Watchdog Scrutiny Prompts Denver Schools to Drop Teacher ‘Social Justice’ Standard

Kyle Olson

10/13/2012 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

DENVER – Chalk one up for America and the Independence Institute.

In August, EAGnews reported on a new teacher evaluation system proposed in Denver which would rate teachers as “distinguished” – the highest rating – when they:

- Encourage students to “challenge and question the dominant culture.”
- Encourage students to take social action to change/ improve society or work for social justice.
- Use Visuals and artifacts to represent various cultures/world groups.

The system, first uncovered by the Independence Institute, put a strong emphasis on “social justice” activities. It would naturally require teachers to push students toward “social justice” activitism, rather than rewarding them for teaching students the basics of reading, writing and math.

Now, the Washington Times reports, the school district is pulling the plug on such nonsense, with the blessing of at least some teachers.

“I think our job is not to challenge the dominant culture, but to prepare students for college or the military or the workforce, and be productive citizens,” Denver social studies teacher John Peterson told the Times. ”Working toward social justice typically comes as code words from the far left for big government programs and a redistributionist philosophy.’”

Peterson deserves the golden apple of the day. He was thinking like an American – not the leftists who thought they had discovered a convenient way to force teachers to push their radical political agenda.

Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg told the Times, “the original wording wasn’t worded in the way that it should have been and [failed to] capture the real intent of what we want to get at, which is, we want our students to be critical thinkers.”

Uh huh.

Regardless of the district’s excuse, raise a glass for sanity, the Independence Institute and the American Way. Or as the Institute’s Pam Benigno said:

“Let’s face it, in DPS, roughly 50 percent of the children across the board can’t even read at grade level. In math it’s the same, sometimes worse. And yet they’re going to spend time and have teachers being concerned about these types of issues.”

At least now the leftists will have one less excuse for focusing on indoctrination instead of the basics.