Commentary: Witness to Public Schools Brainwashing

by Chris Talgo


According to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s (VOC) fourth “Annual Report on US Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism, and Collectivism,” today’s youth is quite fond of political-economic systems that have resulted in more than 100 million deaths over the past century. At the same time, these misguided youths are increasingly hostile toward the political-economic system that has lifted countles millions more out of abject poverty over the same period.

“This year’s study showed increased support for communism (36 percent) among Millennials compared to 2018. Opinions of capitalism took a steep decline from 2018 to 2019, with only one-in-two among Millennials (ages 23-38) and Generation Z (ages 16-22) having a favorable opinion of capitalism,” the report noted.

Here are a few other “key takeaways” from VOC’s report:

  • “70 percent of Millennials say they are likely to vote socialist.”
  • “15 percent of Millennials think the world would be better off if the Soviet Union still existed.”
  • “About one-in-five Millennials (22 percent) believe that ‘society would be better if all private property was abolished,’ compared to 1 percent of the Silent Generation.”
  • “45 percent of Generation Z and Millennials believe that ‘all higher education should be free.’”
  • “About one-in-four Americans (27 percent) across every generation see President Trump as the ‘biggest threat to world peace’ over Kim Jong-Un (22 percent) and Vladimir Putin (15 percent).”
  • “Only 57 percent of Millennials believe the Declaration of Independence better ‘guarantees freedom and equality’ over the Communist Manifesto.”

You may be thinking: How is this possible?

I think I have an answer for you. The U.S. education system is brainwashing today’s youth to believe that capitalism is evil while also indoctrinating students with utopian, false, and fairy-tale notions about socialism and communism.

Although this may sound like hyperbole, I have experienced this miseducation first-hand. Long story short, while teaching U.S. History, World History, Economics, and American Government for five (long) years to high school students in the Chicago suburbs and in Bluffton, South Carolina, I was absolutely shocked and dismayed. In both of my experiences, the “state standards,” which dictate the curriculum, were chock full of pro-socialist, anti-capitalist rhetoric.

If you think I am exaggerating, think again. Below are a few examples of “It is Essential for Students to Know” from the South Carolina US History and Constitution Learning Standards for a few historical periods.

Post-Civil War Industrialization: “Students should understand that economic growth started in the first half of the century … was fostered by both government actions and changes in each of the factors of production. It is important to emphasize the role of government in providing the business environment in which entrepreneurs could be successful because it is a common misunderstanding that government impedes economic growth and that American individualism was sufficient to promote America’s emergence as an industrial power in the late nineteenth century.”

The Gilded Age: “Entrepreneurs used new technologies and new business tactics to create large corporations to control their industry. … Critics of these entrepreneurs and unfettered capitalism questioned whether the interests of the so-called ‘Robber Barons’ were protected too much by government. … It is important for students to understand that unfettered competition led to economic uncertainty and periodic depressions and eventually to a public call for government regulation of monopolistic practices.”

The New Deal: “The New Deal was not an attempt to introduce socialism in the United States, although that is what its critics claimed. Indeed, many historians argue that because of New Deal policies, capitalism was saved. Although New Deal policies alleviated some suffering and offered hope to Americans in their bleakest hour, they did not solve the economic problems of the Depression. Rather, massive government spending during World War II ended the Depression.”

The Great Society: “Johnson’s vision of the Great Society led to the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid and the initiation of the War on Poverty. These economic programs helped to insure that the poor and the elderly received health care. They also reduced the poverty rate. … These programs extended the government’s commitment to social welfare that started with the New Deal.”

The Reagan Era: “Reaganomics and defense spending, as well as globalization, had a long term impact on the economy that is still being debated today. Yearly budget deficits due to increased defense spending contributed to a tripling of the national debt. The failure of many deregulated financial institutions led to the need for massive bailouts that further added to the debt and the crisis in economic confidence in the 1980s and again in 2008.”

Keep in mind, the standards are only one element of what teachers teach. A far larger problem, in my opinion, is the blatant pro-government, anti-business bias that most teachers openly flaunt in the classroom. Unless and until there is a massive reform of our public-school system (such as universal school choice), the problem is likely to become worse before it becomes better.

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Chris Talgo ( is a former school teacher and editor at The Heartland Institute.
Photo “Students in School” by ResoluteSupportMedia. CC BY 2.0.






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3 Thoughts to “Commentary: Witness to Public Schools Brainwashing”

  1. William R. Delzell

    What about brainwashing of children by right wing fundamentalist and Cold War militarist groups? No so-called conservatives ever protested attempts by Christian fundamentalists to force their religion via devotionals on public school children. And, where were these conservatives when schools used to have compulsory (not voluntary, but COMPULSORY) Jr. R.O.T.C. courses, at least for male students, that forced them to blindly obey orders like mindless robots, that encouraged bullying of nonconformists, that was gender-biased against males in that these programs singled out male students for compulsory attendance, and that gave an uncritical view of U.S. military and foreign policy? I was fortunate that the public schools that I attended in Nashville, TN, during the 1960’s and early 1970’s did not require any Jr. R.O.T.C., but I do know of accounts by students in other school systems that DID require Jr. R.,O.T.C. that pacifists, counter-culture individuals, and other non-conformists were mistreated without a murmur of criticism by so-called anti-brainwashing conservatives. This is one reason why conservatives who complain about leftist curricula have no credibility with me.

  2. 83ragtop50

    I also give credit for this thought process to the adults who have nurtured the “give everyone a trophy” mentality. Why work to succeed when everything is handed to you on a silver platter. This has resulted in 26 year old living at home and not holding down a job. What a disaster.

  3. Ralph

    It was Lenin himself who said” “Give us the child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.” SO, perhaps as an added measure, we opt to give our children to the Bolsheviks for 12 years instead, sometimes for a lifetime so that they can spread the virus.

    Not to take one iota from this author’s observations, and universal school choice is the answer – including and perhaps most especially homeschooling. But it is not just the message; rather, it is the method with which it is delivered. Shame and fear of ridicule is used extensively, to such an extent that facts no longer matter – all that matters is what the group believes. That, too, is a lesson that persists for life.