Glenn Beck released a new book last week on everything that is supposedly wrong with education in America. The title, Conform: Exposing the Truth about Common Core and Public Education, gives most of it away.
Most people know Glenn Beck from his previous stint on Fox News or from the various media outlets associated with his network, The Blaze. His co-author Kyle Olson, on the other hand, appears to be up-and-coming in the right-wing media sphere. Currently, he is the publisher, founder, and CEO of EAGnews.org, a "news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary." He is also a contributor to Townhall, and just last week launched a new conservative website called Progressives Today with "Dumbest Man on the Internet" Jim Hoft.
In Conform, Beck and Olson take on everything from teachers unions' to the Common Core State Standards to school lunches to abortion in a book characterized by anecdotal evidence, sweeping generalizations, and quotes from anonymous bloggers. The focus of their ire is what they call the "controllists," defined as "the teachers' unions and their progressive friends in the media and the state legislatures." In 222 pages, Beck and Olson lob a number of outlandish attacks against the various evils they perceive in public education, relying on such conservative actors as Michelle Malkin, the Heritage Foundation, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and the Heartland Institute to do so.
Here are the eight most ridiculous attacks from Conform:
1. Longer School Days Help Teachers Encourage "Teen Sexual Activity."
Beck and Olson seem convinced that teachers are not only "promot[ing] sexual activity among children," but would use longer school days to "encourage teen sexual activity," among other radical ideas (emphasis added):
Educators back then knew that some parents were too shy or awkward to broach the subject, so schools made sure kids would have basic knowledge to build on as they grew and developed their own points of view.
Today the trend seems to be to promote sexual activity among children, rather than gradually preparing kids for the facts of adult life.
There's also the issue of what our kids would learn with even more hours at school. Many of these educators would relish the opportunity to spend more time feeding students a steady stream of radical, anti-American political ideas, encouraging teen sexual activity, and deemphasizing the importance of traditional values and religion. [Conform, pgs. 126 & 138]
From the January 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Only a couple of weeks after professional fabulist Andrew Breitbart kicked off his campaign to "go after the teachers," things are getting silly.
Today, Kyle Olson -- head of something called the Education Action Group Foundation -- published a video on Big Government which he claimed exposed a group of socialist school teachers plotting how best to "subtly fill [young minds] with Marxist and radical ideas."
Here's one of the "radicals" in the video laying out their spooky brainwaishing plot:
But I do think that wherever you possibly can, part of it is actually just allowing for room for critical thought in the classroom and allowing for students to think for themselves, talk about issues wherever possible, to bring in history and you know, radicals from the past and fight for that kind of thing. And I think there is space to do that.
So in Olson's view, "allowing for room for critical thought in the classroom" and "allowing for students to think for themselves" is indoctrination.
Breitbart and his followers can claim that his anti-teacher campaign is all about battling indoctrination, but really it's about the opposite. No wonder Olson finds "allowing for room for critical thought" to be such a malevolent concept. Critical thought demands hearing out opposing views, and opposing views are one thing Big Government would apparently prefer to keep out of American classrooms.
So who's pro-indoctrinating children again? The socialist who's for "allowing for students to think for themselves [and] to talk about issues," or the conservative who seems to think being a socialist is an automatic disqualification for teaching any subject?