Monday, February 23, 2015

IndoctriNation (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

When the decision to homeschool is made, it's usually a decision not made lightly and much research is put into making the right decision for our family. Many times, the current situation of public schools weighs very heavy in the decision. As a parent we watch in horror the news stories of tragedies like Sandy Hook and Columbine, cringe at the latest sex abuse scandal between a trusted teacher and their underage student or about a bullied child who commits suicide because they felt so alone in a war zone of education. I was recently asked to watch and review the IndoctriNation DVD released by Great Commission Films that addresses many of these issues and explores the argument of should we as Christians leave our children in Public Schools in order to be the "salt and light" or homeschool them instead.

IndoctriNation is a documentary produced by Gunn Brother Productions in collaboration with Joaquin Fernandez. Colin Gunn, a Scottish filmmaker
Colin Gunn
who attended public schools in Scotland and later moved to America, is a homeschooling father of eight (7 at the time of this movie) who buys a used school bus and with his wife and kids travels the US to explore the demise of government run public schools. It also goes on to discuss how public schools have lead to the decline of Christianity in America. In the process, he stops to interview various individuals such as schoolteachers, historians and a father of the Columbine tragedy in regards to their opinions on the fall of public schools.

I watched this 102 minute documentary twice: once on my own and then again with my husband and my 15 year old daughter. All three of us enjoyed the movie greatly and found it to be a very eye opening journey through the history of public schools. The video quality is very crisp and clear and the audio is very clear and subtitles are available. Audio language options include both English and Spanish.  There is not a Bluray option available and the movie can only be purchased in DVD format.

My Thoughts:

Right off the bat this movie had my attention because of the video clip of Voddie Baucham speaking of the two schools - Port Arthur and Port Neches. This struck VERY close to home for me because I went to Port Arthur schools from 2nd through 9th grade at which point my father moved us to Port Neches-Groves Independent School District because it was a “better” school with a higher median
Yup, that's me with the video camera - PNG C/0 95
income and less minorities. I did not know of the Principal Mr Baucham spoke of but I can attest that at the time I went to PNG, it was the best school in the area and is still considered to be one of the best in the State of Texas. It also had a very high percentage of students who used drugs and drank on a regular basis but everyone felt that it was okay because everyone did “wealthy drugs” as opposed to cheaper alternatives the lesser school districts around us did.

While watching IndoctriNation, I found myself agreeing with much of what was being presented  by the various interviewees and what they had to say echoed many of the same arguments I had in regards to why I wanted to homeschool my kids. From “teaching the test” to the mixed learning groups discussed by RC Murray, I've seen all of it in either my own public school education or from having a daughter who has been in public schools her entire schooling.

Most importantly, the whole discussion about sex education and access to birth control in schools really hit home. My daughter has had sex education in school every year now since her 5th grade year (she's in 10th grade). The sad thing is my daughter can tell me all of the female and male anatomy but cannot show me where more than half of the states are located on a map.  At one time,  I had to sign a piece of paper stating I was allowing her to take the class – now I have to sign if I do NOT want her to take the class. This takes my choice as the parent out of the equation because if she want to take the class without my knowing she just does not have to bring the paper home. Luckily, our school district does not pass out birth control but it's scary to know that some schools are making condoms accessible to students as young as 6 (whom hopefully at that point would only use them as nasty tasting balloons).

IndoctriNation DVD Review

Another key point that really struck home for me was in regards to the response public schools seem to have with ADHD. Mr Gunn mentions the fact that many times drugs are pushed onto students (especially boys) in order to get them to sit still in their desks. He points out the fact that we do not know the long term effect these drugs will have on our children and that the school is basically using our children as uncontrolled drug experiments. I always joke about the fact I was "ADD before it was cool" - we didn't have a name for it, we were just kids who needed to focus. We survived without drugs because our teachers took the time to engage us (most of the time I was bored with the lessons and my teachers knew how to provide extra to challenge me). I know of a family right now that have two children who are very bright children but both have been given drugs due to the fact they either talk in class or can't sit still. Both are malnourished because they come home from school and go straight to sleep and cannot stay awake to eat properly. I fear that had I not homeschooled my son, he would have been one of these drugged children in this drugged society. This is EXTREMELY frightening to me as a parent.

A few other points I took away from this movie (but don't want to delve into too much because you really should watch the movie):

1. The Department of Education does not have competition. Without competition, who keeps them in check?

2. Public schools create an environment in which Christian students are pressured to give up their Christian values.

3. Public schools create attitudes of resentment to authority.

4. Homosexual history being taught in California. I had to look that up to make sure it was true - it was.. Since when does sexual preference have ANYTHING to do with what someone accomplished?

5. I think I want to go to the Creation Museum as a field trip :)

Garrett watching the credits for IndoctriNation
Finally, the closing credits to this movie were very engaging for my kids (Hey, sometimes it's about the little things, right?). My two youngest kids did not watch the movie but they were in the room while we were watching it and at the end, the credits show the chronological order of the states visited by the IndoctriNation bus. They had fun shouting out each state as it appeared - hey, a quick geography review :)  Garrett has actually had me play just the credits a few times because he enjoys them.

What My Husband Thought:

I won't say that my husband is an atheist – he's more “on the fence” at this point so I was a bit curious what his opinion of this movie would be knowing it had a Christian bias to it. My husband enjoyed the movie a lot and thought it was very well done. He stated that “even if you are not religious, the bible should be in schools as it is great source material for teaching good morals and values”.

He said he felt sick after watching it and seeing how much things had changed since he was in school  ten years ago. He feels the additions to the curriculum such as in regards to homosexuality and Islam studies is ridiculous and fears for what will be added in the future.

He found the history of the public school system to be very interesting and believes that Mr Gunn should consider making a movie focused solely on that subject as it would be a great documentary on its own as well.

Finally, he said one of the most important lesson learned - “Don't Buy Used Buses”.. I had to pause the movie at one point while we debated whether or not the bus had a bad alternator, starter and even if it ran on gasoline or diesel. I doubt Mr Gunn would have expected that discussion from his movie.

The Final Verdict:

Colin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez did a great job on this movie. It has a way of sneaking you into the subject material rather than just presenting you with a dry and boring documentary and I found the video to be very engaging. The interview subjects were also engaging and each added something to the discussion that if edited out would leave a gap in the presentation (a good way to judge if an interview is necessary or just fluff). Brian Rohrbough's story will tug at your heartstrings in a way that no parent ever wants to understand and will leave you in tears. I would highly recommend this movie for anyone considering homeschooling, who has small children who will be starting school soon, or to a parent who seems to think public schools are doing a great job educating their kids.  I second my husband's suggestion that Mr Gunn consider making a documentary more in depth on just the history of the public school system as I found it very interesting material and a more in depth presentation would be very interesting. 

Ride on the Magic Schoolbus.. No Thanks!!  I Think I Will Walk...

From the IndoctriNation website:  IndoctriNation won the Jubilee Award as the Best Documentary at the 2012 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Additionally, IndoctriNation was the runner up to Best of Festival, which went to the Kendrick Brothers film, Courageous.

IndoctriNation can be purchased at the movie's website for $19.95 USD for the DVD.  There is also a 372 page paperback companion book to the documentary available and can be purchased together with the DVD for $24.95 on the website. You can find IndoctriNation on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Vimeo.

IndoctriNation DVD Review

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Brenda, for enlightening the masses, whom would read your blog. I feel relief you and your family are there offering a lucid, well thought out and impressive account of outlets meant to educate the public of such atrocities that exist. Keep up the great work and hope you had a happy Mardi Gras!


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