anti-American hatred, camera in classrooms, Critical Race theory, educational opportunity, FOIA requests, Howard Zinn, lesson plans, NEA, PTA, racism, state standards, Tucker Carlson
Critical Race Theory. As parents across the nation are making an ever greater backlash against that kind of racist revision of history and reality, schools and teacher’s unions first tried to defend it, then they tried to deny it actually exists —nothing like that is being taught, honest!—then they arrogantly announced they were not only going to teach it, they were going to “investigate” and harass anyone daring to oppose the NEA and teaching of CRT, and most recently the NEA backpedaled again:
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, has scrubbed pro-critical race theory “business items” from its website according to a new report.
Just The News notes the deletions come just a few days after the conclusion of the NEA’s 100th Representative Assembly.
Parents daring to ask school districts to provide the materials being taught their children have found themselves harassed, and some school authorities have even threatened to sue them! Even when Freedom of Information requests are filed, schools often slow roll production, deny everything, redact virtually everything, charge exorbitant fees for copying, or simply refuse to comply with the law.
Let’s examine a bit of reality–real reality. Most states publish “standards” that must be taught in every grade level. School districts must comply with these standards—it’s the law—and additionally, most school districts demand their teachers write curricula that conform to the standards. All of this is posted on district websites. Some of these documents are more general than others. Some districts demand teachers become little more than robots, delivering the same materials in the same ways at the same time. At Johnsonville High School, on October 10 at 1014 AM, every 11th grade student will be on page 256, paragraph 2, sentence 1 of the prescribed literature text, which will be followed at 1022 with approved video #287B-23A. Suffice it to say learning in such places is less than exciting.
It’s also true most school districts demand every teacher post and maintain a weekly lesson plan on their district provided lesson plan website. Of course, some teachers are more dedicated about this than others. The point, gentle readers, is that in virtually every school in America, the curriculum for every grade and subject is readily available, and usually posted not only on the school district’s main website, but all the way down to individual teachers on their websites. Parents wanting to know what their kids are studying on a given day should be able to find it with a few clicks—if the people teaching their kids are keeping up with their lesson plans, and if they’re honest about what they write there. If a school has lost the public’s trust, what’s written on a lesson plan probably won’t matter.
Any school district that cannot quickly provide whatever information a parent requests is either incompetent, or lying to cover up unethical, even illegal, indoctrination.
During my teaching days, I updated my lesson plan website each and every week, so that by the Thursday before the following week, any parent could, at a glance, know what we were studying. Should any parent want to examine the literature we were reading, I could provide copies on very short notice–like immediately upon request. Every week I told parents they were welcome in my classroom, because it was their classroom too. In all my years of teaching, not a single parent ever took me up on that invitation, but if they had, I would have been delighted.
I encouraged my principals to visit frequently so they could be well informed when they wrote my evaluations, and so we could talk about all of the issues revolving around day-to-day teaching. They never came, mostly because they were so busy with idiotic paperwork having nothing to do with actually teaching kids.
Unlike many teachers, I wanted parents and principals in my classroom. I was prepared, each and every day, with interesting and challenging material, and I wanted them to see how much I loved their kids and how dedicated I was to providing the best educational opportunity I could manage. I also thought I was a pretty good teacher, and it wouldn’t hurt for the public to know that.
Obviously, I was not Joe Average teacher.
With the backdrop of the battle over CRT, Stacey Lennox at PJ Media, has an interesting, related, article:
In his monologue on Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson suggested that a way for parents to regain control over K-12 education is to place cameras in classrooms. On Wednesday, he shared that there was quite a bit of backlash about his comments. That should give every parent pause.
As a parent of a certain age, I am old enough to remember when teachers welcomed parent participation in the classroom. Research shows that parental involvement in education leads to better outcomes for children. My mother and my friends’ mothers volunteered to be room mothers. They rotated into the classroom several times a week, helped with activities, and even assisted children who needed a little more help with classroom assignments.
When I was young, back in the 1400s, every school had a PTA—Parent-Teacher Association—that regularly met and discussed every aspect of education. Parent’s direct input was not only sought, but valued and implemented. Ancient history. We’re much more advanced now.
When my children were young, there were room parents instead of just room mothers. This development was terrific, and having dads in the classroom periodically was a great addition. Life had become a little more complex, and not as many moms stayed home. But many of us still made the time to volunteer, and it became a team effort between both parents.
The benefits of this level of interaction should be obvious. Regular informal exchanges built trust between parents and teachers. As a parent, it was much easier for me to support teachers and administrators in their decisions to coach, counsel, or even discipline my child. That kind of consistency between home and school is essential, especially when children are young and learning boundaries.
My school held “Meet The Teacher Night” twice each year. A large parent turnout was about 20%. Many of my colleagues had fewer parents. On one hand one might think this was because most parents trusted what we were doing. I often e-mailed them at the first sign of academic trouble for any student. On the other, there can be little doubt many weren’t all that engaged with their kid’s education.
The Zinn Education Project (ZEP), named after the author of A People’s History of the United States, is urging teachers to ignore state laws passed to prevent the use of critical theory pedagogy in the classroom. The demand sounds benign enough:
At least until you understand that Howard Zinn was a member of the Communist Party and depicts America as a terrorist state. ZEP is just as radical:
In 2008 he [Zinn] helped launch the so-called Zinn Education Project (ZEP), a collaboration between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change. The initiative was designed to incorporate Zinn’s writings and worldview into all aspects of K-12 school curricula.
The ZEP lessons reinforce Zinn’s presentation of the United States as redeemable only through a socialist revolution. Major historical events are replaced with instances demonstrating relentless oppression.
Zinn, and anyone buying his Communist, anti-America/liberty propaganda, is purely evil.
Taken together, and given the objections to anti-American and identity-centric curriculum from parents across the country, trust in the public school system is irrevocably broken. The only way to restore it is transparency. There is almost no reason a teacher at the elementary level should object to cameras. Parents would expect to see foundational instruction in math, science, reading, and social studies along with specials like art. What most parents do not wish for and will not tolerate is radical gender ideology that instructs children in sexual behavior and asserts that they may choose their gender.
I agree, mostly, with Carlson and Lennox. Those seeking to know what is happening in our schools circa 2021 are not trying to intimidate teachers, to prevent them from teaching a proper, accurate and pro-American curriculum; quite the opposite. They’re responding to socialists, communists, racists, anarchists and others who hate America and Americans, and who are determined America’s children should be as racist and hateful as they. They’re not acting, they’re reacting, and they have every right—and responsibility, not only to know exactly what is being taught and how, but to determine what will be taught and how.
Everyone working in public education is an employee of the public, not the public’s masters. Obviously, we can’t have every parent making conflicting, perhaps even unhinged, demands on a daily basis. We hire college-educated teachers because we believe they know what they’re doing, and we trust them to do the right thing. We trust them not only to effectively teach their subject matter, but to teach kids to be honest, decent Americans.
We are, I’m sad to say, at the point where it would not be unreasonable to demand cameras in every classroom. We have the technology, and it would likely not be prohibitively expensive, particularly if the millions wasted on racist and anti-American materials and “experts” were instead used for the hardware and software necessary to add cameras and microphones. There must, however, be certain caveats.
The cameras should be active only during teaching time. Every teacher has a lunch break and a planning period. It would have added nothing to public information for parents to be able to watch me hastily scarf down a sandwich while grading papers or typing assignments or lesson plans during my 30 minutes of lunch. Nor would it have been edifying for them to watch me typing, doing one of a hundred different chores, or watching my empty classroom while I was making copies or doing other errands during my planning period. The same would apply to before and after school.
Some are suggesting cameras would also have a similar effect to body cameras worn by police officers: they’d show the truth. This is true, but only to the extent people in a given place are willing to accept the truth.
There are surely places in America, mostly in red states, where the public would have no interest in conducting surveillance on teachers. That’s one of the joys of local control. Where schools continue to enjoy the trust of the public, because they’re actually, transparently, teaching rather than indoctrinating kids, there’s no point. But for parents stuck behind enemy lines in blue states, they have three options: (1) force transparency, (2) remove their kids from public schools, (3) perhaps best of all, move to a free state where kids are actually given the opportunity to learn from ethical professionals.
Yep.. all this can be solved if parents just get more involved.. and traditionally parents do not.. and for a myriad of reasons…. most having NOTHING to to with being busy earning money. I can go on and on with that one… as I am sure you can far me than me. You are correct about the “what used to be” years ago with PTA’s and teacher’s conference nights.
My oldest son was in 6th or 7th grade and came home from school one day sniffling and full of tears about some exercise his class went through that day. I sat him down with his mom and tried to get his story from between his fighting off the emotion. Apparently the teacher had come up with a classroom exercise about the concept of segregation. I winced a bit when he was telling me.. given that can be a pretty complex subject for most adults, much less school kids. Well.. seems the origin for the exercise was to support the explanation of the civil war and post-civil war reconstruction… and the concept of official segregation favored by many in those days having a relationship to discrimination. They idea of the exercise was less about concept and values and more about life of kids like them living under those conditions.
The teacher divided the class in half.. “A” group and “B” group.. random separation, mixed genders.. no qualification as to what group. What impacted this exercise is that it was to be conducted until the end of the school day… a number of hours. The “A” group was assigned certain were allowed to carry on in their school day without any difference. The “B” group had certain restrictions to their day. Things like.. recess time the “A” group went first… lunch time the “A” group went first and had to come back first… “A” group had to ask the teacher permission to talk in class… you get the idea. I think one restriction was that only a “B” marked drinking fountain could be used by the “B” group. At first the kids found it all novel and humorous.. but as the hours wore on tone shifted. In fact, friends in split groups couldn’t do the same things together. By and large… the impact to my son, illustrated when he came home that day, was that him being in the privileged “A” group he felt badly for his friends in the “B” group.
In those days I was a fairly active parent in the district so most knew who I was… and I wasn’t one of the bitchy my-kids-do-no-wrong type. So at the next parent-teacher conference a couple days after the exercise I had a chat with her. As I recall this now I think Steve was in 7th grade. I told her of my son’s reaction and she fessed that a couple other parents had witnessed similar responses from their kids. After the teacher gave her explanation as to the impetus for the exercise, which I acknowledged was a fair exercise for the age group to teach how some kids 100+ years ago lived.. I “recommended to her that next time she prepare the parents of the upcoming exercise, send home a synopsis of what the expected lessons to be learned might be so that concerned parents could support the exercise from home, and to make sure the students were completely “de-programmed” from the experience before leaving school… maybe have some party or something. She went on to explain that while she did hear from a couple parents about their child being mildly affected from the exercise.. I was the only parent from the entire class to take any interest enough to question the process. I asked if she had cleared the exercise with the Principal.. she said she had. She apologized.. and that’s where I left it.. although me and the Principal knew each other enough and I did mention it to her.. but not expecting any action on her part. Damn longwinded story… but it fit your post.
Just FYI.. that was all circa mid-90’s.
Mike McDaniel said:
Now that’s a first: Doug replying to Doug! Hmm. Sounds like a reasonable teacher didn’t quite think it through. Not at all the sort of thing being taught these days, is it?
Nope… and parents still think school is day care.
Mike McDaniel said:
Not all, thank goodness, but far too many.
We had a teacher try that “exercise,” thankfully she was terrible at it.
Didn’t have an enforcement mechanism, so it didn’t hurt anybody– we ignored the rules.
(She didn’t have the support of the students, either, thank God.)
In some ways I found a resemblance to that Stanford Prison Experiment.
If she’d been competent enough to encourage the desired behaviors, it would’ve matched very well, yes.
Keeping in mind that the Stanford Experiment didn’t reveal a totally admirable trait about human behavior. :)
The main thing demonstrated by the Stanford experiment is that you *need* double-blinds, and that ethical rules exist for a reason.
If one assumes the best, then they *just* did horrible experiment design; if one does not, it was rather sadistic fraud.
Abu-ghraib comes to mind as well that tends to support Stanford. But you are correct… theorizing an outcome is part of the process but conducting a study to support a bias is indeed a fraud. But to your rules of ethics… if there are rules at all then there’s the age old problem of who assures the rules are being followed.. which typically falls to someone who supervises. A lot of this is a management problem. In a lab environment of course, it’s a different.
Reblogged this on Head Noises and commented:
The top meme here, yes, 100%.
Mike McDaniel said:
Thanks for the reblog!
In a lot of school districts, parents aren’t welcome anymore.
We homeschool, so I get the stuff second hand— either from listening to parents on the hoops they have to go through to find out what their kids are doing, or from teachers (good and bad… mostly bad, although the new local English teacher is a good one) talking about how parental involvement is a problem, not a help.
As I’ve pointed out before, *you* are a Teacher who was employed as an educator. A lot of folks are just employed as educators. (IE, daycare)
Cameras should be on during class and the teacher should have “unsupervised” time for lunch and admin type duties. The police have been recorded, and have been recording for years. Tax dollars at work, right?
I’m not a parent, but pay more than most in property taxes. This year we paid property taxes in a red state on two parcels. We recently sold one of those parcels, located in a rural red, but “poor” town. The parents there who notice things tend to move their kids to the Christian School or have been doing the Home School scene for many years. A young couple we know moved to a different county where the schools were appropriate for their six year old. Even the Christian School was not okay for a typical six year old boy.
The public school district had a scandal that not enough people noticed. Very young, K-2nd grade, I believe were exposed to Rated-R content on Zoom school. The videos were from a “trusted source” on a well known tech platform. I only know about the incident because a friend with kids shared the “letter to parents” with me. IIRC, one of the videos was instructive about things that were so inappropriate for six year olds, that even sixteen year olds should not be hearing about it. Especially at anyplace that is not their home. The other video was something I probably blocked out because it was worse.
The teachers in the district just voted for four day work weeks for themselves. It was approved. Maybe the free baby sitter single moms will notice now. Time will tell. We were tired of paying for everything and left. Town Council just approved a new budget with a 15% increase. Not our problem anymore. There are very good people on Town Council. Hopefully, they can turn things around before they implode.
We now live in a red city in a red (Maricopa is RED) county now. The schools are great. Excellent medical talent is nearby. There are only three days a year that are Garbage Holidays! Can you imagine? Only three!
We do not feel ripped off, for a change.
I’m noticing that more people are noticing things and they are not having it. Nope!
Mike McDaniel said:
I’m convinced most schools, particularly in red America, really are generally on the right path. All professional teachers are far too busy trying to squeeze competent, non-political curricula into school days made ever shorter by all manner of competing, non-educational interests. They don’t have time to politically indoctrinate, and wouldn’t if they had the time. Unfortunately, that’s not true everywhere, thus our conversation…
I may have mentioned this before, but Jerry Pournelle and Charles Sheffield wrote a book titled Higher Education. (https://amzn.to/3AZ2XaQ) It’s set in a not-too-distant future where schools are barely more than warehouses for kids. At least time in the school is time not spent running with street gangs.
There are cameras in the classrooms, but those are used by Administration to monitor the behavior of teachers to make sure they don’t aggress against students. (Microaggressions hadn’t been invented yet.) So if a teacher is provoked into disciplining a student, and the student’s behavior didn’t show up on the camera, the teacher was guilty.
The viewpoint character manages to get expelled from this school, and finds his way to another school where kids are actually expected to learn things. The campus, run by an asteroid mining company, is built on Indian reservation land where it can ignore most, if not all, of the laws and regulations imposed on the public school system.
So this story not only looks at the problem, but also a possible cure.
Mike McDaniel said:
As I’ve often written, there is a stream of thought in education circles that thinks that kind of schooling the wave of the future. God forbid.