Editors' note: The following op-ed is by Lawrence Lockman, a Republican currently serving his 4th term in the Maine House of Representatives. He is co-founder and president of the conservative non-profit Maine First Project - which trains activists and candidates to fight fire with fire. He can be reached at [email protected]
If there were ever any doubt that many teachers in Maine’s K-12 public schools are using their classrooms to indoctrinate students in Leftist politics and ideology, those doubts were blown away during a public hearing at the Statehouse a few weeks ago.
I had long suspected that Leftist indoctrination was fairly common, but the evidence was for the most part sketchy and anecdotal. The accounts of classroom bias were often second- or third-hand reports accusing self-styled “progressive” teachers of taking cheap shots at President Trump or GOP members of Congress.
A news report three years ago seemed to confirm my worst suspicions, and started me down the path to sponsoring legislation earlier this year to impose a Code of Ethics on K-12 teachers.
In December of 2015, an assistant principal at Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport posted a racist, anti-Christian comment on his Facebook page.
Get a load of this:
“The only terrorists we need to fear are domestic white ‘Christian’ men with easy access to guns. Vote Bernie. That is all. Enjoy your day.”
At the time, I wondered if that sort of Leftist hate speech ever spilled over from the faculty lounge into the classroom. After all, if this guy posted that kind of crap in a public forum on Facebook, what’s going on behind closed doors in the classroom?
He deleted his hateful post after the school was deluged with phone calls and emails. Administrators then circled the wagons around the perpetrator, so he was able to hang onto his job, despite his trifecta of racist, sexist, Christo-phobic hate mongering. Not to mention his overt hostility to the 2nd Amendment.
Fast forward to last month in the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.
A public hearing was held on my bill, LD 589, “Resolve, Directing the State Board of Education to Adopt Rules Prohibiting Teachers in Public Schools from Engaging in Political, Ideological or Religious Advocacy in the Classroom.”
Legislators got an earful from parents who are fed up with their kids being bullied and browbeaten by teachers with an ideological ax to grind. Some of the most egregious abuses occurred last year during the national student walkout that was pushed and promoted by Leftist gun-control advocates.
As previously reported by FrontPage, the committee heard about numerous instances of teachers using their classrooms as taxpayer-funded bully pulpits to spew Leftist propaganda. That unrebutted testimony is now part of the permanent public record.
So I’m not the least bit discouraged by the fact that the bill was killed in committee. Disappointed, yes, in my GOP colleagues on the Education committee, but not discouraged.
And here’s why.
The proposed legislation sparked an outpouring of public support that was so intense even Maine’s lying, dying Fake News industry couldn’t ignore it. The debate in committee on my Code of Ethics bill garnered statewide TV, radio, and newspaper coverage, and generated tons of traffic on social media. It seemed at times like every other parent or grandparent who commented had a horror story to share about partisan bias in the classroom.
We intend to harness that energy and frustration.
My populist/conservative nonprofit Maine First Project has launched the Forgotten Parents Initiative. Our aim is to engage parents at the local level and help them push back against classroom indoctrination. And we’ll be back with another piece of legislation at the earliest opportunity.
FrontPage readers understand that American public schools have produced two generations of graduates steeped in the toxic brew of identity politics. Conservatives are late to the game, or rather, late to the battlefield. But we cannot afford to let another generation of young Americans be marinated in Leftist politics, ideology, pseudo-science, Christo-phobia, and racial scapegoating.
So I would encourage state legislators across the country to join the fray. Work with the David Horowitz Freedom Center on this existentially important project. Then watch what happens when voters discover that a member of the legislative branch of government “gets it.”
We have not yet begun to fight.