Sadly, I have ceased being surprised about opinions being stated as fact and the substitution of uninformed preferences for well documented expert conclusions.
I was surprised that one such letter was given headline status in the Wednesday, Feb. 17 edition, “Letter claims students being ‘indoctrinated.’”
According to the article, there were two main opinions offered by the letter writers: that including information and points of view that differ from their own preferences in public education constitutes “indoctrination,” and that the school’s policies and practices on COVID prevention were unnecessary.
Assuming the Whidbey News-Times representation of the letter is correct, the first claim is self-contradictory and the second simply the substitute of preferences for policies based on the best available data and balancing of competing values, limiting viral spread and having children in schools.
Introducing perspectives and new information, e.g. on racial justice, that challenge commonly held beliefs, e.g. that the nuclear family is the only or best cross-generational social structure or that gender is more complex and fluid than people like me were raised to believe, is exactly how to support the development of critical thinkers.
Excluding such counter-perspectives, as has traditionally been the case, is what produces “mindless non-thinkers.” That there is room for disagreement on every issue raised, including how best to balance competing values around pandemic measures, is obvious. Which is precisely why they should be debated within and outside of schools rather than proclaimed as truth and fact.
I fail to see that the letter warrants front page news — have them publish it as an open letter.