This is a guest post by Karen Schroeder, President of Advocates for Academic Freedom.
My Dear Fellow Conservative Teacher:
Thank you for all you do to assure that your students receive a quality education in spite of the encumbrances imposed by many unwelcome federal policies. The risks you take and the consequences you often endure are known and understood. Those of us who have been there and are now free of professional consequences are there for you. There are things we can and will do to help, if you wish.
My fellow teachers who value truth above social policy represent both political parties and reflect an incredibly generous spirit.
It is that spirit that I am relying upon as I offer unsolicited advice and ask that you add another task to your already overburdened schedule.
I ask that you do for each other what you do so well for students: provide knowledge and information. Provide your fellow teachers with information about the educational experts who have shaped the federal policies that create unnecessary struggles within the teaching profession. As your fellow teachers gain facts about those experts and ideologies, their support for the policies will wane. The opportunity for administrators to adopt practices that will limit actual academic success of your students will diminish. Your opinions and your support for new policies may even become a pre-requisite before adoption of any policy!
Your creativity is boundless. To get your innovative juices flowing, consider placing materials in the faculty lounge.
A copy of the Aspen Institute’s document A New Civic Literacy: American Education and Global Interdependence exposes the purpose behind educational policies. It is eleven pages of simply written, direct language which defines how educational experts view teachers from all political parties. It reveals how experts want to use students and their parents to accomplish ideological agendas. It suggests the federalization of education to free educational policy from interactions from “conservative” school boards, teachers, and parents. Underline some key phrases so those who deeply trust the experts need to see only a few lines to encourage the questioning to begin.
A single page flier with the picture of an educational expert, a key quote from him, and a short bio may stimulate thought and discussion.
For example: When Shirley McCune spoke at the Governor’s Conference on Education in 1989, she stated: “We no longer see the teaching of facts and information as the primary function of education… Building a new kind of people must be a part of the curriculum… More and more schools are the center of all human resource development… The earlier we can intervene in the lives of people the more effective we can be.”
At that time, McCune was the Senior Director of Mid Continental Regional Educational Laboratory (McRel) — one of ten regional laboratories under contract to the U.S. Department of Education. Her resume included work with the National Education Association (NEA), the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the Kansas State Department of Education in developing strategic direction for Kansas schools in the Schools for the 21st Century program. She also owned a company called Learning Trends, based in Aurora, Colorado, and later in Washington, DC.
Providing only the picture of the experts and their comments elicits few objections from opponents. However, those threatened by the truth will typically confront those who provide truth. By excluding all personal comments from the flier, the retort to those objecting can be, “What about this upsets you? This flier simply provides a quote from [name of expert]. Isn’t that what teachers are expected to do, provide unbiased facts?”
Please share with me what wonderful ways you found to alert your fellow teachers to the truth behind the federal policies that too often plague our profession. Feel free to post your findings on the Advocates for Academic Freedom FB page. We look forward to meeting the experts that you identify. There are so many who need to be introduced to the public and you are in the best position to provide those facts.
Since teachers usually refer to their students as “my kids” or “my children”, I want to say, “God Bless you all for your dedication to your children and to the teaching profession.”