As most kids are screaming "School's out for summer," 18-year-old high-school student Andrew Lampart is still trying to figure out why his school's Internet service blocked him from gathering conservative facts for his side of the argument on his school debate team.
Andrew told Fox News, "I knew it was important to get facts for both sides of the case." But when he tried to do an Internet search of conservative views, he was prevented at every turn.
After being blocked from websites supporting Americans' constitutional right to bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment, Andrew soon learned his school's computers prohibited him from viewing any website or information that wasn't liberal in nature.
National Rifle Association website — blocked. The Republican Party website — blocked. National Right to Life website — blocked. Pro-traditional marriage websites — blocked. Vatican website — blocked.
But here's what wasn't blocked in his continued Internet search: pro-gun-control websites, the Democratic Party website, the Planned Parenthood website, an LGBT website and an Islamic website.
Andrew took his grievance up the chain of command at his Connecticut high school — first to the principal and then to the superintendent and then to the school board.
Nearly two months after the incident, Andrew's only official response has come through the superintendent, who wrote a letter about the issue to parents and citizens in their community because news of the liberal bent was spreading like wildfire. She blamed Andrew's conservative education prohibition on the school's Internet filtering, which she said is intended to "protect minors from potentially harmful or inappropriate content" — for example, "violence/hate/racism, cults/the occult, to name a few."
She was puzzled, however, that "many of the liberal sites accessible to the student fell into the 'not rated' category, which was unblocked while many of the conservative sites were in the 'political/advocacy group' which is accessible to teachers but not to students."
Mrs. Superintendent, there's no surprise or mystery here. The problem is not the software but those programming it. As long as you have liberal-minded architects across the spectrum who only want to steer kids in their own particular secular and progressive direction, changing Internet filters all day long isn't going to change the educational outcome; students will be prohibited from conservative education. Website accessibility is no different from choosing textbooks or instructors in classes; if liberals are in control, liberalism is the education.
A high school's prohibiting conservative views isn't shocking to any of us who for decades have watched the dilapidating state of public education. It's just one more sign that public schools are little more than secular progressive indoctrination camps.
Andrew was exactly right when he said about his Internet education experience — or lack thereof: "This is really borderline indoctrination. Schools are supposed to be fair and balanced towards all ways of thinking. It's supposed to encourage students to formulate their own opinions. Students aren't able to do that here at the school, because they are only being fed one side of the issue."
Out of the mouth of babes.
True education doesn't fear alternative views or even falsehoods, though they should be couched in age-appropriateness and a venue where options are presented with evidence. At least, that was the educational belief of our Founding Fathers and those who followed them for a few generations.
With Independence Day fast approaching, consider alone the words of one of the greatest American minds and educators and one of the pillars of our republic, Thomas Jefferson, who vehemently fought for the broad education of common Americans. As he founded the University of Virginia, he wrote this about his philosophy and goal of education on Dec. 26, 1820: "This institution of my native state, the Hobby of my old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of (its) contemplation."
The very next day, he further elaborated about what "illimitable freedom of the human mind" should encompass: "This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."
Jefferson was exactly right, too. Regardless of whether our views define truth and reality, an open education is about presenting every side of the coin — no matter how ignorant or idiotic we believe another's views are or appear to be. That is why teaching about "intelligent design" and religion should be an integral part of every curriculum.
Roughly 30 years ago, Dr. Allan Bloom wrote these words of warning about a country and educational system that were mimicking fascism more than they were freedom, in his now classic book "The Closing of the American Mind": "True openness is the accompaniment of the desire to know, hence of the awareness of ignorance. To deny the possibility of knowing good and bad is to suppress true openness."
There is also no doubt about this: When we fear alternative views to the extent that we eliminate them from curricula, we have reduced education to nothing more than tyranny and indoctrination.
As Bloom said, "freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities."
(If you haven't seen the movie "God's Not Dead," which addresses the very heart of this academic issue, please see it. If you can't find it in a local theater, try to find it at a church in your area that has bought a license to show it. For more information, go to http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com.)
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