What exactly is "social justice"? Is it the belief that people should work and earn their own money and not be mooches on society? Is it the belief that everyone is entitled to exactly what they earn, and nothing more? Is it the belief that despite our perhaps humble beginnings, we all have the same legal footing to pursue life, liberty, and happiness? Is it the belief that welfare payments should be limited in duration, thus providing impetus for a person to seek meaningful work? Or is it the belief that the rich are the cause of all troubles in society, and class warfare is the foundation of our society? If I were placing money on this, I know which of these options I'd bet the RS people would choose. The RS people wouldn't teach students to be critical thinkers; rather, they'd teach them to criticize. There's a big difference.
So I said in this post, about the Rethinking Schools web site and program. I grow suspicious whenever I hear the words "social justice" or "equity" bandied about in education circles, because those are truly nothing more than lefty codewords for "diversity", "multiculturalism", and "affirmative action". The words themselves are fine, but they have taken on meanings far beyond the dictionary definitions.
So imagine my surprise when I received a mailing from my local teachers' union. Did it address my 40+ student classroom? or my lack of pay raise? or the increase in the state education budget, despite the left's continual harping on Schwarzenegger's slashing? No, this particular mailing was to let me know that a specific insurance company "has donated $3,000 to our association and is supporting our Social Justice Program...." The rest of the letter was quite the advertisement for the insurance company.
Now, there was a disclaimer at the bottom, saying that the mailer was sent at no cost to the union, and that because the insurance company has donated $3000 to the program, they are "entitled to six mailings per year." Still, the fact that my local union has such a leftward bias as to have such a slanted-view program concerns me. I've always strongly supported my local unions but been vehemently opposed to the CTA and NEA. I hope not to find that my local union is no better than those other two. For almost $100/month in combined union dues I deserve so much more....
Update, 9/8/05 6:32 am: For those of you who think I'm overreacting to this "social justice" concept, I'll throw out another term used in such programs, a term whose meaning is far less ambiguous: "unearned white privilege."
Update #2, 9/10/05 9:37 am: Here's an excellent article from the Rocky Mountain News which addresses the topic rather well.