Teacher Alert: Students Are Not Your Trained Monkeys!

I really, really hate this.

You see, the Hitler Youth was BAD indoctrination and manipulation of children. Forcing students to protest budget cuts is GOOD indoctrination. Understand, students? .

Third through fifth graders at an elementary school in Michigan’s Walled Lake Consolidated School District were assigned by at least one teacher this week to write letters to Gov. Rick Snyder protesting his budget cuts. Students were told the best letters would be forwarded to the governor. According to one parent,  teachers prepped the students with explanations of the cuts—from the teachers’ perspective only, of course. Students also were asked to speak in front of their classmates about why they didn’t like the budget cuts, as if they could have any real understanding of the issue.

Teachers are engaging in gross misconduct and abuse of  power when they use children they have been entrusted to teach  to further their personal, political and economic agendas. This isn’t just indoctrination; it is forced labor and exploitation. The school board has apologized—wonderful. Now when will those teachers be sent packing? My kids and your kids are not trained monkeys to be programmed and manipulated into unwitting political combatants. These teachers are better than the child molesters, but not by much.

When, if ever, the deteriorating education profession agrees on a serious and comprehensive ethics code, it had better include a provision that prohibits this outrageous conduct in the strongest terms.

12 thoughts on “Teacher Alert: Students Are Not Your Trained Monkeys!

  1. Not to mention the waste of resources and time that reaffirms the budget cuts because the teachers use it for exploiting the students for more money rather than for an objective civics lesson about efficiency.

  2. This one really makes me sick. Since it was several grades, perhaps it was the brainchild of the administration. Maybe the teachers will claim they were “just following orders”. Where have we heard that one before? And why am I not surprised this is Michigan? Sounds like a mere stone’s throw away from child abuse when children are manipulated in this way. Where’s the outrage? This is the first I’ve heard of this story.

  3. Not a new trick. Save a little ire for the practice of taking the students along to picket when the teachers want to get some TV coverage… And the teachers dodge the issue of taking a (fraudulent?) sick-day to attend the protest by dragging the class along and calling it a civics lesson. Now they get the students to do their bidding without ever leaving the classroom. Public education has become more of a liberal indoctrination than an education; no wonder they want everyone to go to college… 4 more years of it.

    • My “ire” at those practices have already been well-documented here. Did you check? No.

      I don’t expect everyone to read every post I’ve written before commenting, but snarky comments that imply that I’m ignoring issues that I have already taken the time to examine are cheao shots, and lazy as well.. The sick-day issue was the topic of a post all by itself…when it occurred, of course. Presuming I am not doing my job without bothering to do due diligence isn’t fair, and I don’t appreciate it.

      • I can’t speak for Mike, but my post was not directed at you, Jack, it was directed at the (majority) of the public who sit idly by and do NOTHING while these gross abuses of power and authority keep happening and the press choose to ignore them as well. Hence my concern that I hadn’t seen this particular story covered before you posted it. I know you cover a lot of these issues. A story on an idiot school teacher is what made me find your blog in the first place. Peace.

      • Easy there, big guy. I never held the thought that you (Jack) might not dislike the picket practice as strongly as you disliked the letter project. I merely wanted to call attention to “the masses” that letter writing to support a pet project is not where this unethical behavior on the part of teachers (some teachers) starts or ends.

        It was never intended to be a slight on your diligence,and I apologize for my wording giving that impression.
        .

  4. What happened to the days when teachers would have students write letters to lift people up instead of tearing things down? Let’s write to Joey’s dad who is in Iraq, away from his family, and tell him we are thinking about him and watching over Joey for him. Let’s write a card to little Sally to let her know that we care about her in her time of loss when her mother passed away. Let’s write words of comfort to the children of New Orleans who lost everything in the hurricane. Good grief, it is an arguement for home schooling and I am not a fan of home schooling so that is really saying something.

    • My youngest child is profoundly disabled. This child’s (Middle School) classroom only has 4 students. They DO write letters and send their Halloween candy to troops oversees, write to classmates when they are out sick or suffer losses – all with necessary and enormous amounts of support from their teachers. When my child had surgery last year (twice) the number of cards and letters that came home from her elementary school, from the disabled as well as typically-developing children, was overwhelming and heartfelt. And we were greeted by the school principal with gifts of flowers and balloons from the school when we came home. I don’t think a lot of this is going on in the classrooms of the “typically developing” children in the Middle School, and it’s my understanding that it’s nonexistent at the High School level in my town, though this kind of kindness is widely practiced in the elementary schools here. And I think, at least speaking for my town, that it has more to do with the fact that students in upper grades are taught specific curriculum for MCAS tests, AP tests, etc., rather than lack of empathy. But I don’t see these students being told to write letters of protest over budget cuts, or taking field trips to observe political demonstrations, etc. This is not meant to imply that it doesn’t ever happen in my state, merely that it isn’t happening in my small community. And knowing how invested in education, and how active the parents in my community are in the schools, it would not be tolerated.

      A lot has been written lately about how difficult it is to get bad or incompetent teachers fired. I’m not heartless, but I am a full-time advocate for my disabled child and will accept nothing less than excellent education for this child in a safe, nurturing environment. After all – my town holds itself up to the highest possible standards of excellence in education for it’s students in it’s stated goals in education for all students – so I hold them to that for the students who are disabled as well as those who are not. For this I pay a fortune in real estate and real estate taxes. Should all children have excellence – YES! But the sad truth is that if the community can’t supplement to a HUGE extend what the state and federal governments contribute toward the education budget, the kids aren’t getting anything more than adequate, and in many cases are getting sub-standard, education.

      Several incidents took place this year that called into question the competency of the lead teacher in my child’s classroom. Another mother and I brought these problems to the attention of the school principal, the special needs director and, ultimately, the superintendent of schools … without satisfaction. Eventually, an incident took place involving safety that could not be ignored. At that point I posed the following questions to one of the administrators: “What is it going to take to make my child safe? Do I HAVE to file a lawsuit to prevent these incidents from recurring before the school will take necessary and appropriate action? Because it’s not about money. It’s about keeping the most vulnerable among us safe. And you’re reacting appropriately each time, after the fact, in addressing these issues, but the incompetence of the person responsible is causing incidences to continue to occur.” The teacher in question has been told he/she will no longer be employed by our town. It took a while, but the town did the right thing. And by the way – I happen to think this person is a very nice, kind person who is kind to the children. He/she is just superlatively unqualified to be a lead teacher in a special needs classroom of profoundly disabled students and is lazy about safety issues (among other things) – which put my child in harm’s way. This was unacceptable.

      Voices DO make a difference. When teachers do their jobs in an excellent way we need to reward them, celebrate them and respect them. When they do not, they must be removed from the classroom. I firmly believe that it will take parents’ outrage, in most instances, going after teachers on a case-by-case basis to weed out the bad from the good. But we must also be careful to praise when praise is due or we undermine a profession which is, and deserves to be, a most noble one.

      • That’s a good story, I.G. It’s always good to note that this sort of diligence, professionalism and citizenship are still to be found in public schools. Unfortunately, stories like Jack’s are all too common and have been for a number of years. The time has come for the good teachers and administrators to rid themselves of those who have other priorities in mind that are divergent from the purpose of their profession. Just as it is also time for parents and all citizens to take greater interest in whom they elect to their school boards.

        Jack: In this general vein, you might note a new story of Obama Worship being forced on kindergarteners in a Houston area school district. I just dislike any form of exploitation or indoctrination being thrown on children in any venue. When it becomes this widespread in the schools themselves, we’re all in big trouble.

  5. I live in the Walled Lake School District and had not heard this story. It came up on my google search for a district curriculum advisor. We are having problems with our AP French teacher’s preparation of her class. Still no curriculum advisor email found but took note of this story. I recall my daughter, then in 3rd grade, bringing home a “scholastic” article about the increasing price of cereal. Her assignment was to write a paragraph about “why you think cereal costs too much”. No where in the article did it tackle higher labor costs, higher litigation costs–the things that may lead to increasing prices. Nor did it compare the cost of a bowl of cereal to another breakfast option–like a piece of toast and an egg.It didn’t compare the rising cost of cereal to that of inflation. It was really just a dig at those big, bad, cereal companies that just want to make a profit. But “why YOU THINK . . .”, assuming an opinion that my daughter may or may not have had even with the limited information, was something I found intolerable. This was 9 years ago and don’t recall what I told her to do–either “don’t write the paragraph at all” or “don’t agree with the presumed opinion”. In any case, I DID call it to the attention of the teacher, who really did not get, AT ALL, my disdain for the assignment as worded but “if you don’t want her to write it, she doesn’t have to write it.” She was later voted Teacher of the Year in the elementary school. I don’t think it was intentional on her part. I just don’t think she was the sharpest tool in the shed.

    There were calls from the administration to the PTA, to write letters protesting the budget cuts at the time. I do not think my daughter was ever directly asked in the classroom setting to write. Nor was I ever directly asked by a teacher. I did get emails from administration and PTA. Our superintendant, who is new, wrote in what I thought was a very neutral manner. He seemed the least antagonistic toward the cuts and understood that times were tight and we all needed to work together.

    Mostly, my girls have had a quality education in the distict. There have been a few bad apples, like the French teacher that prompted the google search(6 years of experience with her) and a few others. But like other writers have said, we do want to give praise where praise is due. Is it any different in a private school? I went to an all girls catholic high school. My government teacher wore a black arm band when Reagan was elected. Home school? I’m not as opposed as I once was. My oldest daughter had a better AP French experience doing it online through Michigan Virtual High School than my youngest is having in the classroom. But exposure to others’ opinions gives us an opportunity to discuss our own values as a family.

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