The world of education is replete with buzzwords – those terms or pithy phrases that sound optimistic but often mask a dark reality. One of them is “whole child,” and another is a more technical-sounding “Social-Emotional Learning,” which means the same thing.
“Whole child” programs promote children’s mental health. The programs share two common factors. Schools administer them. They are also designed to deceive.
Public schools are the logical places to teach whole child programs since the infrastructure, buildings, transportation, human resources and funding are already in place. Most American parents are already used to sending their children to spend seven hours a day, 180 days a year for thirteen or more years, to a public school.
Schools also serve to form the character and outlook of students. The basic theory behind modern education affirms that there are four functions of schools – intellectual, civic, economic, and social.
Indeed, most schools are intellectual places where students pick up knowledge and skills. They also serve a civic function by teaching children how to be good citizens. Schools teach useful skills that add to the productivity and economic welfare of the nation. Public schools long focused on these three functions.
Under the leadership of John Dewey (1859-1952), however, the emphasis gradually shifted to the social element. Since Dr. Dewey was a utilitarian materialist with strong leanings toward socialism, progressive education emphasized that point of view.
Centers for Social Indoctrination
Thus, education shifted away from the notion that education should give children the tools to find their place in society, aided by the accumulated wisdom of the ages. Progressives have increasingly used schools as a vehicle to turn society in their preferred direction. The projects of these “social engineers” have wreaked great havoc on society.
The current “whole child” philosophy is a favorite tool to push the progressive agenda. Teachers can broach any topic under the argument that the schools must address not facts but the needs of “the whole child.” School officials can then decide the nature of those needs.
A Harrowing Example
An example of the philosophy’s harmful effects is illustrated by a recent incident in Williamson County, Tennessee. As in many schools, officials are pushing students to accept the homosexual/transgender ideology that is so contrary to God’s law.
At Hillsboro Elementary School, teachers presented a short 1.25-minute video to seventh-grade students promoting gender ideology. Such short videos are often used as conversation starters. They are presented as springboards to free inquiry but usually end up as straight jackets to keep everyone in line.
This short video features a single speaker standing against a blank background. The speaker appears to be a middle school student. The young person could be described as androgynous. The clothing is masculine, while the haircut could fit either a boy or a girl. The voice is feminine, but it could also be the voice is a boy who has not yet reached puberty.
The presentation is about the plight of the “non-binary” student, who grapples with issues of “sexual identity.”
A Cry for Help Masquerading as Wisdom
The first line of the film is bizarre and unusual. “If you feel like a bowl of mashed potatoes flowing through space, that is okay.” After saying that such feelings are understandable, the speaker then says, “You are perfect the way you are.” The title of the video, “Self-Care: Middle School,” then flashes on the screen. The speaker relates her struggle with the question, “Am I really a girl?” She tells how she overcame her anxieties.
Any mature person watching the video can easily conclude that this girl needs help. Her situation is a severe one. However, the overall presentation is not that this person is in peril, but that she is a kind of oracle dispensing the wisdom gained from her experience.
The young woman’s tone of voice is resolute, as though she has determined this aspect of her life, and it is time for her to face other challenges.
Showing this video was not the act of some rogue teachers but something supported by the school administration. According to a Tennessee Star report, the principal did issue an apology but not for showing the video, but only for not notifying parents first. His page on the school website echoes support for the “whole child” viewpoint. “We focus on the whole child and the social/emotional needs of our community. It is our goal that students become productive and responsible citizens, contributing in a positive way to their world.”
“Whole child” also reflects the philosophy of Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. The educational publication Chalkbeat Tennessee totally supports the commissioner’s efforts. “Schwinn had identified support for students’ mental health needs as the top concern that she heard from educators during her statewide ‘listening tour’ after becoming Tennessee’s education chief in February.” Her “Best for All” plan points out that “Tennessee public schools will be equipped to serve the academic and non-academic needs of all students.”
Unfortunately, those “non-academic needs” are filtered through the homosexual/transsexual ideology’s distorted lens. There is no epidemic of such children. Those who are so afflicted need intense one-on-one help. They need to bring their self-awareness into line with the unchangeable truth of being either male or female. The classroom is not a therapeutic community. Videos like the one present at Hillsboro Elementary School do not help confused students but merely spread the confusion. They raise questions in the minds of those who have never thought about such things.
Adolescence is naturally a time of great uncertainty. Children at this age begin to discern the outlines of their adult lives. The natural challenges of adolescence can be overwhelming to many young people. The last thing they need is to confront issues that deny reality.
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