THE WOULD-BE COMMISSARS OF YOUR LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
How comfortable would you feel if you knew that in the future, the teacher in your child’s classroom had been pre-selected on the basis of adherence to an extremist ideology or that to graduate college they had to parrot these beliefs whether they agreed or not ? Or that the accreditation of your child’s public school or university was going to ride on the school’s administration, teachers or professors demonstrating loyalty to this agenda in their classrooms to the satisfaction of unknown, unelected, unaccountable but zealously committed bureaucrats ?
Well, brace yourself because it’s already here. The new teachers fully ” educated” in this vein should be hitting the job market in most, though not all, states by 2007 or 2008 at the latest.
Accreditation agencies operate mostly out of the public or legislative spotlight and hand out what amounts to good housekeeping seals of approval on various university programs to indicate that a Law or Medical School does indeed dispense knowledge that will allow graduates to function as lawyers and doctors. High Schools have their own accreditation agencies and a similar program of certification. Essentially the process is supposed to be a review to ensure that fraudulent diploma mills do not operate on par with Harvard or legitimate state universities or schools.
Unfortunately, it seems that the American hard Left, envious of the neo-Stalinist conformity of some foreign Teacher’s Unions like those in South Korea and dismayed at the success of civil libertarians in attacking campus P.C. speech codes and overt indoctrination tactics, have spent the last few years infiltrating accreditation agencies to impose their values through the accreditation process. It is a strategic initiative of breathtaking scope and one quite likely to succeed.
Universities are now going to have to certify prospective teaching candidate’s commitment to ” social justice” in order to win accreditation for their Colleges of Education. For teachers that means providing evidence in their lesson plans to their university program supervisors of following the multicultural left’s Afrocentric-Radical crit interpretation of American society as a bastion of oppression. Candidates who hold other views will not be allowed to graduate and become teachers:
“Brooklyn College’s School of Education, which is the only academic unit at the college with the status of school, is among dozens of education schools across the country that incorporate the notion of “social justice” in their guiding principles. At Brooklyn, “social justice” is one of the four main principles in its conceptual framework. The school’s conceptual framework states that it develops in its students “a deeper understanding of the quest for social justice.” In its explanation of that mission, the school states: “We educate teacher candidates and other school personnel about issues of social injustice such as institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism.”
Critics of the dispositions standard contend that the idea of “social justice,” a term frequently employed in left-wing circles, is open to politicization.
“It’s political correctness that has insinuated into the criteria for accreditation of teacher education institutions,” a noted education theorist in New York, Diane Ravitch, said. “Once that becomes the criteria for institutions as a whole, it gives free rein to those who want to impose it in their classrooms,” she said. Ms. Ravitch is the author of “The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn.”
A case in point, as Mr. Johnson of Brooklyn College has pointed out, is the way in which the term was incorporated into Ms. Parmar’s course, called Language Literacy in Secondary Education, which students said is required of all Brooklyn College education candidates who aspire to become secondary-school teachers. In the fall semester, Ms. Parmar was the only instructor who taught the course, according to students.
The course, which instructs students on how to develop lesson plans that teach literacy, is built around themes of “social justice,” according to the syllabus, which was obtained by The New York Sun. One such theme is the idea that standard English is the language of oppressors while Ebonics, a term educators use to denote a dialect used by African-Americans, is the language of the oppressed.
A preface to the listed course requirements includes a quotation from a South African scholar, Njabulo Ndebele: “The need to maintain control over English by its native speakers has given birth to a policy of manipulative open-mindedness in which it is held that English belongs to all who use it provided that it is used correctly. This is the art of giving away the bride while insisting that she still belongs to you.”
Among the complaints cited by students in letters they delivered in December to the dean of the School of Education, Deborah Shanley, is Ms. Parmar’s alleged disapporval of students who defended the ability to speak grammatically correct English.
Speaking of Ms. Parmar, one student, Evan Goldwyn, wrote: “She repeatedly referred to English as a language of oppressors and in particular denounced white people as the oppressors. When offended students raised their hands to challenge Professor Parmar’s assertion, they were ignored. Those students that disagreed with her were altogether denied the opportunity to speak.”
Students also complained that Ms. Parmar dedicated a class period to the screening of an anti-Bush documentary by Michael Moore, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a week before last November’s presidential election, and required students to attend the class even if they had already seen the film. Students said Ms. Parmar described “Fahrenheit 9/11” as an important film to see before they voted in the election.
“Most troubling of all,” Mr. Goldwyn wrote, “she has insinuated that people who disagree with her views on issues such as Ebonics or Fahrenheit 911 should not become teachers.”
Students who filed complaints with the dean said they have received no response from the college administration. Instead, they said, the administration and Ms. Parmar have retaliated against them, accusing Mr. Goldwyn and another student of plagiarism in January after the semester ended.
Ms. Parmar referred a reporter’s inquiries to a spokeswoman for Brooklyn College. Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., a New York City public relations firm representing the CUNY school, later responded. The firm’s Colleen Roche told the Sun that Ms. Shanley, dean of the education school, spoke with students about their complaints December 21.
Though students said Ms. Parmar did not inform them about the new dispositions assessment policy, an e-mail obtained by the Sun from one of Ms. Parmar’s colleagues, Barbara Winslow, suggests that the aspiring teachers were in the process of being evaluated by the new standard.
Writing to three history professors, including Mr. Johnson, who had Mr. Goldwyn as their student, Ms. Winslow said the School of Education had “serious concerns about his disruptive behavior in the SOE classroom as well as aggressive and bullying behavior toward his professor outside the class.”
She wrote: “The School of Ed is trying to be more systematic in looking at what educators call ‘dispositions,’ that is behaviors necessary for being a successful teacher in the public schools. Being able to do excellent academic work, does not always translate into being a thoughtful, self-reflective and effective teacher for youngsters.”
KC Johnson, a noted rising star historian ( and no conservative either), was one of the first to shine a light on this under-the -radar attempt at the politicization of American public school classrooms by multicultural leftists, now effective for 37 States. But he doesn’t have to be the last.
Write your legislators. Write to the Bush administration.Political agendas do not belong in our children’s classrooms. It’s time to change how schools and universities are accreditated if political indoctrination by wingnuts is going to be the litmus test.