Monday, February 23, 2015

Crew Review: IndoctriNation Documentary on Public Education

Great Commission Films has created a thought-provoking documentary on the state of American public education and Christianity. Originally published in 2011, IndoctriNation seeks to answer questions about the origins of the public school system, its current moral and philosophical status, and its spiritual effects on American culture. More importantly, he asks the question: Are our children safe (physically and spiritually) in the public school system?

IndoctriNation DVD Review Christianity and Public Education

The back cover of the IndoctriNation DVD begins with a very accurate warning. "If you're not ready to take a hard look at the true state of public education, you will want to avoid this unflinching and highly controversial documentary. But that would be a mistake!" IndoctriNation is an extremely well-made and challenging documentary on public education.

In this 102 minute film, Colin Gunn loads his family onto a retired schoolbus and travels around the United States to interview public school teachers, students, administrators, and parents. He also speaks with influential Christian leaders and renowned educator John Taylor Gatto. Gunn includes documentation, quotes and film-footage that is proof of the anti-Christian atmosphere of the public schools and its administration.

This trailer for IndoctriNation will give you just a taste of the wealth of information and testimonies in the documentary.

ElCloud thoughts:

My husband and I enjoyed viewing IndoctriNation. The documentary was a good reminder of all the reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place. It helped to strengthen our resolve to continue homeschooling our children, even when the big yellow bus seems to be the easier route. I confess that I needed to view this right now.

However, as soon as we finished watching the movie, I told my husband I have mixed emotions about it.  I fully agree with the information presented in the DVD, but I worry it will seem too negative for many Christian parents of public school students. There is a very strong homeschool bias to the documentary; the entire point of the documentary is to convince others that Christians should withdraw from public schools. However, my husband felt the documentary was provocative, in a good way, meant to challenge people to re-think public education.

I wish Colin had presented a more balanced list of pros and cons, sharing interviews that represent a wider variety of experiences and opinions. I think that families who are already involved with the public school system would receive Colin's message better, if they felt the intricacies of their situation were given better representation. Even though Colin Gunn found educators who were willing to speak out about the difficulty of being a Christian and a teacher, he didn't provide a very well-balanced viewpoint. He didn't present any evidence or personal interviews from Christian teachers who have found a way to live out their faith in the school system. He only spoke to Christian parents and students who had negative things to share about the public school system.

As I said, my husband and I enjoyed the IndoctriNation documentary. We found it to be extremely well-made and very encouraging for us as homeschoolers, but it isn't a DVD I would just hand out to all my family and friends. I will recommend it and share it with those who I feel are actually ready to consider it and hear the message. If someone is wondering if public schools are the right place for their children or not, this would be a very helpful documentary!

April E.

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