The following was first published by Kettle Moraine Publications on the Federal Observer on February 26, 2013. It has proven to be timeless – and pointed. There is nothing in this marvelous post that should have changed. It is the SYSTEM that has changed – and forced the teachers to change with it. ~ (Ed.)
To deliberately deprive a child of a good education is a sin against the child and the nation. To abuse a pupil’s trust is despicable. To manipulate history in the classroom as a means to promote a political or religious ideology is diabolically unethical. To throw away teaching methods that work for practices that do more harm than good is a tragedy. To walk out on a classroom of pupils for personal gain is maniacally egocentric. Sadly, this is precisely what is happening to children in public schools today.
Unfortunately, most teachers join a union like the National Education Association, and in so doing new members must agree (pg. 120) to the union’s goals and objectives. In turn the union protects their members no matter how badly the teachers serve the students.
In stark contrast, even though teachers are public servants, they do not sign an agreement with pupils and parents. Such prioritization is misguided and must change, or we will never overcome the flaws in our schools. Unions are undermining public education.
For example, teachers heeded the union siren and abandoned their pupils to protest Michigan’s proposed right-to-work law, even though striking is illegal. Similarly, In 2011 Wisconsin teachers illegally walked out on their students to protest the limiting of collective bargaining rights.
Parents are not alone in their anger when teachers are derelict in their duty. Last week a student in a Chicago classroom raged against her music teacher because he and his colleagues went on strike for a week over a wage dispute. When her teacher returned to the classroom the student screamed, “I want an education!”
Union action in school districts is egregious, but even worse are incidents of sexual contact between a teacher and his or her pupils. In just one elementary school in Los Angeles parents filed 189 claims of sexual abuse. Sadly, there is an endless rogues gallery of teacher sex offenders, and shockingly, unions want to protect these offenders.
Atrocious union activities and sexual misconduct by teachers are only part of the rot we face in education. Parents are also realizing that their children are being politically indoctrinated, primarily towards socialist goals. They are deprived of historical truths such as the important role black Americans played during Reconstruction. Furthermore, professors of education teach experimental pedagogical methods to their protégés, who in turn experiment on their young pupils in the classroom. From this wellspring of fads our children have suffered such theories as whole language, authentic assessment, and constructivism. The results have not been good.
All of these behaviors are unforgivable, and beg the obvious question: Which is the greatest priority in public education, teaching our children, or fulfilling a teacher’s selfish interests?
Clearly, a student’s education, as well as his or her safety in the classroom, should be the highest priority in every school. If a teacher isn’t willing to put students ahead of self, then that educator should not be in the profession.
What can we do? Changing minds first requires changing hearts, one step at a time. Therefore I recommend that parents and students start the process of change by insisting educators sign a Teacher’s Oath. One has been provided below which might serve as a model.
Imagine a school where all its teachers live up to these promises, and school administrators vigilantly support the teachers who subscribe to these covenants. Over time, union membership would wane, parental involvement and local control would increase, and America’s children would finally receive a education that matches their talents.
It’s not too much to ask when our nation’s future is in the balance.
I swear by my honor, and all who witness my pledge, that I will fulfill according to my ability this oath and covenant to my students. I agree to:
Achieve mastery in all subjects that I may be expected to teach.
Keep my skills up to date with changes in technology.
Encourage my pupils to research and evaluate pro and con arguments when the topic is subjective, rather than parroting the consensus of a supposed majority of opinion.
Understand and teach the scientific method.
Understand, teach, and apply logic where appropriate.
Place the educational needs of my pupils before my self interest or that of my collegial affiliations.
Not strike and abandon my students.
Reach out to parents, encouraging them to take an active role in their child’s education, and help them find resources when needed.
Maintain discipline in the classroom.
Grade fairly, and honestly.
Practice my First Amendment right to free speech by challenging authorities who push me to adopt teaching methods that I believe are illogical and detrimental to the education of my pupils.
Advocate for phonics instruction at the elementary level.
Advocate for maintaining strong core subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, and science at all levels of education.
Advocate for textbooks that are historically complete, factually correct, and which do not omit key figures because of political correctness.
Advocate for textbooks that accurately describe the founding principles of the American government, with an emphasis on The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the role of free market capitalism in the growth of our nation.
Uphold, support, and defend the laws of the U.S. Constitution and my State constitution.
Treat all students equally regardless of their status, both with respect to academic expectations and discipline.
Never humiliate a student for expressing an opinion that differs markedly from my opinion or others’ opinions.
Never use a captive classroom as a forum for proselytizing my political or religious views, even if I am teaching a subject directly related to politics or religion.
Serve as a positive role model for my students, both in the classroom and in my personal life.
Never participate in an unethical, sexual, or otherwise illegal relationship with a student.
Written by Jeanne Donovan and published on American Thinker ~ December 12, 2012.
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