The movie, IndoctriNation, is a 102 min DVD released by Great Commission films in 2011. The opening graphic for the DVD strongly recommended not allowing children to watch the program. I am glad this disclaimer was very visible as the topics covered in the DVD were very much only for mature audiences. With this in mind I snuggled up in my favorite chair and watched the movie after our children were in bed for the night. I wish I had gathered up a notebook and pencil before starting the DVD. There were lots of interesting facts presented and I would have liked to have been able to write them down as the movie progressed. I ended up watching the DVD for a second time on another night so that I could write down all of the facts I wanted to remember for future reference.
This DVD is part documentary and part testimonial asking questions about the origins and social implications of America's public education system. Scottish film maker Colin Gunn, a homeschool father of seven, travels with his family through American on a big yellow school bus asking some hard hitting questions.
- Who established the American public school system?
- Are my kids physically and morally safe in the schools?
- Are public schools religiously neutral?
- Should Christians try to be "salt and light" in public schools?
- Can the public school system be fixed or redeemed?
Did you know that the first teacher's college run by the government was the Normal School in Lexington, MA? In the DVD we follow Colin Gunn as he travels to Lexington to investigate the Normal School. While there we learn that James G. Carter, a Harvard man, stated that the state run teachers colleges such as the Normal Schools were an "...engine to sway the public sentiment, the public morals, and the public religion, more powerful than any other in the possession of government."
We then travel via our big yellow school bus to New Harmony Indiana. Where we learn about Robert Owen, a Unitarian, who in 1830 felt that religion was the problem with education. He went on to form the first secular community in America, New Harmony. His plan was to remove religion from all education so that he could form a new universe in which there was no religion at all.
There are so many historical facts within this DVD that I could go on and on with the information provided. I found the historical breakdown concerning the beginning of the public school system to be fascinating. As an adult raised within the public school system it never occurred to me to question how the compulsory school system began within our country. After watching the DVD twice I felt the need to do quite a bit more research on the subject.
While I found the historical significance of the school system to be fascinating the movie is not just a historical account of the education system. At each "bus stop" Gunn probes into the public school system with a new and unique set of questions. One of these such "bus stops" concerned the topic of safety within the modern day school systems.
Anyone that watches the news knows about the physical dangers present in our public school system. It seems almost a daily occurrence to hear about children abusing drugs, physically assaulting each other, underage pregnancies, and the horrific school shootings that have devastated so many lives throughout our country. This is a very powerful section within the movie. The interviews with a student who was exposed to a "normal" school upbringing and a parent who lost his child to a school shooting were extremely moving and heart breaking.
What about the less sensational moral dangers that never make it to prime time news broadcasts? I learned within this move that 61% of children who are raised in the Christian faith leave the Church as adults.
As the movie points out there are several Bible versus on the subject. One that they shared really stood out to me:
Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.'
1 Corinthians 15:33
What about the Christian teachers and Principles within the current public school systems? What do they have to say about the current state of affairs? Colin Gunn interviews several members of the current school system to ask their opinions on the subject and how they feel their faith applies to their teaching and daily running of the schools. It was very enlightening to me, as a parent, to see how the school professionals feel about having to walk the fine line between their faith and the legal requirements pertaining to religion within public schools. Several refused to walk the line and were removed from their positions as teachers. Simply because they felt the calling to speak about God to their students.
There are some seriously heavy subject matters covered within this DVD and I recommend keeping some tissues handy. I will admit I started crying during several parts of the movie. The interviews of students and parents throughout the program can be very gut wrenching to watch. I however feel they are necessary for all of us to hear and really reflect upon.
I would strongly recommend this DVD to any and all Christian parents. It is a though provoking journey from past to present. The viewer is left with no other choice but to reflect upon the future of America's public schools and the future leaders of America.
You can click here or on the banner below to find more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew for Colin Gunn's Indoctrination movie.