… to destroy students’ lives by teaching them to ask critical questions
World Magazine penetrates the heart of the secret system of how some teachers undermine happy, ignorant obedience in physics, for example (cue Scare music):
Brown avoids legal quicksand by teaching in a way that prompts students to do their own thinking. As a physics teacher, he doesn’t talk about biology, but introduces the concept of fine-tuning in the universe. For example, the Earth’s atmosphere blocks harmful radiation from the sun but is transparent to the visible light needed for photosynthesis. The Earth is an ideal distance from the sun to host liquid water, and our solar system is ideally placed to avoid dangerous radiation from the center of the galaxy. Brown ends such talks by suggesting to students, “It kind of makes you think!”
Sometimes he gets a class full of blank stares in return. But occasionally a student or two will show interest and spark some back-and-forth discussion. More.
There, you see! He turned on the Think button when all he is supposed to do is emit the curriculum.
Most students won’t remember the details. They will remember whether the details raised any important questions to ponder later in life.
The funny part is that opponents of home schooling and charter schools complain that these newer models of education rob schools of their brightest students. The jury’s out on that one because a key motivation of many opt-out parents is that their kids are not doing as well as they could. See, for example, the film Won’t Back Down.