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What is the difference between an education and indoctrination? If you had to sum it up in a few words, or break it down to a single concept, what would you come up with?

The ability to question. In a nutshell, that’s it. There are better and worse educations, but ultimately, it comes down to this: if you can question an idea, if you’re allowed to entertain doubts and give voice to alternate, fact based ideas, during your learning, that’s education. If you can’t question a concept for fear of being expelled, if you are taught to believe without evidence rather than deduce from evidence, you are being indoctrinated.

Religious “education” is not education. It is indoctrination. There are some obvious examples of this. One need only to look to the rules and mission statements of Christian universities to see that even in higher education indoctrination is the byword; and that’s not even touching the racist (remember how Bob Jones students weren’t allowed to date people of a different race until after the 2000 election, when it was a headline grabber after a stop by George W. Bush?) and misogynist (there’s one right here in WI, a Baptist school, that takes rape culture and victim blaming to depths not attained in centuries) depravity of some of these “universities”. And that’s for universities. Accredited universities. Grade schools and highschools are even more pathetic. We all remember, no doubt, the “dinosaurs roamed the earth a few thousand years ago” fourth grade quiz that recently made headlines. There’s the sad example of Louisiana’s own funding of religious schools to go by, where kids are taught, among other things, that the Loch Ness monster is real and debunks evolution and that dinosaurs are still alive. And then there’s hundreds of voucher schools already teaching “creationism” (and all that that entails).

Not only are these kids taught lies, they’re not taught them as science (where new and better data changes our working knowledge) but as religious truth (which is beyond questioning). They are taught that fact is lie, lie is fact, and to question is to defy Jesus (and to defy Jesus is to burn forever and ever, amen). This is not education. This is indoctrination, pure and simple. (Personally, I don’t even think this should be legal, to willfully lie and mislead kids and call it “science”.) This is a huge disservice to these young people, and to society as a whole. But, of course, to implement any sort of standards for religious schools would be trampling over parent’s rights to mindf*ck their kids. So we can’t go there.
And, lo and behold, Wisconsin’s beloved governor wants to do what? Send oodles more money each year to private and religious schools. That was the plan, and Walker got his way, along with tax credits for those higher earners not eligible for the voucher. Now, there are a lot good reasons why vouchers are a bad idea. First of all, unless the voucher covers the entire cost of private tuition, it is unlikely to benefit the poor (if you’re making minimum wage and have a kid or two, additional thousands of dollars a year for a private education isn’t happening). It’s not just that, though. By taking money from public education to give to private schools, your public school cannot afford to provide as robust an education as it used to; which means that all the affected, less wealthy kids are now receiving a worse education, because the government is sending money that used to go to that school to subsidize a wealthier kid’s education.
Now, as it stands in the current proposal, the cut off is “185 percent of poverty, or about $43,000 for a family of four,” with an enrollment cap of 500 this year and 1,000 a year after that. Senator Dale Schultz (R) points out, however, that “the plan puts the state on a ‘dangerous path’ toward creating a parallel school system that will suck money away from public schools” because:

“We are only one budget away from opening the flood gates," Schultz said, referring to the likelihood that enrollment caps would be loosened. "It's grown every single budget. By going statewide you sort of legitimize the concept."

If the voucher cannot reasonably be expected to cover a family’s costs, how much use is the 185% of poverty cut off going to be? And if it’s not useful, how soon before we “have” to raise or eliminate it, along with dropping enrollment caps? The pattern is established – more and more toward vouchers, away from our public schools. And proponents of the issue are demanding more (proponents who, by the by, donated hefty sums to Walker’s campaign).

And, beyond all that, why the hell are we giving tax payer money to schools over which we “can’t” exercise any control, and which have no legal obligation to teach facts; schools that instead have a terrible reputation for indoctrination rather than education?

From any light, this is a bad idea. It will not help the purported audience, it will allow taxpayer money to be funneled to indoctrination mills rather than centers of education, and it will bring us one step closer to a system of education that leaves the poor and lower middle class in the dust.

Originally posted:

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Comment Preferences

  •  And oh yeah, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shippo1776, Rachel191, exterris

    through vouchers and tax expenditures, Wisconsinites' taxes are being used to fund religious indoctrination that many taxpayers would certainly choose not to fund.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 07:25:33 PM PDT

  •  Walker's hometown protests charter schools (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel191, exterris, Fishtroller01

    The school board of Scott Walker's hometown of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin criticizing a proposed charter school in Wauwatosa that would be sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee if the Wisconsin state budget is passed in its current form:

    Now officials from the Wauwatosa School District are protesting the maneuver, saying that an independent charter school in the city could directly compete with them for students and, by extension, state aid money.

    "This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is the state university system moving in on local operations of a public school district," said Mike Meier, Wauwatosa School Board president. "To have them using taxpayer money and tuition money to come into Wauwatosa and compete with us for students? We don’t agree with it."

    The Wauwatosa School Board is scheduled to vote Monday night on a resolution that would ask Gov. Scott Walker to veto the provision in the budget that would expand UWM’s chartering authority.

    If the budget measure passes, it could set the stage for more independent charters to move into districts’ backyards in the Milwaukee County suburbs and and in adjacent counties.

    Here's the link to the full article. I'll just say this...if Walker doesn't use his line-item veto to remove the UW-Milwaukee charter school expansion from the state budget, he's lost his hometown.

    "It's not enough to be in the majority, you have to stand for something." -Russ Feingold

    by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:45:51 PM PDT

    •  very interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks for the info, very interesting stuff.

    •  Why will voters not like this? (0+ / 0-)
      "...protesting the maneuver, saying that an independent charter school in the city could directly compete with them for students.."
      If families are unhappy with the current schools and will willingly move their kids to the charter, don't you think they would be happy to have that choice?

      (I am not hijacking this into a discussion of the educational pro/cons of Charters. I am just discussing the politics).

      Charter schools are, by design, political winners. They only survive if local families like them. And these families demonstrate their preference with an incredibly strong commitment -- they give the charter school their children.

      Do you really think that a family will trust a school with their child, but not with their political support?

      By opposing charters, we take a big political risk. We appease a group (teachers and the Entrenched Educational Establishment) that has little choice but to support us and we alienate a faction (dissatisfied parents) that will turn against us the moment they feel it will help their kids succeed.

      I do not know Wisconsin politics, but I know that one does not win two statewide elections by being a total idiot. The Republicans may know more about what families want than we think they do.

  •  REAl Goals (0+ / 0-)

    Walker is a pay for play guy. If torturers donate money to his campaign secretly (might be bad press) he will see to it they get tax dollars. Much of the problem Walker has with education is local control. School boards can't all be bought so switch control to the midnight law firm and rubber stampers in his party so he can do the favor of throwing tax dollars at corporations that own his sorry ass.

    His first moves made it nearly impossible for local people to have the best quality public school with a good curriculum that goes beyond high stakes testing, additional help for the poor, disabled, or troubled children, really good, well trained, and experienced teachers in sufficient numbers. Next all the people of means will send their kids to a Walker supporting corporate school heavily funded by the taxpayers with direct subsidy and massive personal tax deductions for tuition and the public schools will be minimal job training hell holes that limit all education to what is needed to make corporate robots with extremely limited options for improvement. Then the public schools will suck compared to the privatized schools and will make Walker's lies come true and justify even more corrupt destruction of public education. Look out Mississippi and Louisiana Wisconsin is gonna catch you in the race to the bottom.

  •  Does WI have anything in its (0+ / 0-)

    state Constitution similar to a Blaine Amendment that would clearly prohibit tax dollars from flowing to religious schools?

  •  The "problem" of... (0+ / 0-)

    ...religious schools is very easy to solve.

    Simply require all kids to take Math, Reading, History, and (ahem) Science tests before advancing a grade.

    We are paying these schools tax money to educate kids. The taxpayers have a right to verify that the money is being well-spent.

    Of course, this is the dreaded "high-stakes testing" that scares the bejeezus out of the Entrenched Educational Establishment. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

    •  It's Not a Bug . . . It's a Feature (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The problem is not "easy to solve" when the Republican legislature and Governor do not believe there is anything that needs to be "solved".

      The Republicans have stated that they oppose regulation of religious schools because that violates the "separation of church and state".  And, for the hell of it, they include all private schools whether they claim to be "religious" or not:

      So, these taxpayer-funded private schools are not required to have licensed teachers.

      These taxpayer-funded private schools do not have to file their curricula with the state.

      These taxpayer-funded private schools do not have to perform criminal background checks on their employees or owners.

      These taxpayer-funded private school students do not have to be subjected to uniform testing that would aid in evaluating performance in comparison to the public schools.  

      As far as the Republicans are concerned, the "problem" is Democrats and their call for accountability.

      P.S. My understanding is that Wisconsin's "Entrenched Educational Establishment" is in favor of these taxpayer-funded private schools being subject to the same testing requirements that the public schools are required by law to adhere to.

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