Why are schools brainwashing our children?

Protesting oil pipelines, celebrating polygamy: is the new ‘social justice’ agenda in class pushing politics at the expense of learning?

Michael Peake/TORONTO SUN

To those who don’t keep up with education trends, certain recent events might appear to be unrelated. In May, a Grade 3 class in Toronto took to the streets with signs and an oversized papier mâché oil pipeline to protest the laying of an actual pipeline in western Canada. Last year, in Toronto, first-graders brought home student planners marked with the international days of zero tolerance on female genital mutilation and ending violence against sex workers, a means to spark conversation on the issues. In Laval, Que., a six-year-old boy was disqualified from a teddy-bear contest because a Ziploc was found in his lunch instead of a reusable container. In Ste-Marie-de-Kent, N.B., in 2009, Grade 4 students were given 10 minutes to decide which three people from this group should be saved from an imminent planetary explosion: a black African, a Chinese person, an Aboriginal, an Acadian francophone and an anglophone.

These are just a handful of examples of the more peculiar by-products of a vision gaining ground among many education architects: an elementary school education rooted in social-justice principles. Increasingly, faculties of education in Canada and much of the Western world are preparing their student teachers to weave social justice throughout the primary school curriculum—in math and science, language arts and social studies, drama and even gym—as well as into a range of cross-curricular activities, events and projects. The idea is to encourage kids to become critical analysts of contemporary issues, empathetic defenders of human rights and gatekeepers of the beleaguered Earth.

But social justice—which encompasses diversity, sustainability, global affairs and issues of race and class—is a broad term with varying interpretations. It can manifest in wildly different ways. In the hands of one teacher, social justice might entail teaching kids to care for the Earth by having them plant trees in the schoolyard. Another might have the same children write letters to the government about the environmental effects of mining, urging it to reform how mining claims are processed—part of an actual Grade 4 lesson plan created at the University of Ottawa.

When it comes to the question of what’s appropriate to broach with young children, conflicts abound. Last month, Toronto parents were incensed to learn that the Toronto District School Board web page promoting health education included a link to an organization that suggested kids explore their sexuality by experimenting with sex toys and vegetables. The board has since removed the link. Sometimes the social-justice push can just come off as old-fashioned political correctness: the Durham Board of Education in Ontario came under fire for discouraging the terms “wife” and “husband” in class in favour of the gender-neutral “spouse,” and the words “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” in favour of “partner.” And in the name of inclusiveness, some school boards include Wiccan holidays in their school calendars. But because there are no clear guidelines, things can also really go awry. In March, a U.K. school banned “best friends” because that made other kids feel left out. In May, a six-year-old boy in Denver was suspended for singing the pop anthem I’m Sexy and I Know It to a female classmate, violating the school’s sexual-harassment policy.

Between the mounting examples of how social-justice education can go wrong, and the passionate defences from those responsible for training teachers, who believe their vision has never been more important, the fight is growing over what’s going on in primary school classrooms. It’s just the newest battle over an age-old question: who gets to decide the best way to educate our young?

What is not debatable is the growing commitment to social justice within our education faculties. Social justice in education is a trend that has come and gone over the past century, but nowadays one can specialize in it at teachers’ college, and there are courses and textbooks instructing teachers on how to approach the subject in the classroom. Its proponents argue that today’s students are especially in need of it: a growing mandate to integrate special-education students into mainstream classrooms requires better understanding from children; a new awareness of the effects of bullying puts the onus on teachers to inculcate empathy in students; and increased diversity in the classroom can fuel intolerance from all sides.

“The classroom has completely changed,” says Rita Irwin, associate dean of teacher education at the University of British Columbia. “We need to prepare teachers to deal with that.” To that end, the UBC faculty of education has implemented its revamped curriculum, which builds a social-justice component into every teacher-education course, so that would-be teachers can follow the same approach in their classrooms. By repeating the themes of tolerance and empathy throughout the curriculum, teachers have a better shot of reaching their students, Irwin argues.

Some advocates make more ambitious appeals for the importance of a moral education. Last spring, James Banks, professor of diversity studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, spoke to an audience of teachers at a symposium in Toronto called “Activism in Education: Pushing Limits in Increasingly Conservative Times.” He reminded them that even well-educated people can be persuaded to do terrible things. He spoke of the horrors of Nazi Germany, and how despite their high levels of literacy and numeracy, so many citizens succumbed to its evil. “There’s more to education than teaching literacy and numeracy,” Banks said. Against the last century’s backdrop of human-rights abuses, war atrocities and environmental devastation, today’s education architects argue, we have a duty to provide a moral, socially conscious education.

The University of Ottawa faculty of education prepares its teachers-in-training to tackle some of those controversial topics head-on. Several lesson plans written by its students are made available for teachers on its Developing a Global Perspective for Educators website. For instance, in a Grade 1 science lesson, students contemplate what will happen to the Earth if pollution continues. In a cross-curricular lesson plan about the effects of mining coltan (a precious metal) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Grade 4s watch a video that includes explicit shots of dead gorillas. They then create statements for their local news about how mining hurts the animals. In Grade 5, they learn how their Playstations and iPods may contain coltan and how mining it contributes to the creation of child soldiers. A social-studies lesson requires Grade 6 students to analyze the unfairness of global trade, and evaluate the roles of the World Trade Organization and NAFTA.

That may all sound like a lot to throw at grade schoolers, and the organization’s acting director, associate professor Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, acknowledges the potential for controversy but argues that real-world contention helps engage kids in the classroom—they’re intrigued, they listen, they participate.

Indigo Esmonde, assistant professor at OISE, University of Toronto’s education faculty, raises a common criticism of the approach. “We hear that we’re brainwashing kids,” says Esmonde, who specializes in math education. Esmonde counters that from the time kids are young, they’re inundated with information, with numbers and statistics that can be easily manipulated to push a certain world view. For Esmonde, a grounding in social-justice math, for instance, helps kids learn to question numbers—whatever their conclusions might be. She cites a Toronto school that conducts an annual math-based garbage audit to test whether its school is truly succeeding with its litter-free lunch policy. Sometimes a political motive behind some lessons is obvious, however. For instance, OISE’s website features a Grade 5 math lesson on government budgets that culminates in students writing letters to MPPs advocating changes in spending priorities. Though not explicitly partisan, it juxtaposes the money spent on the war in Afghanistan with the money spent on poverty—and that does suggest a certain point of view.

It raises an important question: in engaging in controversial topics, are children being taught a mix of perspectives? “Social justice” generally entails a strongly progressive bent, and the idea of political manipulation creates fiercely negative reactions among parents. Andy Shapiera, a father of two in Toronto, was frustrated after learning that his son’s Grade 1 teacher had a poster for PETA hanging in the classroom. “What if you’re a family in agriculture and suddenly you have to explain why you kill cows for a living? The schools have no business discussing hot-button topics with kids that age. That’s the parents’ call.” It’s the same reaction some parents had to the TDSB’s Love Has No Gender poster in schools that included, alongside heterosexual and same-sex couples, pictures of relationships comprising two men and a woman, as well as two women and a man. Love apparently has no number either, the message seemed to be.

Not surprisingly, the new educational approach in the classroom and school hallways is starting to cause a small firestorm. Politicians are beginning to weigh in. Earlier this year, Tory MPP Rob Milligan spoke out against the Grade 3 Toronto class protesting the oil pipeline, calling it “brainwashing” and “an abuse of power.”

Middle-school teacher David Stocker has heard those arguments. He is the author of the textbook Math That Matters: A Teacher Resource for Linking Math and Social Justice, for Grades 6 to 9, which ups the political ante with math problems related to such issues as workers’ rights, racial profiling and homophobia. He’s also no stranger to controversy—he and his wife made international headlines last year after announcing they intended to raise their third child, Storm, genderless. Stocker is frank about his political stance. “All material carries bias of some sort,” he writes in the introduction. “Really the question is whether or not we want to spend time educating for peace and social justice. If we do, let’s admit that bias and get to work.”

The issue that critics have, even those who share the political perspective, is about the age group concerned. “Once they hit high school,” says Shapiera, “students are mature enough to have their own opinions without the influence of the school. For me, it’s not so much whether a political issue needs to be discussed, but when.” And when it’s up to individual teachers to make that call, the results can be risky. Jeanne Williams of Edmonton has seen this in action. As a parent of two boys, Williams was mostly pleased with the school-based social-justice initiatives her sons participated in. But as a child psychologist, Williams has also witnessed how it can backfire. She’s treated several kids for anxiety that she says is directly connected to what they learned at the school, particularly related to the idea that environmental destruction will ultimately end the world. “Kids need to feel safe. It’s an important part of the brain growing normally,” she says. “If children feel safe, they’re more likely to grow up to be stronger and self-confident.”

Psychologist Robin Grille, the author of Parenting for a Peaceful World, adds that getting too political in elementary school, where the power differential between teacher and student is vast, verges on manipulation. “You can’t use children as cannon fodder for your cause,” says Grille. “How do you know these young kids aren’t just parroting what their teacher is telling them? How easy would it be to get them to protest, say, abortion? How much are the young truly able to make up their own minds?” That question particularly comes into play in the context of the classroom, where they’re being graded. Grille argues that kids need to develop emotionally before they can develop politically.

There’s another criticism of the approach, articulated by a conservative commentator in Surrey, B.C., on his Just Right blog. “Schools are failing at their primary job, which is to educate,” he notes in a post about social-justice education. That’s a point that crosses political lines: does too much time devoted to social justice divert attention from academic achievement and ironically promote a gross social injustice: students ill-prepared to contend with a complicated and competitive world? After all, an education that teaches kids to think for themselves should surely allow them to apply critical thinking to everything around them, including global issues, social inequalities and the like.

Teachers, too, can struggle with the mandate. With little on-the-ground guidance about how to actually implement a social-justice lesson that won’t incite parents or frighten kids, they can make well-intentioned choices with terrible consequences. Last year, in Georgia, a teacher resigned after families complained about Grade 4 math homework that had kids calculating how many beatings a slave received in a week. The lesson was part of the teacher’s mandate to reinforce a history unit on slavery in America.

For teachers uncomfortable with coming up with their own social-justice lesson plans, a safer option may be using one designed for them, but that’s no guarantee of success, either. For instance, in partnership with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Springtide Resources, a Toronto-based organization that works to prevent abuse against women and children, has created a package of lesson plans. While few would argue with the organization’s mandate, some of its lessons might disturb parents: in one, Grade 4s read Uncle Willy’s Tickles to initiate a class-wide conversation about abuse; the package also includes a personal safety plan that children fill out, in case they’re ever abused.

Elementary school teacher Rhonda Philpott, who also lectures part-time at Simon Fraser University’s faculty of education, is a social-justice veteran. She’s incorporated that angle into her teaching for more than 25 years, and sees how tricky this territory can be to traverse, especially for new teachers. While some teachers, she says, shy away from the more provocative discussions for fear of antagonizing parents or disconcerting administrators, others jump in without thinking. “Those who insert activities randomly might find that those activities can literally backfire—and both students and teachers may be unprepared for any emotional reactions or resistance,” Philpott says. “You can’t walk into a classroom and just start a social-justice activity. It takes trust.”

Indeed, negotiating the new mandate demands care and sensitivity. “Teachers will have to weigh the potential for conflict against the importance of the topic,” says U of Ottawa professor Ng-A-Fook. “Ultimately, you have to know your students, and teachers may need to collaborate with parents, because you don’t want to offend families or traumatize kids.”




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Why are schools brainwashing our children?

  1. Oh well. Students will learn they were loaded with crap after about 4 months into remedial basic skill training before they can get into community college.

    It reminds me of the months I spent in school learning the fine points and wonders of the Soviet 5 year plans. I don’t recall whether the fact that they failed spectacularly was ever brought up. I am pleased that math is studied in a way that actually applies it to something real. The student will soon forget those applications however, and find that in reality those formulas can be very useful in real endeavors that make things, fix things and generate wealth.

    • What school did you do go to where you learned about Soviet 5 years plans? Methinks you dost exaggerate for effect. I mean, please, literally name the school you went to, I want to look it up.
      Anyhoo, growing up, we did learn about things like treatement of native peoples and caring for the environment– but in things like History or Social Studies class, not in Math. I see the value in bringing up children who think about both sides of many moral issues, but it doesn’t have to be drilled down to every last arithmetic or equation problem they do.

      • Quebec English school district mid ’70s. Canada sold wheat in large quantities to the Soviet Union at that time to make up for the lack of production. The five year plans were already shown to have failed, but that didn’t stop the enlightened ones in my school from teaching them.

        • When I first went to school we weren’t allowed to know anything about the USSR or China. They were considered the ‘enemy’….so thousands of years of history vanished for us because of school brainwashing.

          Hey, and you thought Christopher Columbus crap was bad

      • i learned about the 5 year plans in high school in the mid-90s. are you telling us you didn’t learn anything about world history in school?

        • I learned what 5 year plans were, that Stalin first implemented them beginning in the 20s and that initially when focused on heavy industry they were successful but by the 70s/80s as more refined tech-R&D became necessary the Soviets fell behind etc etc. I learned all of that in history class. But Derek seems to imply that the “benefits” and “social paradise” vision of the plans were being pushed on him by his teachers, which I refuse to believe. Explanation is not indoctrination– after learning about them, I was more convinced than ever that the Warsaw pact was morally wrong.

  2. Teaching children the skill of critical thinking is fundamental to a good education — bypassing that process to teach the prejudices of the teacher or the school board is definitely not.

    • ^winner.

      • What a pity you missed that class.

  3. This shouldn’t surprise any angry parents. The public schools are now a repository of Marxist ideology, liberation theology,teacher union dilletantes and sundry imbeciles.Just take a look at today’s curriculums compared to thirty years ago. Its time for parents in all Canadian provinces to push for implementation of charter schools. At least your children will be able to read, write and do standard math problems using proper curriculums. .

    • Do you know what liberation theology is or are you just choosing terms that sound “liberal”?

    • hardly. you don’t get many fully marxist teachers in schools anymore. yes, you do get teachers who want a better world for the kids; teachers who want students to question why the world is the way it is and if we can change it – does that make it marxist?

      and i can only wish that the catholics taught liberation theology in the schools.

    • Having worked in both public and private schools for the past 10 years, let me reassure you that that the majority of teachers tend to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Teachers put a lot of their savings in the stock market and consequently are, quite literally, very invested in growing the economy. Your perception of teachers is entirely inaccurate.

    • That’s hilarious. Yes, teachers are all conspirators under the leadership of their union high commanders. You are funny.

  4. School in general has always been biased. I remember my “history” lessons, the Lord’s Prayer, and social studies. All of these were government approved and biased to keep us from the truth of what were really doing to people and the planet. Then when my own children went to school I was constantly giving them the “other side” of the stories they learned at school. My grandchildren are home-schooled, thank goodness. This is really an importunity to have meaningful discussion with your children and understand where your boundaries lie.

    • The planet is considered the new god-mother earth-who demands our worship, dollars and a massive reduction in population. And here we thought the Christian god was the wrathful unforgiving one-minus Jesus, of course. Mother earth is far worse in her demand for obedience unto death-no forgiveness with that one-evolve or die.

      The government wasn’t keeping you from what you were doing to the planet. The powers that be seek to control people in which ever way suits them best-if that means ignoring the planet that’s fine, if it means hyper-focusing on the planet that fine too, as long as control is maintained and you feel good about yourself.

  5. Schools have always ‘brainwashed’ or ‘socially engineered’ children. Parents, church, society in general do the same thing.

    The only thing that’s changed over the generations is what kind of brainwashing/social engineering is being taught. Times change.

    • LOL sorry folks….like it or not you’re going to have to change to survive.

      • You are so advanced and progressive EmilyUno. Get your mask and go protest, loot, or talk about banning our war history. Oh and your STFU comment was very advanced – like I said, mask and loot. You are sad, pathetic and too sensitive. We can smell your insecurities.

        • I was in the air force for 5 years, dude.

          See, there’s your problem. You just make shit up in order to have something kooky to cling to. The ‘catholic’ in your name explains everything. It’s all fantasy.

          • pot calling kettle black.

          • Another of your meaningless slogans.

      • You mean Evolve or Die? Read my first post.

        • LOL not interested in your Dark Ages nonsense….sorry.

          • I agree it’s dark ages, yet that is what is being taught from both a practical and spiritual viewpoint. Even Oprah stated we must evolve or die. What is meant by evolve and the “selection process” to purify society from those who will not evolve is truly bizarre. It’s no coincidence that over population is being drilled into childrens heads with assignments and projects focusing on how to prevent and reduce population numbers.

          • Ahhh another anti-birth control loon.

            Sorry, not interested.

          • I’m not against birth control, nor am I Catholic. I am pro-life, as abortion affects women emotionally and mentally for decades and is directly responsible for substance misuse and suicide in many women. I also know firsthand that many women are coerced into abortion by the male partner and/or family members, particularly a parent or guardian. There are post-abortion support groups springing up on their own and provided through counseling agencies as well as licensed private practitioners.

          • If you don’t like abortion…..don’t have one.

            Simple as that.

            But stop trying to foist your beliefs off on other people.

          • You mean like the schools are? Pipelines bad. Vegetable sex good.

          • Schools teach biology. That’s factual.

            Hey buddy, if you want to have sex with a vegetable….make sure the vegetable agrees eh?

          • OMG now I’m laughing so hard, this is great stuff. I know a number of women who have had abortions and were nothing but relieved. They weren’t in a position at that point in their lives to enter into the world of parenthood. They weren’t coerced or affected mentally or emotionally. Having an unwanted child, at a time when they were unable to support a child, would have been far more emotionally and mentally damaging. Abortion causes substance abuse and suicide? You do watch too much Oprah.

          • couldn’t you just not have sex if you don’t want a kid?

          • Well if Oprah said it……

    • Agreed, what’s the point of even *trying* to be objective or politically neutral? I say let’s just go full steam ahead with whatever conception of morality *I* subscribe to and make *all* our kids learn it. And if parents don’t like it? Let them take their kids to a private school or home-school them. We will still take their tax-money however because they do not have a choice on that.

      • Funny, there was no such uproar in the past when kids were being taught YOUR morality and values.

        • Stop other-ing me Emily.

          • Trust me….my hands were nowhere near your other.

        • Oh and also: your privilege is showing.

          • LOL my privilege….oh thats cute

  6. God, what contemptible Left-wing brainwashing! It was inevitable, of course, given the biases of most university professors and the “educational establishment”. One fact gives me some solace: reality always wins. As these kids grow up (and into a world where the economic opportunities will be FAR more constrained — speaking especially to North America and Western Europe, now — than they have been this past half-century-plus, and with government’s “nanny state” proclivities hamstrung by fiscal insolvency) they WILL learn that survival requires a skill set different from feel-good “peace-love-and-granola” political correctness.
    As a great saying puts it: “If you’re NOT a socialist when you’re twenty, you have no heart; if you ARE a socialist when you’re forty, you have no HEAD!”

  7. I agree that students need to learn about social justice issues, that is clear. However these issues should not be taught to children at such vulnerable times. This is clearly manipulating the system and yes, brainwashing the children. The pipeline protest for example; children don’t even know what a pipeline is, what it is used for, or why it is either good or bad.
    The ultimate teacher is the parent. If I teach my kids to use the words ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’, I do not believe it is fair for the school to punish my kids via their grades if they use these terms instead of ‘Spouse’ or ‘Partner’. Husband and Wife have been used for centuries, why is it all of a sudden terrible to use now?
    The school needs to stick with the standard education: English, Math, Science, Social Studies… The school can touch on Social Justice to provide the children a understanding, but should not be focusing on such personal issues such as gay marriage, PETA, etc… This is up for the children themselves to identify with; not for the teachers to push their views and feelings.

    • Punishment for a different idea is crazy! It’s anti education,really. If you’re the ultimate teacher to your kids, then you shouldn’t be intimated by having your kids exposed to new ideas, or ideas that promote acceptance of other people. I love that gay marriage is your example. What have you taught them on that? We teach straight marriage all the time!

      • Where have you been? Political correct language forbids teachers to even refer to students as girls and boys let alone teaching straight marriage, as a matter of fact it’s teaching policy that male female marriage not be taught as “normal”. The terms husband and wife are replaced with spouse or partner.

        • Once we get to the point that we can’t even acknowledge a girl and a boy together as being ”boyfriend and girlfriend”, we’ve sacrificed common sense out of a ridiculous fear of not offending anyone. I would be absolutely disgusted to find out my child had been exposed to these things — Its not the school’s place to teach on things that are highly subjective, opinionated and without a correct answer. I’m sorry but the ”left wing” ideology is not objectively correct, nor are their ridiculous claims that if you don’t support their socially progressive ideas, you are somehow inferior. I may not agree with same-sex marriage but it doesn’t mean I hate gay people — I don’t. And there’s nothing to suggest that me not supporting it is WRONG — that’s just their opinion, and if you’re going to teach it in school, the only moral obligation you could possibly have is to teach BOTH opinions. To try and suggest that one is less valuable than the other not only circumvents democracy but teaches these kids to be arrogant to their opponents.

          • Why don’t you agree with same sex marriage?

          • what is common sense?

        • Ok generic person, I didn’t want to pull out the “T” card, but see I must. I am a teacher – have been for 20 years. I call my students boys and girls. I teach my students that all love is beautiful whether gay or straight and that both male female and same sex marriage is legal. You really have no idea what you’re talking about and are simply spouting off to let off some steam. You should really become informed before you go on like this and make yourself sound foolish.

        • As someone who has actually worked in a classroom in the last 5 years, as opposed to just speculating about them from afar, I can tell you that nothing you said there is true. Your screen name’s very appropriate as all your knowlegde about the educational system is nothing more than a hunch.

    • This has nothing to do with social justice and everything to do with new age fanatics. Do some research as to who is influencing the UN and the educational decisions. If you think Christians and Muslims are the fundamentalist fanatics of the world, then you’ve obviously not been tuned into the genocidal fanatics of the new world religion and their undeniable influence, both monetarily and politically, when it comes to all social matters and policy making decisions.

      • Genocidal fanatics of the new world religion? Please elaborate – I’m intrigued.

    • children do know what pipes are for and how they are used if they are taught. kids are a lot smarter than you’re giving them credit for.

      it’s not about telling kids about gay marriage or PETA. it’s about instilling in them common habits of mind, or attitudes that will, once they get older, allow them to choose for themselves. i teach husband, wife, partner, spouse together so they know there are a range of family situations. you don’t even have to mention gay marriage. but if you normalize the reality that’s out there, eventually you’ll end up with kids who don’t want to kill homosexuals or oppress them for preferring someone of the same sex.

      but you’re right in one sense – the parent is the ultimate teacher. but all too often i see the same prejudices in the kids as in the parents. if parents taught their kids to form their own opinions on issues, and talked to them about important things and social issues, there wouldn’t be such an uproar over these things being brought up in schools.

      • Instilling in them, a euphemism for programming or brainwashing if you prefer. Husband and wife are taboo words. Kids couldn’t care less, especially in k-3, how many mommies or daddies their friend has, if any. So lets see if your own example and logic stand here. You said politics don’t need to be discussed because it’s inherent in every part of our culture, so why are diverse families being discussed then when they are inherent in our culture, according to your logic?

      • if teachers were tolerant of other perspectives they may find difficult, this would mean social justice might be taught effectively. But I am still waiting for teachers to teach math and writing skills effectively, I’ve put one in private already, and many of my teacher friends would love to do the same.

    • Gay marriage isn’t a personal issue – it’s a legal one.

  8. The title of this article is extremely misleading. It clearly states that schools are brainwashing kids – as if this is wrong or unusual – but then goes on to preach that teachers should ‘inculcate empathy in students’, as well as tolerance. Therefore, the only difference is that you want teachers to push YOUR political agenda, not theirs.

    I’m not advocating the examples that you’ve included at the beginning of your article, after all, they are so extreme as to question the employment policy of the school boards. However, I object to the fact that you present these in a way that suggests that this is typical of education or that it’s “gaining ground”. You don’t say ‘some schools’, but simply ‘schools’, implying that it’s all schools. You provide no concrete evidence of this. A few sensational examples isn’t indication of a trend in any school, city, or nation. You are about two steps away from getting a job at the National Enquirer with this kind of misleading, provocative article.

    It’s impossible to eliminate politics from education. Society and culture are loaded with political messages. What’s important, as logicfan1 has pointed out, is to promote critical thinking skills more. In some ways, Vancouver seems to do little else but promote tolerance and empathy in classrooms. Yet, without critical thinking, we’ll simply be ‘tolerating’ bullying and ‘feeling bad’ for bullies. If some teachers are encouraging activism, then kudos to them!

    • I had an excellent education without one iota of politics or new age of Aquarius. matrix paradigm-shift religion being involved until social studies was introduced in seventh grade, and even then, all viewpoints were discussed.

      • Politics isn’t discussed. It’s inherent in every aspect of our culture.

        • Politics is viewed from ones political lens-culture is largely the result of politics.

      • The fact that “all viewpoints were discussed” IS a political view. In some countries, this wouldn’t be allowed. Politics doesn’t need to be discussed in a politics class or such like.

        • Some countries-you mean like Canada for instance. You seriously think introducing and discussing all viewpoints is a political viewpoint, or worse that no discussion is required in politics class or social studies. Well, the school system did a grand job of fully cooking you.

        • Husband and wife are taboo words. Kids couldn’t care less, especially in
          K-3, how many mommies or daddies their friend has, if any. So lets see
          if your own example and logic stand here. You said politics don’t need
          to be discussed because it’s inherent in every part of our culture, so
          why are diverse families being discussed then when they are inherent in
          every part of our culture, according to your logic?

  9. Ladies and gentlemen: Exhibit ‘A’ in the argument to privatize the school system.

    • Fine….send your kids to private schools….leave everyone else alone.

      • It isn’t that simple because we will all live with the consequences of this political indoctrination in 10 to 15 years when these kids vote the way they are being conditioned today. This is very dangerous.

        • Why is it ‘dangerous’ now, when it never was before?

          • Because the left wing nutbars are happily putting our way of life on the chopping block and the immigrants are more than happy to swing away. Nutbars then make us feel guilty about even questioning. Unfortunately, when the last of the left wing nutbars is standing alone wondering why these interlopers are placing their heads on the chopping block there will be no one else around to say “we tried to tell you”

          • Left and right wings haven’t existed in the world since 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. Globalization occurred.

            Our way of life is only in danger because many of us live in that blinkered past

          • Our way of life is in danger because we are teaching issues that will not help us survive. The bottom line in western societies is money, greed, leading to corruption. No amount of social engineering or social nudging from the “socially conscious” will stop the intrinsic nature of humans. As long as society is not willing to work altruistically for the betterment of humankind, forgoing the need for monetary remuneration, we will never succeed against those that do.

          • I have no use whatever for Luddites….we are not going back to a thatched hut in medieval times. Get over it.

          • And the only use I find for Ostriches are larger omelettes. Putting a metaphorical band-aid on societies ills does not address the root cause. Telling kids that if we all sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya will not accomplish that. Looking forward with blinders gets you blindsided. Good Luck with that.

          • I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about, and I doubt you do either.

            I’m into tech….and the 21st century…not sitting around singing hippy songs.

            The world is currently better than it has been anytime throughout history,

        • i’d say our world today owes to the way people in charge were educatedin earlier times, and our grandparents before them. we can run the track record of both those generations and we seem to have multiple world wars, multiple genocides, and the invention of the atomic weapon.

          today’s generation are being taught to question a want vs. a need, to question federal spending, and to think about what their ipads are made from. soooooo dangerous!

          • We have many more powerful weapons than what was available in WW2. Biological or germ warfare is very likely as is tampering of our food and water supplies.

            We need to be able to defend ourselves. Not every nation is teaching their students empathy and compassion, on the contrary, other nations are teaching their children to hate and kill their enemies without mercy. Going so far as to sacrifice their own very young children as martyrs in order kill as many of their enemies as possible, that includes North Americans.These nations think nothing of exploiting our resources and killing as many of us as they can. Mention empathy and compassion and they’ll laugh while cutting your head off. These are not all poor nations either.

            Real life is not a beauty pageant with the correct answer being world peace. Real life is hard. Character is formed through adversity. Anyone can feign empathy and compassion when all is well-even sociopaths can fake it.

            There is much wrong with our world, there is also much goodness. We need to raise a nation of children with strong character, integrity, and develop their innate intelligence to serve their country, brother and sisters, and give them the tools to provide for themselves and their families. I don’t see that happening in the education system.

    • Could not agree more. We need a diverse selection of schools as much as we need diversity in schools.

    • Agreed. What is funny is that the Teachers’ Pension Plan is the biggest money fund in Canada and guess how they fund their pensions, by investing in capitalism.
      Except there is a problem. Businesses are not getting created anymore. The numbers of new entrepreneurs is way down.
      How will the pensions get funded if the teachers tell kids that business is greedy – be a teacher instead. As have the teachers at my kids schools.

  10. Social justice is built on two things: critical thinking and empathy for all humankind. If you’re afraid that teaching our children those two skills will get your pipelines shut down, or teach them that people of all races and sexualities should be treated the same, then you need to question your SELF, not the education system.

    These kids don’t know one thing about left or right political parties, that’s not what they’re being taught here – but they do understand right and wrong. If teaching them about conflict minerals and bullying makes them feel like those things are wrong (and yes, children are perfectly capable of forming those opinions on their own) then you have to deal with that. These people aren’t mad that their kids are being brainwashed – they’re made that their being deprived of the chance to brainwash them themselves.

    • Your “social justice” is vehemently opposed to critical thinking and human empathy. It consists of rigidly dogmatic, self-righteous left-wing platitudes, and it tolerates no dissent of any kind. And forcing it on children, in school of all places, is an outrage.

    • There is no such thing as social justice. All justice is social. Adding the word social in front of justice is redundant.

    • Conflict minerals-so we boycott purchasing them to prevent mining, so the miners, who have families to support, can no longer earn a living and support their families. Same goes for corporations setting up shop in developing nations-we object to this out of a warped sense of social justice-better those individuals and families, including children, die as a result of their deep poverty than work for greedy corporations at lower wages- the wells, schools, medical clinics, and housing the corporations pay for is dirty money-on par with conflict minerals.

    • Your self-righteous bombast makes me want to throw up.

      “Social justice is built on two things: critical thinking and empathy for all humankind.”

      The complete irony of social justice lies in the fact that it claims to teach “empowerment”, “empathy” and “critical thinking”, and yet in the same breath it fails to allow people to have differing opinions regarding the very thing it claims to be against. This is dogma. Period.

      “People of all races and sexualities should be treated the same,”

      God. What utter, hyperbolic fatuous tripe. Your grandiose sentence is a fabulous representation of what is entirely wrong with social justic. People of all races and sexualities CANNOT be treated the same because they are simply NOT THE SAME. Your comment demonstrates an overwhelming lack of judgement.

  11. What school did you attend? Do you really think the teachers says “Pipe line bad, trees good.” Not too many grade 4 students care about or know about a pipeline. BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY DO- TEACH. TEACHERS TEACH THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY!
    All about time.

    • Have you been inside a BC school lately?

  12. Too bad schools years ago did not teach the last generation about social justice, ethics and the environment.

    • Yes, that would have been a good thing!

    • We were-in social studies class. Not in every single class project, writing assignment and math problem. Let children be children; adults are the ones who are supposed to be responsible for tackling social ills-what’s happening is role reversal-very unhealthy.

    • You must be joking. All the above and more was taught-it just wasn’t the be all end all focus of every subject. We studied acid rain, noise pollution, water and air pollution. Education was balanced. Ethics was expected, as was community participation. Business and commerce principles were also taught. So was geography.

      Admittedly, we weren’t being taught that ones biological sex was a social construct, or how to use vegetables as sex toys. And our teachers didn’t ask us to protest with or for them. We went on oodles of field trips, We climbed on monkey bars that were located on cement or tarmac. Slid down metal slides on hot days and rode our bikes, without helmets, through as many neighborhoods as we could before dinner time during the week or on the weekends.

      We played tag, kick the can, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, dodge ball, we climbed fences, mailboxes, light poles, and played a plethora of board games on rainy days (excellent exercise for critical thinking skills), we made up our own plays and skits for our ourselves, friends and family members. We walked our dogs and were responsible for feeding our pets. Mischief came in the form of knock a door ginger, or prank phone calls. We completed our chores after watching Saturday morning cartoons, and we were largely busy with friends on hiking and biking excursions all weekend. We listened to records and 45′s until they were replaced by 8 tracks. Sunday evenings were spent watching Walt Disney with the family. We read under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

    • You must be joking. All the above and more was taught-it just wasn’t the be all end all focus of every subject. We studied acid rain, noise pollution, water and air pollution. Education was balanced. Ethics was expected, as was community participation. Business and commerce principles were also taught. So was geography. We learned math and algebra without the use of calculators.

      Admittedly, we weren’t being taught that ones biological sex was a social construct, or how to use vegetables as sex toys. And our teachers didn’t ask us to protest with or for them. We went on oodles of field trips, We climbed on monkey bars that were located on cement or tarmac. Slid down metal slides on hot days and rode our bikes, without helmets, through as many neighborhoods as we could before dinner time during the week or on the weekends.

      We played tag, kick the can, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, dodge ball, soccer, basketball, tetherball, and street hockey during lunch and recess and after school. We climbed fences, mailboxes, light poles, and played a plethora of board and card games on rainy days (excellent exercise for critical thinking skills), we made up our own plays and skits for our ourselves, friends and family members. We walked our dogs and were responsible for feeding our pets. Mischief came in the form of knock a door ginger, or prank phone calls. We completed our chores after watching Saturday morning cartoons, and we were largely busy with friends on hiking and biking excursions all weekend, unless we were going to the mall, a movie, bowling, Dairy Queen or A &W as a treat with the family. We listened to records and 45′s until they were replaced by 8 tracks and cassettes. Sunday mornings we went to church or Sunday school and Sunday evenings were spent watching Walt Disney with the family. We read under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

      If our parents were fighting, or we were really upset with a sibling, we could walk or bike to an aunts, uncle, or our grandparents home-all lived within 10 city blocks-we were always welcomed, given kool-aid or hot chocolate, a snack and an ear.

    • You must be joking. All the above and more was taught-it just wasn’t the be all end all focus of every subject. We studied acid rain, noise pollution, water and air pollution. Education was balanced. Ethics was expected, as was community participation. Business and commerce principles were also taught. So was geography. We learned math and algebra without the use of calculators.

      Admittedly, we weren’t being taught that ones biological sex was a social construct, or how to use vegetables as sex toys. And our teachers didn’t ask us to protest with or for them. We went on oodles of field trips, We climbed on monkey bars that were located on cement or tarmac. Slid down metal slides on hot days and rode our bikes, without helmets, through as many neighborhoods as we could before dinner time during the week or on the weekends.

      We played tag, kick the can, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, dodge ball, soccer, basketball, tetherball, and street hockey during lunch and recess and after school. We climbed fences, mailboxes, light poles, and played a plethora of board and card games on rainy days (excellent exercise for critical thinking skills), we made up our own plays and skits for our ourselves, friends and family members. We walked our dogs and were responsible for feeding our pets. Mischief came in the form of knock a door ginger, or prank phone calls. We completed our chores after watching Saturday morning cartoons, and we were largely busy with friends on hiking and biking excursions all weekend, unless we were going to the mall, a movie, bowling, Dairy Queen or A &W as a treat with the family. We listened to records and 45′s until they were replaced by 8 tracks and cassettes. Sunday mornings we went to church or Sunday school and Sunday evenings were spent watching Walt Disney with the family. We read under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

      If our parents were fighting, or we were really upset with a sibling, we could walk or bike to an aunts, uncle, or our grandparents home-all lived within 10 city blocks-we were always welcomed, given kool-aid or hot chocolate, a snack and an ear.

    • You must be joking. All the above and more was taught-it just wasn’t the be all end all focus of every subject. We studied acid rain, noise pollution, water and air pollution. Education was balanced. Ethics was expected, as was community participation. Business and commerce principles were also taught. So was geography. We learned math and algebra without the use of calculators.

      Admittedly, we weren’t being taught that ones biological sex was a social construct, or how to use vegetables as sex toys. And our teachers didn’t ask us to protest with or for them. We went on oodles of field trips, We climbed on monkey bars that were located on cement or tarmac. Slid down metal slides on hot days and rode our bikes, without helmets, through as many neighborhoods as we could before dinner time during the week or on the weekends.

      We played tag, kick the can, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, dodge ball, soccer, basketball, tetherball, and street hockey during lunch and recess and after school. We climbed fences, mailboxes, light poles, and played a plethora of board and card games on rainy days (excellent exercise for critical thinking skills), we made up our own plays and skits for our ourselves, friends and family members. We walked our dogs and were responsible for feeding our pets. Mischief came in the form of knock a door ginger, or prank phone calls. We completed our chores after watching Saturday morning cartoons, and we were largely busy with friends on hiking and biking excursions all weekend, unless we were going to the mall, a movie, bowling, Dairy Queen or A &W as a treat with the family. We listened to records and 45′s until they were replaced by 8 tracks and cassettes. Sunday mornings we went to church or Sunday school and Sunday evenings were spent watching Walt Disney with the family. We read under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

      If our parents were fighting, or we were really upset with a sibling, we could walk or bike to an aunts, uncle, or our grandparents home-all lived within 10 city blocks-we were always welcomed, given kool-aid or hot chocolate, a snack and an ear.

    • You must be joking. All the above and more was taught-it just wasn’t the be all end all focus of every subject. We studied acid rain, noise pollution, water and air pollution. Education was balanced. Ethics was expected, as was community participation. Business and commerce principles were also taught. So was geography. We learned math and algebra without the use of calculators-I still remember how and have retained how to solve math problems and still remember the formulas.

      Admittedly, we weren’t being taught that ones biological sex was a social construct, or how to use vegetables as sex toys and we did not sext each other or send semi-nude pictures of ourselves to males of interest. We did not treat sex as being casual or a form of recreation to be indulged in at ones whim. And our teachers didn’t ask us to protest with or for them. We went on lots of field trips, We climbed on monkey bars that were located on cement or tarmac pads. Slid down metal slides on hot days and rode our bikes, without helmets, through as many neighborhoods as we could before dinner time during the week and on the weekend-after homework was done.

      We played tag, kick the can, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, dodge ball, soccer, basketball, tetherball, and street hockey during lunch and recess and after school. We climbed fences, mailboxes, light poles, and played a plethora of board and card games on rainy days (excellent for sharpening decision and critical thinking skills), we made up our own plays and skits for our ourselves, friends and family members.

      We walked our dogs and were responsible for feeding our pets. We built models and had a puzzle table. Mischief came in the form of knock a door ginger, or prank phone calls, and spying on adults during their parties. After school we hung around parks, played frisbee, and partied in friends basements or out in the bush on weekends as we got older or when we didn’t have to be at work. We were expected to secure a part-time job while in high school.

      We completed our chores after watching Saturday morning cartoons, and we were largely busy with friends on hiking and biking excursions all weekend, unless we were going to the mall, a movie, bowling, Dairy Queen or A &W as a treat with the family. We listened to records and 45′s until they were replaced by 8 tracks and cassettes. Sunday mornings we went to church or Sunday school and Sunday evenings were spent watching Walt Disney with the family. We read under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

      If our parents were fighting, or we were really upset with a sibling, we could walk or bike to an aunts, uncle, or our grandparents home-all lived within 10 city blocks-we were always welcomed, given juice, kool-aid or hot chocolate, a snack and an ear. Life was not perfect, but it was much less stressful than kids are experiencing today in this hyper liberal, moral relativist society. We were taught that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me” and believed it for the most part, bullying happened, but if it became physical we fought back as best we could. Teachers seemed to enjoy humiliating certain students, I do recall. If friend didn’t stick up for me, my siblings definitely would. It’s impossible to go through life without conflict of one sort or another. Some kids were outcasts, despite teachers best efforts to include them in groups. There were cliques as there are today.

    • You must be joking. All the above and more was taught-it just wasn’t the be all end all focus of every subject. We studied acid rain, noise pollution, water and air pollution. Education was balanced. Ethics was expected, as was community participation. Business and commerce principles were also taught. So was geography. We learned math and algebra without the use of calculators-I still remember how to solve math problems without a calculator.

      Admittedly, we weren’t being taught that ones biological sex was a social construct, or how to use food items as sex toys, and we did not sext each other or send semi-nude pictures of ourselves to males of interest. And our teachers didn’t ask us to protest with or for them. We went on lots of field trips, We climbed on monkey bars that were located on cement or tarmac pads. Knew how to slide down a metal slide on hot days and rode our bikes, without helmets, through as many neighborhoods as we could before dinner time during the week and on the weekends.

      We played tag, kick the can, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, dodge ball, soccer, basketball, tetherball, and street hockey during lunch and recess and after school. We climbed fences, mailboxes, light poles, and played a plethora of board and card games on rainy days (excellent exercise for critical thinking skills), we made up our own plays and skits for our ourselves, friends and family members. We walked our dogs and were responsible for feeding our pets. On Sunday night we watched Disney. We built models and had a puzzle table. Mischief came in the form of knock a door ginger, or prank phone calls. After school we did our homework and hung around parks, played frisbee, and partied in friends basements or out in the bush on weekends as we got older or when we didn’t have to be at work. We were expected to secure a part-time job while in high school.

  13. This isn’t new. The examples in this article sound very much like my own primary education 20 years ago.

  14. Speaking for high school teachers, I just wish that the elementary schools still taught reading and arithmetic. I am not sure how much of that is going on now.

    • I wish parents made their kids acquainted with reading and math at home before school. We have to teacher more than a few subjects there, unlike many high school teachers. Have you ever seen an elementary curriculum? Don’t start the in fighting. That’s the last thing teachers need.

      • Why, so there is more time to discuss social justice issues?

  15. Oh, for pete’s sakes…

    Aren’t we making a little bigger deal of this than need be? My reason for asking is, I’m the father of a Grade 6 student in the Ontario public school system, in a small town, and I haven’t encountered ANY of this kind of drama. I don’t see a sniff of the ‘social justice’ agenda from any of the work my son does at school. He’s learning the basics, and he’s not being brainwashed. I can’t even brainwash him to clean his room, so I can’t imagine his teacher is going to brainwash him to protest a pipeline.

    Seems to me the instances where individual teachers, administrators and school boards manage to completely abandon common sense, that makes the news — but it’s not the norm. I think it’s always important to be cognizant of what’s happening in schools, and at the school board. I can’t speak for other provinces, but Ontario’s curriculum is pretty challenging — a heckuva lot harder than what I had to deal with way back when. The standardized testing keeps teachers on their toes and school boards’ eye on the ball. Does it need improvement? Sure… you always have to strive to be better. But, at least from my perspective, the suggestion that our schools are going to hell in a handbasket has zero resonance with me.

    My experience doesn’t make for good headlines or juicy stories, though.

    • Awesome post!

    • Thanks for contributing a healthy dose of common sense to this discussion!

    • that’s because new teachers going through this type of curriculum at teacher’s college can’t get jobs yet. i went through it and had to go overseas to get a job.
      but a lot of kids learn “facts” and not knowledge – and that is reinforced with standardized testing. eqao doesn’t really hold anyone accountable – it benefits schools that need little glorifying in the first place.

      kids should be learning about social justice issues anyways – it helps create good people, empathetic people, compassionate people – eventually good citizens.

      • I can’t speak to the facts vs. knowledge piece. I do know that, in my board at least, schools that have difficulty in the EQAO get additional help from the ministry and the board to address what’s happening in an effort to improve student achievement. That said, the test isn’t meant to glorify or bash anyone… it’s a barometer. One test in isolation isn’t much use, you need to view them along with past years. It’s the ups and downs that you’re watching. It’s not perfect, and I don’t the EQAO is the most efficient beastie, but it’s good to have some sort of measure.

        Good point about the new teachers coming in, though… that said, the story is suggesting schools are going to hell now, not a few years down the road. (And I don’t see it at my son’s school).

        • all i know is that, on the one hand teachers are told that the results of these tests aren’t meant to be a reflection of their teaching, yet each school (like you said) receives funding in accordance to how well or how poorly they do on this test. thus, some (a lot) of teachers begin “teaching to the test” – they take older tests and use that as the material they use in class to the exclusion of any other types of materials.

          good for you though, seems you’re happy with your school and that’s great.

    • Your not paying attention. Children are osterized by their peers, and often teachers, if they don’t tow the socialist, environmentalist, new age spirituality line. Could be why he won’t clean his room-sick of being told how to think and act or else. His room is the only domain he can call his own.

    • Are you implying parents don’t teach their children empathy and compassion? From what I’ve seen is there is no critical thinking happening-zero, zip, none. Group think is the order of the day and no real science is being taught either. Doomsday scenarios are being presented to very young children and we wonder why one in six children are taking medication for a mental health issue. They are not allowed to have their own opinions or think critically, they are indoctrinated in a very liberal socialist globalist viewpoint period. Teachers pensions depend on it, as the hundreds of billions of teacher pension fund money is invested in “socially responsible” investments. Translation-climate change and the environment-carbon credit exchanges, solar power and Cuisinarts of the air to name a few.

      Social justice is not being taught-political correctness most certainly is. Since when is having sex with vegetables social justice anyway? The only reason the term social is prefixes justice is too remove it from the legal system which recognizes the fundamental right of freedom of expression, in an attempt to undermine that fundamental right in exchange for political correctness. All justice is social; therefore the social prefix is redundant. The view presented is 100% global socialist-there is no room for critical thinking when your told what social justice is and what it look like. Critical thinking means questioning or deconstructing prevalent views like climate change, socialism, redistribution of wealth, and all political viewpoints.

  16. “Last spring, James Banks, professor of diversity studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, spoke to an audience of teachers at a symposium in Toronto called “Activism in Education: Pushing Limits in Increasingly Conservative Times.” He reminded them that even well-educated people can be persuaded to do terrible things. He spoke of the horrors of Nazi Germany, and how despite their high levels of literacy and numeracy, so many citizens succumbed to its evil. “There’s more to education than teaching literacy and numeracy,” Banks said.”

    What Banks is forgetting is that the citizens of Nazi Germany were primed for atrocities by being indoctrinated in schools. Elementary school teachers pushed Nazi doctrine on children using craft projects and games like the infamous “Juden Raus” boardgame. When schools push “social justice” instead of critical thinking, you get more groupthink, not less. This is also why homeschooling was specifically outlawed in Germany by the Nazi Party – all children were to be exposed to the indoctrination in the schools regardless of the wishes of their parents.

    • Well said……..and this is why this generation, and the next even more, is buying into socialism, legalizing drugs, same sex marriage, one world religion, one world government, tolerate everything except the gospel of Jesus Christ and Israel…….

      …….Revelation 12:17………

      And the dragon ( Satan ) was enraged with the woman (Israel), and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

      • Jesus was a socialist, dude…and a Palestinian….and never once mentioned abortion, gays or drugs…..so either actually practice the religion he gave you….or STFU.

        • He did not condone fornication or witchcraft which is translated as “pharmecia”. Read the Bible yourself instead of repeating others talking points.

          • Dude, I won awards for biblical scholarship before you were born, so don’t tell me what Jesus said.. He forgave fornication….even supposed prostitution, and said nothing about ‘witchcraft’

          • I call BS- then you would know he told the woman caught in adultery – to go and sin no more. Jesus came to fulfill the law-his own words, not discard it. He did not high five her and tell her to go have sex with vegetables like the TDSB does. There were worse direct links on the TDSB than the veggie sex. There were direct links for free to view for 15 minute pay per view gangbanger & goldenshowers sex sites. Blazingcatfur has the screen shots to prove it.

            Jesus said the following in response to those that were ascribing that sin is ok not unlike yourself:
            “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

          • Yup….just some advice….no fire and brimstone. Jesus wasn’t big on punishment. He also called BS on a lot of things….mostly pious hypocrites like yourself.

          • We are told to obey the law to avoid the natural and unavoidable consequences of our choices. You seem to believe that it’s not possible to love people, show them respect, empathy and compassion despite lifestyle choices that inevitably affect the whole of society. Morals are there for our own sake, not because God or Jesus can’t handle it. When we forgive people, that does not mean sin miraculously no longer exists, it means its not held against us in the hereafter. Murdering, lying. stealing, adultery, fornicating, male and female promiscuity, drinking to excess, etc., all have built in, unalterable consequences to both the individual and society-forgiven or not. I forgive others because I’ve been forgiven much, that does not mean what I did was not wrong. The commandments are a gift, not a burden.

          • I’m not responsible for what you were told by nutbars….at your age you should be able to think for yourself.

            There is no ‘hereafter’…..Grow up.

          • Whether or not one believes in the hereafter has absolutely nothing to do with the inbuilt, unalterable consequences to our choices and actions on earth.

          • Quite true…so don’t expect forgiveness for doing something stupid

          • Forgiveness doesn’t magically erase consequences. You can forgive a person for stealing your car from your driveway, while temporarily uninsured, and smashing it up. Forgiving the person does not mean a car magically falls from the sky to replace your old one and the thief gets a get out of jail free card. If a person breaks into your home, rapes you and your child, and kills your child in the process, no amount of forgiveness can undo what’ you suffered and lost, nor does the perpetrator escape a lengthly prison term.

            Forgiveness does not erase what happened or the individual and social consequences.

          • Nope, it doesn’t.

          • So what am i supposed to believe huh that i will die worms and maggots will eat my flesh, all my achievements and actions will count for nothing and no one will ever remember my name and according to you enviro people the issue of my body will be extinguished because we are all stupid nut bars who will warm our world to oblivion! ecsuse me pass the happy pills please and if you know a good phsychiatrist give me his number.

          • I don’t care if you believe in pink unicorns….whatever gets you through the night….just as long as you don’t try to force your belief on others through the mechanism of state power. Keep it to yourself.

          • Please for the love of hashem (g-d) (yep Jew) stop putting down your opponent with pitiful name calling, it degrades the gravity of this issue as well as demeaning the intelligence of its participents.

          • I don’t recall any name-calling….but then this article is over a year old.

            And I don’t see this issue as grave or having serious posters

        • Jesus was not a socialist. At least not socialist by modern day standards. Socialism involves the use of force to take from one group of people to give to another. Are you saying Jesus advocated the use of force?

          • Yeah, he was. And socialism doesn’t involve force.

            You think Northern Europe uses force??

          • === This topic is officially being marked as Pointless. ===

            Emily, I’ve found that most Atheists show an average IQ of 70 when attempting to understand/debate anything touching moral/religious territory, so it’s best for your own sake if you stay away from those topics. One of your biggest failings as an Atheist is having almost no higher discernment, yet because of your beliefs you rely almost entirely on yourself for answers to LTUAE, but as you are human (and not a very bright one at that, being Atheist) you are prone to getting completely wrong ideas and opinions about areas of knowledge and discernment where you have no business traversing. Until you realize that you know nothing, that you cannot be certain of anything, you will never be wise and therefore should not be someone going online and expressing your distorted and highly subjective opinions. (The jab was intentional).

            To the Christian types — your preachy, mushy wordiness makes me want to throw up. cbones, imagine you finish a race but proceed to lap the track an additional 6 times, that’s essentially how you write. vuse, you’re borderline.

          • It’s certainly outdated….and over with. This topic is from way last year! Had to hunt to find it!

            Anyway, you have no idea what an atheist is…or what English is for that matter….so don’t talk to me about IQ….just go away.

        • Jesus was not a Palestinian. He was a Jew. The land was called Judea and was a province of the Roman Empire. Most of the people of Judea were Jews, along with a few Greeks and Romans. Arabs, the people called “Palestinian” today, did not live in that land at that time. They lived east of the Jordan River then. They would not arrive in Judea until 6 centuries later.

          • Palestinian is a nationality, Jew is a religion. You can be both just like you can be an Israeli Muslim.

            I suggest you look up the history of Palestine

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine#Etymology

          • israeli has to do with a geographical origin. jew describes one of an ehtnic and religious origin.

        • jesus was a jew not a palestinian. I am jewish i should know. Palestinians are the people that repopulated the region after the great mass exodus’ after the destruction of the first temple, the babylonian exile, as well as the roman exile after the romans sacked jerusalem and destroyed the second temple. The palestinians are also the name the romans gave those people. The name Palestine was given because of the phillistines of Judea. for those of you who’ve ever seen =3 cue “the more you know”

          • Also jesus was a jewish heretic who preached new laws and the repeal of several old jewish laws such as the prohibition on eating pork in his time he was most likely seen as a dissident counter to the government preaching a mad and dangerous religion. Also jesus preached equaltreatment not equal wealth, position, or authority but that all were beholden to the trinity/god as in the old testament/torah which said that all were beholden before god, singular.

          • Again….Jew is a religion, Palestine is a geographic location.

            Palestine was around a long time before the Jews showed up

      • With all respect, how did you draw your conclusion from what Gaunilon wrote? Critical thinking skills are wonderful. They encourage our children to challenge the media, what they’re being taught in schools (things like Nazi programming, or even that leftist, socialist stuff I keep hearing about)… or even (horrors!) religious teachings.

        Y’know, critical thinking can be applied to all sorts of things. Everything’s fair game. In other words, the conclusions kids draw using those skills might not be the conclusions you were hoping for.

        • You mean like sex with vegetables is ok?

          • Zuh? How the hell did you get that from my post? But, hey, I’m flattered you want my input on what you have sex with. Knock yourself out, buddy. I’m giving you the green light!

          • Too funny, response was for another comment-replied to you in error-I apologize for impressing such a thought, albeit fleeting, upon your mind-no-one deserves that..

          • The chuckle was worth it, no worries.

          • Who gets hurt from sex with vegetables?

    • social justice teaching is intended specifically for critical thinking – how are you getting that it is anti-critical thinking?
      it’s all about the teacher. if the teacher doesn’t know how to get the kids to go deeper into issues, to inquire about what is right and wrong, then the kids won’t be able to use those higher order thinking skills.

      • Why are we exposing little children to deeper issues? And then we wonder why one in six children are diagnosed with a mental health issue.

        • over-diagnosis probably. the quick fix. pop a pill and you’re cured. it’s ludicrous to suggest it has anything to do with schools or social justice. we’re not teaching kids in grade 1 about child soldiers if that’s what you think. caring for the planet, being water smart in your home, caring for animals – that’s typical of a grade 1 classroom social justice issue.

    • I totally agree with this, I find the the TDSB in particular disturbing. I was not happy to have to explain the birds and bees to my four year old after the school botched a gender equality lesson in kindergarten. I’m also finding the arrogance of the educators unbelievable, it even starts before they graduate as teachers, what are they being taught?

      • When do you intend on educating your child about the birds and the bees? Chances are, it’ll be too late.

        • Too late for what? If the kid is raised properly, such a discussion isn’t necessary. Perhaps if there weren’t so many failing families and shitty parents in this country, the government wouldn’t feel the need to encroach. Are they a lesser evil? We’ll find out.

    • The entire approach of substantiating your argument by contrasting it against a far greater complex issue is a textbook case of an association fallacy. Nazi Germany in the early 20th century was far different environment, socially and economically and for it to be used in this sense demonstrates a bankruptcy of thought on the behalf of this professor.

  17. 1 Corinthians 1:20-23…………….

    20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

  18. This article focuses on the extreme cases where a lot of these teachers didn’t think things through. Isn’t it funny that there are really very little positive examples of social justice projects that are profiled when, as a teacher, I see them everyday. This article lost a lot of credibility when it only went to a conservative MP; Tories hate teachers! Teachers aren’t there to teach their own viewpoints, but should be able to present opposing viewpoints on the world. Many children seem to lack a social awareness and come to school filled with materialism and consumerism as a part of their upbringing. Perhaps if parents took a greater role in their education by equipping them with not only basic numeracy and literacy skills, but also a greater understanding of the world, or instilling empathy skills, or a knowledge of production cycles, etc, then maybe teachers wouldn’t have to compensate for this. Punishment for ideas that don’t coincide with ‘ideals’ is ridiculous and often blame should be on boards and admin. Teachers have a really tough and encompassing job. It’d be nice if Ms. Reynolds (or Mrs? Miss? Which is less brainwashed?) took a few moments from her laptop to apply some lacking critical thinking to this essay and realize that teachers have to make snap judgment calls; that these examples are not the norm; or that maybe, just maybe, students have a hand in picking their social justice actions and ideas. People like Ms Reynolds have an outsider’s perspective of schooling. Maybe if she included more than two teachers (one she essentially criticized), then her article wouldn’t present her bias so clearly. Good teachers know how to engage kids in their world responsibly. Good teachers also make mistakes. Where are the articles on one sided journalists? Where are the articles on the many good teachers out there? Good to see that even in MacLean’s –like the rest of the country–, it’s very much still open season on teachers. Also, gym is not a class; gym is a building. If you’re going to criticize, get the classes right.

    • The education minister called teachers co-parents- when a teachers begin to contribute to paying the mortgage, go in half with me on braces and clothing, stay up all night with a sick child, mop up the diarrhea and vomit, worry and pace when they don’t arrive home by curfew-then they can claim that title.

      Parents do teach their children empathy and compassion-one would think neither existed in previous generations or before the advent of public schools. Children of all ages need their parents to be models and mentors.

      I agree that part of the problem in children is entitlement that leads to narcissism.

      Technically, we don’t need teachers anymore- technology can and does teach knowledge, principles, concepts, facts, and critical thinking skills at a child’s own pace. Social skills can be learned in families, and by participating in various recreational clubs, groups, and other activities.

      I also agree that the strong focus, in every subject, on social responsibility is in part because of the hundreds of billions of teacher pension dollars that are invested in “socially responsible” monetary interests-carbon credit exchanges being the most obvious.

    • As a parent, every day I have to find out what the teachers poured into my children’s brains and then give them other views. They now know how “to pour on the sugar” and give back the teacher’s views in order to get the marks.
      I also got them into debating. Now they can argue against leftie views. One made it to the World debating championships.
      Parents have to be helping.
      Do not underestimate the power of schools and teachers and their political views.

  19. Where have all the good journalists gone? Stop Brainwashing Our Kids? How about: Stop using your magazine cover for propaganda? Or: Stop making inflammatory, inaccurate statements about educators? It’s ridiculous to suggest: a) that opposing the pipeline is somehow aligned with opposing capitalism, or b) that it is part of a conspiracy by teachers to brainwash our students. How about c) Cancel our subscription!

    • If you showed a child a sex with vegetables, gangbanger or goldenshower site, you’d be charged with a sex crime, yet teachers do it with impunity and then we wonder why so many teachers are caught having sex with their students.

  20. This article is an apology for the rot, not a critique of it.
    The rot begins in places like OISE, a leader in abusing the educational system for decades. Facs of Ed and OISE are playgrounds for political and pedagogical faddists who want to make a name for themselves at the expense of kids and society. It has nothing to do with ‘education’ per se, which is seen as a boring routine. It’s about concocting a theory of ed. that you can patent, spread to boards of education, and make your reputation on. Sometimes, it’s all about a trendy new pedagogical theory, which is usually a reinvention of the wheel. Sometimes, it’s about deemphasising the whole cognitive-development process in favor of the Social Gospel of progressivism/feminism/utopianism.

    Most of it is female oriented, reflecting female dominance of Education, and deliberately scornful of the boys in the system — witness the business of banning words like ‘best friends’ because the Mommy State is averse to competition; hates selectivity and notions of quality; identifies as collectivistic (or communistic); hates debate and the clash of ideas; is conformist; adores passivity in the listener; and wants everyone to get automatic self-esteem and a gold star.

    At any rate, if it’s being pushed in public schools, kids will enter adulthood with a horror of it, much as they will if they’ve been raised in a religious cult. You wait, the social-justice-feminist-David-Suzukist mantra will produce a generation of staunch conservatives, determined to clean up the schools.

    • This post is completely ridiculous. I can’t even decide where to begin with these absurdities. Contemporary pedagogy in no way neglects cognitive processes and in fact works to challenge students to develop critical thinking skills and the ability to evaluate information from multiple perspectives and strategies. Your comments have an air of misogyny to them and demonstrate a real lack of knowledge of the realities of our education system.

      • Translation-it’s okay to inform highly malleable 5 year olds, and all elementary school aged children about global social and environmental ills while placing upon their tiny shoulders the task of healing the earth that by a pre-determined method and outcome-either evolve or die. That’s abuse. Save it for social studies class. Math is difficult enough to learn without dividing concentration onto matters completely out of their control that are consistently added to the equation. Why are we teaching kids Mayan math? I’ll tell you why-they did not know how to divide or multiply-it fits with the political new age evolve or die message.

        • Your message doesn’t relate or reply to my message, but thanks for coming out?

    • ridiculous doesn’t quite encapsulate it unfortunately.

      how does banning “best friends” a strike against boys? isn’t it scornful of girls too?

      averse to competition? with the eqao results being published every year you have a ranking system of schools that directly affects funding to schools – fairly competitive i’d say. the newest curriculum is anything but passive, and anything but conformist. it is based on multiple perspectives and critical thinking. passive listening as a fad died out 15-20 years ago, and yes, teachers still give incentives to children for something they do well. i’m not one for “participation ribbons” for everyone but then again as i look at society as a whole i see everyone trying to beat everyone else. maybe fierce competition isn’t the answer we should be striving towards.

      as for the last bit, only time will tell. but just because you had a bad experience in school and grew up hating what you learned doesn’t mean the next generation of children, who are comparatively free when choosing topics, subjects, and issues to learn about in school, will.

      • He meant individual competition. Do you realize that fairy tales are read in kindergarten and when a “sexist” or “rigid gender role” is heard-children are to raise there hands and yell stop-no joke. Fairy tales are considered misogynist porn.

      • My Divisional manager, slavoj, a woman and a feminist, banned the annual awards for performance in her Division, because the concept of “best” was “compeitive” and a “male” way of judging work. Best was subjective, she claimed. “Best” — as in “best friend.”
        That was Meeting 1. In Meeting 2, she banned all conversation that tended to sound like a “debate,” because “debating is a male discourse,” she said, “gendered.” So we were banned from critiquing her proposals by debating their merits.
        Based on your comments, I’d say you are a blinkered ideologue and feminist proponent. I.e., part of the status quo. Brush up on your learning skills because someone, soon, is going to send you back to school, while we try to clean up the mess in education.

    • Fabulous comment

    • Exactly-well said.

      The current trend is rubrics for student assessment, at least in Alberta.
      BC is working on new assessments and criteria to evaluate teachers.

    • you sir are completely right. i am 14 in high school and am horrified at what i was taught in elementary. it is a near universal viewpoint among students that elementary schools did a terrible job of preparing them for high school. all that social enviro justice is cloying, when i read my language essays on the environment i literally cringe at the things i had to write for my A. i am sick and tired of this progressive, enviro,inclusive, politically correct, social justice which promotes self loathing in society as well as a generation of people who can’t spell but are the best empathizers the world has ever seen. I lament that fact that elementary schools barely touch on grammar and have abandoned cursive and handwriting (i can barely read my own). if schools shutup about social justice i predict a rise in test scores. Also the farce of a debate on environmental issues at school is completely one sided and only allows to think as was stated earlier “pipelines bad, trees good”. It also produces a generation in which i cannot express my views without being labelled as an idiot, global warming denier, and sexist. Also all of this produces a gender reversal in which men have become effeminate and women have become hyper agressive. The mere fact that we were taught all this enviro socialist collectivist kumbaya anti industry crap in grades 1-8 when we needed grammar cursive and spelling makes my blood boil!

  21. As a student of Indigo Esmonde’s, I just want to say that she’s a legend.

  22. I thought McLeans got out of this kind of subpar journalism… For a cover story this is one of the worst I’ve seen in years. If you are going to make an argument this huge you better come to the table with some better stats other than “he said, said” arguments. To the author, I feel like this was more worthy of a personal blog entry instead of a cover story.

    • It is what it is. Look over the individual provinces school board policies on-line and you’ll see that these are not exceptions. Huxley’s “Brave New World” is being implemented right under our noses.

  23. “Though not explicitly partisan, it juxtaposes the money spent on the war in Afghanistan with the money spent on poverty—and that does suggest a certain point of view.”

    The only way it suggests a point of view is if you’re ashamed of how that juxtaposition plays out. If you’re confident that what we’re spending on Afghanistan vs what we’re spending on poverty is where it should be, then it’s as much a non-issue as if they compared spending on advertising vs spending on small business creation.

    That you suggest it suggests a point of view tells us more about your biases than anything in the educational system.

    • Save it for social studies class. The bias is -evolve or die.

      • Lets ignore your tinfoil hat for a moment, and proceed with what you say as a given.

        What would you suggest for an alternative? In a world that is rapidly changing due to communication technologies, the extremely rapid rise of the emerging economies, and the overall change in our planet’s climate (irrespective of what may be causing it), what would you suggest? “Sit on your hands and stop thinking”?

        Critical thinking skills about social policy are *vital* for our society to continue to thrive. We need our kids to be able to see a bigger picture with a longer perspective and react faster to changes in that than we ever had to if we hope our society is going to survive at all.

        Retreating to parochialism won’t do anything to stop the changes, it’ll just make sure we’re spectacularly unprepared to deal with them when they happen.

        • Critical thinking about social policy need not occur in K-6. Introducing confusing gender concepts and definitions, orientations or pansexuality to young children, once reserved for discussion in universities, is like teaching calculus in kindergarten. Gender studies was one of the most confusing courses I took when in university.

          People developed highly tuned critical thinking skills long before the onset of rapidly emerging technologies and economies. The very fact technologies and economies are rapidly advancing is clear proof we haven’t stopped thinking and are not sitting on our hands. How do you think we have gotten where we have in the first place?

          Do you seriously believe that this is the only generation that has had the bigger picture with a longer perspective in mind? .

          What exactly needs our urgent attention? We cannot stop hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami’s, earthquakes, or the sun from exploding for that matter-despite what the Italians may think (they recently jailed scientists for not warning of an earthquake-prime example of what to expect in an
          idealistic utopian society). It’s a futile undertaking to attempt to
          change mother nature-she has and always will be destructive. The earth was formed via a series of catastrophic incidents in the first place.

          The only thing that can, and has been historically controlled, is people. What is scaring the powers that be is the fact that people are becoming harder to control-thanks to technology. This situation is untenable-the easiest and most effective way to control people is by fear. People will give up their freedom for security and that is exactly what is being taught in school-fear of climate, fear of the environment, fear of war, fear of disease, fear of starvation, fear of poverty et al, under the guise of social justice. It’s a dependance game, you do this and we’ll keep you safe, fed and warm.

          Sandy, as have other disasters, have proved that what is *vital* to our survival is exactly what it has always been-shelter, food, water, a form of heat/energy, and transportation and above all -creativity and ingenuity. We have enough fossil fuel, in the oil sands alone, to supply the world with oil for a hundred years. There is no immediate emergency for alternate fuel sources, friendly countries have more than enough. There is also nuclear power as an option. Oddly, the same ones that are screaming that the end is nigh and we must act now due to environmental and climate causes, are the same ones who block any solutions-except solar and wind that will never, despite any and advancements in the foreseeable future to be able to supply enough power for even a small city to be independent; ironically, both are highly unreliable due to climate changes. Ethanol from corn for fuel takes up more land than its worth and is also highly dependent upon climate. And we all know how environmentalists feel about coal and wood, despite the fact that coal can now be burned cleanly. Heck, BC banned wood burning fireplaces in homes 15 years ago-new homes must have gas burning fireplaces only.

          What we need is more students who excel in science and technology, not social justice. Activism will not save your soul. Your primary fear is death, and climate change preys upon those fears. Natural disasters are bringing those fears to the forefront. We can plan for the future, but we cannot control it. What is being taught to children is social control mechanisms, not long term planning or ingenuity.

  24. Is Maclean’s trying to out-fox FOX news? While there was some bias in the article itself, the cover completely misleads anybody who doesn’t read the piece. You should be ashamed of yourself. Further, while one can find bad examples in virtually any topic one researches, the sophmoric mistake of trying to generalise from those examples illustrates the lack of insightful and critical thinking on behalf of the writer. As for the supposed issue, I applaud the topics my children have brought home from school to talk about, as we can then enter into a discussion about them. For example, we’ve had the Afghanistan versus social spending talk, as well as many others, at home. In a previous issue we read about how more had to be done about bullying – is this not a social justice topic? The question is balance, and from the comments of many here. it is clearl that the schools need to do something as it seems unlikely that the kids are getting a balanced view at home.

    • The goal is a genderless society. Boys and girls are no longer to be referred to as such-they are to be spoken to in the collective: division, group, etc. I’ve read the language do’s and don’ts in several districts teaching policy-it’s bizarre and that’s being kind.

  25. social justice is a vague term and, in the hands of inept teachers, can become a firestorm which becomes a bigger story than it should be. should kids be taught social justice issues at school? of course they should. why shouldn’t they learn about the problems in the world, in their own country, and even in their own neighbourhood?
    social justice is a way of teaching kids that they can change the world, make a difference in their community. but it can come off as preachy and better-than-thou. but again, this is all about the effectiveness and talent of the individual teacher working together with parents and the local community. kids need to connect with what they learn for it to be truly effective, and they need to see examples of the issues for it to have permanence. that protest may not have been the best idea, but at least those kids know what it’s like now and probably have a greater sense of civic duty than kids who have never taken a stand for what they believe.

    lastly, it’s not totally clear what schools are for any more. is it to transmit facts? to be good citizens? to get a job? some would say all of these things some might say just the last one. being a teacher, i tend to believe a little bit of everything but mostly how to be a good person, who can read and write, and think. the jobs part is, or rather will be, irrelevant by the time my kids get old enough. we are educating children for jobs that don’t even exist yet, and to face challenges and global problems that don’t need a solution yet. charter schools aren’t the answer, and neither are standardized tests.

    • Civic duty to purify the earth of those who do not evolve and accept the change, shift, etc., they are being raised to be guardians of the new order-indistinguishable from the type and model a well known murderer during WWII used before the war to prepare those students to take on the world and change it, for good, according to his master plan for a master race.

      • good teachers of social justice will always put the language into child-friendly terms (according to age) and ask them what they think. a good teacher will always find alternative views and present them, in spite of their personal views. i’m not sure where kids are being taught to be like the “murderers of WWII,” or who exactly you might be referring to – there were many murderers in WWII, who either through direct action or inaction, caused countless deaths. the point of it all is to be able to think about how others might feel – empathy – and how we all might be able to live together in the world without resorting to violence, conflict, and over-consumption. surely those are good things, even to you?

        • Teachers are not child psychologists and as a matter of fact, it’s child psychologists that are sounding the alarm on this massive social re-engineering experiment on children. The patients are literally running the asylum in the name of political correctness-the subtlest, yet most pervasive form of bullying.

          Children’s emotions are being used to blackmail them into a particular politically correct social ideology.

      • Now we’ll stop ignoring your tinfoil had and suggest you resume taking your medication. What your Godwin predicted post is suggesting is nothing less than global conspiracy of vast scale with an end goal of genocide.

        You’re either suffering from a severe chemical imbalance of some sort, or you’re just a colossal idiot. In either event, I suggest you seek assistance from a professional.

        • not a conspiracy but an ideological trend toward teaching theory as fact in a one sided farce of a debate. for example we were taught that child labour in india is bad because they get paid low wages and cannot go to school but because of that wage they can eat and of course as responsible “global” not canadian citizens we must send money to build those schools as it is our responsibility as guardians of human rights. I am 14 in high school this is what i was taught, both the teacher or the worksheet tolerated any other viewpoint than their own.

  26. This article references extreme examples of classroom practice which are not indicative of the broad swath of classrooms. In fact, there is a distinct under-emphasis on social justice, higher-order thinking and character education.

    Literacy and numeracy are important, but critical thinking, empathy, emotional intelligence and open dialogue about the real issues facing humanity are the most important thing we can do to prepare people (not workers) for living in the world (not the economy).

    • Burdening a six year old with the social ills of the entire world is abuse, and a gross misuse of power. There is no open discussion, it’s evolve or die period.

    • “critical thinking” is bowdlerized in schools to mean “criticise the Power Structure.” That’s a false use of the term.* Critical thinking means testing critically the gossip you hear, or the biased press, or the Ideological Pablum that is fed to children by the Nanny State. Critical thinking means spotting a crusader teacher when she opens her mouth; or, marching up to David Suzuki and asking how a fruit-fly geneticist such as himself, never done research in his field, is the self-appointed Czar of Climate-Change. Critical thinking is fact-based, not belief based or ideological. Don’t tell me you’re actually in favor of that??
      ———————————–
      * traditional definition:
      A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987.

      Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

  27. Nice article, with information stolen without attribution from the Toronoto blogger Blazing Cat Fur.

    • Attribution, what? That’s for actual reporters not that blogger rabble…never mind that BCF has broken every major story on this stuff.

  28. Leave justice issues to social studies class-period. The fact these topics are being interwoven cross-curricular in a highly strategic manner and present only one dominant view, is proof positive and nothing short of indoctrination and propaganda full stop. Reading, writing and arithmetic are secondary to “social justice” causes. All subjects have morphed into social studies. This is blatant manipulation and abuse of our children. We must demand this be stopped immediately.

    What else do we expect from the elitists that meant it when they proclaim “Evolve or Die”.

    Why? We can thank Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah and ilk like them, for the new age philosophy (in actuality its a very old concept, that’s not ever worked when practically applied) of so called social justice being proselytized to our children. Barbara Marx Hall is a consultant on to the UN on Global human rights and is a self proclaimed futurist. She is an old new ager who states she’s been visited, for decades, by a spirit guide named christ.

    These lunatics actually believe that god has chosen-directed them to purify the earth of those who will not evolve and realize their divinity, so will not survive anyway and are just taking up valuable resources from the higher evolved. A direct quote from the Hubbard genocidal lunatic, with unbelievable influence, is: “The Shift” is the change humans must make, transitioning themselves to the next stage of human evolution. “The Shift” takes place when one turns from the God of the Bible and focuses on the divinity within. Those who refuse to acknowledge themselves as “God,” will be eliminated by “the selection process.”

    These new birth, shift, quantum leap fanatics, mean what they say. They are raising your children to be the deliverers of the new birth, and the post birth abortionists of those who don’t readily evolve.

    • what a bunch of babble!

      social justice is not about teaching kids to believe in god, it’s about teaching them to believe in themselves, and above all, others!
      and reading, writing, and arithmetic are certainly not backseat – in fact, the extreme focus on math, for instance, has displaced a lot of other things- like social studies. cross-curricular is a necessity and allows kids who don’t think they’re good at math a different angle to tackle the subject from.

      • No its about telling them they are god and can usher in a utopian world-even now we are placing global social ills on their radar and consequently, their tiny shoulders-encouraging them to be activists while in kindergarten. One in six children are taking medication for a mental health issue. Let children be children and quit inundating them with adult themes. Do you realize that gender and sexual orientation discussions were not introduced until the last couple of years of high school or university-now were asking five year olds to question, if not ignore, their biological gender. If you can’t see where this is leading-there is nothing I nor anyone else can do for you. Since when is sex with vegetables, gangbanging or golden shower sex instruction a social justice issue?

      • Speaking of babble, slavoj, how do you parse this: “social justice is not about teaching kids to believe in god, it’s about teaching them to believe in themselves, and above all, others!”
        Let’s see now, if you’re showing them how to “believe” in “themselves,” then where’s the “social” in the “justice”? Sounds pretty iffy for the “themselves” portion. Yet the sense of self isn’t donated by society to a child, like a box of spaghetti from the Food Bank. It’s acquired by individuals who learn how to reason. ethically and logically, on their own.
        “Believe in others,” hunh? Who’s the ‘other’, your social worker?

  29. Empirical data is nowhere to be found in this article. I’ll be using it in the classroom(grade 7 and 8) to promote critical thinking and language awareness.This is what I teach, not political or social doctrine of any kind. I’ve also taken the time to read all the comments. A great number of you, along with the author of this piece should look up and learn what logical fallacies are.

  30. Absurd.
    The author clearly lacked the time or ambition to make even a cursory
    investigation of any of her local schools. Obviously, she didn’t want the truth
    to get in the way of her story.
    Elementary school staffrooms are not exactly a hotbed of Marxist political
    radicalism. The only valid generalizations that you can make about teachers in
    this country are that they are extremely well educated and heavily invested in
    the Canadian economy both through their pensions and RRSP contributions. To
    even suggest, as your cover does, that teachers as a group are opposed to
    capitalism reveals an appalling ignorance.
    Teachers are not a homogeneous group and teachers’ politics are diverse. I don’t doubt
    that there are socialists teaching today, nor do I doubt that other teachers go
    home and read Ayn Rand at night. Some even subscribe to Maclean’s. If you truly
    value critical thinking and rational debate, you could start by resisting the
    urge to label anyone who disagrees with you as a socialist.
    Any time you sacrifice or suppress the truth in order to sell a few more magazines, you
    undermine your credibility as an organization. Articles like this are not
    journalism, they are defamation.

    • Disingenuous, Kevin – asssuming you are in education. The private views of teachers were never the centre of this discussion (although the abysmal depth of learning may be). What we are focused on is the role of the Social-Egineering CURRICULUM– which a teacher has Zero control over.

      This discussion isn’t new. Twenty years ago, I already had reports of teachers who RISKED BEING FIRED for teaching English grammar to their grade- and middle-school classes. They did it behind closed doors. Teaching grammar was outlawed by the curricular Thought Police because grammar “limits personal creativity” and the going trend was labeled “process writing.”

      Yes, the current guidelines now admit the importance of grammar; however, the job isn’t being done. First, the required reading lists are sloppily designed and watered down. Leeway is still given to teachers to teach their “favorite” text, rather than ones designed to teach reading skills as a progression. Only a portion of the reading curriculum is “mandatory” and that varies from province to province.

      In that leeway case, yes, teacher prejudices take precedence over scientific methods toward literacy, because the teachers avoid the “hard” books in favor of the politically correct or the personally palatable ones. They choose ones they “know best,” or worse, that they “enjoy.”

      Secondly, boy-centered books are purged from the libraries and banned, and, given the feminisation of the staff, and given teacher discretion, are virtually outlawed. This alienates and disenfranchies the young-male population and helps cripple their literacy.

      A society that can’t navigate its own communications code is malleable, gullible, and easy to stampede into the latest political orthodoxy. Post-secondary teachers see it all the time. Here’s a recent testimony regarding the wreckage which the anti-grammar brigades wrought: http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/case-teaching-grammar

      • I don’t know where you live Fabuloso, but I can tell you that in BC teachers have a great deal of autonomy in the classroom. Furthermore, social justice isn’t part of any ministry curriculum documents that I have ever read.
        As for the claim that schools are failing to educate because the teaching of social justice is “diverting attention from academic achievement”, Canadian students consistently rank among the best in the world.

        http://www.cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/254/PISA2009-can-report.pdf

        and American school boards and international schools routinely recruit teachers from Canadian universities. Our form of “indoctrination” is envied and emulated all over the world. Why do you suppose that is?

        • It’s disappointing to read this bilge, Kevin; however,perhaps you aren’t even a teacher? First, here’s a link to an entire BC Min. of Ed. book on how to integrate Social Justice studies into the classroom and into the curriculum:

          http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/pdfs/making_space/makingSpace_full.pdf
          Second, there are a few ways in which teachers are “autonomous” — all of them meaningless, except that some of them undermine the long-term pedagogic needs of students. I deal with that in another post, but mostly I’m referring to the right of teachers to select reading materials in literacy classes, materials which flatter their own political prejudices or cater to their own tastes. But that’s a different issue.
          The claim that Canadian students “rank” high is a red herring in this conversation– but I have to point out that I haven’t been dealing with testable cognitive skills or knowledge bases — except in the case of boys, who are discriminated against in every educational jurisdiction in North America. Nevertheless, have you ever taught students what a “red herring” is?

          • That’s the first time I have seen that document, but I have only been teaching in BC for 10 years.
            I’ll repeat the question because you seemed to have missed it.
            Our form of “indoctrination” is envied and emulated all over the world. Why do you suppose that is?

          • Alarming, Kevin. The document outlines a comprehensive application of ‘social justice’ to absolutely everything you do, from classroom teaching of, say, handwriting, to hallway chatter to cleaning up your language, perhaps even in the lunchroom. I find it hard to believe that your superiors haven’t acquainted you with this policy.
            As to emulating Canadian education, what does that have to do with Social Justice? You’re telling us that Social J. studies fires up great marks in math?
            A red herring. On the other hand, hate to break it to you, the boast is shallow and highly challengeable. I am familar with standards in other countries, especially European ones. Canada is a mediocre educator whose benchmark for literacy is limping, as is numeracy. One key reason is opportunist and inflated grading and promotion polices. Another is the policy of holding back an entire classroom to ‘accommodate’ a single disadvantaged student. A third is the tyranny of popularity and pandering to special groups. All that, a direct consequence of … Social Justice.

          • You are free to believe whatever you like Fabuloso, but I have worked in British Columbia for ten years both as a teacher and as an administrator and never once has the topic of Social Justice come up. Perhaps it’s still in the works, just “a vision gaining ground among many education architects” (i.e. Faculties of Education) as the author said.

          • Now that we know you’re an ‘administrator’ we can better understand your take on this.

          • I’m not sure who “we” is, but I am not an administrator.
            If my position is confusing I can simplify it.
            A) Teachers are not socialists. Macleans’ cover is misleading and insulting.
            B) Teachers have autonomy. As a result there is a great deal of diversity in any school and it is irresponsible of a national news magazine to make generalizations about an entire profession.
            C) Social justice may be the “next big thing” but I have yet to come across it in my experience in BC or Ontario schools.
            D) Preying on parents’ fears by using alarmist terms like “Brainwashing” will ultimately undermine Macleans’ credibility as a news organization. It is tabloid journalism.

          • Kevin, social justice is in the manifesto of ETFO (I can’t speak for OSSTF). I find it hard to believe that you are in the teaching profession and have not come across these ideas.

      • im 14 and this is true if there are any “boy” books they are relagated to a dusty little corner and only include abit of generic sci-fi crap and the great classic of J.R.R. Tolkien which are thought of as nerdy books and are therefore rarely read.

        • the majority of books are on inclusivity female characters and that drivel known as twilight

  31. The question is what if a student disagrees with thier teachers social justice outlook. If a student in this class protesting the pipeline and has the courage to question thier teacher do they get marked poorley on comprehension of the concept.How do you mark a political opinion of one person against the other?

  32. Talk to the assholes that write/desgin the curriculum……the teachers are unfortunately mandated to teach the curriculum, but as we have seen recently, have no say into what goes into the curriculum (or a hell of a lot else that deals with education). Ironically teachers go to professional schools to be trained specifically to teach, but those with little to no experience in education make the decisions.

  33. Well, the horses are out of the barn now. This is what you get in a society where the solution to every issue is, “Have them teach kids about it in school.” As a teacher, may I suggest a correction to all the government’s propaganda about stellar test scores: test scores are not rising. The tests, and marking standards, are getting easier. We have lost our way. Instead of educating students to strong readers, writers, scientists and mathematicians, our days are loaded with a thousand other distractions.

  34. I hope my boys are blessed with a teachers with passion & zeal. My role as a parent will be to review their work and teach them there is more than one side to every story.

  35. All of this is hardly a surprise in a society whose kneejerk solution to every issue is, “have them teach it in the schools.”

    As an educator, I wish somebody would stand up to government PR machines and tell the real story of test scores. Test scores are not risiing. The tests are getting easier and marking standards lower. Sorry, Virginia: standardized tests can be manipulated to get the desired results. Students who cannot string two words together achieve Levels 3 and 4 (As and Bs) in Reading and Writing. In Ontario, schools with legions of special-education students have seen their EQAO scores jump by 25 per cent or more each of the past few years.

    So why actually teach math or reading or science — all excellent venues for critical thinking — when creating the illlusion of having done so is so much easier. Isn’t that the modern way? Don’t do anything substantial if you can do the superficial instead.

    This leaves schools open to other agendas. No longer are they bastions of academic excellence, but rather forums for special-interest groups, for those with a cause, with a bone to pick, a buck to make or a case for ourtrage. They’re also great recruitment centres for those seeking private armies of pint-sized fund-raisers.

    Governments have hijacked education for their own machiavellian purposes. In the process they have lost sight of their mandate and lost their way.

  36. What really tells me this is “indoctrination” and not teaching critical thinking is that such lessons never touch on failures of government.
    Its great to teach kids about, say conserving water, but why are such lessons never juxstaposed to say failure of government to ensure that the infrastructure to supply or discharge the water is not causing undo harm to the environment.
    Also interesting, is that “tolerance” of different lifestyles is taught, but the kids are never taught to think critically about why “tolerance” should be taught in the first place.

  37. I think part of the problem is that some teachers and school boards are bringing divisive issues into the classroom. If they would focus on things like caring for the environment, ending child labour and exploitation with our trading partners, and learning to live in peace in our diverse cultural environment, I doubt there would be any controversy at all, rather a lot of intelligent, well-informed children who care about others in their generation as well as the legacy they are leaving behind. School boards encouraging children to experiment with vegetables and their sexuality is a great way to raise yet another generation of porn addicts, and a good reason for parents with the means to send their kids to private schools!

  38. When were any of you actually in a classroom… let alone tried to teach in one?

    It’s amazing. No one has an appointment with a doctor and considers themselves a medical expert, or has a will drawn up and considers themselves a lawyer.

    But because you went to school at one time, you consider yourself an expert in education.

    Why are teachers teaching social justice? Because they have been given the job as not only as educators in math, language, science, music, art, health, French and physical fitness, but also social skills, character development and personal responsibility. Teachers are required to do everything from teaching the tying of shoes to how to make friends to choosing the right foods at lunch. Why? Because parents in many cases have either abandoned these duties to schools or simply don’t have the time to do it themselves. In Ontario it’s gone so far as to require teachers to provide 20 minutes per day of physical activity when not in gym because kids are driven to school by a rushing mom and dad and never get a chance to exercise.

    And… when junior’s grades slip, they don’t hold their child to blame… they blame the teacher.

    Teachers look for opportunities to integrate learning in many subjects through a single unit, something that would have real meaning for the students and give the class a overall theme to learn by. Moreover, to quote Jerry Hrdste of the University of Indiana, “no one can think critically without losing innocence”. If a child gets a chance to inquire about a subject and develops an opinion based on that inquiry, fantastic. Even if it’s counter to mine.

    If those Grade 3′s were protesting to have the pipeline built… would it be reported so negatively by the conservative Maclean’s as “brainwashing”? I’m certain you can answer that question without a lot of critical thought.

  39. Students of all ages need to learn about social justice issues. There is no denying that. There are teachers out there who will go about it the wrong way and the right way. The real issue here, is that as stated in the article, teachers aren’t given the tools to guide them on the right path, so they go at it alone.

    Mike Harris, Stephen Harper and the rest of the Conservatives have been slashing education funding for almost two decades. The root of the problem is the government’s lack of support for the education system they are so quick to accuse.

    • Funding for schools k-8 is a provincial matter.

  40. Also this article was poorly executed. So many harsh accusations were made, with no real numbers to support the claims. A front page article with such a commanding title, should really be more researched and concise.

    I’ve always known Maclean’s for delivering articles that have great supporting arguments by their authors, that they all come off very poignant and respectable. But this dribble appears to spew from a spiteful and scared individual.

  41. What’s the difference between justice and “social” justice? My observation is that school equity groups remain horribly biased regarding what they want to see as inequality. My union, ETFO, has a workshop for teachers on “anti-Islamophobia” but no workshop to address honor related violence, gay intolerance in Islam, the lack of rights for women in Islam, nor how minorities are treated in Islamic countries. Quite the reverse – we must teach “tolerance” for Islam. There’s definitely a hierarchy in social justice when it comes to discussing the truth. Teachers are very well meaning – but often naive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUBoWi37Y8o

  42. The Teachers Unions are activists and they know how to unleash their commenters onto comment boards like this and The Globe and Mail etc. Their websites and emails direct their teachers to magazines like this. They do it on tax payer time – in the class room while they are supposed to be teaching.

    This is a disgrace and when is MacLean’s going to do an article on this. Here is the Teacher’s website:

    FYI… here is the Maclean’s article. The headline and cover art are much worse than the article itself. As the BCTF is not mentioned, the Federation will not be responding officially. However, if teachers wish to respond, the address is: letters@macleans.ca

    Macleans- Stop Brainwashing our kids- Nov 5

  43. Almost everyday at school there’s something in the lesson plan that’s WAY too far left. EX: last year my teacher was explainig what the oil sands were. He showed us the info from greenpeace.org. That’s pretty left-wing.

    • on my geography project the only info we were allowed to get was from greenpeace and its ilk.

  44. This is one(of many!) reason why we homeschool our kids, to avoid mass indoctrination, political brainwashing and social engineering!

  45. Maybe it’s time that these educatorsteach their socialist agendas on their own dime. Put vouchers in place and let parents choose the school and philosophy that they want their kids to be taught. The social engineers are great at comming up with willy-wog ideas, but can’t teach our kids math, science, and proper English. Tie the money to the child and let the PARENT decide which school will educate their child. Could you imagine the screaming that would follow if Rush Limbaugh was hired as the principal of a local school in Toronto by these “worldly” types?

  46. “And in the name of inclusiveness, some school boards include Wiccan holidays in their school calendars.”

    OMFG what is the world coming to! We want children to be only exposed to the True Religions!

  47. As the Director of the BEd Kindergarten Elementary Program at McGill, I, along
    with several of my colleagues, feel compelled to respond to Cynthia Reynolds’
    vilification of Canadian elementary school teachers in her article “Why are
    schools brainwashing our children?” (Nov, 5). The 600 or so pre-service
    teachers in our program are learning how to teach math, science, reading, and
    social studies, as well as studying child development, educational psychology,
    classroom communication and management, inclusive and multicultural education,
    and the integration of technology into education, to mention only a few topics.
    They also spend many months in schools working with experienced teacher
    mentors.

    It is ironic that in her article referencing such teacher preparation programs,
    Ms. Reynolds is guilty of the same sort of manipulation that she implies is
    becoming so widespread among today’s teachers. Ms.
    Reynolds begins by explaining that “social justice is a broad term with varying
    interpretations,” then outlines only her narrow view of the concept—as a
    dangerous tool that teachers have trouble controlling. Another implication is
    that in today’s teacher preparation programs, pre-service teachers are learning
    that social justice education means it is okay for teachers to push their
    personal political agenda on vulnerable children. Ms. Reynolds then proceeds to
    describe instances of misguided teaching, going as far as the UK and the United
    States to produce a litany of sometimes shocking cases of poor teacher
    judgment, to stoke fear about what can happen when social justice education
    goes awry. These cases do not represent social justice education gone
    wrong—they are just wrong, period. If she had looked, Ms. Reynolds could just
    have easily—if not more easily—found cases of abuse of teacher authority in
    school systems around the world where nobody has even heard of social justice
    education. To imply that there are more cases here because of this “educational
    trend,” as Ms Reynolds puts it, has no foundation.

    More importantly, Ms. Reynolds chooses not to balance these stories with any about
    the thousands of Canadian teachers who are responsible and reflective
    practitioners—who deal with the sensitive issues that inevitably arise in
    today’s classrooms with sound judgment, respect and sensitivity, and who are
    creating a safe and supportive environment for the academic achievement that—as
    Ms Reynolds rightly mentions—is necessary in today’s world.

    Yes, social justice has varying interpretations. At its most basic, we believe that
    it is about developing understanding and empathy for those who are different.
    It is about cultivating awareness that we are part of and responsible to a
    larger world. And rather than involving manipulation, it is about developing
    strong enough confidence and character in our children that they cannot be
    easily manipulated.

    Beverly A. Baker, PhD–Program Director, B Ed Kindergarten Elementary
    Department of Integrated Studies in Education
    Faculty of Education, McGill University

    With the support of the following members of my Department:
    Drs. Ralf St-Clair (Department Chair), Lise Winer, Donna-Lee Smith, Caroline
    Riches, Steve Jordan, Kevin McDonough, Fiona Benson, Claudia Mitchell, Anthony
    Pare, Bronwen Low, Anila Asghar, Paul Zanazanian, Sylvia Sklar, Lynn Butler-Kisber, Mela Sarkar, Carolyn Turner, and Annie Savard

    • Yawn. Self-important tripe. Reflective practiioner? You mean teacher?

      ” And rather than involving manipulation, it is about developing
      strong enough confidence and character in our children that they cannot be
      easily manipulated. ”

      It is this sense of self-entitlement and self-annointed mandate that I find scary, no less coming from Program Director of an education faculty. They are children but not yours, nor ours as educators. They are STUDENTS. The mandate of social justice needs to lie with the parents.

  48. “Why are schools brainwashing our children?”

    Because they can, and utopia depends on it. As I FaceBooked earlier today…

    Sad to say, the West is living in 1984-land. My son’s high-school had a “diversity-day” today, juxtaposed with a Holocaust Survivor, and a lesbian comedian [ http://www.thecandyshow.com/tag/lesbian-comic/ ]. Where do I begin?

    I pointed out to son that (a) parents weren’t asked about any of this, (2) the militant down-you-throat thought-control of militant same-sexism is very Nazi in the thought-control department, and (iii) criticism of the dominant cultural paradigm of “inclusionisticalism” would get him labelled and attacked, hence it was not a day of diversity, but group-think… after all, the evil old Nazis persecuted Jews AND Homosexuals. Get It? GET IT?!?

    I then pointed out that such ham-fistedness and sloganism was hardly a substitute for actually thinking about all of this, and that the “Happy Merry Lesbian” would never admit the horrible, violent, addictive, abusive underside of lesbian life. That– like criticizing glorious leader & giver of free cheese forever south of the border– is verboten, and will be met with the appropriate slander, politics of personal destruction, and re-education classes in sensitivity, diversity, inclusion, respect of differences, and The Only Proper Way To Conform. Yay us.

    Needless to say, parents (including Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, and other religious folk who may object to same-sex propaganda in schools) were not informed, nor was permission asked, or opt-outs offered.

  49. Wow…did you do ALL your research on youtube? I enjoyed the hilarity of your “this one time, at band camp” approach. This is drivel at best.

  50. i went to primary school in new zealand from 2002 onwards i am now living in perth western australia and there is such a diffrence for my younger sister there teaching her to obey every body and the structure for an boring normal life and to not ask quiestions i belive every bodys got their on ablitys and what they want out of life. also at high school i am being taught that the white race is surpeiour and many more lies. the world is not perfect and never will you might as well show them the world isnt nice helpful or caring they need at least a little bit of individuality

  51. Teachers MUST teach to the curriculum, not to political ideals that the gov’t has. If the gov’t determines the curriculum, then we are in trouble. It must be up to the teachers to do that with an open evaluation for all concerned, including parents and teachers,

  52. “Teaching children the skill of critical thinking is fundamental to a good education –”

    Inherent in this argument is a fallacy. When you preach social justice you are not teaching. You are simply switching one way of thinking with another. The insidiousness of teaching so-called “social justice” lies in its capitalization and exploitation of fear and of populist sentiment along with the guilt people are made to feel. Young children are already capable of deciding for themselves what is right or wrong. As an elementary teacher, I WILL NOT pontificate about the virtues of social justice because of the circular logic associated with this way of thinking. You cannot empower a child to think a certain way because you tell them the evils of environmental destruction. I for one find “social justice” along with the people banging their drums repeating the same mantra to be really nauseating and irritating. Same goes for those professors in their ivory towers, hiding in academic, who continue to flood the education field with “research driven” pedagogy which DOES LITTLE ON A DAILY BASIS. Our classrooms are filled with children who are either illiterate, on drugs, anxious, bullies or what not and the constant push we have comes from these education mandarins pumping out “social justice” this and “social justice” that, all the time high schools are a power keg going off, with a large majority of semi-literate children who can barely write a paragraph, much less express themselves coherently, who yet thankfully are very well-aware of their own “rights” and apparently place in the world.

    I seriously roll my eyes at these people, teachers and colleagues alike, who imbibe from the same Kumbaya Kool-Aid. These are the same people who are too afraid to run a classroom in a disciplined fashion out of a fear they will emotionally scar a child by simply being stern. We are failing an entire nation of children by simply foisting this “social justice” mentality, bereft of any real empowerment, in lieu of spending time teaching children what they really need, whcih is to be able to read and write. Social justice is 21st century apologist leftist politics. Cut it out of the curriculum and focus instead on creating a literate generation.

  53. The stark irony in all of this social justice drivel is that the very people who promote these ideas use the same zealousness and vigor that is associated with any large collection of people promoting a catchy idea as a way of life, be it religion, Scientology, home schooling, etc. I find it utterly laughable that the same people who promote social justice along with its “empowerment” and “empathy” show little or no empathy towards people who wish nothing to do with their agenda in the first place. All of the women in my school who push this social justice do so with the impunity their self-entitement affords them when other teachers speak out against it or simply say they don’t anything to do with it. If you preach empathy towards others then the first people you need to respect are those who wish to have nothing to do with your hollow message.

  54. Anyone that endorses this stunning crap and manipulation of OUR children is truly brain dead! Home schooling is the only hope now! The TDSB is the world cheerleader of this insanity! Just as is their insane statement about “co-parenting! God Help US!! UNREAL!!

  55. I’m currently part of the program at Ottawa University that this article talks about. The goal is to educate teachers on global and social issues so our classrooms can be more safe and inclusive for our students. Our goal as teachers is to create responsible and globally aware students who are critical thinkers. I’m proud to be a part of this cohort and I am disappointed about how this article portrays us in such a negative light. The fear mongering and use of extreme examples does not reflect our motives or our teaching habits. Future readers be aware that this article is not a true representation of teachers educating from a global perspective.

  56. I will teach my children the difference between right and wrong not some teacher in a classroom. Spend more time teaching them math and less time getting writing letters protesting pipelines.

  57. Recently, a boy got disqualified from a school contest because he had a Ziploc in his desk. In an effort to make the school more environmentally conscious they thought that implementing such an extreme measure would, in the long run, be beneficial. Such an extreme measure is completely unbeneficial because, in this case, it causes the child to suffer for something he had zero control over. If the school were to implement such a regulation, they would need to inform the parents specifically in order to succeed. Including and disciplining the children for this task is unacceptable and I feel as though this is something no boy/girl should ever have to worry about. Even if the school had notified the parents about this strict rule, it is unethical because you really have no idea of the financial situation of each family; they may or may not have the budget to buy reusable products. Schools are trying to become substantially more eco-friendly in any way they can, but at what risk?

    The education system is pushing politics and social justice among young children. They want to, “encourage kids to become critical analysts of contemporary issues and empathetic defenders of human rights.” By introducing topics, such as: diversity, sustainability, global affairs and issues of race and hierarchical standing, they hope to accomplish this precious task. I do agree with this new tactic because it allows for the younger generations to possess the appropriate (nonjudgmental) views needed at this state of time; for example, by not encouraging the strict MALE and FEMALE roles that once ruled our society. The board of education is taking it too far, in some cases, by allowing kids to explore their sexuality with the use of sex toys and vegetables. At some point in time, the Toronto District School Board web page included a link to an organization that suggested kids explore their sexuality by experimenting with objects. Thankfully, the link did not remain on the site for long, but the fact that a group of people came together and thought that this would be a positive decision mind bottles me. Exploring sexuality at such a young age is definitely not a step forward.

    Society is changing. It is a known fact that people, as a whole, are becoming more conscious and concerned with social justice affairs. In my personal opinion, I think that allowing classes to do things, such as: protest for righteous causes (i.e. the laying of an Enbridge pipeline), is a step in the right direction. Firstly, because society is in need of a serious wake up call. It is also true due to the fact that we cannot continue to allow kids to think certain things are okay, like circuses that torture animals so that they obey. If kids knew what happened to those animals, they wouldn’t ask their parents to go to the circus now would they? It is essential that we introduce such topics at a young age in order to develop their minds accordingly, but its up to the parents in the end result because they are the ones who have the most influence over their child. All in all, I believe strongly that the School Board of Education is on the right track, but HOW they decide to go about it is the most sensitive/fragile matter because it involves the minds of our young generations to come; our future.

  58. this is diqusting i cant even trust my kids in a public school system in these days

  59. The education system should do the only one thing it could do well……
    if only it would do it–
    which is to teach subjects.

    Teachers have a full-time job just teaching math, music, reading, writing, art, etc.

    The suicidal decision to use children as pawns and enter the realm of politics and parenting has brought us to take over from parents, and start teaching social justice, sex, and……. religion.

    Anyone who doubts the latter only need check their local schools.

    Aboriginal spirituality is “good”, so we have smudging, elders doing prayers, and children working directly with community mentors who often include spiritual practices.

    Or, check out the influence of Buddhism through the “Mind-up” curriculum now being widely used, as proselyted by actress Goldie Hawn…..meditation, TM, all without any consultation with parents.

    There is a lot of great work done by teachers. The culprits are the unions and bureaucrats who have enough time on their hands to incorporate all this nonsense….at the expense of the real task.

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