The Washington Monthly has a hair-raising story by Meg Stalcup and Joshua Craze on how “trainers,” mostly paid for from Homeland Security dollars, are indoctrinating local police to fear and hate of Islam and Muslims. Sample quote, from one trainer, a Jordanian-born Christian, speaking to sixty cops in South Florida:
Islam is a highly violent radical religion that mandates that all of the earth must be Muslim
This is an outrage on several obvious levels, none of which require comment here. It’s not quite so obvious how the Feds could arrange to stop paying people to spread Pam Geller-style manure around. One idea would be to contract-out to universities, some of which at least might maintain something approaching academic standards. (But don’t get your hopes too high; just imagine what Liberty University would do, and of course the management of the University of Phoenix wouldn’t recognize an academic standard if it bit them.)
One point the piece doesn’t note: Having gone through this nonsense “training,” the officers will the be able to qualify themselves as “expert witnesses” in court. I’ve heard some astonishingly bad testimony from alleged police drug experts, claiming expertise from “trainings” just like this one. Judges seem quite incurious as to the content of the process that makes someone an “expert,” and it seems to be the convention that lawyers for the other side attack the testimony but not the capacity of the witness to offer an expert view in the first place.
Also remarkable in the story is the failure of any of the hundreds of cops in the room to call “bullsh*t.” But when you think about it, doing so wouldn’t be a good career move, and of course the trainer would be appalled if anyone offered an opposing point of view or asked a challenging question.
That, of course, is one of the differences between training and actual education. Training is, or should be, for skills. Knowledge is something else.