Schools: The Sorcerer's New Apprentice?
1 | Part 2 | Part
3 | Part 4
There is a way
which seems right to man, but its end is the way of
death" (Prov 14:12).
The front covers
of Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report reflected
some of the agony of the Littleton, Colorado school
massacre, and in bold letters asked the question "Why?".
The school shootings
at Columbine High School punctuated the escalation of
juvenile crime in America over the past decade. Dr.
John DiIulio, professor of politics and public affairs
at Princeton University and one of the nation's leading
experts on criminal justice, observes that the young
criminals are "characterized by violent impulsiveness
and a chilling lack of empathy and remorse."
One month later,
six more students were wounded in an upscale high school
in metro Atlanta by a 15 year old who was upset over
a breakup with his girlfriend. This marked the sixth
school shooting spree in 20 months and was one more
incident in an alarming growth of violent acts committed
by kids around the country over the past few years.
DiIulio documents that in 1994, 2.7 million adolescents
were arrested, up from 1.7 million in 1991. 150,000
of those were for violent crimes.
Indeed the realization
of this growing problem, made noticeable by the media,
has caused our society to seek answers to the question
"Why?". Congress and the President have been
holding hearings, hearing from people sharing a number
of different perspectives on the causes and cures of
this growing epidemic.
The issue is complex
as there are a number of mitigating factors producing
the types of personalities and cultural maladies which
precipitate this violence. Experts put the blame on
things such as lack of parental involvement, lack of
gun control, teenage occult movement, media violence,
intolerant attitudes and other broader cultural issues.
But a factor strangely
absent from the current debate are certain educational
philosophies in our public schools which are certainly
having a major effect in producing children who commit
Donna Hearn, executive
director of the Constitutional Coalition, appeared before
the House Judiciary Committee Hearings On Violence at
Littleton and correctly pointed to a major component
contributing to the problem. She testified, "We
must examine the philosophy of education, as well as
what is happening in the classroom…It can be best
described as a philosophy of no moral absolutes, no
historic truth to be taught, and man deciding for himself
what is right or wrong."
One of the Columbine
killers, Eric Harris, wrote in his philosophy class,
"my belief is that if I say something, it goes.
I am the law, and if you don't like it, you die…Feel
no remorse, no sense of shame."
I can verify that
there are certain destructive educational philosophies
endemic in some public school curricula which are contributing
to our growing social problems. In fact, John Ankerberg,
John Weldon, and I wrote a comprehensive book on the
subject, documenting the New Age religious beliefs and
practices, occult, and inappropriate, often harmful
psychotherapeutic techniques in the classroom. The book,
titled Thieves of Innocence, was published in 1993 by
Harvest House. It has now been reprinted, titled Public
Schools: The Sorcerer's New Apprentice, the
title of these series of articles.
In the book, we
demonstrate how leaders and activists in the New Age
Movement, transpersonal psychologists and other liberal
humanistic social engineers and ideologues have come
into an unholy convergence producing this trend of destructive
New Age leader
Marilyn Ferguson wrote a sociology textbook in 1980,
The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation
in the 1980's, in which she interviewed many of her
New Age colleagues who were leaders and influencers
in the various areas of our culture. After they shared
their goals, strategies and accomplishments, Mrs. Ferguson
wrote, "Of the [New Agers] surveyed, more were
involved in education than in any other single category
of work. They were teachers, administrators, policy
makers, educational psychologists. Their consensus:
education [must be transformed]….Subtle forces
are at work, factors you are not likely to see in banner
headlines. For example, tens of thousands of classroom
teachers, educational consultants and psychologists,
counselors, administrators, researchers, and faculty
members in colleges of education have been among the
millions engaged in personal transformation. They have
only recently begun to link regionally and nationally,
to share strategies, to conspire for the teaching of
all they most value."
This series of
articles will detail the history of these problematic
approaches to educating our children, their strategic
agenda, the actual and potential harm that comes from
indoctrination in these approaches, how to recognize
it and how to effectively challenge and hopefully remove
it in order to protect our children and our culture.
Parents and educators
alike must be responsive, but in an informed and intelligent
manner. I offer this overview which will be developed
in the upcoming series of articles:
The New Age Movement is a spiritual and sociological
phenomenon in our country. Its beliefs and practices
are establishing themselves in many areas of our culture.
can be demonstrated that there are many educators
and curriculum developers who are either personally
involved in the New Age perspective or have accepted
the practices, techniques and theories without knowledge
of their source.
can be demonstrated that the adoption of New Age/occultic
ideology and practices is not just sporadic and random,
but that there is an underlying philosophical current
in place, ready to produce a flood of these curricula
into the public schools across America.
has been our experience that these beliefs tend to
enter through counseling; self-esteem, stress reduction,
health and gifted programs; creative writing classes;
some global education courses; and some literature
usual form these programs take is in deep breathing
relaxation or progressive relaxation exercises, guided
imagery, and visualization. These are sometimes associated
with inappropriate and ineffective value-free, values-clarification
or affective learning programs.
techniques and the presuppositions on which such programs
are based are intrinsic to Eastern and other mystical
religious traditions and practices (such as Hinduism
and meditation). Further, they are frequently synonymous
with the techniques of hypnosis and trance induction.
Unfortunately, often these techniques are purposely
disguised to project a secular appearance.
practice in the schools constitutes a violation of
the establishment clause of the first amendment since
public schools cannot promote the practice or ideology
if administrators refuse to acknowledge this connection
to occult religion, there is the further problem of
using hypnosis and dissociative techniques or other
psychotherapeutic methods. Using psychological techniques
without the informed consent of parents constitutes
a violation of the Hatch Amendment and the Grassley
Act and is therefore illegal.
can be established that there are genuine risks and
liabilities for both school and children if unlicensed
teachers are involved in administering speculative
or unproven therapeutic techniques so that resulting
psychiatric problems occur. This may be considered
self-esteem-oriented, drug or alcohol prevention and
sex education curricula utilize a nondirective decision-making
process without empirical justification. In fact,
evidence suggests these methods have actually produced
a rise in such activities.
content of many of these materials is likely a violation
of students' and parents' constitutional right to
should not only be well informed but also closely
involved with their children and teachers to make
sure such practices are not occurring in the classroom.
of the frequency of incidents, we are recommending
that state or local school boards adopt official policy
prohibiting the use of these techniques. This would
prevent the costly political, emotional, educational
and financial consequences of litigation.
If you would like
to receive a copy of the 303 page, Public
Schools: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice?