When students are being expelled for their parents having “incorrect opinions,” or are publicly shamed for being white, there is no critical thinking or recognition of cognitive abilities involved; it’s indoctrination, pure and simple.
The purpose of education is to teach American children how to be good citizens. That means having a healthy knowledge of the principles America was founded on, the institutions that define it and why those institutions exist the way they do.
None of what conservatives are advocating for precludes informing students honestly about the darker times in American history, like slavery, the Indian Removal Act, Jim Crow and Japanese internment.
But allowing students to challenge institutions is not the same as ordering students to challenge institutions by outright telling lies.
After all, as Frederick Douglass said in his landmark July 4th oration “What to the Slaves Is the Fourth of July”:
“… The Constitution is a glorious liberty document. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? it is neither.
“While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it.”
That’s the kind of history Americans need to learn. And it’s the history American teachers need to accept.