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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Biggest Dirty Little Secret Of All

Caution: Information I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks could change the way you look at education forever. Continue reading at your own risk.

In his Aims of Education Address, Professor John Mearsheimer called the University of Chicago "a remarkably amoral institution."

Did the Professor say "amoral?"

I've got a little surprise for him. Perhaps I should say, a "dirty little secret." Shhhh....There has never been, nor will there ever be, an "amoral" institution, or an "amoral" approach to any subject. Even math. From civil engineering, to business, to art, to psychology, to biology, to culinary arts, one thing is ever-present at school, running in the background, as certain as the ticking of time.

Even if there are no clocks on any walls, time still ticks in the background of every lecture, whether it is pointed out by the instructor or not. (Most teachers don't point it out.) It's this way with morality and ethics. If no teacher specifically mentions the word "morality" in class, and no teacher specifically talks about "ethics," the fact is, morality is an integral part of every subject, and this is true from the first day of kindergarten through the last day of graduate school.

I'm sure Comenius and Webster understood this. But somewhere along the way, this elementary truth got swept into the deep postmodern waters in which we are now adrift. Some of the most intelligent educators today, such as Professor Mearsheimer, talk as though they haven't really thought through this point. But surely they have. Yet...maybe...they haven't. And if they haven't thought through it, then how many parents have? How many third grade teachers? And how many high school principals?

Mearscheimer was propagating the great presumption of secularism which says it is possible to be "neutral" about morality, and that secularized education is "amoral." But it simply can't be. That's becauseand now for the the biggest dirty little secret of allsecularism (the accepted and celebrated foundation of American education today), is a faith, and every secularist is a person of faith, even the most rabid atheist.

Have I lost my mind? I don't think so. In fact, with the help of people like Albert Greene, Francis Schaeffer and John Dewey, I think I've found my mind. But I'll let you decide.

Did I say John Dewey? Yes! He helped me see something important. So for my first witness, I call to the stand none other than the Father of Progressive Education himself, the author of A Common Faith.

Lean in. Please.

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