A few hundred years after it’s founding and America is still a bastion of right wing ignorance. Our country’s shameful economic and social framework is still hostile towards homosexuals, women and minorities, and our backward healthcare system and bizarre gun loving culture are looked upon with smug disdain by forward thinking countries like France, Australia and Canada. Progressives have worked hard over the last 150 years to spread liberal values throughout America, but progress has often been frustratingly slow. So how can we make America a more liberal and progressive democracy? The answer lies in how we educate our children, and the exciting news is that many progressive principles have already made their way on to school curricula.
Until recently, children were still taught the bigoted one-dimensional view of sexuality and relationships; that love and sexual relations could only occur between a man and a woman, and that the roles of men and women were split according to a dogmatic patriarchal hierarchy. Women were portrayed as nothing more than child bearers, whereas men were endowed with role of provider, which came with all the freedom and material rewards of a long term career. Today children are taught about sexuality and same-sex relationships from a very early age, which allows them to appreciate the beauty and multiplicity of human sexuality. Children are also taught that women do not have to submit to the patriarchal family structure and that single motherhood is arguably a far more courageous and enriching endeavor than marriage. Children are now taught about the value of diversity and the evils of sexism, racism and homophobia from such an early age, that they are already able to answer sophisticated questions about sexual equality and social empowerment at the age of six. Schools are making children aware of the inequality in society, and that some people have it much harder than others, such as women and minorities. Innovative schools are also encouraging children to make suggestions about how our government can help disadvantaged members of society and make our economy more equal, and teachers have been impressed with their enthusiasm to make the world a better place.
Children are also taught about the environmental damage that humans are doing to the earth through climate change and over-industrialization. School classrooms are now covered with green literature educating children about how to be environmentally conscious, stop climate change and help save the earth. Today’s generation of children are undoubtedly more environmentally aware than any generation before them and will almost certainly come up with innovative political solutions to our planet’s pressing environmental problems. In addition, many schools are now teaching children about the dangers of firearms and why they need to be heavily regulated. Parents who let their children play with toy guns are given fierce warnings and reported to child protection services.
Although good progress is being made in public schools and national curricula, many lies are still being taught to children at home. Regulating what is taught to children at home is an area that still needs a lot of attention. Many children are exposed to bigoted views at home that are in direct contradiction to the principles of a forward thinking and equal society. If we are truly committed to creating a progressive society, then we have to regulate the family. How this is achieved is a question that should be examined by a social comittee appointed by the department of education, but the very first place I would look is home-schooling. Home-schooling is a completely unregulated form of schooling in which the curriculum is left entirely up to the family. Families that choose to home-school their children should be closely monitored to make sure that what they are teaching is appropriate. Family audits are another possibility, in which a group of educational professionals make regular visits to families to examine the home environment and make sure that children are not being exposed to backward or malicious views.
All in all, progress has been encouraging, but the family and other sources of unregulated information still threaten the innocence of our children. We as progressives need to do all we can to make sure that today’s generation of children have the knowledge, ability and courage to make our dream of a truly liberal democracy a reality.