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Jonathan Edwards, early American minister
credit: wikipedia

In my early days of teaching in Texas, a personable young teacher/coach announced, via school e-mail, that he saw his newly acquired position as an opportunity to minister to not only students, but fellow teachers.  He essentially asked me, and everyone else, to subscribe to his ministry.  I politely replied that I would be taking care of my spiritual journey without his help, thank you.  I later learned our principal, a smart and decent fellow, took him aside and explained he could be a teacher or a minister, but not both on school time, and if he chose the latter, he would be seeking a new “opportunity” elsewhere.

In our small town, virtually everyone was religious, and most would not have minded the youngster’s intentions, but they were no less improper, even illegal, for that potential public support.  Teachers have very limited time, and it must not be used for anything but providing the non-partisan, professional educational opportunity for which the public pays.

Such is not the case in Newton, Massachusetts, a tony Boston suburb, as The Federalist reports:

Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, a group of public school history teachers in the posh Boston suburb of Newton pledged to reject the ‘call for objectivity’ in the classroom, bully conservative students for their beliefs, and serve as ‘liberal propagandist[s]’ for the cause of social justice.

This is no exaggeration.  They were that arrogant.  It likely has to do with feeling very secure in that thinking in Massachusetts.

It was late on a cold and snowy New England evening in February 2017, and Newton North history teacher Isongesit Ibokette was venting at his keyboard about the new guidelines for avoiding bias in teaching. They had been sent out by Newton North’s principal that morning, prompted by the general ill will among teachers for the new occupant of the White House.

The guidelines asked teachers to remain objective while teaching about historical and current events; and to treat all students, regardless of political opinion, with respect. Teachers were told: ‘For current controversial issues (health care, immigration, environmental policies, gun laws), teach students that there are different perspectives and present the reasoning of those who hold those different perspectives.

That the principal thought it necessary to have to write what anyprofessional should know and honor is telling:

Ibokette was having none of it. He typed this reply: ‘I am concerned that the call for ‘objectivity’ may just inadvertently become the most effective destructive weapon against social justice,’ and sent it to the members of Newton North’s history department.

credit: health communities.com

Of course.  We can’t have objectivity.  That absolutely destroys social justice and makes propaganda impossible!  Why, kids might think the wrong thoughts!  Their parents might vote for the wrong people!  People might begin thinking for themselves!  The horror.

Ibokette was responding to an email from another Newton North history teacher, David Bedar. Bedar was same teacher who hosted the anti-Semites at Newton North, and has played a significant role in the years-long controversy over anti-Jewish bias in the public schools of the heavily Jewish suburb.

Earlier that February day, Bedar sent an email to fellow Newton North history faculty, accusing President Trump and his supporters of ‘nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc.,’ and objecting to the following ‘don’ts’ that the Newton North principal had asked teachers to avoid:

‘Assume that all students agree with us. . . .’

‘Assume that all students feel comfortable disagreeing with us. . . .’

‘Present facts or logic that support only one side of a current controversial issue. . . .’

‘Present our own personal opinion on a current controversial issue as more right than another viewpoint. . . .’

…Bedar, who holds a master’s in teaching from the prestigious Duke University, admitted to his colleagues:

Personally, I’m finding it really difficult in the current climate to teach kids to appreciate other perspectives. . . [T]he ‘other viewpoint’ might not really be an argument ‘about which reasonable people can disagree’ and might not lead to any kind of intellectual, policy debate; it might just be blatantly racist. . . . [I]t feels wrong to not call out ideas that I know will offend many of my students and create a hostile and potentially unsafe environment. . . . I’m worried that as a school we’re so focused on making all kids feel safe and being PC that we’re not showing enough concern for [immigrant] students whose very rights to attend this school and receive an education are being seriously threatened. . . . I don’t feel good about protecting [a nativist] student’s right to a so‐called ‘political’ view. . . Do I really have to avoid saying ‘I think nativism is bad?[‘] The eugenics movement was based in large part on immigrants destroying our country.

The conviction that any idea with which they disagree is hostile and makes people “unsafe” is the hallmark of contemporary social justice tactics. Calling anyone holding differing ideas derogatory names is also standard operating procedure, “racist!” being most ubiquitous and popular.

Yet, in remarkable language, Bedar demanded that the school allow him to propagandize against it, and to do so without any professional consequences: ‘I have an obligation to teach civic duty and teach kids right and wrong, and about social justice. . . . This will probably be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t actually think we should have the option of not discussing [social justice] issues. I feel responsible for doing so. . . . We can help kids interpret the lessons of the past better than anybody. I feel like a phony when I’m not doing that. . . . But…this is hard. I don’t want to get fired for being a liberal propagandist” (emphasis added).

Bedar is clearly guilty of definition of character.

…in the history lessons they teach, propagandist teachers like Bedar insist on reducing all of this complexity to a Manichean struggle between ‘right and wrong,’ the essence of which they insipidly correlate with ‘Democrat and Republican.’

In that kind of lurid light, where no shades of gray can possibly exist, people who lack the ‘right’ politics must pose, in Ibokette’s words, a ‘real, immediate, and present danger’ to human progress, and to all that is right and good. Men who light up the world in such stark contrast fill history books with their crimes.

We must absolutely remove impediments to “progress,” the rule of law, real tolerance and the Constitution among them.  The author of the article, speaks of his indoctrination as a child in the Soviet Union, and of the revelation that Soviet history was a lie when that monstrous edifice fell.  By all means, take the link and read the entire article.

After Bedar complained that he didn’t want to get fired for being a ‘liberal propagandist,’ his fellow history teacher, Ibokette, wrote back: ‘David, if you get fired for doing exactly what history teachers, and indeed all rational and ethical‐minded adults should indeed be doing, I will be right behind you.

One can only hope so, but that’s not likely:

Bedar’s direct supervisor, Newton North history department chair Jonathan Bassett, replied to his revolt against reason with this: ‘David: Your ‘essay’ is very good, and raises a lot of the questions that we are all dealing with. . . . We are in unprecedented times, and we are all struggling to do good.

Unprecedented times indeed.  We are, for the first time in the last decade, actually living—to a larger extent than in many years—under the rule of law the Founders established. We just may be able to hang onto the republic they created, though that isn’t a sure thing.  This, to the Left, is unprecedented and dangerous because it is the way of equality under the law—actual justice—rather than social justice.

Bedar, Ibokette and any like them shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a classroom.  Not because of their leftist views–any kind of political indoctrination is indefensible–but because they refuse to abide by the necessary, legitimate boundaries of their jobs.  They refuse to teach, and actively admit their goal is leftist indoctrination instead.

If a professional teacher wants to set up a debate on contemporary issues where social justice advocates like them would have a chance to debate their side of an issue, that would be reasonable, so long as they weren’t allowed to resort to calling their opponents names.  Unfortunately, such restrictions would tend to remove the substance of any argument people like Bedar might present.

Like the earnest, well-intentioned and decent young teacher/coach who had to choose between education and the ministry, Bedar and his ilk should be forced to choose between being teachers and leftist propagandists.  The difference is the teacher/coach could continue to minister, in a sense, through his daily deportment, the way he treats others.  He saw none as enemies worthy only of destruction, quite the opposite.

By their own words, that’s not the way Bedar and Ibokette see others.  They don’t trust that their character and deportment might serve to convince others of their virtue.  For the Left, anyone that is not in complete agreement with them is racist, homophobic, nativist, and any other vile label they can invent.  For that alone, they should be freed from the restraints professional educators willingly accept to pursue their vocation as Leftist propagandists. I hear Antifa is always looking for a few good masked thugs.