But teachers who think they should turn their students into "agents of change" or some similar term, that seems a bridge too far for me. Should teachers be requiring students to write letters to legislators or executives about specific proposals? In most cases I'd probably say no. Teaching kids that they should work for change in their communities--why, exactly? You may think the community needs changing, plenty may not.
I don't have a problem with sharing facts, opinion, or commentary with students. I do, however, have a problem with forcing it on them.
And that's what I saw when I read Larry Sand's article at UnionWatch.org:
With the election season in full swing, expect a tide of union-led anti-reform, anti-choice and anti-Republican politicking in our kids’ classrooms.Teaching is one thing, indoctrinating is another.
“I watched the GOP presidential debate because my students are counting on me” is the title of a piece posted on the National Education Association website by “guest writer” Tom McLaughlin, a high school drama teacher from Council Bluffs, IA. He claims that “…in addition to this debate, I had an obligation to watch future debates, take notes, and share the truth. I have a responsibility to do that for my students"...
Obviously McLaughlin never intended to report on the debate, but rather to deliver a diatribe infused with standard teacher union talking points against any and all who favor reform and dare have an “R” after their names...
Many teachers now take their cue from the likes of National Education Association Executive Director John Stocks who, at the recent NEA convention, told his flock that teachers need to become “social justice warriors.”
Silly me, all along I thought teachers were there to teach.
Full disclosure: Larry Sand is President of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, a non-partisan organization of California teachers which provides reliable and balanced information and peer support for teachers who may adopt different views than their peers, especially as regards union membership. I am on the board of directors of CTEN.