Jay Schalin of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy highlights a disturbing requirement for students in one UNC education school.

According to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro catalog, the course “ELC 381, The Institution of Education” is “required of students seeking teacher licensure.” Unfortunately, the course often goes far beyond what is politically acceptable for an education course at a public university.

When one looks at the section of ELC 381 taught by Revital Zilonka in the Spring of 2016, it becomes clear that the degree of politicization completely violates the spirit of free inquiry that is supposed to govern our schools. The syllabus for the section in question requires a Personal/Professional Commitment Statement, which reads:

By the end of the semester, you are required to write your own personal/professional commitment to social justice (7-8 pages), given all the new knowledge(s) that the course participants generated every week. The questions for this assignment are: what challenged you in the ELC-381 course? What stood out? What did you learn about yourself? Given the new understanding you have by now about society and education, what’s your personal/professional commitment to social justice? More instructions and information about this assignment, if needed, will be provided later in the semester.

A public university cannot permit a professor to demand that students “commit” to a specific political perspective. And “social justice,” as it is used in this case, is precisely that, a term that implies a left-wing ideology. Indeed, when Zilonka’s entire syllabus is explored, it becomes clear that, going by the above statement, UNC-G is requiring students to commit themselves to, among other leftist theories, the “critical pedagogy” of the Maoist-inspired Brazilian writer Paolo Freire.

This is hardly a case of a school or professor exercising his or her academic freedom: the course clearly violates most accepted definitions of academic freedom. The literature of the American Association of University Professors—the professional organization that has essentially defined academic freedom in the United States—is filled with declarations against such indoctrination.