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The Left is abusing American high school education in its struggle to gain and retain political power. We only found out about this incident by accident. How many more?
By Ilya Feoktistov
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 informal pact was made in an exchange of emails among history teachers at Newton North High School, part of a very rich but academically mediocre public school district with an annual budgetof $200 million, a median home price of almost half a million, and a median household income of more than $120,000. Read the entire email exchange here.
I obtained the emails under a Massachusetts public records law after one of those teachers arranged, earlier this year, for an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organization to show Palestinian propaganda films at Newton North. This stunt earned the Newton Public Schools district a rebuke from the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League and from Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council. But, as the teachers’ emails reveal, Jew-hatred is not the only specter haunting the history department at Newton North.
The Teachers Conspire to Hide Extreme Prejudice
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.”
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.
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. . . .”
These guidelines seem like Pedagogy 101, and are foundational to correctly applying logic and reason. Yet 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.
Bedar’s strawman argument is fallacious. Trump administration immigration policies and the Americans who support them have nothing to do with eugenics. To claim without evidence and by tenuous association that they do is repugnant.
Don’t Fire Me for Being a ‘Liberal Propagandist’
Much worse yet is Bedar’s display of extreme political intolerance toward the views of millions of his fellow Americans, among whom are, presumably, a number of his own students. Support for immigration law enforcement is by no means a fringe political perspective, even in Massachusetts. It is certainly not some sort of taboo that must be expunged from classroom debate, and Newton North guidelines explicitly tell teachers to teach about the reasoning behind different perspectives on immigration.
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, of course, wrong on multiple levels. A master’s degree in teaching is risibly inadequate to qualify anyone as the arbiter of right and wrong, and a history teacher’s basic obligation is to teach history accurately and objectively. A sine qua non of that obligation is to avoid propaganda of any kind.
Unfortunately, Bedar does not seem to be very good at the actual basics of teaching history, much less at interpreting the lessons of the past, shortcomings for which he compensates by being a reasonably good propagandist. For example, Bedar’s erroneous belief to the contrary notwithstanding, the early twentieth-century eugenics movement was based less in conservative nativism than in the same New England progressivism Bedar preaches today. The eugenicist Immigration Restriction League was founded in Boston by threeHarvard progressives. As The Guardian well puts it, eugenics is “the skeleton that rattles loudest in the left’s closet.”
Propagandists Simplify Very Complex Events into Slogans
Indeed, if common cause with the eugenics movement is Bedar’s litmus test for approved opinions in the classroom, then opinions supporting deficit spending and birth control should be as forbidden there as nativism seems to be. Left-wing economist John Maynard Keynes called eugenics “the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists,” and believed its implementation would “be a great moment in the progress of civilization.” Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was an inveterate eugenicist who believed that “the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal, with the final aims of Eugenics.”
All of this is not to argue over birth control, deficit spending, and which ideologies are responsible for what travesties. Rather, it is to say that history, politics, and ideology are complicated things. Yet, 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.
This Is Like My Childhood Education in the Soviet Union
The year after the Soviet Union fell, I entered fifth grade at State School No. 8 in the Siberian city of Tomsk, where I was born at the beginning of the end of that evil empire. Usually, Soviet children started learning the history of Russia in fifth grade, but my teacher told the class that she had nothing to teach us anymore.
Left-wing activists are dug in at all stages of the American educational process from preschool to graduate school.
“The old history books are useless now,” I distinctly remember her telling us. “They were full of Communist Party lies.” Just like that, the entire monument of official Soviet history, built upon an ideological foundation of lies and held together by despotism, crashed as soon as the coercive power that had kept it upright for 74 years disappeared in an instant.
Undaunted by the failures of their comrades in the Soviet Union and other socialist hell-holes, left-wing activists are dug in at all stages of the American educational process from preschool to graduate school, where they seek to replicate the Soviet Union’s abuse of its children’s minds with lurid lies.
Even science education is facing a hostile takeover by progressive luddites with scientific degrees who insist, as one biology PhD student did recently, that “to think there are universal truths perpetuates a particular kind of able bodied white cisgender male logic.” The result of all this left-wing obscurantism is a brainwashed Generation Z that inhabits a false reality colored in stylized black and white by leftist dogma—the same false reality that Soviet school and preschool battered into me as a child.
The Teachers’ Administrators Back Them Up
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.”
I wish this would happen, not because I want them punished, but because I think the way they teach history is a form of child abuse. But Bedar and Ibokette’s superiors, all the way up the ladder, are fully on board with this abuse. 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.”
The Left is abusing American high school education in its struggle—not to do good, but to gain and retain political power. The ongoing trend of growing political intolerance and ideological bigotry among the newest American adults will continue, and nothing good will come of it. In the Soviet Union, I’ve seen what young people could be turned into, what I myself could be turned into. Trust me, America hasn’t seen anything yet.
Ilya Feoktistov is a member of the board of directors of Americans for Peace and Tolerance."
I was pleasantly surprised recently when talking about global warming with my eldest granddaughter, who lives in Massachusetts, and she explained that her teachers are not pushing global warming and have actually mildly doubted it at times.
Maybe most teachers are liberal because for too long the public has diminished the respect that teachers deserve. They’ve diminished their importance and their role in shaping our young people.
For too long teachers have been 1) the cause of economic woes
2) demonized for their unions
3) attacked for protecting immigrants (documented or otherwise) as well as protecting the LGBTQ kids and children that are forgotten by too many (poor, malnourished, abused and neglected kids)
When we come to their aid and support them, we’re called liberals. When we embrace outcast kids, we’re called liberals.
It’s a badge of honor. I wear it gladly.
I’m sure your jovial and warm demeanor would be welcomed by all kids!
Oh right, you just talk a good game from behind that keyboard. Carry on.
That may very well be true in some parts of the nation but I don't believe it is around here. Certainly there are some liberal teachers where I teach but most are not. You can be very caring of students, including the outcasts that PZ speaks of and still be as conservative as anyone. Compassion is not limited to any political ideology in spite of what many claim.
As to global warming, certainly the winters here are warmer than when I was a kid 40-50 years ago. They are also warmer than when my father was a kid 80-90 years ago. We can look at weather data to determine that. Summers by the way do not seem to be hotter which is interesting to me. But, there is really no evidence that it is primarily due to man made influence. Many scientists do not buy into the man made hypothesis, but instead look at global data trends and believe instead in natural cycles. I throw both ideas out to my students and let them decide because in spite of what many think (and some textbooks say), true science encourages skepticism to get as much information as you are able.
As to the teachers in the OP, they were just plain wrong in their actions, that was uncalled for.
Any moron who states this lie has identified him/herself as such. Dr. Richard Lindzen was also a teacher and beyond, at MIT. One of the greatest minds in atmospheric science and climatology. The father of our satellite system. He would not only NOT agree with that lie believed by Paul Zeidan, he would also think him a moron. Dr. Lindzen is but one of hundreds of esteemed scientists who do not believe man is cooking the planet in any way. And as more time passes and more research is done former Algorians like Nobelist Ivar Giaver comments "how stable weather/climate has been in the last 150 years". Chicken Little's day has passed.
Paul Zeidan tries to paint himself a hero. The Commie has soiled the Marine Corp by parading around in to him what was a costume, unless he is lying about that too. He has "helped" kids he says. First of all, ALL good people have helped kids. Based on what we see from the lying Commie here, what Paul Zeidan has done is POISON kids.
And again, ANYBODY here ILLEGALLY is a criminal. We need to make the word illegal mean something again and we need to secure our borders. Illegal invaders are just exactly THAT. ILLEGAL INVADERS.
Overall, I believe that a higher percent of teachers lean left than in the general population. I believe this also to be true in all other government employees, media, entertainment, and medical profession groups. I am sure that there are other employment groups where this would apply.
Liberal...... therapists (most)
Liberal...... actors (almost all)
Liberal...... social workers (most)........
Liberal....... Animal rights activists..... (Almost all)
Liberal continuing....... clothes designers........ hair stylists ....... cat salespeople...... cat groomers.....
Disclaimer...... I’m not bashing liberals.... just pointing out places to readily find them........
Like at a Cher concert........
These people were not even in my mind when I said "government employees."
Rank and file probably lean conservative - at least in red areas. Public employee union leaders? No. Even in the reddest states they are leftists.
Some of the skills used in HE classes are common to what should transpire in formal education, such as effective communication.
But I have seen both liberal and conservative colleagues who can help form proper critical thinking technigues in their students and some from both groups who can not.
Teaching, is not a hand me down profession. It's an incredibly professional field. Reams of scientific study goes into understanding HOW to get information into people in way's which they can apply. Not one way, but as many way's as possible. Since not every person (kid, young adult or adult) will learn the same subject the same way. Likewise a lot of effort goes into understanding the specific subject matter and related fields. Teachers need to do a lot of learning to be able to do what they do well.
Do you have "bad" ones? Sure. You have bad physicians, plumbers, physicists etc. as well.
The teachers approaching things as they did in the initial post were off mark.
But overall... Being a teacher is a seriously impressive endeavor!
Jeff.......... You said you spent about 20 years in the big box stores in the archery and firearms departments......... now you have returned to a security company......... Honest work...... Stop trying to impress people.
Feb to May it’s the Middle Ages and the Renaissance followed by the age of exploration May-June it’s explorers in the Americas. Oh is teaching how those explorers killed hundreds of thousands of natives a liberal bias? Or maybe just facts.
Again I teach the curriculum. Not my opinion, not what is told on talk shows. The curriculum. Got a problem w it? Talk to your states ed departments.
" Oh is teaching how those explorers killed hundreds of thousands of natives a liberal bias? Or maybe just facts. "
Paul Zeidan has never cared about facts, and in some cases he's to ignorant and dumb to know them. If one would teach facts about "natives" he would teach how tribes were not shocked by the power the whites brought, domination had been the name of the game long before whitey showed up. In just a couple examples the Sioux and Blackfeet were not "native" to the lands whitey found them in. They had moved in there from the far NE and butchered the people that were there before them. Butcher, enslave, assimilate, or drive them to the mountains where it was near impossible to make a living. THAT'S what the Sioux and Blackfeet did, THAT is what all tribes did, THAT is the fact. THAT is why some tribes like the Crow and Pawnee teamed up with the whites to defeat the Sioux. They didn't like the whites but they loathed and despised the Sioux and wanted them exterminated. It goes on and on. The vast majority of tribes practiced one form of slavery or another. Most were experts at torturing their enemies and took great joy in doing so. Legendary at how some tribes excelled at keeping their victims alive as long as possible. Whites called them savages not for how they treated the women and children of the whites, but because of how they treated their OWN women and children. Just one more example of how the likes of Paul Zeidan POISON students with lies, ignorance, and liberalism.
By the way, AMERICA took much of the eastern USA from the British, not the Indians. America BOUGHT much of central USA from the French and took much of the far west from the Spanish and NW from the Russians. BOUGHT Alaska from the Russians. I'm sure a Commie like Paul Zeidan teaches that too.
For those who find it so easy to tell teachers how to do their jobs, would you be so willing to tell a lawyer how to do his? Would you point out how they give their clients “liberal bias?” What about doctors? Are you so arrogant as to tell a doctor how to treat their patients? How dare that doctor tell that patient that smoking is bad! Capitalism and conservatives only believe in personal choice and responsibility! It’s astounding that teaching seems to be the one profession that everyone can “do” yet the most critical would never last a day with 30 adolescents in a room and casually leave that part out as they demand teachers do this and that.
Does that qualify me as a teacher?
I am glad you responded truthfully. I was about ready to believe what others have been saying.
FYI, there was a lot of tribal warfare between varying tribes. And it was brutal.
I still realize natives we're not treated fairly, but especially so when viewed through a lens of today's standards.
No one is completely blameless in the age of exploration. But do you realize there are only a certain number of weeks dedicated to each learning unit? So as in-depth as you would like teachers to get, we only have 10 months in which to impart a state mandated curriculum.
What you’re describing above and the detail that he wished teachers would get involved in should be left to a college course.
And it is your opinion that the formation of America has been the best thing to happen to the world. We do not teach opinions.
Nor are the text books which over emphasize some events and under emphasize others with an America hating bent.
The primary issue is the lefty-ization of all things American in a concerted effort to push this nation to the lower achievement levels of the rest of the world as they set the stage for the totalitarian one-world-government the globalists desire.
PutZ is an agent of this destruction along with all his commiE buddies. However, the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way as more people daily realize the fatal trap that is the left.
The Europeans did nothing that was not already being done, you finally admit that. Yet you choose to be selectively critical of Europeans. You are earning your American hating label sir.
I will say it, America is the best thing in modern times to have happened to the world. I believe our formation and survival are the result of Divine Intervention. Without us, evil would have reigned supreme.
Is our history perfect, absolutely not! We are humans, and all humans have faults. Are we better today than yester year? Yes. We will continue to improve? Hopefully that is in God's plan. No doubt we will continue to make mistakes.
Most liberals like yourself seem to focus on the negatives of our culture and the mistakes in our past while ignoring our vast positive contributions, and also down playing the sins of others. Like some of my colleagues here, I am concerned that you as a teacher let those biases shine through as you present the approved curriculum. I hope I am incorrect, but if not you, and all teachers approaching instruction with an Anti-American bias should be removed from the classroom. The truth requires all of the facts, not just your slant on them.
Trax, great job! One of the few times Paul was forced to admit another's command of facts was superior. I extend my respect sir.
"And regardless if the natives were slaughtering each other, how does that make it OK for Europeans to come and kill them?"
"Natives" were also slaughtering whites. Indians were killing whites. Why? For the same reason Indians were killing Indians, power and control of land. And vice versa. Indians were not in the least defenseless and innocent like Paul Zeidan tries to portray them. They were no more the victim than the many thousands before them or at any other place in the world. The difference is the whites were much stronger for a number of reasons.
"And it is your opinion that the formation of America has been the best thing to happen to the world. We do not teach opinions."
Commies like Paul Zeidan claim to not "teach" opinions. At the same time they lie and indoctrinate with liberalism with every chance they get. Absolutely pathetic. America as I portrayed it was factual. It was not just opinion. No nation has done more good for the world than this country by a very long shot. It continues to, we just need to keep the tyrannical globalists and socialists at bay.
I’m teaching about European explorers so now I hate America. That is a hell of a leap.
It’s clear your hatred of teachers supersedes any reason.
So we’ll continue to agree to disagree
I trust it did not escape either of your notice that a false equivalence was posited to try and discredit your points? Nowhere did either of you infer, imply or in any way state that because indigenous populations practiced a certain act it was "ok" for any succeeding population to replicate the act. The attempt to create a false equivalence is the hallmark of an argument bereft of fact; I don't say "liberal" argument as that assumes only one ideology holds sway over that tactic; the fact is its ubiquitous; anyone and everyone can do it, the common denominator is its practiced by those incapable (either because they lack the acumen, integrity or both, or are on the wrong side of the facts) to argue on a purely factual basis.
Frank, you may have made a point that floated over the head of your intended audience; bias can be directly conveyed or it can be implied; omitting facts while not directly demonstrating bias nonetheless implies bias as lies of omission are every bit as damaging as those of commission, and some have argued (and I agree with them) that the latter is more dangerous as it hides behind the veil of half-truths.
A final observation; speaking in half-truths is slanting the facts and effectively veers from teaching fact to rendering opinion. The distinction is that practice allows the moral coward to imply they're not teaching opinion.
Paul, how can I hate teachers when I am one?
Yet, this piece of fecal matter, along with every other POS liberal defends, supports and promotes the murder of millions of babies.
Liberalism is not just a mental disorder, it is the gathering place for sickos.