I came across a very troubling article the other day, about a curriculum called CSCOPE that is being taught in many public schools in Texas, my home state. The article alleges some shocking content/lessons, everything from an open-ended discussion of hijab, which suggests that the hijab is “freeing because it prevents others from making them into sexual objects,”or that “women need to be obscured so as not to arouse male desire” (what? don't get me started- as if a burqa prevented objectification! What the heck are they thinking?) to calling 9-11 hijackers freedom fighters instead of terrorists, to calling Christianity a cult while simultaneously glorifying Islam and neglecting to mention the many human rights violations common in Islamic countries or in Sharia law, to calling the Boston Tea Party an act of terrorism. The curriculum also allegedly glorifies communism/socialism without also discussing their negative aspects or any negative results of their implementation in societies so far, and allegedly paints Paul Revere as being involved in illegal drug trafficking (?!?!?) and Christopher Columbus as an eco-warrior. (now that one's just funny.) The most troubling allegation, however, is that the curriculum is not available for public (even parental) perusal and that teachers have to sign non-disclosure agreements about its content. (??!?!?!?!) I'm not familiar enough with the source of this article to give it credence on its own, so I did some digging. I cannot confirm the content, because the curriculum is in fact under wraps- not even parents can get copies of it, and the course descriptions are ridiculously vague on the curriculum's website. What the what? Since when is it ok to teach things in school to children that you refuse to allow their parents to peruse? Since when is it ok to restrict public access to publicly funded, public school curricula? This is wrong on so many levels. Such hubris, and such disregard for the transparency that is crucial to a free state! I think I might have a chat with my congressperson about that.
Thus, in my opinion, the role of the state in education should be to work towards every child receiving basic instruction in math and language skills and a knowledge of basic science and history facts including how our justice system works and how our country came to be, and to implement public school curriculum that is approved by the state, the community, and the parents. The state works for the parents and students, not the reverse. It is better, in my view, to have students who have the basics and know how to learn the specifics of a particular discipline for themselves than to have students who drink in everything they are taught, and parrot the worldview in which they have been saturated.