Fake News, School Choice and the Teachers Unions
When it comes to promoting their pernicious agenda, the teachers unions have the market cornered on fake news.
Those railing against “fake news” would have you think that it is a new occurrence, something started a couple of years ago by assorted agenda-driven websites. Turns out, ironically, saying that fake news is a new phenomenon is fake news.
Fake news has always been with us. A glaring example is The New York Times printing Stalin-lover Walter Duranty’s white-washed stories and outright lies about the Russian mass murderer and his mayhem during the 1930s. And fake news’ evil sibling is indoctrination, whereby news or information, often outright phony or horribly distorted, is delivered uncritically from a single viewpoint.
Weighing in on “fake news,” the National Education Association’s website asks and answers a question, “Who Stands Between Fake News and Students? Educators.” But NEA giving a lesson in fake news is like Hillary Clinton teaching a class on ethics. So much of what the union disseminates is fake news, which it hopes will be utilized by uncritically-thinking teachers to indoctrinate their impressionable students.
Just last week, the fake news-indoc regimen reached epidemic proportions. Before school on January 19th, the day before President Trump was sworn in, teachers in Los Angeles, union leaders, at least one school board member and a lot of very impressionable children marched, screamed and carried signs which said “Shield against union busting,” “Shield against privatizing our public schools,” “Shield against Trump/Devos/Broad/Walmart,” etc. (From all accounts, there were no counter demonstrators, maybe because they valued life, limb and intact windshields, all of which could have been at risk had they dared to cross the oh-so-tolerant, caring, sensitive and love-filled protesters.)
The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, a national network of far-left teacher union leaders, was behind the early morning demonstration in L.A. and others across the country. And what starts as a pre-school event sadly doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. What follows are just a few of the stories of teachers presenting biased information to their students in the classroom:
A Los Angeles high school teacher drew a picture of Trump with a Hitler-type mustache and, according to the student who reported the story (with a photo), “The teacher told the students that Trump and Hitler are one in the same.”
In San Francisco, the teachers union issued a “Lesson Plan on the 2016 Election,” a guide for teachers, which advises that when talking to their students about the election: “DO NOT: Tell them that we have LOST and that we have to accept this.”
In North Carolina a teacher told her students, “Basically the only people who seem to be safe from this guy (Trump) are white Christian males… am I missing anything? Oh, American — white Christian male Americans.”
In Michigan, instead of letting his students watch and have an honest discussion about the inauguration, a 4th grade teacher refused let them view it.
For more indoctrination stories, go here.
But as Pacific Research Institute scholar Lance Izumi points out, the indoctrination problem goes much deeper than the bias of individual teachers and their unions. He writes that pages and pages of the new California History, Social Science Framework “are devoted to identity politics, and the environmentalist, sexual, and anti-Vietnam War movements, with detailed and extensive bibliographical references. In contrast, the contemporaneous conservative movement, which succeeded in electing Californian Ronald Reagan as president, with its complex mixture of social, economic and national security sub-movements, is given cursory and passing mention, with no references provided.”
How can the average parent fight back against indoctrination? In California and many other states, there’s not much they can do. Rich folks can move to a district where the schools are more in line with their beliefs and values. Or they can send their kids to a private school that is a better fit for them and their children. But many middle class and impoverished parents have no such opportunity, which is where school choice, the bane of the teachers unions and other diehard enforcers of the status quo, comes in. Giving parents the power to choose the best school for their kids would destroy the one-size-fits-all education monopoly controlled by those who have an agenda that runs counter to many parents. In fact, we are right in the middle of National School Choice Week, the goal of which is to shine a “spotlight on effective education options for every child.” In addition to securing a better education, parents can free their kids from the ravages of institutional brainwashing.
The NEA promotes “Five Talking Points on Vouchers” on its website. In reality, the info delivered is a perfect example of fake news – one antiquated link, no citations, but rather a fact-free rant. Among other things, NEA claims that the public disapproves of vouchers and that they increase public education costs. The first claim is easily debunked by many surveys, the most recent of which was conducted by Democratic pollsters Beck Research. They found that school choice support is bipartisan with majorities from each political party – 84 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Independents indicating approval. Regarding the “increased cost” allegation, EdChoice’s Greg Forster looked at 28 studies, and 25 of them showed that choice has a positive impact on taxpayers and 3 had no effect. Not one study showed that vouchers further burdened taxpaying citizens.
California State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) receives a 94 percent rating from the California Teachers Association, which means he, like so many in the state legislature, is in lockstep with – and in the pocket of – the teachers union. Gomez recently introduced a bill that would require the state to teach children how to spot “fake news.” Somewhere, probably from down below, a toasty Walter Duranty has an evil smile on his face.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.