Politicizing the Classroom

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The Article

Those who are concerned about the separation of church and state, prayer in schools, and renaming “Christmas holidays” to “seasonal holidays” for the kids in schools, should consider the poisonous mix of militant far left-wing teachers’ unions, and teaching our kids.  Teaching them about, among other things, politics no less.  It’s a dangerous and rather negative elixir that exists in many places in North America.

But I doubt many could compare to British Columbia, Canada, where the militant and flagrantly far-left-wing teachers’ union, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, is celebrating an arbitrator’s ruling against local school boards. 

Several school boards had put their collective feet down in 2002 and ordered teachers, who were under orders from their union, to stop their organized campaign of politically bad-mouthing the provincial government and the school boards they fund, during parent-teacher interviews and through postings on school bulletin boards. “Our goal”, said a school board representative, “was not to limit that right, but rather to limit the undue politicization of the classroom”.

It seems so basic—so obvious. 

But as a result of this ruling, the teachers will be allowed to do just that—thrust their political agenda on students and parents, in the schools—once again.

Oh thank goodness!  What would a school day be like without the B.C. teachers feeding their left-wing political rhetoric to the kiddies and parents?  I’m still trying to shake all the socialism off myself from my school days, and back then they at least pretended to be neutral.  One can only imagine what a basic economics or politics class might be like these days in B.C. schools.

I wonder about the teachers’ openness to politics in the schools:  Can we use this as a standard going forward?  I mean if some person or group wanted to advance their right-wing political agenda at school to the students and parents, the teachers would be fine with that, right?  Because I’m thinking it wouldn’t kill the little devils in school to hear about foreign concepts like: “self-sufficient”, “initiative”, “profit”, “innovation”, “smaller government”, “lower taxes”, “private”, “efficient”, or “personal responsibility”.

The radical left-wing B.C. teachers’ union had decided back in 2002 to start a concerted effort to bring down this current Liberal government (yes, Liberal, so you can imagine how left-wing the teachers are), which “forced” a handsome 7.5 percent wage increase on them in 2001 and ordered them back to work when they refused to end their strike. They remain committed to bringing down the provincial government in the next election on May 15 2005, and judging from comments made by the embarrassingly radical teachers’ union boss, Neil Warboys, it wouldn’t shock me if they were also found to be working behind the scenes to conjure up some sort of a coup to speed things along. 

In addition to the typical union bullying tactics and bad-mouthing campaign in schools and at parent-teacher conferences, they hand out “report cards” criticizing the government, pin those report cards to school bulletin boards, and have placed huge ads in newspapers condemning the government as well as several extremely derogatory radio and TV ads.

And to think some of us idiots simply “vote” during free elections held every four years in British Columbia on May 15.

One day in January of 2002, the union closed all the schools in the province to protest the forced raise that they got, which even at 7.5 percent, was 15 percent less than they’d asked for (in addition to class-size reductions and countless other goodies to make their lives easier… while somehow also benefiting the kids, of course). 

One teacher, Charlene Manning, decided that since it wasn’t a strike, per se, but rather a political protest of some sort, she’d just as soon go to work and do her job that day.  I guess we used to call people like her and Bill Gates “suckholes”.

The union fired off an official letter to her questioning why she attended school that day instead of joining the political protest.  (Imagine getting a letter demanding to know why you did attend school!)  She was expected to be there with all her brothers and sisters at the big protest rally instead of being in school, the letter sternly stated.  The union letter went on to suggest that she actually give up her day’s pay and hand it over to the union, which would donate it to a local charity.  My guess is that the charity would have been “the Communist Party”.

Manning, no stranger to bullies in her school playgrounds, was no doubt a little taken aback at the bullying she received from her union, simply for doing her job. 

In British Columbia today, one rarely hears how the kids are doing in school.  One hears far more about what unions, including the teachers’ union, think of the provincial government and their supposed cutbacks. “Cutbacks” being a relative term—in B.C., where public spending on everything including education has risen every year without fail (to no avail), apparently in the case of the teachers it simply means getting “only” a 7.5 percent raise when they demanded a 22.5 percent raise.

In much the same way, the weather man predicted a warm 75 degree day, but it only hit 72.  So the temperature was -3 degrees.

One hears nary a word on whether students have yet figured out where to put apostrophes, nor how to type using actual full words.  From what I can tell they haven’t learned those things. 

Recently, several teachers and the B.C. Teachers Union itself bullied a teacher— lo and behold, that very same Charlene Manning—for non-compliance with its official union political agenda.  This time the naughty Manning crossed a picket line set up at her school by the teachers’ union in “political support” of the Hospital Employees Union whose members were out on an illegal strike… mmmm against hospitals, not schools. 

Manning rightly claimed she had not just a right but a duty to cross that picket line since the hospital employees were on an illegal strike, and the teachers union had set up a “political protest” line at her school—it had nothing to do with teachers and students and certainly didn’t have anything to do with her “political” beliefs. She thought she would just do her job and teach her students.  What a nut, huh?

Again, the Teachers’ Union has been threatening union “discipline” against Manning for not joining an anti-government protest during school hours.

The day after the “political protest support strike thingamajig”, the teachers’ union sent out a letter congratulating all members—except one.  “Only one member in the entire district” had crossed the picket line, the letter said.  The letter went on exclaiming how the protest helped in the fight against “a bully government”.

Apparently the union misses the whole “bully” irony.

Asked whether union members should be forced by the union to abide by their political beliefs and join protests against their own political beliefs, the head of the teachers’ union, Neil Worboys replied:  “I don’t know.  Good question.  We would say that because they are part of the developing of it … it’s the will of the majority that that action carries on.”

First of all, huh?

…but there’s so much obvious hypocrisy contained therein that I won’t even bore you by going over it.

Charlene Manning politely describes the political agenda of the B.C. teachers’ union as “radical-left-NDP politics”.  (“NDP” stands for New Democratic Party, which, beyond being simply “left-wing”, is a socialist party in Canada).  She says plenty of teachers within the union are simply afraid to speak up against the union.  I would guess they’re in fear of, well, “discipline” of some sort, from that powerful multi-million-dollar teachers’ union and their bullies.

Manning has filed a human rights complaint against the farce that is the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.  Anyone who hasn’t been educated by one of their members can figure out that they are a well-funded radical left-wing political party by any other name.  And one can only hope for a successful outcome for that teacher, Charlene Manning, and other such successful outcomes—like those that actually benefit the kids as Ms. Manning would have it if only she could just get on with her job.

Joel Johannesen
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Joel Johannesen
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