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Children Still at Risk From Liberal Agenda

Left benefits from its near monopoly on education

In 1990 I co-authored "Children at Risk," a book exposing the cultural forces in education that endanger our children and showing parents what they can do to defend their families against an ever-encroaching liberal agenda.

Sixteen years on and things have scarcely improved. In fact, judging from some recent developments, it’s become clear our children are at greater risk than ever from an education establishment gone wild.

Earlier this month a Colorado high school geography teacher was put on administrative leave for comparing President Bush’s State of the Union address to speeches made by Adolf Hitler. After a week soaking up the publicity and defending his comments on national talk shows, he was reinstated without any loss of pay.

In New Jersey, high school civics teacher Joseph Kyle sparked outrage by holding a mock war trial for the commander-in-chief over so-called "crimes against civilian populations." Defending his decision to organize the war crimes tribunal, Kyle stated that with all that we are hearing in the news about war crimes, "It would be irresponsible for a teacher to pretend that isn’t happening." (Apparently it didn’t occur to Kyle to hold a mock trial for Saddam Hussein, someone who’s actually on trial as a war criminal.)

There’s more from the Garden State. Teacher William McBeth, who at the age of 71 decided to have a sex change operation and become Lily McBeth, has just been allowed to resume teaching his fourth grade class, against the protestations of most of the school’s parents.

In New York, along with the ABCs, all public school kindergartners will now learn about HIV. That’s right, a new state law requires elementary school teachers’ lesson plans to include a project that tells kindergartners to play "doctors" and discuss HIV. While education officials insist teachers won’t mention that HIV is transmitted through sexual contact until students reach the fourth grade, one perceptive parent asked, "How do you talk about AIDS without talking about sex and drugs?" You don’t; so they will.

To understand how such absurd policies gain sanction, one need look no further than the nation’s largest teachers union. It was recently revealed that the National Education Association gave $65 million last year to liberal interest groups that have nothing to do with education, including $51,000 to People for the American Way and $15,000 to the Human Rights Campaign. How does donating to the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights," fulfill the NEA’s stated mission of securing better work conditions and wages for public school teachers — unless, of course, you’re Lily McBeth?

Is it any wonder our children lag behind their counterparts in other countries in numerous basic educational categories? Many teachers seem more concerned with political indoctrination than with teaching children the basic knowledge and skills they will need to participate in an ever-competitive world.

Sadly, the liberal indoctrination of our children does not end at High School graduation; in fact, it only gets worse as they ascend to the highest levels of academia.

We all remember Colorado "ethnic studies" professor Ward Churchill, who made headlines last year when it was discovered he had published essays stating that the United States got what it deserved on 9/11 and calling World Trade Center victims "Little Eichmanns," a reference to the Nazi Holocaust engineer. But did you know that a former deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban is now a student at Yale University — the same school that bars the ROTC from its campus because of the military’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy on gays? Has Yale forgotten that the Taliban routinely threw homosexuals into ditches and bulldozed concrete walls over them? Don’t ask. Do the feminists at Yale know that the Taliban used to pull out the fingernails of Afghan women who committed the crime of wearing fingernail polish? Don’t tell.

Of course, it’s difficult to prove endemic political bias based on a few instances of extreme partisanship. As the saying goes, the plural of anecdote is not data. But, according to some recent polling, college faculties may lean even further to the left than previously thought.

In a study last year of 1,643 fulltime faculty at 183 four-year schools commissioned by the Randolph Foundation, 72 percent of teachers described themselves as liberal, while just 15 percent self identified as conservative. (In contrast, in the previous major survey of college faculty in 1984, 39 percent identified themselves as liberal.) Moreover, fifty percent of teachers call themselves Democrats while only 11 percent Republicans. Even worse, at elite schools, 87 percent are liberal and 13 percent conservative.

Note well: according to a recent Harris Poll, 33 percent of the general public describe themselves as conservative, while 18 percent see themselves as liberal.

Lest you suppose the left isn’t benefiting from its near monopoly on education, 18 to 29 year olds was the only demographic Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry won in the 2004 election, and by a significant margin of 9 percentage points. Tellingly, George W. Bush easily won the 30 to 44-year old demographic, which primarily encompasses young working families more interested in safe neighborhoods and lower taxes than cockeyed conspiracy theories.

When it was discovered earlier this month that a former Taliban official had been admitted to its campus, a Yale University official claimed it was part of "creating diversity on campus." But, while liberal educrats may employ the rhetoric of diversity, the chief effect of their control of academia has been to create a campus atmosphere totally devoid of it.

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Former presidential candidate Mr. Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

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