“help, help, we’re being victimized by an ideology of compassion”

The Christian Science Monitor has a good piece on the recent moves by conservatives to see any trace of liberalism eradicated from the primary schools of America… It was only a matter of time. First they declared war on higher ed, and now they’ve decided to take the fight into the public schools, setting up student groups charged with distributing conservative literature, winning over converts, and reporting the perceived liberal biases of their teachers. (How long, one wonders, until students are being asked to report on the activities of their parents?)

Making public schools partisan isn’t a new idea. Others have tried it before, with great success.

I have no problem with conservative opinions being heard, and I understand how difficult it is when your teachers subject you to their particular biases. (A high school biology teacher of mine handed out dittos on Creationism when I was a sophomore and it really pissed me off.) What concerns me here, though, isn’t the opinion that teachers should keep their beliefs to themselves (they should), but that the conservatives, in this instance, are trying to paint themselves once again as a persecuted minority. Conservatives, in case you’ve forgotten, have the Senate, and the House. They have the administrative branch of government. It can be argued, I think quite convincingly, that they have de-facto control over the media. And, they are pursuing every means at their disposal to shift the makeup of the federal judiciary to the far right. These are not the attributes of a persecuted minority. They are not under attack, and their views are not in danger of going unheard. Quite to the contrary, it’s they who are silencing dissent.

Here’s a clip from the CSM article:

Concerned that public schools are becoming sites of liberal indoctrination, activists have generated a wave of efforts to limit what teachers may discuss and to bring more conservative views into the classroom.

After all, they say, if related campaigns can help rein in doctrinaire faculty on college campuses, why not in K-12 education as well?

So far this year, at least 14 state legislatures have considered bills aimed at colleges that would restrict professors and establish grievance procedures for students who perceive political bias in teaching. None have become law, but the movement has momentum: Four state universities in Colorado, for instance, adopted the principles under legislative pressure in 2004.

“The last six months [have] been kind of a watershed for the academic-freedom movement,” says Bradley Shipp, national field director for Students for Academic Freedom, a group founded by conservative activist David Horowitz in 2003. “It is going to filter itself down to the K-12 level.”…

This entry was posted in Free Speech. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. chris
    Posted June 12, 2005 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Holy shit! No wait…Holy Fucking Shit!

  2. [steph]
    Posted June 13, 2005 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    When I had Sex Ed in fifth grade, I remember the one brief mention of homosexuality said something along the lines of, “Homosexuality is the act of sexual intercourse between two people of the same sex. The bodies of a man and a woman were created to fit together perfectly during intercourse. Heterosexual intercourse between a married man and woman is the perfect expression of sexual love.” I remember thinking the “fit together perfectly” thing was very strange, like a weird sex jigsaw puzzle or legos or something. There may have been a bit more that was explicit, but the implication, at least, was that homosexuality, if not wrong, was at least “less perfect.” There was also a lot of mention of a non-specific Creator.

    Also, my seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Corelle, used to talk about Christianity all the time. About how wonderous it was that God created the solar system or the periodic table or the skeleton or whatever we happened to be learning about at the moment. His wife ran a Christian trinket shop and he used to give out little knicknacks from it as prizes for good quiz scores and such. I still have the red plastic ring, shaped like an arrow, that says “ONE WAY: Jesus said, ‘I Am The Way.'” He also used to take off his cowboy boot, spurs and all, and throw it at the students if they made him really mad. All this at a Connecticut public school in the mid to late nineties.

    On another topic, I feel very silly for asking this, but in what way is the Christian Science Monitor realted to Christian Science the religion? That’s the one where they don’t believe in doctors, right? The newspaper seems to be a pretty sane source of information while the religion definitely does not… I’ve been wondering this for a while.

  3. mark
    Posted June 13, 2005 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Check out this page, Stephanie. I think it’ll answer your questions about the CSM.


  4. mark
    Posted June 13, 2005 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Someone should start an in-school student organization dedicated to reporting occasions in which teachers mention their own personal religious beliefs.

  5. [steph]
    Posted June 14, 2005 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks for that info, now I get it. I think I’d still feel a little uncomfortable reading a paper that said “Christian Science” (or even “Christian,” for that matter) in big letters in public though…

  6. [steph]
    Posted June 14, 2005 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Also, in high school the Advanced Placement English teacher, Mrs. Roberts, spent more than half the year teaching the bible. She only taught the New Testament. There is a rule that if you want to teach the bible as literature, you have to make it clear that you are reading it for its literary merits and also teach a little bit about other literature of world religions, which she did by passing out photocopies of descriptions of Judaism and Islam from the encyclopedia. For that class, there was a big master curriculum list of books that the teacher could pick from to teach. It was mailed out to the students at the beginning of the summer with the books she’d be teaching circled. The students were supposed to pick four other books from the list that she wouldn’t be teaching to read over the summer and hand in reports on them when school started. Mrs. Roberts crossed Brave New World and 1984 off the list.

    I dropped out of high school to go to college at the end of the year before, so didn’t take the class, but one of my best friends took it. She did reports on both of those books after asking one of the other English teachers if it was okay. The teacher said Mrs. Roberts wasn’t allowed to cross books off the list. Mrs. Roberts gave her a D. This is a girl who got straight A’s all though high school and is now on the Dean’s List every semester as a Poetry and Religion major at Bard College.

  7. mark
    Posted June 16, 2005 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful stories, Steph. Thanks for sharing them.

  8. john galt
    Posted June 16, 2005 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    as a religion and poetry major, she will have employers knocking down her door.

  9. mark
    Posted June 16, 2005 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    You don’t have any friends, do you, John?

    If you’d like to send in a photo, maybe I could try to put together some kind of ad for you. Maybe we could find you a friend. I think the experience would be good for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.