Ideological teachers are at it again: This time, Homer and The Odyssey are under attack. A teacher in Massachusetts reported on Twitter that she was “very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!”
Yes, Odysseus is reviled as a symbol of white supremacy and the patriarchy in American classrooms nowadays. Such is the tragicomic state of American education in the 21st century,
This is not an isolated incident, either. For over a decade now, “woke” educators have been attacking classic literature for flimsy reasons related to leftwing identity politics. In 2018, a Seattle English teacher tweeted that he’d “rather die” than teach The Scarlet Letter. Then he went on a mini-rant against “misogyny” and “slut-shaming”.
Let’s call it like it is: Many of the new breed of teachers are full of the stuff that covered the floors in the Augean stables. Among the authors they’re attacking (in addition to the above) are Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Hemingway…and even Steinbeck. So this isn’t a matter of teachers rebelling because they don’t want to teach The Collected Sayings of David Duke. This is a matter of teachers rebelling because they don’t want to teach the English literary canon.
Not so long ago, things were different. I attended school in the 1970s and 1980s. I had plenty of teachers who voted Democrat, and plenty who were “liberal” by the standards of those times. What I did not have were “woke” lunatics at the lectern. The teachers of today are not, by and large, the conscientious educators I grew up with—especially not in the humanities fields.
What happened? For at least a generation now, the teaching of the humanities has attracted a disproportionately leftwing crowd. There aren’t many conservatives (or even moderates) teaching subjects like history or literature anymore. This is a problem from the universities on down.
It is also a problem that is too big for a single blog post (even one of mine). But here is something that you can do on the local level: Pay attention to what teachers in your local public school district are teaching your kids.
You don’t have to live in San Francisco or Seattle to find leftwing ideologues indoctrinating kids. I live in a very “red” part of the country—Southern Ohio. A few years ago, I learned that my local public school was using Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (a far-left political screed by a socialist historian) as a primary text for an American history class.
Our society spends a lot of time patting teachers on the back. And as anyone with teachers in their Facebook feed can attest, teachers expend a lot of time and effort patting themselves on the back.
It’s time to praise teachers a little less, and scrutinize them a little more. The education of youth is, as they will tell us, an important endeavor. It should not be left to far-left ideologues with innumerable axes to grind.