By Larry Sand
March 19, 2019
Instead of American history, students now learn about the evils of capitalism, airplanes and cow farts.
“‘Education is Political’: Neutrality in the Classroom Shortchanges Students” read a recent headline on the National Education Association website. What the teachers union is essentially saying is that an objective approach to controversial subjects does a disservice to the educational process. And in case you are wondering what they are really suggesting, I’ll tell ya: The NEA leaders are unapologetically far-left and have been for quite some time, and want America’s children to dutifully fall in line.
That the teachers union leadership is radical in nature and aggressively anti-American is not news. One only has to look at NEA’s embrace of Marxist Saul Alinsky’s organizing tactics in the late 1960s. A glowing review of Alinsky’s books that appeared on the NEA website for years speaks volumes. Alinsky despised all things American and was not shy about spreading his noxious beliefs. He held a romanticized and glorified notion of “the radical,” whom he felt – by using his techniques – could fundamentally transform the country. Howard Zinn, another notorious America-hater and author of A People’s History of the United States – assigned reading in high schools across the country – is a hero to many in the teachers union. His philosophy reigns supreme in countless history classrooms: “Objectivity is impossible and it is also undesirable.” Zinn felt that the teaching of history “should serve society in some way.” Of course, as a Marxist, he’d prefer a society that resembles Stalin’s Russia.
Sadly, it seems that the strategy is working. The results of a recent study by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation reveal that “only 27 percent of those under the age of 45 nationally were able to demonstrate a basic understanding of American history. Nationally, only 4 in 10 Americans passed the exam.” More than half did not know we have nine Supreme Court justices. Sixty percent didn’t know which countries we fought in WWII and 37 percent thought that Ben Franklin invented the lightbulb. Additionally, 2 percent thought the Cold War was fought over climate change. Honestly, you just can’t make this stuff up.
The left needs an ongoing supply of fresh propaganda to keep the kiddos engaged and angry, and Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street are just so yesterday. The new, hip item on the indoctrination menu is the Green New Deal. Yes, it seems that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the socialist Congresswoman from New York who once opined, “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.” has garnered a serious following.
In fact, the Green New Deal was a big topic of conversation last Friday. In case you are not aware, March 15th was a solemn holiday to some. No, not because it was the anniversary of Julius Caesar’s dramatic demise, but rather it was the day of the “Youth Climate Strike.” Indeed, students all over the country ditched school last Friday to engage in their rage du jour, carrying signs insisting that any rise in global temperature is man-made and blamed adults, meat-eaters, capitalism and, of course, Donald Trump for the looming apocalypse.
In the Bay State, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, an affiliate of the aforementioned NEA, fully supported the student walkout. MTA President Merrie Najimy, acknowledging the schools’ complicity with the man-made climate-change hysteria, asserted, “Regarding global warming and climate change, students are taking what they have learned about science and civics and putting their education into action.” The students made 22 demands, including completely ditching fossil fuels and switching to other forms of energy by 2030 and “declaring climate change a national emergency.”
It is worth noting that students in San Francisco did not a ditch school on their own. As reported by ABC News, their schools were behind their participation in the march. “Climate change is not a lie, we won’t let our planet die,” was one of the many chants made by the school-sanctioned truants as they marched down Market Street. They also protested in front of the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This is only going to get worse. In These Times writer Nato Green insists that “unions must bargain over climate change.” The California Teachers Association appears to be on board as it informs us that climate change will cause 122 million more people to live in extreme poverty by 2030. And not to be outdone in the laugh-out-loud hysteria department, Education Week suggests that global warming could make students dumber.
Now a few things from the “inconvenient truth” dossier. Los Angeles just had its coldest February in 57 years, and many other areas around the world have also experienced record cold temperatures of late. I marvel at the weather geniuses who cannot seem to perfect the five-day forecast, but know we are going to hell in 10 years. Anybody wonder why, despite gloom-and-doom proclamations by “sweaty polar bear” pearl-clutchers, the creatures are actually thriving? Oh, and despite the hype, CO2 is anything but a pollutant.
The man-made climate change crowd has a cadre of mostly agenda-driven left-wing scientists who insist that the end is nigh. However, there are many who do not agree. For example, climatologist Judith Curry – independent and apolitical – says that “almost half of the warming observed in the twentieth century came about in the first half of the century, before carbon-dioxide emissions became large.” She also agrees that the sea level is rising, but adds that this has been happening since the 1860s.
Children can be excused for their irrational and exuberant naivete. But the adult pushers of man-made global warming hysteria and the Green New Deal need to be outed as the propagandists and socialists they are. Green really is the new red.
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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.