Ed Schools and the Perversion of Teaching

Ed school: Just a front for left-wing ideological indoctrination?

That’s the accusation this morning by Bruce Frohnen in the pages of The Imaginative Conservative.

We’ve looked recently at the history of ed-school animus among conservative intellectuals.  The schools that train America’s teachers are often accused of lackluster academics, stultifying political correctness, and shoddy scholarship.

Frohnen warns that ed schools don’t educate much at all.  Instead, they force young people through an intellectually embarrassing and politically damnable course of shopworn leftist clichés.

Ed schools, Frohnen accuses, willfully misunderstand the purposes of true education.  Instead of training new teachers to think of education as a process by which young people master vital knowledge and skills, ed schools train new teachers to think of education first and foremost as a process of “liberation.”

Frohnen cites the case of the University of Minnesota, where teachers-to-be take required fluff courses such as “Creating Identities through Art and Performance,” “Diversity in Children’s Literature,” and “Introduction to Cultural Diversity and the World System.”

A more sympathetic critic might see such courses as important attempts to introduce new teachers to central ideas.  Not Frohnen.  He calls them part of the “trendy but outdated ideological indoctrination so typical of our education schools.”

It is no surprise, with this perspective, that so many conservative academics view teacher education as no education at all.

Frohnen suggests a more positive alternative.  Programs such as Teach For America, Frohnen believes, offer smart, motivated young people a chance to do some good, without jumping through all the left-wing hoops on offer at the nation’s ed schools.