There is now plenty of proof that far too many teachers in both the United States and Canada are not “educating” their students about alternative political viewpoints.
Rather, they are indoctrinating them with a “my way or the highway” one-sided progressive ideology that, over the long term, could actually threaten our right to free speech and political affiliation.
For example, check out this column by Mark Tapson from FrontPageMag.com and its link to a nine minute video of an unidentified female teacher and her students in a North Carolina high school classroom. (H/T bluecanada.ca)
As a former teacher and teacher educator, I find the video very difficult to listen to, not only because it is hard to follow given the noise in the background but because it is embarrassing. Clearly, the teacher is an Obama supporter which is her personal right. But, it is not her right to be an Obama apologist in her classroom.
Specifically, besides demonstrating an almost complete lack of classroom control, the video demonstrates the difference between indoctrinating and educating, especially when the teacher yells “stop” several times when a student argues they should be able to talk about Obama as they do Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, because “Obama is not God.”
Personally, I have no opinions or concerns about Obama one way or the other, although I have written about him several times on this blog in the past, most of it complementary (e.g,. here is my archive). Rather, my concern is with the type of political indoctrination we were witnessing.
Unfortunately, however, that type of “teaching” is not new. In fact, as I have written before, I was witness to such a phenomenon myself in Ontario between 1995 and 1999 when I was employed by a Mike Harris “Progressive Conservative” Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). The teachers’ unions hate for Premier Harris and his government was over the top and eventually infected everyone in the profession.
In fact, to this day, the effect of the indoctrination of students attending high school during the Harris years is still felt. Now in their late 20s and early 30s, many are parents themselves and I read their “Harris ruined Ontario” comments on any blog or mainstream media column about the Harris years. When, in fact, the Harris government kept all their promises and completely turned the Ontario economy around.
Whatever! As the latest Quebec student protests demonstrate, the demonization of politicians we don’t agree with continues. Specifically, Chris Selley writes in today’s National Post, the student protestors in Quebec are now referring to “Liberal” Premier Jean Charest as a fascist.
A fascist? Talk about magical thinking and hyperbole! Is the Quebec government using death squads to round up protestors, never to be seen again? Of course not. All Charest is doing is raising post-secondary tuition fees to be closer to what they are in the rest of Canada. There is also the issue that progressive politicians ignore what doesn’t fit their agenda.
Anyway, whatever the examples of indoctrination by teachers or bias by progressive politicians, whether during the late 1990s in Ontario or in North Carolina and Quebec today, the results speak for themselves — free speech is at risk!
As such, I would remind all those with a one-sided political viewpoint, that as far back as Athenian democracy itself, Socrates taught his students the importance of the dialetic — a method of “dialogue between two or more people holding “different” points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter by dialogue and with reasoned arguments.”
A truth we should all remember!