Alliance for the Separation of School & State
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The Education Liberator, Vol. 1, No. 4, December 1995/January 1996

Proclaimer Profile

Each month, we will profile individuals who have signed the Proclamation for the Separation of School & State.

Exposing Children to Therapeutic Indoctrination

Chip Sills first encountered the concept of school/state separation some 20 years ago while reading the maverick philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend. In his 1975 book Against Method, Feyerabend suggested that the separation of state and religious education in this country ought naturally be complemented by the separation of state and science education. Intrigued by this argument, Sills chewed on it for many years. Ultimately, personal experience with his own children persuaded him of the need for separation.

Even in Maryland's idyllic Eastern Shore (which he describes as a throwback to the 1950s), Sills found himself having to jump through bureaucratic hoops to have his children excused from certain parts of the curriculum, especially a mental health curriculum which suggested fourth graders write suicide notes. After many battles, Sills came to see that "specifics weren't the problem ? the overall system was the problem." Many nanny-state educators really see themselves as surrogate parents, he says. "My fear and experience was that children were being exposed to therapeutic indoctrination."

Sills' distrust of state power in education is not allayed any by the culture wars he sees raging at the U. S. Naval Academy, where he teaches philosophy. He sees politically correct indoctrination going on at Navy, which, contrary to widespread opinion, is not a conservative school. Both theory and personal experience have convinced Sills to oppose, in Feyerabend's words, "restricting the lives, the thoughts, the education of the members of a free society where everyone should have a chance to make up his own mind.... "

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