HILL: When does education become indoctrination? 

In this photo taken Monday, April 20, 2015 a historical marker erected on Franklin Street provides some informational significance on campus at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

UNC professors don’t want anyone else to indoctrinate students ― just them. 

In a stunning, politically tin-eared letter, 677 UNC professors ― out of a total of 2,171 on campus ― signed a letter protesting two Republican-led bills in the North Carolina General Assembly: HB 96, which would require each student to take one three-hour credit course on the Constitution and representative democracy in America, and HB 715, which would end tenure. 

One-third of UNC professional college educators, probably way over half of them tenured, signed this letter, confirming what many people think anyway ― they consider college campuses to be places where they get to “indoctrinate” students the way they want to indoctrinate them, not anyone else. 

Worse than that, by signing this letter at the very time the Republican-led NCGA is considering its budget for the biennium, these 677 professors telegraphed their very strong objection to UNC students learning about the Constitution and Western civilization in general. They consider it to be some form of “indoctrination,” which implies they consider what they do teach every day to be indoctrination from the left, not pure education. 

The letter states: “Our leaders (in the NCGA, on the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors) continue to disregard campus autonomy, attack the expertise and independence of world-class faculty, and seek to force students’ educations into pre-approved ideological containers.” 

“Seek to force students’ education into pre-approved ideological containers.” You mean like the Summer Reading Series at Chapel Hill? Incoming freshmen were asked to read such books as “Approaching the Qur’an” in the summer of 2013. A review of books chosen for this series does not include one book which extols the virtues of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, free enterprise and capitalism, or the benefits of freedom in a democratic republic. In fact, most of them focus on a particular failure in American history as if to show the students how “horrible” America truly is in world history. 

Ask any faculty or administrator at UNC who is the “Milton Friedman Distinguished Professor of Economics.” They can’t answer the question ― because they don’t have any such distinguished conservative thinkers on the Chapel Hill campus, at least none they want to talk about in public. 

The socialist left has erased civics classes from public schools nationwide over the past 50 years. Today we are drowning in a sea of animosity towards America from young people who know nothing about our nation or state history. 

Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln wrote earnestly about the critical need to have a solid public education system founded on teaching the fundamental aspects of freedom and personal responsibility. Newly minted American citizens who came to the U.S. as refugees from Afghanistan, Congo and Muammar know more about the Constitution than the average American high school student today. 

These 677 professors must think they are teaching at a private university. They are not. They are teaching at the oldest public university in America, one which is supported at least 40% financially by the taxpayers of North Carolina.  

UNC prides itself on being “The University of the People” which must have misled these 677 professors to believe everyone in the state agrees with them politically as part of the socialist proletariat or something. 

Well, they don’t. Assume 51% of North Carolina’s voters are either conservative or lean conservative. Are they supposed to forfeit any say about what their children are being taught at Carolina through their elected representatives in the NCGA solely because the faculty “demands” 100% autonomy when it comes to establishing curriculum? 

UNC is a public, taxpayer-funded university. Taxpayers elect people to make decisions on how their tax money will be spent. There is not one other state-funded program in North Carolina that is 100% immune to elected representative overview and input. No other state program even tries to assert they are “above reproach” when it comes to spending taxpayer money. 

UNC required every student pass a swimming test to graduate until 2006. After World War II, there was concern American students were not fit enough to defend our nation in case of another war, so the pools built at Chapel Hill for the Navy Pre-Flight programs were used to make sure they could at least swim 50 yards and tread water for five minutes. 

There’s a lot of concern in public policy circles about young people not knowing enough about America’s rich history and self-government to defend and protect it today. It is time to require every student pass one course on American civics out of forty to graduate. We will all benefit from it.