Posted in Teacher Unions

Dr.Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle too political for BC schools?

Courtesy Wikipedia. Click on image.

Update: Charles Adler weights in on educrats and how they are ruining childhood with their politically correct agendas. (H/T Catherine). Where I disagree with Adler is his assuming everyone in the system, or everyone was part of the system at one time, are politically correct educrats. Obviously. I don’t see myself that way or I wouldn’t have written this post. That said, Adler is correct. People need to allow children to be children and use books like Yertle the Turtle to teach lessons, not conformity.   


You have to know that political correctness has replaced common sense when the Prince Rupert School District in BC considers the children’s Dr. Seuss classic, Yertle the Turtle, to be too political to use, either with students in the classroom, or in BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) materials that might be visible in a teacher’s car.

Now, I may not agree with the actions of either the BC government or the BCTF during and after their recent walk-out, but forbidding union materials in a person’s car sounds like political harassment and bullying to me.

For example, here are a couple of selected quotes from a Globe and Mail article by Wendy Stueck:

“A Prince Rupert elementary teacher has been told a quote from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle is a political statement that should not be displayed or worn on clothing in her classroom. The teacher included the quote in material she brought to a meeting with management after she received a notice relating to union material visible in her car on school property.”

“The advice is in keeping with a 2011 arbitrator’s decision that found political materials must be kept out of B.C. classrooms, said Dave Stigant, who is acting director of instruction for the Prince Rupert School District and who met with the teacher to discuss what would and wouldn’t run afoul of district standards….”

So, why might Yertle the Turtle be a problem for the BC government or the Prince Rupert School District?  Well, it is a story that uses metaphor to show what oppression and bullying looks like.

In the case in point, Yertle forces his fellow turtles to hold him up, even when the turtles at the bottom are hurting and complaining.  In response he simply tells them to shut up and keep holding him up. Eventually, the bottom turtle burps and they all go flying and Yertle ends up in the mud.

Hmmm. In other words, in B.C. that is exactly how the teachers are feeling and the school district and BC government don’t like it one bit that they are being portrayed as bullies.

Well, as my regular readers know, I don’t agree with teachers strikes or work to rule campaigns, but I am definitely getting the feeling that the animosity that BC teacher’s are feeling is a huge problem that no amount of politically correct bullying is going to fix. In fact, it is going to make things even worse.  

Anway, the primary problem is, as I understand it, a decision by the BC Supreme Court that “working conditions were a teacher’s right,” that the BC government refuses to acknowledge. Personally, I disagree with the whole notion, as I have written about before, but that is irrelevant now.

I mean, when BC school districts are calling teachers on the carpet because quotes from a Dr. Seuss classic are “too political,” you know there is a serious breakdown, not only of communication but of respect.  You also have to know there is a serious problem when the BCTF and the government can’t even agree on a mediator.

Solution? Well, either the BC government has to take the BC Supreme Court decision to the federal court for a final resolution, or they have to simply put the “right” back in the collective agreement and get on with providing BC children with the education their parents expect.

However, if the BC government refuses to deal with this “political” situation, in the long term,  it is government officials and their school district administrators that are going to be covered in mud.