ACADEMIC FREEDOM = ACADEMIC STUPIDITY
By Erica Carle
September 3, 2002
How would you like it if there were one big grocery chain in your town where you were compelled to shop whether or not you liked the types of food sold; whether or not you were able to digest the foods; whether or not the food was nourishing and of good quality; whether or not harmful additives or poisons were added; whether or not the hands of the clerks were dirty or their bodies carried communicable diseases; whether or not the manager intended to do you harm, and so stated publicly; whether or not members of your family were insulted whenever they asked for better quality; whether or not you were overcharged on nearly everything you bought; whether or not you were forced to buy untested and unwanted products? Would you call such a situation “economic freedom?” I think not. Would you sympathize with those clerks and managers of the store who shouted, “I demand economic freedom,” every time their business policies were questioned? I think not.
Why then, should anybody of intelligence sympathize when a tax-supported educator shouts, “I demand academic freedom!”? Should an educator be accountable to no one--not even those who pay for his services? Should an educator be allowed to palm off any type merchandise even if the customer specifically states he wants nothing but high quality goods? The dispensers of food for the body have an obligation to supply customers with good quality products, honest prices and courteous service. If they do not, they lose business because people refuse to buy; or if the offenses are sufficiently grave the grocers may be fined or reprimanded by the courts.
Tax-supported schools are monopolistic education stores. They should have standards as high, or higher, than the stores which sell food for the body. Their obligation is even greater because of the monopoly. The mind is every bit as important as the body. It can be undernourished, crippled, distorted, seduced, corrupted, and even destroyed by wrong teachings and by deceit in teaching.
Education is one of the most important and sensitive responsibilities in any society. Teachers and curriculum designers who, themselves, are not sufficiently educated to recognize and seek quality are unfit for the responsibilities and demands of their positions. To use the term, ‘academic freedom’ when speaking of the education of children and young adults in tax-supported schools is utter nonsense. Public schools were set up to serve citizens of many national origins, diverse backgrounds, religions, and means. The only way tax-supported schools can possibly function in an orderly and useful fashion is if the schools teach only quality, and only subjects which are universally regarded as valuable by informed people of good character.
Opinion on social issues is of no importance in elementary and secondary education. Education based on opinion cannot legitimately be called education. What is not definitely known cannot be taught. The schools, if they are to continue to function will have to confine their subject matter to those things which are universally acceptable and desired. There should be no necessity for educational turmoil. If subject matter is disputed by informed and educated people of good conscience it cannot be accepted as knowledge. It should therefore not be sold to others, and especially not forced on others, or taught with money forcibly extracted. To sell unconfirmed opinions as fact is like selling untested unfunctioning appliances. You just don’t sell the product until you know it functions.
Anyone who doubts the value of reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, mathematics, physical sciences, history, geography, civics, art, music, the classics, ancient and modern languages among other worthwhile and valuable areas of instruction--while he is free to speak his mind to anyone who will listen--is certainly not well enough informed to be entrusted with the responsibility of teaching or preparing a curriculum for others. No matter how long he has been schooled and how many social science degrees he claims, he should certainly not be considered worthy of employment in schools for which people are forced to pay.
Anyone who believes it is proper to turn children against their parents; to mentally seduce young children; to use young children for political purposes; to distort the religion and morals of young children is not a supporter of academic freedom, but a promoter of academic vandalism. Teachers who spend hours in the classroom in fruitless discussions about sociological opinions and who attempt to destroy the individuality of youngsters and force them to submit their minds to group thought; anyone who teaches in such a way as to deprive children of the training which leads to self discipline and personal integrity is not a supporter of academic freedom, but a promoter of academic stupidity. To claim that his opinion should be listened to and that his ignorance should be respected is no less a crime against human intelligence than it would be a crime against physical health to put known poisoners, disease carriers, garbage peddlers and short changers in charge of dispensing food for our bodies.
Enough of this nonsense about academic freedom for nitwits. What we want is academic excellence. The first step toward achieving it is to discover and stop those who have been promoting and profiting from cheating our children out of knowledge and filling them with garbage, corruption, hatred, conceit and contempt for our rich historical heritage.
© 2002 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
Editors Note: The reason we are loosing the battle is because people of faith in public service compromise on principles for social harmony. In other words, looking for approval and acceptance from the world.
Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication. Her books are available through Education Service Council, P. O. Box 271, Elm Grove, Wisconsin 53122.
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