Ann Landenberger, a "teacher" in Newfane, Vt., has "informed" her students of her support for a local resolution calling on the state's lone U.S. Congressman, "Independent" socialist Rep. Bernie Sanders, to file Articles of Impeachment against President Bush. Her salient explanation: "I can't say to my kids that what happens on the national level doesn't affect us at the local level," she said. "Would that we could all be in a cocoon, but that is not the case."
As might be expected in this age of political correctness, teachers' unions and local chapters of the ACLU have rushed to defend these "educators'" "constitutionally protected right to free speech." But this is neither educational independence nor an exercise of free speech. It is instead a gross abuse of power by adults who are subjecting children to political polemics every bit as insidious as that delivered by a commissar.
It is interesting to note that those who now proffer the most vociferous defense of these "teachers" to say what they want in the classroom are the very ones who want to ban other educators from uttering a Bible verse, challenging Darwin's theory of evolution or noting that we are "one nation under God," when pledging allegiance to our flag. Not surprisingly, the so-called mainstream media has failed to note the utter inconsistency in defending the "right" of some teachers to defame our President -- while denying the freedom of expression to other educators who profess their faith in God.
The consequence of the political-legal crossfire of America's classrooms is predictable. As shown by the Global Literacy Survey -- and dozens of other assessments -- students in public education aren't learning that which will prepare them for jobs and higher education in a highly competitive global economy. Parents who can afford to, vote with their feet. They pull their children out of these troubled schools and send them to private or religious institutions or home-school them. America's high-tech industry is constantly lobbying Washington to increase the number of visas granted to qualified immigrants -- because our schools aren't producing enough competent graduates.
There is no doubt that our children must learn "critical thinking." Before they get to politics -- shouldn't they at least know geography -- and maybe some math and science? It would be nice -- if this is to remain the home of the brave and the land of the free -- that America's students could place it on a map.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.