More Public School Political Indoctrination

Here is what’s scary to me: a teacher considers giving his middle school students the assignment of doing opposition research on the Republican presidential candidates, and no ethics alarms go off for him at all. Fairness? Objectivity? Abuse of power? Prudence? Bias?

Not a ding.

Michael Denman assigned his 8th grade students at Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County the task of researching the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the four presidential hopefuls looking to challenge President Obama and forward them to the Obama campaign. The students were told to research the backgrounds and positions of each of the candidates ,find their “weaknesses,” and  to prepare strategy papers to exploit them in the campaign. Then they were told to find a contact in the Obama campaign to send them to.

A “Jeez, I’m going to get busted for this” alarm should have also gone off, but when you are a stone-cold ideologue who thinks it’s responsible teaching to use your position to indoctrinate your students just like in totalitarian regimes, I guess the likelihood that parents will flip out just doesn’t occur to you. Yes, this is public school Honors Civics in 21st Century America, my friends, where teachers think education means “making sure they grow up to support the teachers unions and vote for Democrats.”

After parents complained, the school’s principal suggested to Denman that having the kids do research on the candidates of both parties would be more appropriate. “Really? You mean Democratic candidates have weaknesses? Oh, okay!”

Fairfax school district policy states “employees shall not involve their schools in political campaigns, distribute political literature on school property or attempt to indoctrinate students with their personal political beliefs.” So Denman’s policy alarms weren’t working either. I’m sure he didn’t think the district meant it, I mean, not as long as he was teaching the right political beliefs.

At least he wasn’t having sex with any of his students.

Tell me: what’s the benchmark—indoctrination, cheating on test scores, unreasonable discipline, infringment of basic rights, sexual misconduct, teachers who mock and denigrate their students online—for America to conclude that its public school system is no longer trustworthy, and that it is no longer responsible for parents to allow our children to be under its control?

12 Comments

Filed under Education, Government & Politics

12 responses to “More Public School Political Indoctrination

  1. Joshua

    I think people still hold out hope for the public school system because they have to. There isn’t a viable choice for most areas of the country besides a public school system.

    My one question for this teacher, and I use this term loosely, is why he didn’t broaden the scope of his project? Why didn’t he offer the children to choose a presidential campaign in history and have them find the weaknesses in the campaigns of a side of their choosing?

    What raises the flag the most out of this is, why did he have the students find who to send their research to in the Obama campaign? I can understand a teacher making a mistake like having them research only one side. What I can’t forgive is a teacher actively making his students participants in his political machinations.

  2. I agree, Joshua—what’s the alternative? But at some point you have to decide that what you have is unacceptable before anyone will get serious about alternatives.

    • Joshua

      I believe all the no tolerance rules should have been the limit. Treating children like criminals is not the best way to get kids to want to be in school.

    • By “conversion therapy”, are you referencing psychiatry?

      Abolish public schools.

      • I think you’re cross-referencing me, Michael! I would remind people that American public schools were once the envy of the world. But something has obviously gone badly wrong.

        Part of the problem stems from the rise of the teachers’ unions as a major pillar of the Democrat party. Another lies in the increasing insularity and arrogant of professional administrators. Both professions, from the unguarded words of their own union leaders, make it evident that their prime focus has changed from creating good, decent and informed citizens from their young pupils to that of, “What’s in it for us?”.

        But another part of the trouble is with the inattentive parents. In justioe, many more households these days have both parents working. But there has to be a balance achieved when it comes to the kids. They need parental guidance first. These things must not be left to strangers.

        A clean culture that further emphasizes the worth of citizenship (instead of its diametric opposite) would help as well. And, above all, voting parents must pay attention to school district issues and candidates… AND VOTE.

  3. What an embezzle,what a ultra maroon,in the words of Bugs Bunny. The students should at least get paid!

  4. Looks like someone who gets so carried away in their zeal that they presume others see it the same way. Keeping an open mind in terms of politics can be difficult because the more time one spends doing anything, the more loathe they are to give it up. This applies to hobbies, careers, religion and political ideology. Is it possible the guy was going to do the same for the Democratic nominees?

  5. Sue

    Just read another inane decision made by a middle school principal in New Jersey. Students are not allowed to hug. I’ve seen schools try to enforce this policy before usually as a knee-jerk reaction to public displays of affection gone too far or instances in which students are putting their hands on other students in an annoying or aggressive way. The superintendent backed up the principal and said that some hugging is bad. Furthermore, he is disappointed that some people have chosen to make such a big deal about what this principal feels he needs to do to keep this campus safe and under control. (I’m paraphrasing but that is the spirit and tone of the message from the
    superintendent). I have a feeling that hugging is not the problem nor is it the cure to what is going on at this campus. Dumb! Dumb!

  6. fattymoon

    “A.S Neill’s Summerhill School, a co-educational boarding school in Suffolk, England, is the original alternative ‘free’ school. Founded in 1921, it continues to be an influential model for progressive, democratic education around the world.” http://www.summerhillschool.co.uk/

    As a kid, I always wanted to attend Summerhill. I think I would have excelled there instead of what happened to me in the public education system, which I absolutely hated so much I purposely flunked 10th grade just to spite the system.

    Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts is one of many alternative schools throughout the world. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/Summerhill.html We even have one right here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, although not as anarchistic as the others, still quite a viable alternative. http://lascrucesacademy.org/

  7. fattymoon

    “A.S Neill’s Summerhill School, a co-educational boarding school in Suffolk, England, is the original alternative ‘free’ school. Founded in 1921, it continues to be an influential model for progressive, democratic education around the world.” http://www.summerhillschool.co.uk/

    As a kid, I always wanted to attend Summerhill. I think I would have excelled there instead of what happened to me in the public education system, which I absolutely hated so much I purposely flunked 10th grade just to spite the system.

    Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts is one of many alternative schools throughout the world. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/Summerhill.html We even have one right here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, although not as anarchistic as the others, still quite a viable alternative. http://lascrucesacademy.org/ v

  8. Michael

    A big problem is that we have an education establishment. We have education departments that determine what teachers should do and how they should do it. This causes some major problems because…
    • Their field is education, which means they do research in education.
    • When their jobs depend on publication, their jobs depend on finding new ways to educate students.
    • There is no publication value to a report stating “the way we have been teaching algebra for the last 300 years works pretty well”
    • Continuous change results. You can’t use an education textbook that is more than 3 years old because it is considered out of date and worthless. The same will be true of the current textbooks.
    • The above point means that all teachers in the schools currently are trying to apply teaching methods that are considered out of date and worthless by their own profession.

    Parents have no power in this process. Only professional educators are allowed to be in the teaching profession. There is no legal alternative. The teaching profession is overwhelmingly liberal and there is no legal alternative. The teaching profession believes in indoctrination, and there is no legal alternative.

    The only alternative that I can see is to destroy the education departments and go back to the old system. In the old system, students had to get a degree in the area they were going to teach and they took some teaching classes (to add a teaching certificate to their degree). With NCATE, there are so many education classes, that there is little time left over for any content. The competency exams need to be developed by the subject areas, not the education people. This will require firing 90% of the teachers in America and training replacements. My school leads my state in the production of qualified mathematics teachers. Some years, we have produces over 50% of the mathematics teachers in the entire state. Last year, we graduated 5. Good luck on trying to fix this system.

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