Education in Iran

by Peter Roskam

Imagine a world where your child came back from school with a textbook encouraging martyrdom and disparaging the right of women to vote; where your child’s school had “mentors” in classes that suppressed free speech and intimidated those who deviated from a specific track of thought and life inside and outside of school; where your daughter couldn’t go to college because of a quota limiting the number of women accepted.

All this and more is taking place in Iran right now.

An educational system should open doors, not close them. It should expand its students’ minds, not narrow them. That is why today, with my fellow Illinois colleague Rep. Mike Quigley, I introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning this system.

Textbooks in Iran applaud martyrdom and contain anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-Western passages aimed at radicalizing students. Strides that women have made to gain rights in Iran — they account for six out of ten university students — may soon be erased as the government considers quotas to limit the number of women in the system.

A stable future for Iran and a changed posture toward our ally Israel require an educational system that casts aside grotesque hate speech toward the U.S., Israel, and indeed the whole of the Western world. An Iran that is a rational international actor and a good-faith partner must be built on future generations that benefit from a reformed educational system that promotes peace, tolerance, equality, civil debate, and the development of civil society.

Peter Roskam is a Republican congressman from Illinois.