinea pigs by those who claim to be trying to educate them?


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©1999, Creators Syndicate