Education vs. indoctrination
I read Dr. Clifton Potter's letter, "Teachers are guardians of education," (The News & Advance, Oct. 26).
While I respect his half-a-century-plus experience as a tenured professor, and history department chair, his letter displayed exactly what students' parents rebel against. Education has become an exercise in brainwashing and indoctrination, particularly at the secondary level.
The politicization of education is readily apparent, especially, as a member of the Amherst County School Board, Abby Thompson, stated ("School officials tackling rise in behavior issues," The News & Advance, Oct. 24), "They're being taught in our schools to protest, they are being taught in our schools that everything they have known is wrong..."
I am not surprised Standards of Learning scores and graduation rates in this state are generally abysmal, especially when school administrators at all levels actively work against teachers not only by restricting their freedom of instruction in classrooms, but also their ability to maintain good order and discipline in schools.
Dr. Potter is mostly correct in his definition of parents' role in education, except that parents have a bounden duty to intervene when education becomes an exercise in social engineering. Many have... by removing their children from public schools and enrolling them in private schools or home schooling.
Confrontations at school board meetings accomplish nothing, especially when, as it appears, no one is listening. School board members are elected, in part, to give all the voting public, especially parents, some say in the local administration of public schools. These people are responsible to the electorate, regardless of what the Virginia Department of Education "mandates." It's much like walking the razor's edge, but that comes with the job.
Insofar as learning, that begins the moment the child is born, and only ends at death. Formal education is but one side of a multifaceted stone. The idea is to polish that stone to its most brilliant, not to alter its very nature.
STEPHEN CHRISTOPHER "CHRIS" KELLY