By Steve Gunn
MILWAUKEE – There’s no doubt that Milwaukee is an overwhelmingly Democratic city.
But there are certainly some parents of students enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools who are Republicans or independents. And there are probably quite a few parents who don’t want their children fed a steady diet of political propaganda, regardless of their personal beliefs.
Those parents would be wise to monitor the discussions in their children’s classrooms this fall, because Bob Peterson is at it again.
Peterson, president of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (the teachers union), recently wrote a blog criticizing several speakers at last week’s Republican National Convention.
That’s not surprising, since Peterson has always been an outspoken Labor Democrat and critic of our nation’s free enterprise system. Like any citizen, he has an absolute right to express his opinions.
But Peterson was also known for sharing his left-wing political views with students when he taught elementary school. Now he (and his “progressive” friends at Rethinking Schools) want teachers to do the same thing in their own classrooms.
In his blog, Peterson is particularly incensed by the “We Built It” slogan that was tossed around the Republican convention last week. The slogan was in response to President Obama’s recent suggestion that small business owners deserve no credit (and presumably no profits) for building their companies from scratch.
Peterson responds to the convention speeches by writing, “The Republican Party’s ‘We Built It’ mantra inevitably leads to two key questions: Who is ‘we’ and what is ‘it?’ These are important questions for children and teachers to examine together.
“As a teacher, I try to teach my students to not automatically believe everything they read or hear. I ask them to consider multiple points of view, investigate a variety of sources, and ask questions such as: ‘In whose self-interest is one version of history versus another?’ and ‘What assumptions underline a particular point of view?’”
Fair enough. Teachers who lead discussions about political issues should always make sure students “consider multiple points of view.”
Peterson’s peculiar lesson plan
But then Peterson recommends a lesson plan in response to the Republican’s “We Built It” claim, and it’s obvious he expects teachers to focus on the left-wing, anti-Republican point of view.
“In hopes of whetting my students’ appetite for a year-long study of U.S. history – a requirement in most 5th grades – I’d lay out questions we would likely cover in the coming year, tying the questions to that day’s issue of ‘Who Built It?” Peterson wrote. The following are some questions that Peterson recommends for teachers:
“Who were the first ones to cultivate the land in North America?” “Who continues to harvest the vegetables and fruit in our nation?” “Who fought for the rights of women to vote?” “Who fought for Voting Rights and Civil Rights?” “Who fought for the right of workers to organize unions at their workplace?”
Peterson also poses the question, “Who built the U.S. Capitol Building?” along with the following line for teachers who are thinking about following his lesson plan. “FYI, for teachers who might want to pursue this topic, the U.S. Capitol was built by enslaved Africans.”
These are leading questions indeed, and their answers – minus any context – are designed to make students believe that America was completely built by racial minorities and laborers (who all deserve their fair share of credit), and the only people of European descent who deserve any credit are those who pushed for civil rights and unionization.
A fair-minded teacher might want to add a few questions to Peterson’s list, like “Who provided the money to build the businesses that employ the vast majority of American workers?” or “Who pays the majority of the tax money that allows the government to hire teachers and so many other public employees?” Or how about “Would America have nearly as much wealth to distribute among the lower classes if it weren’t for individuals who took risks and established profitable businesses throughout the nation?”
But Peterson didn’t recommend any questions like that. He wants teachers to guide discussions that will lead children to view America the way he views it.
That’s not education. That’s indoctrination.
If we were the parents of a Milwaukee Public Schools student, we would print out a copy of Peterson’s blog, take it to every teacher who comes into contact with our child, and inform them that we will raise holy hell if we even suspect any effort to follow Peterson’s enticement to brainwash students.
This type of garbage will only continue in public schools if parents and taxpayers keep turning the other cheek. Wake up, Milwaukee, and tell Peterson and his comrades to check their personal views at the classroom door.