False Choice: Pseudoscientific Narrative
Children are sent to school, in part, to learn how to transition from their youthful self-centeredness to the mature understanding of their relationships to others that will be expected of them as adults. This includes an understanding that, in the adult world, rights come with responsibilities. Constitutional rights in particular, we teach students, have limits. Laws that benefit the whole of society will be personally inconvenient at times; an individual’s needs and desires are not all that matters because other people exist too, people with different perspectives, different circumstances, and different legitimate goals. Consequently, compromise is a necessary part of any negotiation in our democracy. However, these core values of responsibility, perspective, and compromise—values that adults say they want schools to teach children—are often openly violated in public by these same adults. For example, we do not tolerate intellectual dishonesty from our children in our schools. But it is apparently tolerated and promoted everywhere else. Educational standards cannot be improved until adults begin to model the education values that they loudly espouse.
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