Thursday, September 28, 2006

Liberal Education

If there is anything positive about the Journal Times Newspapers in Education series, it is that we can catch a glimpse of the not-so-subtle efforts to indoctrinate our children. Todays focus on "Women in Space", page 8, section B, is a case in point.

The propaganda piece started with the story of pioneering women astronauts who were not chosen for the first space missions. According to the testimony of one astronaut, women were not given the same opportunity as the male astronauts, and astronauts John Glenn reportedly "told Congress that NASA was simply following the country's "social order" of the time."

Local astronaut Laurel Clark "endured and overcame gender barriers" such as Navy rules which barred women from quarters aboard Naval submarines." She also was slighted when upon being "named to the STS-107 Space Shuttle mission, a NASA officer initially assumed that they were referring to her husband, Jonathon, who was also a Naval officer."

Now, please forgive my cynicism, but it appears that the educational message here is not so much to celebrate the accomplishments of these truly extraordinary women, but to advance a political cause. Children are being swayed to challenge our countries sexist male dominated "social order."

If the purpose of this article was to inspire children to become astronauts, the story would have been written quite differently. Instead of focussing on gender discrimination, the article might have told stories of sacrifice, detirmination, supportive families etc... No doubt these women gave up many a night of drunken revelry, instead hunched over a physics textbook until the early morning hours. But that story wasn't told.

The purpose of this article, and public education in general, is not to prepare students to become astronauts, but to prepare them to become liberal activists.

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