Why I Am Leaving a Great Career in Public Education
I have worked as a public educator, first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal, for 22 years in a mix of blue and white collar, middle to upper-middle class suburban Metro-Detroit school district. The district I work in is home to the “Reagan Democrats” and its’ residents voted for Barrack Obama and Donald Trump in both candidate’s election and reelection contests. When I first started my career as a young teacher, I knew that many of my colleagues were liberal Democrats and that was not a problem for me. In 1998, despite our political differences, my colleagues and I had some shared values. In particular, these values included a respect for school authority, including our school resource officers (police officers assigned to the high school building I work at), a strong belief in free speech, an insistence on academic freedom, teaching students critical thinking skills, and most importantly -- our shared belief in a colorblind society.
Today, these values have been cancelled and reengineered to fit into the spectrum of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) -- an insidious agenda that heavily discriminates against conservatives and traditionalists of every race -- and is based on the euphemistically termed principles of “anti-racism.” Now, only woke leftist authority is acceptable because all other authority is systemically racist. In schools, this new woke authority is developed in the administrative and teaching ranks through district sponsored anti-racism training -- passed off as professional development -- given by highly paid “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” consultants. Books and materials on how the police are racist, implicitly biased, and purposely target people of color now fill the libraries and classrooms of our public schools. School staff that advocate for free speech and against the cancel culture are now having their employment terminated, which has created a silencing effect for staff members who would dare speak out against the obvious totalitarian nature of being cancelled for one’s opinions. Indeed, conservative and traditional educators are now living through an Orwellian nightmare in modern-day public education. Gone are the days in which we operated according the principles of a colorblind society that Dr. Martin Luther King fought for. Now, under the new narrative, we must work for social justice and equity to rid our schools of systemic racism. This means equality of outcomes, rather than equality of opportunity that the Constitution guarantees.
According to our woke betters, colorblindness is racist and harmful to people of color, because it prevents people from seeing acts of racism in society. The emphasis on skin color that anti-racism is placing on people, rather than seeing each person as an individual, is creating a silent resentment and division within schools and society at large. This has made it impossible for me to enjoy coming to school and working with students and colleagues. Everywhere I look within the school, I am reminded that my thoughts and opinions don’t matter because of my skin color and “privilege.” If I speak out against the obvious racism, hatred and Cultural Marxism of anti-racism, I will no longer be valued as a worthwhile professional who has spent his life’s work positively influencing students. If the wrong people found out how much I despise “anti-racism” and the Critical Race Theory it is based on, I would unjustifiably be labeled a racist, lose the confidence of my employer, and most likely be encouraged to resign. Challenges to the new woke racial orthodoxy are not allowed to occur, and if they do, the end result is a career cancelled and a reputation tarnished.
As a former teacher of history, I have taught many students about the worst totalitarian movements around the world. As I ponder what is happening to our society and public education, I see many similarities to Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In America’s Cultural Revolution, the radical racialists of BLM and Antifa are leading the charge. These two avowed Marxist organizations are full of indoctrinated and disgruntled youth, like the Red Guards of Mao’s China. The campaign of destruction in many American cities and harassment of people minding their own business led by BLM and Antifa, is comparable to the terror unleashed by the Red Guards on China’s intellectuals, cultural relics, and institutions. In China, as in the cities targeted by America’s Marxist youth, statues were torn down, private property was seized and destroyed, those who disagree politically were beaten or killed and great architectural buildings were burnt to the ground.
When our public schools eventually do reopen fully in every state, I fear that the woke Cultural Revolution we are living through will continue to accelerate and make every aspect of the job more difficult for conservative educators like me to continue working in the public schools. The idea of going through a “struggle session” as a 22-year faculty member of my suburban Detroit Area school district is enough to convince me that the uphill battle conservatives (especially Trump supporters) face is not worth having my financial future and reputation ruined. America’s own version of the Red Guard are given prominence within schools for their “voice” and are being supported by school boards, administrative office staff, building administrators and classroom teachers. And as the indoctrination of our youth by mostly left-wing educators continues with anti-racism curriculum and materials, life in schools and society for conservatives will only get worse and more uncomfortable as we fear the consequences of expressing the truth of our beliefs in America as a land of opportunity for all.