Response to Maclean's article: "Why are schools brainwashing our children?"

Paul Romani

Macleans: Why are schools brainwashing our children?

I’m standing at the check out in London Drugs (one of my least favourite places to be), and I glance across at the front cover of Maclean’s and immediate see the title “Why are schools brainwashing our children?”

Provocative titles like this evoke nothing but negative feelings. There are negative opinions everywhere, but one such as this doesn’t belong of the front cover of a magazine that is apparently held in high esteems by Canadians.

Having read through the ridiculously long article, these are my views:

Firstly, the title of this article is extremely misleading!
It clearly states that schools are brainwashing kids – as if this is wrong or unusual – but then goes on to preach that teachers should ‘inculcate empathy in students’, as well as tolerance.
Therefore, the only difference is that Maclean’s want teachers to push THEIR political agenda.
I’m not advocating the examples that Maclean’s has included at the beginning of the article; after all, they are so extreme as to question the employment policy of the school boards. However, I object to the fact that they have presented these examples in a way that suggests that this is typical of education or that it’s “gaining ground”.
Maclean’s doesn’t say ‘some schools’, but simply ‘schools’, implying that it’s all schools.
They provide no concrete evidence of this. A few sensational examples isn’t indication of a trend in any school, city, or nation.
In my opinion, they are about two steps away from becoming the National Enquirer with this kind of misleading, provocative article.
It’s impossible to eliminate politics from education. Society and culture are loaded with political messages.
What’s important is to promote critical thinking and critical literacy skills.
Vancouver does little else but promote tolerance and empathy in classrooms; yet, without critical thinking, we’ll simply be ‘tolerating’ bullying and ‘feeling bad’ for bullies.
If some teachers are encouraging activism, then kudos to them!