]]]]]]]]]]     The Ticking Bomb of Nuclear-Age Education     [[[[[[[[[[ 
                        By Andre Ryerson
      [From The Wall Street Journal, 31 May 1988, p. 24:3]
        (Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC 9/09/1988)

   Not  content   to  criticize   the  phenomenon   of  "global,"
"nuclear-age"  and  "peace" education,  representatives  of eight
foundations gathered  in Chicago  last month  to consider  a more
direct challenge to what may  be the most successful venture ever
launched by  the American left:  teaching children  in the public
schools to interpret the world from a radical perspective.
   Sponsored  by the  Independence  Institute of  Colorado [14142
Denver West Parkway  #101, Golden, CO   80401], "Classrooms for a
Free Society" sought to assess  something scarcely touched by the
press, but  which may  decide the role  America will  play in the
world within a decade or two.
   Teaching children  from kindergarten through  high school that
wars are  caused by the  weapons democracies  construct for their
defense, that there was no reason  for the U.S. to use the atomic
bomb against Japan in  1945, that economic "competition" (instead
of "sharing") is  what divides the world  into hostile camps, and
that the Cold War was essentially  the fault of the U.S. -- these
are  not  doctrines most  parents  expect  to find  in  the local
school, nor does  the average taxpayer imagine  such uses for his
   Yet careful inquiry  has shown that  these and similar beliefs
are quietly becoming part of the standard school curriculum under
the  rubric  of   peace  and  global   education.   The  activist
organizations that publish such politicized teaching materials in
many  cases  have  been  assisted  by  distinguished  foundations
(Danforth,  Carnegie)  and supported  by  eminent  public figures
(Carl Sagan, the Rev. Theodore  Hesburgh).  Many cities, from Los
Angeles  to  Cambridge,  Mass.,  have  made  nuclear-age  courses
mandatory for the public schools.
   Peace education, also called nuclear-age education, emerged in
1982 when  nuclear-freeze activists turned  their energies toward
schoolchildren.    Groups   such    as   Educators   for   Social
Responsibility  and  the Union  of  Concerned  Scientists created
teaching guides that treated the Soviet Union as a benign entity,
while  blaming  American  weapons,  policies  and  values  as the
principal threat to world peace.
   Older than peace  education is global  education.  While aimed
at fostering global understanding, in  many respects it carries a
like  message and  used the  same exercises  to encourage  a "new
world order," as the  Center for Teaching International Relations
puts  it.   Based  at  the   University  of  Denver,  the  center
distributes global-education materials  nationwide.  The doctrine
of "moral equivalence"  between the Soviet Union  and the U.S. is
encouraged, and  one curriculum  guide tells  students, "Think of
the U.S. and U.S.S.R. as rival street gangs."
   Death and  destruction caused  by war  are luridly emphasized,
with  "death  education"  added   to  concentrate  the  emotional
attention of  the young.  The  loss of liberty  that would follow
from a pacifist  foreign policy, however,  is never weighed.  The
use of force, even in  self-defense, is treated as an uncivilized
   Free-enterprise  economies  are viewed  unfavorably  by global
educators.   One  of the  center's  guides tells  the  teacher to
"simulate economics by having  students scramble for coins tossed
on the  floor."  Students  are then  asked to  "redistribute" the
coins "more equitably."  Private property  is treated as a source
of  social conflict,  not one  of  the foundations  of prosperous
economies and political  liberty.  No mention  is made of Western
successes  in reducing  pollution,  next to  which  the communist
record  is dismal.   Instead students  are  told in  the center's
materials, "For America the polluter, all the world's a toilet."
   Like  the  curricular  guides   for  peace  education,  global
education guides cap their specialized  picture of the world with
calls for the  students' "commitment to  action," excited urgings
that they "dare to think the unthinkable" and "go for the works."
Among options for students to consider are circulating petitions,
joining  anti-war  groups,  forming   their  own,  writing  press
releases and staging news conferences.
   In the  words of Raymond  English, of  Washington's Ethics and
Public Policy  Center, this  belongs to  "the run-before-you-can-
walk theory of education."  Children  are called on to change the
world before  they have studied  it -- indeed,  often before they
have learned how to spell.
   How  can international  relations  be studied  without turning
America's   public    schools   into    centers   for   political
   At the April meeting, Robert Pickus confessed -- as one of the
early proponents of global education  -- that he was chagrined at
the  turn it  had taken.   But  Mr. Pickus,  head of  the Madison
Foundation and  the World  Without War  Council, remained hopeful
that mainstream educators  could, with guidance,  get back on the
track, teach respect  for America's values  and traditions, offer
knowledge of the Soviet Union and its ideology, and put an end to
blame-America-first reflexes.
   Others said that sensible curricular materials are desperately
needed, without which  well-meaning educators have  no choice but
to use those available.
   Charles Heatherly of the  Heritage Foundation granted that his
foundation is  not particularly involved  in this  area of public
policy.  Neil  Pickett of the  Hudson Institute  said that Hudson
had  thus far  limited itself  to studying  the effects  of peace
education  on  children.   Only   Keith  Payne  of  the  National
Institute for Public Policy could offer the encouraging news that
his supplement to a history  text -- a balanced, centrist account
of the world since 1945 -- was in preparation with a publisher.
   What  probably  remains  the  greatest  obstacle  to achieving
balance in the teaching of peace, war and international relations
is  that the  materials marketed  to schools  by the  left remain
unknown to the general public,  and replacing them may be likened
to getting rid  of government subsidies  to dairy farmers.  Milk,
like peace, seems worthy of our vague and unthinking benevolence.
The difference is that  the one bears a  monetary cost; the other
may  cost  us, a  generation  hence, a  realistic  foreign policy
founded on democratic values.
   Mr. Ryerson,  a free-lance  writer, is  a former  professor of
French and humanities at Amherst.

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