Thursday, March 27, 2008

Britain's anti-military teachers are depriving their pupils

What is the moral distinction between allowing an accountant or a lawyer into a school to talk about career prospects to a class of 12-year-olds, and giving a military officer the same freedom to tell them about the Army? According to the National Union of Teachers, one is useful advice, the other is propaganda. Yesterday the NUT debated a motion that stated that: "Teachers and schools should not be conduits for either the dissemination of MoD propaganda or the recruitment of military personnel." The motion, not surprisingly, was passed. One should never underestimate the vacuous posturing of the NUT.

Strip away all the concern about "glamorising war" and it is clear from the debate that the very presence of military personnel in schools is anathema to the NUT. One delegate in a speech said: "Let's just try and imagine what that recruitment material would have to say were it not to be misleading. We would have material from the MoD saying, ?Join the Army and we will send you to carry out the imperialist occupation of other people's countries'."

If teachers cannot understand the difference between political opposition to the war in Iraq and the role of the Army in the defence of the realm, then pity the pupils they claim to teach. It is one thing to grandstand at an NUT conference about the so-called iniquity of an illegal invasion. It is quite another to undermine a profession, which is an essential pillar of the State, in front of a class of impressionable youngsters.

The timing is spectacularly inept. Barely a fortnight ago RAF servicemen in Peterborough were being advised to shed their uniforms before they went out on the streets, for fear of being exposed to insults and attacks. Recruitment is at a record low despite British troops in Afghanistan facing military action as intense as any since the Korean War. A recent poll suggested that only 23 per cent of the population is well informed about the Army and its role. One might have thought that, in these circumstances, teachers had a responsibility to redress the balance - to explain that the Army is there for society's protection, rather than as the unacceptable face of armed aggression, and to condemn the thugs who assault or insult young squaddies.

But if the teachers' role is questionable, what about political leaders? In Scotland last week, Alex Salmond chose the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq to send out an egregious message that suggested that British troops stationed in Basra do not believe they should be there at all. "Their views about the rights and wrongs of conflict are very similar to the rest of us," he claimed. There is a breathtaking arrogance about this - not only the assumption that his own views about the war are shared by the majority of the population, but that soldiers, whom he has never visited, have lost confidence in their role. It is also irresponsible. For the First Minister of Scotland to undermine the commitment of the UK's Armed Forces abroad does little to suggest that he has made the transition from left-wing gadfly to national leader.

This kind of view is, in truth, far closer to propaganda than anything that the earnest military officers who go into schools - always at the invitation of head teachers - seek to convey. They are there to explain the role of the Armed Forces, and these days, all too conscious of the delicacy of their position, they lay emphasis on issues such as citizenship and training for the future. They draw attention to the army values of courage, discipline, respect for order, loyalty and integrity; their motto is "inspire to achieve". You can see why the NUT wants to eject them.

What the Army is offering is precisely the kind of structure that is so often lacking in the lives of today's generation of young people. Just over a year ago, I spoke to a 22-year-old who had returned with the Black Watch from Basra. He had seen one of his comrades killed by a roadside bomb; he had been in a tank that had narrowly escaped being blown up after a sustained attack from insurgents; he had lived through the blazing heat of an Iraqi summer. He was about as far removed from the Salmond caricature as one can imagine - he was proud of what his regiment was doing, defended the presence of British troops in Iraq and talked convincingly about the dangerous vacuum that would be created if they were pulled out.

But it was what he told me about his personal circumstances that struck me most forcibly. I asked him whether he regretted the years he had been away from home and his friends in Fife. Certainly not, he said - his only regret was that his time in the Army would, inevitably, be limited. "What might you have done if you had not joined up?" I asked. "I'd be in jail, nae doubt," he said matter of factly. Among the kids he had grown up with, at least half, he reckoned, had dropped out of school early and taken to a life of crime. He had been saved by the Army, he said - it had given him not just an alternative, but also a way of rethinking his life.

Curiously, he was echoing a man who will certainly not be quoted by the NUT this week. The Duke of Wellington once explained how the Army introduced order into the chaos of young lives. "All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don't know by what you do," he said. "That's what I call guessing what is on the other side of the hill'."

Most head teachers, who welcome service personnel into their schools, will know what he meant. They should make it clear that teachers have a duty of care towards their pupils, and that includes presenting them with an even-handed picture of the relationship between a society and its Armed Forces. In previous times the Army has saved the nation from destruction. It may be called upon to do so again. Guessing what is on the other side of the hill is part of our history and should be part of our education


Britain: Government schools should be forced to open their doors to Islamic preachers teaching the Koran

This shows clearly what nuts the NUT are: They say that members of Britain's own armed forces should be kept out of schools but preachers of Jihad should be given privileged access. This shows vividly what deliberate wreckers the far-Left are. They are so filled with hatred of the world around them that they just want to smash things in any way they can. Tearing down, not building up is their thinly camouflaged aim

State schools should be forced to open their doors to Islamic preachers teaching the Koran, the largest classroom union demanded yesterday. The National Union of Teachers' conference also said existing religious schools - almost all of them Christian - should have to admit pupils from other faiths. The union's general secretary Steve Sinnott said that allowing Muslim imams to preach in schools would be a way to reunite divided communities.

But the proposals prompted immediate outrage. Conservative Party backbencher Mark Pritchard said: "This is just further appeasement for Muslim militants. "We should just follow the existing laws on religious education, which state that it should be of a predominantly Christian character. All this will do is further divide many communities that are already split on religious lines."

Speaking as delegates met at the hard-Left-dominated union's annual conference, Mr Sinnott admitted that his plan would amount to religious indoctrination inside taxpayer-backed schools rather than simple teaching of what different religions believe. He said: "This is more than simple religious education, it's religious instruction."

The proposals include providing private Muslim prayer facilities in schools. But Mr Sinnott stressed that no pupils would be forced to have any religious instruction. The union, however, also called for all daily religious assemblies, which by law are supposed to have a Christian character, to be abandoned. It also said local authorities should take control of all state school admissions, removing the right of faith schools to choose which pupils they take.


University of the Absurd

This is like some kind of PC nightmare dreamed up by diversity fanatics who were given permission to experiment at the student's expense:

Recently I sat down with a young woman who shared with me the experience of her first year at Thurgood Marshall College, one of the six colleges of the University of California at San Diego. She explained to me that regardless of her major field of study and in order to graduate she was required to take certain "general education" courses, the centerpiece of which is a three-quarter, 16-unit creation called "Dimensions of Culture." What she had to tell me is a warning to both parents and students.

The Dimensions of Culture program (DOC) is an introductory three-quarter social science sequence that is required of all first year students at Thurgood Marshall College, UCSD. Successful completion of the DOC sequence satisfies the University of California writing requirement. The course is a study in the social construction of individual identity and it surveys a range of social differences and stratifications that shape the nature of human attachment to self, work, community, and a sense of nation. Central to the course objective is the question of how scholars move from knowledge to action. - UCSD Course Description

There follows one of the most incredibly revealing interviews about one student's experience in this PC nightmare. A sample:

Edgar B. Anderson: So let's talk about Dimensions of Culture. That's vague. What's that mean?

Student: I don't know. Each quarter, the first quarter is called Diversity, the second quarter is called Justice, and the third quarter is called Imagination. So Diversity is we studied everything about minorities - like women, homosexuals, and then Asians, blacks, Latinos.

Q. So what's left out - white males?

A. Yeah, pretty much if you're a white male you're bad, that's kind of the joke among all the students.

Q. Women are not even a minority, they're a majority.

A. But it's more about the workforce.

Q. Power.

A. Yeah, that's kind of how they presented it. We didn't really focus on women that much. It was mainly how Asians have been oppressed in history and how Latinos continue to be oppressed and how blacks continue to be oppressed, all of that.

Q. Is there any mention of how successful Asians are in the culture?

A. They say that it's a stereotype because whites have labeled Asians as smart in order to put down black people.

Q. And how about Latin Americans now?

A. That we also put them down...

Q. So this is your Diversity class.

A. Yeah, that was Diversity.

Can you imagine being a parent paying thousands of dollars for the education of your child only to have the student attend these attempted brainwashing sessions?


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