Paul Thomas: Dear Parents, Your Children’s K-12 Education Is Already Very Conservative
Paul Thomas started out as an English teacher in a public high school. These days he’s teaching at the college level, but still remembers and reflects on those early days when he learned just how conservative schools can be. In this post, he connects those early days in the classroom to the current attempts by the GOP to stop teachers from “indoctrinating” students.
Currently, about 25 states are doing something similar to Florida—mandating what and how schools teach about race, racism, and history.
Two points need to be made about these efforts.
First, K-12 public education in the U.S. has always been and remains very conservative.
Let me emphasize that my experience noted above is common for new teachers, who quickly learn to self-censor and avoid parental complaints and administrative reprimands.
As I have written about before, I taught with a wonderful young teacher, himself a well-known and well-loved active Christian in the church just across the street from the high school, who taught geography. He found himself “in trouble” because he taught Middle East geography, including how the countries were aligned with different religions.
One parent was outraged, and asked that his son be moved to another teacher because the parent didn’t want his son to know there were religions other than Christianity.
What did the principal do? Moved the student to a geography class taught by a coach (a very conservative man who taught in ways that would likely thrill Republicans).
This leads to a second point: Conservatives are deeply confused about indoctrination and education.