Letter to the Editor: Viewpoint-neutral teaching is a sop

To the editor:

Viewpoint-Neutral teaching is a sop.

It does nothing; it is nothing; it achieves nothing.聽 And, at the end, students have learned nothing.聽 This nullity is inevitable because viewpoints themselves are not and cannot ever be neutral.

Everything comes from something.聽 Everything reflects some point of view, and — more accurately — a collection of points of聽 view (many times conflicting) as held by culture, source, author, editor, and reader.聽 These perspectives are fundamental to our choice of subject…and tactically applied in our choice of word & tone as we seek to effectively & ‘fairly’ teach that subject.

To attempt to ‘neutralize’ our teaching of an inherently non-neutral subject is to kill it.

Consider, for example, the ‘history’ of your parents:聽 the source of You.聽 Do you have a ‘neutral-viewpoint’ understanding of your parents’ histories up to and including the point at which you entered the world?

Of course not.

Instead, most probably, you have been taught the ‘golden city on the hill’ version…the mythological version:聽 Mom and Dad met; fell in love; got married; and had you (clearly the very purpose of their existence).聽 Is that history right?聽 Maybe, if by right we mean generally accurate if seen from a distance, with a squint, and a generous helping of ‘none of my business’.

And what would viewpoint-neutral teaching (founded naturally upon viewpoint-neutral research and analysis) of that parental history actually provide that you don’t currently have?聽 More importantly would that ‘revisionist history’ be better?聽 Perhaps most importantly, would YOU be better having learned your parents’ ‘viewpoint neutral’ past?

I would suggest the answer is NO.聽 And the answer is no because it is our understanding of a higher truth, a more transcendent truth which is vastly more important than our ‘neutral’ grasp of a ‘neutral’ history which has been drained of moral & cultural impact and meaning.

As parents we are morally obligated to teach our children the Truth…聽 For without it, we are the ‘hollow men, headpiece filled with straw …聽 and our dried voices….quiet and meaningless…As wind in dry grass… Or rats’ feet over broken glass…”

Rather let us look to… “the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter鈥攖omorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning鈥斅 聽So we beat on…”