Are Schools About Education Or Activism?
I’m not a huge fan of public schools. Part of that is because public schools in my neck of the woods are almost universally bad. The best school in the area is still not all that great compared to the rest of the state, much less the rest of the nation.
Yet the purpose of school is to educate, even if it doesn’t do the job as well as we might like.
Here in the Deep South, there are reasons our schools are crap. That’s a whole post unto itself, though, so I won’t delve into why, but the point is that they still educate.
At least, in theory.
However, it seems that’s not the case in New York City public schools where teachers are being urged not just to be teachers, but also activists. Not just that, but to focus that activism along a particular ideological line.
A New York City principal sent an email to her staff this past week urging them to “take action” in support of Palestinians during the current crisis in Israel and Gaza.
According to the New York Post, the email from Middle School 136’s Amanda Bueno reads “You can take action today by protesting, attending a vigil, making a public commitment to Palestinian Liberation, signing a petition, or calling your government officials to place sanctions on Isreal [sic].”
The message also says people “need not prove [Palestinians’] humanity and right to exist […] Empathy is a bare minimum.” It includes various hashtags such as #GazaUnderAttack and #SaveSheikhJarrah.
“Additional resource” links at the end of the email feature the Teach Palestine website, the main page of which states “We know you share our outrage at attacks by the Israeli military and settlers against the people of Palestine.”
Teach Palestine also has a “Stolen Land” section which compares the plight of Palestinians to illegal immigrants in the U.S.
One problem: A teacher who works for Bueno is Jewish.
You can imagine how that direction went over, can’t you?
The problem is, when a principle urges teachers to advocate for a particular point of view, how long before that creeps into the classroom? Especially in this day and age when just about everything works its way into the classroom.
Further, a principal in a public school pushing teachers to advocate for something like this crosses so many lines it’s not even remotely funny.
For one thing, as noted, at least one of the teachers is Jewish. Let’s not forget that Hamas, which is a driving force in so-called Palestine, is a group founded not just on anti-Israeli sentiment, but anti-Semitism overall. There’s a reason some Jews might be inclined to not want to support them.
Yet that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
See, not everyone in New York City shares Bueno’s political sensibilities. While most voters do support Democratic candidates for president, that’s far from universal. There are many Christians and atheists in the Big Apple who support Israel.
What Bueno did was, in essence, create a hostile work environment for anyone who doesn’t think as she does.
The kick in the ass of all this? It’s not even overly surprising.
Educators are, by and large, liberal-leaning in their politics. I’ve long ascribed that to the fact that people who vote Democrat also being less motivated by financial means in their choice of career.
Regardless of why, though, it simply is that way.
In fact, it’s so common that the surprising thing is that anyone bothered to raise a stink about Bueno’s email. It’s common as hell for teachers to lean so far left they can’t even see their own biases for what they are.
I understand mine. When I spoke to a high school government class about the Second Amendment, I knew I had a pro-gun bias, so I did my best to counter that to provide both sides, at least to some degree.
Yet so many teachers just don’t seem to give a damn anymore. They want to make their profession a minefield for anyone who doesn’t share their ideology, and there’s a reason why.
It’s far easier to indoctrinate students when none of your coworkers will object.
Parents can be placated. They can be told what their child understood wasn’t the lesson intended. They can be told whatever needs to be told so teachers can get back to business.
But when an educator is the person with the issue, it’s harder to lie to them because they see how the sausage is made.
So is school about education or activism?
Well, for far too many so-called educators, it’s both. There’s a term for that, though, and it’s indoctrination, where one’s activism colors what they try to teach to such a degree that it may have absolutely no relation to reality.
I started homeschooling my daughter this year because of my local school system’s utter incompetence in dealing with COVID at the end of last year and their seeming incompetence in putting together a plan at the beginning of this year.
However, stuff like this makes me feel better and better about the decision every single day.
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