The College of the Ozarks is creating snowflakes.


"In response to National Football League players protesting state violence against African Americans, the College of the Ozarks, a small, Christian liberal arts institution in Missouri, is ordering its students to pick up a gun. The 93 percent white school now makes all first-year students take a Patriotic Education Fitness classAccording to the Miami Herald, the course includes, "lessons on American politics, the military, and flag norms." Through their studies, "students will learn rifle marksmanship, map reading, land navigation, and rope knotting. Students also must be able to run a mile and will engage in other physical education activities." It's unclear how such activities will foster ;Christ-like behavior'."

"This course is pure indoctrination"

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What is the purpose of education? Is it indoctrination? 

"the primary purpose of education and schooling is to teach them how to live pragmatically and immediately in their current environment."

~ Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Simon and Schuster.


“'the weakness of progressive education thus lies in the fact that it has elaborated no theory of social welfare, unless it be that of anarchy or extreme individualism' (1978, p. 5).

"To Counts, the purpose of school was less about preparing individuals to live independently and more about preparing individuals to live as members of a society. In other words, Counts felt the role of schooling was to equip individuals with the skills necessary to participate in the social life of their community and to change the nature of the social order as needed or desired.

~ Counts, G. S. (1978). Dare the schools build a new social order? Carbondale, IL: Southern

Illinois University Press.


"In the 1980s, the noted educator and philosopher Adler suggested that there are three objectives of children’s schooling:

* the development of citizenship,

* personal growth or self-improvement, and

*occupational preparation."

Adler, M. J. (1982). The Paidea proposal: An educational manifesto. New York: Collier Macmillan.


"schools exist primarily to serve a practical credentialing function in society.

~ Labaree, D. F. (1997). How to succeed in school without really learning. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.


"Expanding on the pragmatic purpose of school, deMarrais and LeCompte (1995) outlined

'four major purposes of schooling that include:

  • intellectual purposes such as the development of mathematical and reading skills;
  • political purposes such as the assimilation of immigrants;
  • economic purposes such as job preparation; and
  • social purposes such as the development of social and moral responsibility.'"

~ deMarrais, K. B., & LeCompte, M. D. (1995). The way schools work: A sociological analysis of education (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers.

"Learning Theory focuses on human freedom, dignity, and potential."

 also pointed out that most behavior is multi-motivated and noted that “any behavior tends to be determined by several or all of the basic needs simultaneously rather than by only one of them” (p. 71).

~ Maslow (1987)


"Learning theories are an organized set of principles explaining how individuals acquire, retain, and recall knowledge.  By studying and knowing the different learning theories, we can better understand how learning occurs.  The principles of the theories can be used as guidelines to help select instructional tools, techniques and strategies that promote learning."

1. Behaviorism: learning is a function of change in overt behavior that is the result of an individual's response to events (stimuli) that occur in the environment.. (based on B. F. Skinner). 

2. Cognitive: to help people become aware of when they make negative interpretations, and of behavioral patterns which reinforce the distorted thinking. (based on Aaron Beck)

3. Constructivist: We construct our own knowledge of the world based on individual experiences. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective (based on Lev Vygotsky).

Learning Theories

AW! Now we come to the new kid on the block, 

Dr. Peter Boghossian: Changing Minds.

Further Reading References

~ Noddings, N. (1995). Philosophy of education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

~ Reed, R. F., & Johnson, T. W. (Eds.). (1996). Philosophical documents in education. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers, Inc.

~ Steven E. Stemler and Lauren Sonnabend Wesleyan University 

A Large-Scale Analysis of the Purpose of School in the Era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). 

~ Tyack, D. B. (1988). Ways of seeing: An essay on the history of compulsory schooling. In R. M. Jaeger (Ed.), Complementary methods for research in education (pp. 24-59). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Why?  Two words: Christian Privilege ... though it wouldn't surprise me if Jewish yeshivas get much the same pass.  Fact is, though, the kind of virulent Jewish fundamentalism you might see in Israel is far less prevalent in the US than the variety whose exemplar you cite here.

I would wonder whether they would place an equal emphasis on learning the Constitution, its content and basic principles, or even general civics and citizenship ... but who am I kidding?

Because they are private institutions.

Actually, that's more than a little explanatory, Susan.  Back when, the American public thought that private religious institutions (mostly Catholic) were trustworthy enough to teach our kids properly, and indeed give them a better education than was available in some public school systems.  There was more than a degree of truth to that, particularly after World War II and through the 50s and some of the 60s.

Now, however, not only is the blush off the rose, but the flower itself is way past wilted.  The priest child abuse scandal is common knowledge, with similar stories coming out of the fundamentalist ranks.  Worse, many Christian schools have become indoctrination centers, particularly as evinced by the film, Jesus Camp, with emphasis on creationism and denial of scientific principles.  They get away with these practices Because They Are Private Institutions and thus are not subject to governmental oversight. 

Half a century ago, religious education was sufficiently disciplined not to need supervision.  Sadly, that ship has sailed, and it is well past time that such schools were held to account.


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