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We Have Not Served Our Students Well

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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17 Comments
College students at the University of Wisconsin stout hosting and Participating in a Black Lives Matter protest around the city

The tragic circumstances unfolding in Israel cannot be overstated.

Mankind has a long and often unpleasant history in which the innocent suffer under the tyranny of the worst of humanity – corruption, power, brutality, cruelty, meanness, and more.

A shocking but not unexpected reaction to these events has unfolded on college campuses.

The knee-jerk reaction of 31 Harvard student organizations unquestioningly sided with Hamas, despite evidence of human atrocities. Harvard was not alone. Across the country, students from higher education learning institutions, including Penn, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, City University of New York, Tufts, and Portland State University, to name a few, came out in unquestioned support of Hamas.

That college students would organize a protest to make their voices heard is to be expected. What is shocking is the content of these protests.

USA Today, reporting on these campus developments, stated, “It’s hard to wrap your mind around: The social justice warriors on college campuses around America have come out in support of terrorists who last weekend raped and murdered and beheaded innocent people (including children, women and the elderly) in Israel.” In another post at the University of Washington, students were chanting, “There is only one solution. Intifada Revolution,” perhaps not fully recognizing or understanding the meaning and force of those words as calling for genocide against Jews.

Part of the shock associated with this student response is the apparent inability to think critically about a very complex circumstance with a very long history. In a reductionist approach, there must be an unquestioned binary of “good guys” versus “bad guys.” In tribalist rhetoric, atrocities committed by “our side” must be overlooked.

This binary perspective is in complete conflict with other cultural developments in which these same individuals insist that the issues are complex and nuanced.

For many years, people have been making observations and writing about the liberal indoctrination of college students by socialist progressives infiltrating campuses. Newsweek reported, “Dissent from, or even a lack of enthusiasm for, woke ideology is no longer tolerated on campus.” The Hoover Institution reported, “The politicization of higher education by activist professors and compliant university administrators deprives students of the opportunity to acquire knowledge and refine their minds.”

While the developments on college campuses are concerning, in and of itself, it does not tell the whole story.

How is it that bright-eyed, anxious, and aspiring freshmen arrive on campus so vulnerable to these progressive ideologies? What, if any, preparation in their secondary high school experience prepared them with critical thinking skills to be able to objectively evaluate these global developments?

The circumstantial evidence seems strong. It is unlikely that these students only started their journey – or slide – to an inability to think critically when they arrived on campus. That process began well before socialist, progressive professors began cultivating their liberal ideology. A recent Education Week article titled “Students Are Easily Duped Online. We Can Teach Them Better” touches on this subject.

It is quite possible that these students missed something substantive before they arrived at college – critical thinking skills. Either that or the same inculcation of progressive ideology affecting them once they reached college was initiated before they ever arrived. Canary Mission, a group that tracks “people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel, and Jews” across the political spectrum, reported that “… 38 percent of the kinds of people who once marched around campus chanting about decolonization go on to teaching careers.”

In either case, we have not served these students well.

We have not served them well if their post-secondary college experience narrows their worldview and makes them see atrocities of rape, murder, and beheading of children, women, and the elderly as acceptable under any circumstances. We have not served them well when all they have is a post-modern perspective that there is no absolute truth and that even rape, murder, and beheading have a place in society. We have not served them well if we have not equipped them to help, serve, and love others, even those with whom they do not agree and may even vehemently disagree.

Secondary and post-secondary education has lost its way when it narrows students’ world by teaching them what to think rather than how to think.

Educators should reflect on the role they may have played in bringing students to a place where human atrocities do not evoke horror.

The unsettling response of students from across the country to the unfolding events in the Middle East shows that, for too long, this has been the case. We have not served our students or our country well.

Frank Edelblut is Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education.

Reprinted with Permission from DC Journal – By Frank Edelblut

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Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
5 months ago

Very important comment you wrote Mr.Edelblut , this topic , I would venture to describe as something to do with a matter of detachment from the accepted set of moral principles found in society — however the word vehemence comes into the picture with this reaction to the war crimes that took place in Israel recently by Hamas. As in other strategies ,in other circumstances involving the defense of good from the attacks by evil , the principles of Honor,Honesty,Integrity, Courage and Loyalty will be of benefit when those qualities are a fixed part of the mindset and the spirit of the good, civilized people — everywhere, not just in this Country. Praise for your truthful writing ,Well Done ! Frank. In the spirit of respect for the ideals of Faith ,Family and Freedom ; for the Declaration of Independence ; for an appreciation of what Joy can and should mean to people who value the idea of Liberty and who respect Truth . Let the will of God be understood , and Let Liberty be the watchword. Note : A word in part serious, in part with a bit of humor too — regarding any errors that may found in spelling, or words not in their proper place — it has been happening frequently recently. I am 73, am still designing and making tools , work that I started in the 1970’s that requires use of spherical trigonometry ,the calculus of related rates , work on navigation instruments, microscope systems, And I often walk approximently five miles ,a few times per week ( no carbon my life ) In the winter I can still shovel about 3,000 square feet of snow — but using the mobile phone / internet stuff is getting to be very difficult . It could be that the gears just don’t mesh — but I am not a complainer and am determined to not lose my sense of humor over this stuff. Example of what I am talking about — just writing this comment took about 25 minutes — it involved about two dozen corrections to spelling — that are caused by that Blue Dot spell check – Whatever it is system . O. K. , thought this may help others that may feel the same way about technology — out of control — at times . Courage !

Linda
Linda
5 months ago

Children are the FUTURE of the world…TODAY’S CHILDREN’S are tomorrow ADULT SOCIETY. THAT’S why it’s important to plant the seed when young and also why it’s important for the young to receive love and guidance..it starts at home long before school age..

Marshall
Marshall
5 months ago

It’s sad when this is what are children are being taught in school. Stop wondering why our country is in turmoil, because most of the younger generation is being led down the wrong path and one day it might bite them in the ass.

Smike
Smike
5 months ago

I guess if you go to college on a student loan or government scholarship you have time to be an activist and get involved in campus politics and world events. I paid for my education, ADN, BSN and MSN. I didn’t have time to be an activist. I felt college was a challenge in itself. I wanted those degrees to make something of myself, to maybe have a home and family someday. At some point these kids have to make a choice, do I rally around with the cool radical groups and expect to have my loans forgiven or do I take my education seriously to be able to get a real job, with a career and future. Obviously, since they’re not paying nor expect to pay they don’t care about their education – it was never a priority anyway.

David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

The result of democrats running and ruining the education of our kids.
Eliminate the Dept. of DUHMACATION.

John
John
5 months ago

Yes Sir, this is the costly expense Daddy’s and Mommies are paying big bucks for. A degree in ignorance and anti-American culture. I hope their good with that because the globalist elites are .

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

The hardest part of this is the fact that actually pay institutions to teach this philosophy, not unlikethe other unnatural issues

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