Want to know what it feels like to be a conservative trapped in a Leftist’s classroom? Consider this progressive pearl of so-called wisdom through which I recently grinded my teeth:
"Unfortunately, the European version of history says that whites discovered America, when it was actually Native Americans—Indians—who came here first, crossing the Bering Strait thousands of years before Columbus was even born."
On the surface, this sounds like the same, tired liberal propaganda that’s peddled annually on college campuses from coast to coast. Only this time, there was a disturbing twist. The lecturer wasn’t Noam Chomsky, Cornel West or some other pillar of the academic Left, and the school didn’t have elite, Ivy League credentials. The aforementioned revisionist history lesson was, in fact, delivered by an unheralded fifth-grade teacher at an inner-city Philadelphia public school. His audience? A group of wide-eyed ten-year-olds. Welcome to the pee-wee leagues of what I call the Leftist Indoctrination Association (L.I.A. for short), a nationwide organization of "educators" dedicated to the Marxist ideal of tearing down traditional American culture, brick by sacred brick.
In my year-and-a-half spent working as an independent contractor in Philadelphia’s public, private and charter schools, I’ve seen countless politically correct worldviews pass as gospel to kids of all ages and economic levels. But none so much as at my current assignment, where the teacher’s less than complimentary view of Christopher Columbus is merely par for the course. As a tutor and therefore not a payroll employee of the school, there is little I can do to stem the tide of false information other than to sit quietly and seethe. I try to find solace in knowing that conservatives on high school and college campuses suffer through similar frustration due to the left-wing bias of their more numerous liberal peers and instructors. But to see the L.I.A. operating so pervasively on the grammar school level, exerting influence over the most impressionable of minds, has made for a particularly disheartening experience.
An ominous sign of what was in store came on the first day of classes this past September, when I entered school to the sight of a large banner proclaiming, "We Are Proud To Be A Multicultural Place of Learning." Later that week, the principal called an assembly to announce the school’s monthly "Celebrations of Culture," with a month allotted for virtually every ethnic and racial group except, of course, white European. This blatant snub ignored not only the very culture from which this country originated; it also left the school’s small white student body (under 10 percent) feeling isolated and rootless. Just another example of how liberals, with their ever-misguided good intentions, fail to realize that stressing racial differences over students’ common American identity fosters an "us vs. them", every-race-for-itself attitude and weakens national solidarity.
Alas, this is of little significance to our pious multiculturalist academics. After all, they’d rather students’ formative years be spent studying backwards, Third World dictatorships than their own country, which just so happens to be the most prosperous, advanced and democratic in the history of mankind. That said, is there any way traditional American values and beliefs can reestablish themselves in the face of this globalized grammar school climate? If my experiences over the past four months are any indication, it’s going to be an uphill battle. Consider the following:
* The November arrival of Ramadan was accompanied by great fanfare. In three separate loudspeaker addresses, the school’s principal encouraged faculty and students to be "very respectful and considerate of all Muslims during this important holiday." Meanwhile, Channukah came and went without mention, and Christmas has been presented simply as a secularist, material-driven holiday with no religious link. I’m presently waiting, though, for what promises to be a breathless announcement of Kwaanza.
*Further Islam-pandering occurred during a recent Social Studies class, when our favorite Columbus-basher rehashed an oft-repeated liberal line that "the terrorism that’s going on right now is not the work of any particular country. It’s being done by a handful of crazed individuals who are using Islam as an excuse to hurt people." Pay no mind, kids, to Islamic countries like Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Syria that aid and abet terrorists. Disregard those pesky little North Korean Scuds that were recently intercepted en route to Yemen. And that impending U.S. invasion of Iraq? Why, that’s all about oil.
*To the predominantly atheist Left, the mere mention of God and school in the same sentence conjures images of evangelical Christian boogeymen holding students hostage at Bible-point. Suffice it to say, these same Leftists would be delighted to learn that God is indeed being mentioned in today’s public schools, not in a reverent way, but in one which shamelessly advances the humanistic agenda. A recent journal assignment for the fifth grade class to which I’m assigned was entitled, "Do you believe in God? Why or why not?" The latter portion of this question makes it a tricky one for prepubescent scholars to grapple with, but to the L.I.A., it’s perfectly appropriate. After all, good little liberals aren’t born—they’re made. I’m pleased to note, however, that every student in class answered the affirmative, and many seemed bewildered that the question was even raised.
*Although the journal assignment provided me with a jolt, it wasn’t entirely unexpected coming from a teacher who once, after chastising students for poor test grades, exclaimed, "God help us!" then added, "And I’m not a religious person, so you know that’s bad." This careless comment conveyed to students that God has no place in the life of an adult authority figure that they admire and emulate. Is it far-fetched to say that these same fifth-graders may begin questioning their own religious beliefs as a result?
*The school’s ESL (English As A Second Language) program is packed with Asian and Hispanic immigrants who have little or no grasp of the English language. A Mexican boy in my class was unable to speak even a shred of English when he reported for school in September, and has improved only marginally since. Though his primary means of communication consists of nodding and smiling at anything that’s said, he’s been placed in a mainstream class filled with children who were born and raised in America. Not only is this intimidating for the student, it is patently unfair to his teacher, who should not have to serve additional duties as a part-time translator. Confusion and frustration are etched daily on the boy’s face as he struggles to grasp his assignments (which are often incomplete), yet in the spirit of multiculturalism, he has received passing grades in every course thus far. Does our government’s continued acceptance of mass immigration ensure that there will soon be a need for special English-intensive charter schools simply to help all the new arrivals assimilate?
*Regardless of his changed views later in life, Malcolm X remains to many a symbol of racial polarization and militant black nationalism. Nevertheless, his quote, "Words are like bullets to be used against your opponents," was emblazoned on the classroom blackboard recently as a supposed inspiration for students to improve their writing skills. Since the musings of a renowned segregationist like Malcolm X are held in such high regard by the L.I.A., I wonder how they’ll explain their skewering of Trent Lott.
Given these dubious examples, you’re probably wondering why I continue to work at an institution that is so blatantly opposed to conservative principles. While I’ve pondered requesting a transfer, the reality is that a change of venues would be just that—previous experiences have shown me that the same Leftist rhetoric is bound to be present no matter what school I am assigned. Besides, in a rather macabre way, I’m growing to like my current assignment. It’s not every day that one gets to report from the frontlines of America’s Culture War.