It is no secret that, as the radical left moved from protesting on campuses in the ‘60s to infiltrating those campuses as educators in the decades since, American colleges and universities have been fundamentally transformed from institutions of higher learning to mills of political indoctrination. Through the leftwing schools of education and activist figures like terrorist Bill Ayers, a “distinguished professor of early childhood education” and editor of a series of manuals on teaching “social justice in secondary schools, the tentacles of that indoctrination now latch onto youthful minds beginning in kindergarten.
By the time today’s young college arrivals first unpack in their dorms, they are shoddily educated but already steeped in leftwing propaganda. They can barely read, have no appreciation for our country’s past except what anti-Americanism they have absorbed from communist historians like Howard Zinn, and are utterly ignorant of civics and the Constitution. But they have been steeped in social justice ideologies which see the world through the Marxist lens of victimhood and oppression. Make that white male capitalist oppression.
In an incident typical of the new pedagogy, a Staten Island sixth-grader came home last month with a politicized vocabulary assignment that disparaged Republican President Donald Trump while praising his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
In Maryland last year parents sued a school district for requiring that its high schoolers write and recite the Islamic profession of faith, while no such requirement existed – or could exist – for reciting the Lord’s Prayer, since that would allegedly violate the separation of church and state. Immersing students in Islamic faith is routine, of course, in California schools. In Maryland the schools spent two weeks studying Islam as opposed to a single day spent learning about Christianity or Judaism. This imbalance in religious instruction has become a common theme across the United States today as educators promote a rosy-eyed version of Islam.
This year Washington State schools will begin implementing new health and physical education standards which require students to learn about “gender identity” and “gender expression” beginning in kindergarten.
Last January an activist group within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers called the Caucus of Working Educators launched an optional lesson plan for the city’s kindergarten-to-12th grade students that included six days of social justice action. From “The Revolution Is Always Now” coloring pages for the younger kids to a science lesson about the biology of skin color for the older ones, the focus was on imbuing children with a heightened awareness of alleged racial inequalities and white privilege, fostering feelings of resentment and guilt.
That curriculum urges teachers to base lessons on the 13 tenets of the racist Black Lives Matter movement’s agenda, which include “Restorative Justice,” “Globalism,” “Unapologetically Black,” and “Collective Value.” Teachers were also encouraged to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts – a pedagogical mandate that immediately spread to schools in Seattle as well.
Some Philadelphia teachers rightly objected to such blatant politicization in the classroom. “I don’t think kids should be taught that Western society is perpetrating a war on black people,” said one English teacher. The president of a Fraternal Order of Police chapter also spoke out. “We think there’s a lot better subjects that could be taught,” he declared. But the black supremacist doctrines of Black Lives Matter ruled the day.
Cautionary voices are ineffective in countering the classroom influence of overwhelmingly leftwing teachers at every level across America who view their mission not as teaching students how to think, but telling them what to think. This is the antithesis of what education in a democracy has always been. Its model is the curriculum of schools in totalitarian societies and its bible is the totalitarian educational handbook Pedagogy of the Oppressed by the Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire. Too many K-12 teachers and their unions see the schools as a platform for their anti-American, anti-white, pro-Marxist political agendas packaged as “social justice” activism.
The deep divisions we face as a nation have their roots in the transformation of our schools into indoctrination and recruitment centers for the political left. It is long past time that we addressed the perversion of our educational system into a political platform for the radical left. It is a violation of the trust we have traditionally placed in the hands of the nation’s teachers, and it needs to be remedied by a code of ethics that restores traditional non-partisan attitudes to our classrooms.
This can be done by adopting a Code of Ethics for K-12 teachers that enforces and restores the traditional approach to a democratic education, which is that children are in school to be taught how to think, not – as in authoritarian and totalitarian societies – to be told what to think. There is no political orthodoxy in America but tolerance for diverse viewpoints, and that is the educational orthodoxy that must prevail.
The following is a Code of Ethics for K-12 teachers, which forbids teachers to use their classrooms for political, ideological, or religious advocacy. Teachers in violation of the Code would be subject to penalties such as probation, suspension and loss of their teaching licenses.
This Code and its enforcement should be supported by all Americans who believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If legislatures will adopt the Code a major step will have been taken to restore the republic that the progressive onslaught has so severely damaged. At the very least, there are 33 Republican legislatures who have pledged to make America Great Again. That would be a great start and perhaps inspire some Democrat who are not part of the Bernie Sanders-Tom Perez-Keith Ellison-Elizabeth Warren anti-democratic left to do the right thing as well.
Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility For Educators in K-12 Public Schools
Whereas the purpose of public education in America is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process;
Whereas education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think;
Whereas our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens;
Whereas it has been established through testimony at legislative hearings that many teachers in K-12 classrooms are abusing taxpayer resources and abusing their ability to speak to captive audiences of students in an attempt to indoctrinate or influence children to adopt specific political and ideological positions on issues of social and political controversy;
Whereas it has been established that some teacher training institutions, teacher licensing agencies, state education departments and professional teacher organizations have condoned this behavior under the guise of "teaching for social justice" and other sectarian doctrines;
Whereas time spent on political or ideological indoctrination takes time away from instruction in the academic subjects taught by public educational institutions including the foundational subjects of mathematics, science, English, history, and civics and prevents students from receiving the best possible public education as funded by the taxpayers of this state;
Whereas parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination;
Therefore be it resolved that this state's [board of education or other relevant regulating body] will promulgate clear regulations and enforcement mechanisms for appropriate professional and ethical behavior by teachers licensed to teach in this state; that these guidelines shall make it clear that teachers in taxpayer supported schools are forbidden to use their classrooms to try to engage in political, ideological, or religious advocacy.
At a minimum, these regulations shall provide that no teacher is permitted during class time or while otherwise operating within the scope of employment as a teacher in a public educational institution to do the following:
(1) Endorse, support, or oppose any candidate or nominee for public office or any elected or appointed official regardless of whether such official is a member of the local, state, or federal government;
(2) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or enacted legislation or regulation regardless whether such legislation or regulation is pending, proposed, or has been enacted at the local, state, or federal level;
(3) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or decided court case or judicial action regardless of whether such court case or judicial action is at the local, state, or federal level;
(4) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or executed executive action by an executive branch agency of the local, state, or federal level;
(5) Introduce into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught;
(6) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the lawful access of military recruiters to campus;
(7) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the actions of state, local, or federal law enforcement;
(8) Advocate in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue, defined as an issue that is a point in electoral party platforms at the national, state or local level. To ensure that students have the resources to make up their own minds on such issues, teachers must provide them with materials supporting both sides of the controversy, and present those views in a fair-minded non-partisan manner. Teachers may express their opinions on these matters but only in such a manner that students understand that they are free to make up their own minds and to disagree with the teacher without incurring any penalty for doing so.
The regulations promulgated pursuant to this act shall apply to all teachers at public educational institutions, tenured and non-tenured. Moreover, the regulations shall contain clear guidelines for enforcement and provide penalties for violations, up to and including termination. The state's [board of education or other relevant regulating body] shall provide written notification to all teachers, parents, and students of their respective rights and responsibilities under the regulations promulgated pursuant to this act and shall provide at least three hours of annual continuing teacher education instruction to teachers to instruct them regarding their responsibilities under said regulations.
Moreover, we call on the state's professional teacher organizations and unions to voluntarily adopt an educators' code of ethics and professional responsibility that incorporates the above principles and specifically prohibits teachers in K-12 schools from using the classroom for political indoctrination.
David Horowitz is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the author of many books, most recently Big Agenda: President Trump's Plan to Save America.
Mark Tapson is the editor of TruthRevolt and a Shillman Fellow at the Freedom Center.