Indoctrination is a word that’s getting tossed around a lot lately. Those on the far right accuse teachers at every level — from elementary school to university — of trying to indoctrinate the youth of Idaho. As an educator, this raises serious concerns for me and others in my profession.

There’s no question that the line between education and indoctrination may be blurry at times. But to me the difference is simple. Indoctrination is attempting to inculcate ideas without any critical thought by the recipient. Education encourages critical thinking and evaluation. In fact, then, education is the enemy of indoctrination.

Lt. Gov. McGeachin’s task force is a perfect example of the far-right raising the specter of indoctrination. The stated goal is to “protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism and Marxism.” Does that mean that nothing can be taught about these topics?

For those who think that the students of Idaho are being indoctrinated with liberal values by their teachers, perhaps they should consider whether their real fear is that the ideas they have taught their children will not hold up to critical thinking. No one who is confident in their beliefs should feel threatened by other ideas. Perhaps the real question should be whether those expressing concern are the real indoctrinators attempting to keep critical thinking out of the education process.

Carolyn Dessin

Alta, Wyo.

Recommended for you