Why are schools brainwashing our children?

The University of Ottawa faculty of education prepares its teachers-in-training to tackle some of those controversial topics head-on. Several lesson plans written by its students are made available for teachers on its Developing a Global Perspective for Educators website. For instance, in a Grade 1 science lesson, students contemplate what will happen to the Earth if pollution continues. In a cross-curricular lesson plan about the effects of mining coltan (a precious metal) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Grade 4s watch a video that includes explicit shots of dead gorillas. They then create statements for their local news about how mining hurts the animals. In Grade 5, they learn how their Playstations and iPods may contain coltan and how mining it contributes to the creation of child soldiers. A social-studies lesson requires Grade 6 students to analyze the unfairness of global trade, and evaluate the roles of the World Trade Organization and NAFTA.

Middle-school teacher David Stocker has heard those arguments. He is the author of the textbook Math That Matters: A Teacher Resource for Linking Math and Social Justice, for Grades 6 to 9, which ups the political ante with math problems related to such issues as workers’ rights, racial profiling and homophobia. He’s also no stranger to controversy—he and his wife made international headlines last year after announcing they intended to raise their third child, Storm, genderless.

Abraham Lincoln a déjà déclaré: « the philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next ». On n’est pas sorti du bois…