Ouch! Some bad news for those who believe that schools should be used as moral incubators in which young people can be made to learn tolerance by having it drummed into their heads. Mail Online reports that a major study published yesterday by a team of Dutch researchers found that children who are spoon-fed “anti-racism lessons in school are more likely to be intolerant outside the classroom.”
The study also determined that accusing white pupils of racism causes animosity and that discussing sensitive ethnic concerns, such as honor killings, paints minority group children in a bad light. So what, if anything, does teach children to be more accepting of those who are different from them? The answer — living in mixed neighborhoods — is simply something the curriculum can’t duplicate.
The study noted in general that:
The impact of positive inter-ethnic contact in class disappears or even reverses when multiculturalism is more emphasized during lessons. Discussing discrimination and the customs and habits of other cultures during lessons affects the youngsters’ xenophobic attitudes indirectly.
Patricia Morgan, an author on the family and education, agreed with the findings of the report. “If you rub children’s noses in their supposed racism, they resent it,” she said, adding:
Pupils are being accused of things they haven’t thought or done. Multiculturalism attempts to manipulate children’s thoughts, beliefs and emotions, it amounts to indoctrination, and it doesn’t work. It is counter-productive.
This study shows that when people try to manipulate children’s minds, it bounces back on them.
The Mail couches the import of the study in terms of its implication for British schools, which have been under siege from the left since Britain’s Education Secretary, Michael Gove, announced plans to stop teaching teenagers about cultural, social, and ethnic diversity and to focus instead on the nation’s history.
But the study is certainly worth a careful look by educational theorists here, who have been caught up in the multi-culti craze for decades. The effect, noted in the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress, has been a precipitous slide in proficiency levels. The 2011 NAEP found that only 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders, and 12 percent of high school seniors were proficient in American history.
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