By Ben Velderman
LOS ANGELES – Larry Strauss teaches English at a Los Angeles high school, and he will be among the many educators who will connect this fall’s presidential campaign with his classroom lessons.
But unlike a growing number of leftist teachers who believe it’s their moral duty to proselytize the next generation in the ways of progressive politics, Strauss plays it right down the middle and says his students aren’t sure what his political beliefs are.
In a blog for the Huffington Post, Strauss notes that at least once a year a student will ask if he’s a Republican.
“I am not. In fact, I have never voted for a Republican in any election,” Strauss writes.
But Strauss says he’s “flattered” when a student mistakes him for a conservative because it means he’s kept his political biases out of his lessons.
“It is not always easy to keep those emotions in check in the classroom,” Strauss admits. “But it is our job.”
He chides his fellow educators who don’t believe in being neutral when it comes to politics.
“They believe that their versions of social justice and righteousness are so right and so essential to the future of humanity that their mission is to persuade students to believe with them rather than trust the next generation by teaching them to think for themselves,” Strauss writes.
“Though I often agree with their views on the world I disagree with their views about our role as teachers. I am not indifferent to the struggle for justice and the future of humanity. I just don’t believe that encouraging students to echo our opinions is ever beneficial. It is arrogant and it is short-sighted.
“The only long-term hope for all of us is that the next generation and the one after that can navigate their world, make sense out of it, understand it in the context of the past and the future, seek the truth, see the truths, and tell the truth. Their own — not ours,” he concludes.
What a refreshing point of view!
If Strauss is as conscientious and diligent in crafting his lesson plans as he is in keeping his politics out of the classroom, we suspect he’s a very effective teacher who is a real credit to his students and community.