by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Below is a letter I received from a public school educator in North Carolina. He is one of many conservative teachers who worry about the trajectory of public education in the state.
Dear Friends and Fellow Educators,
I am an educator and school counselor in NC. I am also a conservative and very outspoken as such on my social media platforms. There have been times I have gotten into a good number of back and forth “dialogues” with liberal friends.
As an educator, I know I must be careful about what I publicly say regarding our schools because I have other educators and administrators who follow me on social media. However, I am very concerned about the makeup of our schools with increasingly more liberal, progressive, and Marxist ideas brought into mainstream education.
I try not to make it too widely known that I am very much a supporter of competition in the educational marketplace, and I support private, charter, religious, and home school options, along with the public school. As a coach, I know the value of competition. It makes everyone better.
While most of my colleagues are professional and are committed to loving, serving, and doing their best to teach kids, I have encountered my share of very liberal, progressive and Marxist activists as well who are open about their views. I am increasingly alarmed at what I see in schools, most of it mandated from the top down, including Common Core. But the big push now is on Social Emotional Learning (most of that is a left-of-center view of the human condition). Increasingly, school staff is being pushed towards being pseudo social workers and more intrusive in student’s and family’s lives. I see more attempts of the radical left to social engineer, rather than educate.
This is why I am reaching out to you, and hoping you and others you can connect me with, could help me find the right direction.
I need three things.
First, I need to better prepare myself in well researched and accurate materials that focus on teaching, education, and policy, from the conservative point of view. If there are any specific books, articles, speeches, etc, that would help me grow my knowledge base, I welcome you sharing those with me (and I do follow the fine folks at the John Locke Foundation).
Second, I need to develop better debating/interaction skills in order to debate, challenge, argue, shape the narrative when I interact in the schoolhouse. On my social media platforms, I know that I am a bull in a china shop, being very outspoken and critical, but I cannot take that heavy approach into the school building. I realize that professionally, I have to take a more subtle, reasoned approach when I am sharing conservative ideas. Do you know of any training or any individuals that could help with that task of refining my debating approach?
Third, I really desire to find like-minded conservative educators (and especially conservative school counselors that I can network with). Are there any conservative education groups, organizations, or associations out there to connect with?
Thank you for reading this long email. I am grateful for any help you can send my way or point me to.
Thank you and kindest regards,