After my WorldNetDaily column The Altar of Indoctrination was published, a Canadian reader sent this email concerning public schools in Canada. It's sad that our neighbors to the north are in just as bad a shape as we are. With the permission of the reader, I'm posting his email here for your edification.
Hi Patrice. I read your October 16 2010 article on WND, "The Altar of Indoctrination," and wanted to let you know about the education system in British Columbia, Canada.
Canada ranks above the US in education, however in the grand scheme of things, the public education system in Canada is as bad (or worse) than that found in the US (from what I can tell). For instance, you mentioned Standardized Testing and how homeschoolers regularly get much higher/better scores. This very clear distinction also exists in Canada when you compare homeschoolers or students in private schools compared to students in the Public Education System. Because of this, standardized testing is heavily attacked by the public school teachers' union in BC (British Columbia), even to the point of them demanding the tests be thrown out completely because of their "unfair representations" and "faulty standards". The union regularly goes after the government over it and takes the issue to the court system. Thankfully the tests remain, but barely. The teachers have a million excuses for why home-school and private school consistently tramples their own schools (more money, less minorities [which is a lie], private schools cheat [which is also a lie, because I went to private school and we NEVER took a cheat-test or did special homework for standardized tests like the public education teachers say we did], etc.). The teachers' union is so against the standardized tests that they even regularly send out notices to parents telling parents to keep their kids home on those days so that they don't take them, as a kind of protest. Obviously the notice would be full of lies and half-truths about the tests themselves, rife with propaganda that hopes to bring parents onto the side of the unions. Not too long ago there were a bunch of notices sent out listing off credible excuses for keeping students home on the days of those tests. "Being sick, dentist appointment, etc." It's crazy. The media tries to spin the issue as being a 50/50 split between those that like the tests and those that don't, though the reality is that most parents like them and most teachers hate them because they reflect badly on them. Parents like to know where their school ranks in REAL education.
A few of my closest friends went to public school and they are very much brainwashed into the relativist humanist philosophy that dominates the system. It's impossible to reason with them on most issues because they've got this wall that won't let them even consider alternatives to what they were taught in school. Their indoctrination was a success of the public system, however real education was definitely NOT. My friends sadly know very little other than liberal mantras and typical "progressive" beliefs and arguments. Ask them about any form of science or history and they won't know much. Ask them about being a "global citizen", about homosexuality, religion, Christianity, morals, government, the environment or philosophy, and they can list off all the usual liberal talking points as if they were written on the back of their hands. We joke to each other about the fact that I went to private school and they went to public. They know full well that standards of education were MUCH higher at the schools I attended. An excellent example of this is that my friends rarely had homework (where as I constantly had homework), they took far fewer tests and quizzes, and most classes didn't even do an attendance check to make sure they were there. At my school, if you didn't do your homework or you skipped class, you got detention. In the public system, there was nothing like that. One of my friends completely skipped a class for most of the year in grade 11, regularly going to a different class to be with her friends, and neither the teacher that she was supposed to have OR the teacher in the class she WAS visiting realized the trick because they simply didn't bother keeping track of their students. The mother of that friend found out she was skipping a lot and threatened to send her to my private school. That quickly re-focused her daughter to put in a better effort. We laugh about that now, my school being a threat and potential punishment, but the massive divide in education standards is very obvious between us almost a decade after we all graduated.
Homeschooling is an interesting issue in British Columbia because the government tends to recognize some of the benefits of it, but it also fears it and wants to keep a tight reign on it. There's a fairly large community of homeschoolers here, many of which are from a more conservative or religious bent (since public schools are known to be very over the top "progressive"). On the positive side for the government, funding a homeschooling system costs peanuts compared to running a public school, and the kids end up far better educated. Because of this, the government we've had for the past decade has done a lot to improve and boost the homeschooling systems of the province, much to the annoyance of the teachers' union. Our current provincial government is fairly centre-right. The previous government we had was very liberal/socialist and tanked our economy and left our province in absolute ruin (no surprise there). However the teacher's union is so powerful in this province that they've got a fair amount of influence over the homeschooling system. There are a number of laws and regulations that keep homeschooled students in constant check. There are regular reviews by social workers / public school teachers to make sure kids are being taught what they're supposed to be taught. There's a LOT of control, but far more freedom than exists in the actual public system. My little brother has been homeschooled and it's amazing to hear about how he has to be very careful to give the "correct" answers and word things in such a way that it sounds like he believes things like Darwinism (Evolution), religious relativism and all the environmental hype like climate change. If his answers on tests and assignments didn't sound as if he believed them, my parents would instantly be set upon by social workers for indoctrinating him with harmful lies, religious garbage, bigoted beliefs, and for abusing him with regards to giving him a sub-par education (despite him getting very high grades on tests). My mother is also regularly shocked at how easy it is for students to get through the education system while learning very little. It even shows up in homeschooling. For instance, if your child fails a test, they can take another test, and if they fail that one, they can take another one, and the highest score of the three will be the one that goes on your record.
If you've read all this, I thank you very much for taking the time to do so. After reading your article it got me thinking about the education system here in British Columbia, Canada, and I thought you might find it a bit interesting, especially the part about how the government and teacher's union views and controls homeschooling. Though homeschooling is far better than public schools here, a homeschooling parent has to be very careful to make sure that tests and assignments that get handed into the ministry don't reveal doubt or skepticism towards the liberal ideals and teachings. It basically becomes a game of, "Answer the way THEY want you to answer, not how you'd REALLY answer." It's sad, but it's the reality here. Hopefully you homeschool promoting parents all over the USA can remain more free and independent of the public system than we are here in Canada. Seeing as how the USA has been taking leaps and bounds down the "progressive socialist" road lately, these sorts of controls might not be far off, especially as more and more parents wake up to the reality of exactly how far gone public education system really is and pull their children out of it. The public education system really does consider homeschool to be its enemy, just like it considers private schools its enemy. Though there are a lot of controls and restrictions in place over homeschool here in British Columbia, I'm thankful that we can still at least HAVE homeschool, unlike some countries in Europe. *cough* Germany *cough*.
Keep up the good fight for freedom and strong education. It makes a world of difference (as you already know). Take care, and God bless.