Hamas and a Real Educational Culture War

Creation/Evolution, racial segregation, school prayer, sex ed . . . we talk about these things as America’s educational “culture wars.”

We get a reminder this morning that in some parts of the world, schools are central battlefields in more vicious culture wars.

The New York Times reports on Hamas’ education reforms in the Gaza Strip.

Starting in September, boys and girls above age nine will be separated more strictly in school.  Gaza schools will teach more aggressively that Palestine belongs wholly to the Palestinians.  Successful students in this new education regime will be “committed to the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic culture,” according to the Times.

The new rules are not intended mainly for existing public schools, which usually already observe these rules and teach these ideologies, but rather for about twelve private and Christian schools.

As we’ve noted before, it is important to remember how central schools can be to the bloodier sorts of culture wars that have only rarely infected American culture.  It is a sobering reminder of the dangers of excessive rhetoric and over-zealous culture-war combat.  In places like the Gaza Strip, as in Nigeria and elsewhere, education policy is often just an extension of military combat.

Lest we get too complacent, let’s remember that America is similarly prone to culture-war violence, from abortion-clinic shootings to the murder of homosexuals.  When we argue about what culture our schools should teach, let’s remember we all want to keep the peace.

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