May 29, 2023

Gregory Sampson: Jubao

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It’s a word from China, and Gregory Sampson finds it frighteningly apropos these days.

ransliterated from Chinese, the word is a verb and it is used for the moment when students report a teacher to authorities for inappropriate teaching that diverges in the slightest way from the government curriculum.

Jubao. Given all the parental rights bills that have been rushed into law and the many more now moving through Spring state legislative sessions, it is fair to ask the question about how many K-12 teachers will be jubaoed this year.

Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) ran into this term over the summer of 2022 when reading an article in the New Yorker about an American teaching in China who was blindsided when a student reported him to authorities. In this case, the teacher had made some editing comments on a student paper, which made their way to Chinese social media but no one knows how. The comments were reported, the teacher investigated with the Communist Party interviewing students, the university withdrew its support of him and non-renewed his contract.

Jubao! His teaching career was over, a moment every teacher can relate to.

From Florida’s Don’t-Be-Gay bill, which muzzled teachers from kindergarten to third grade from mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity that is now being extended to grades 4 – 8 in proposed legislation, or through grade 12 according to a proposed rule by the State Board of Education, to Florida’s Stop WOKE act, which stifled honest discussions of race in all classrooms, anyone including students can now report a teacher for anything that was said in a classroom if it is thought to violate these strictures.

Other states are passing similar laws. Then there are the attempts at setting up parental hotlines, dedicated phone numbers or email addresses where any parent can report a teacher for saying something they don’t like.

We are crossing familiar ground here. Many excellent writers have covered these attempts to censor public education classrooms including the increasing effort to ban books in the classroom.

There are no protections for teachers. Depending upon the state and the strength of one’s particular union, if one is a member at all, there may be very little recourse once a teacher is jubaoed.

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