Comrade Teacher, Young Minds are Yours

Political correctness has enormous momentum and no brakes. Adverse consequences for promoting left-wing extremism are difficult to find, while reporting the adverse consequences for questioning it keeps Sky News presenters busy seven days a week. To advocate in our schools for left-wing extremism is not rebellion but conformity. 

In regards to the education system, it has gone beyond expressing a politically correct left-wing bias to actively recreating Australia in its own image. Here is an example from the annual professional development day run by the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English (VATE) held on 16 February.   

A presenter on the new creative-writing dimension of the Year 12 course advocated that teachers encourage their students to attend a ‘School Strike 4 Climate’ rally, which involves wagging a day and then writing a ‘reflective’ piece on it. This would be part of their school-assessed coursework that would contribute to a university entrance ranking. The presenter also encouraged teachers to find material on the ‘School Strike 4 Climate’ movement to inspire students in their creative writing. 

The presenter was not off on a tangent, but precisely teaching the state-sanctioned curriculum produced by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority that is unambiguously designed to orientate the young with the culture of left-wing activism.  Students are encouraged to write on the theme of ‘Protest’:

…explorations of conflict and contest, what it means to protest, the value of protest, the outcomes of protest, personal stories of protest, struggle and war.

Students could explore established figures like Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and Vida Goldstein, marginalised figures like Pemulwuy and Claudette Colvin, and figures and movements like Greta Thunberg and the BLM [Black Lives Matter] protests.  Events like massacres in Australia and the Frontier Wars could be explored as expressions of protest  ̶  and the attendant tragedy.  There could also be explorations of the success and failure of protest  ̶  and the prescient protests that gained ground after the original protest had faded.  Students could consider individual protest and group protest. — Victorian Certificate of Education, English and English as an Additional Language Study Design (2022)

Not the slightest hint that students could consider protests against, for example, the intellectually stiffing oppressiveness of political correctness.  The intellectually stifling oppressiveness of political correctness in schools is far too effective to allow even a hint of that. 

Any pretence of the education system appearing even-handed went long ago, gobbled up by anti-Trump hostility, #MeToo campaign enthusiasm, anger over the Coalition’s shock win in the 2019 federal election, the siren call of Black Lives Matter and Antifa militancy (‘Burn, baby! Burn!’), and the enormous resentment over the defeat of the Voice referendum and the desire to proceed anyway with the ‘decolonisation’ agenda with or without the democratic support of the Australian people.  (English teachers were explicitly mobilised by the Victorian Association for Teaching English (VATE) to promote the Voice  in the hope they would influence parents and others old enough to vote.) 

Radical left-wing politics is normal in schools, an atmosphere reflected at the VATE training days and conferences.  Radical left-wing politics is so normal at these events it can seem mundane.  Radical terms like ‘decolonisation’, which delegitimises the Australian settlement, drip unceremoniously off the tongues of presenters, while the equating of ‘capitalism’ with injustice (and nothing else) is completely normalised. 

When I first attended these VATE events over 20 years ago, it was like being at an ALP meeting. (On several occasions, I even overheard chatting teachers calling each other ‘comrade’.)  Now, I feel I’m at a Greens or Socialist Alliance meeting. 

I am not sure how much longer favourable references to US civil rights campaigners from the 1950s and 1960s will last. They look increasingly antique and conservative in their advocacy of equal rights, which has been displaced by the postmodern notion of ‘equity’, which involves discriminating in favour of so-called victim groups and against white males, demanding quotas of representation in institutions coveted by the Left. 

What we may call the politically correct Left, or woke, or identity politics, or cultural Marxism (all names for the same thing) has evolved into something more than an ideology featuring: pacifism, feminism, environmentalism, anti-racism/multiculturalism, Marxism/socialism and gay rights.  It has become a profoundly intolerant mindset where individuals are primed to be triggered to hostility at positive references to Western civilisation.  It resembles the tragic religious intolerance of the Reformation with its inquisitorial panels and smashing the heads off the statues of saints. 

And another thing, teachers can become victims too. Indoctrinated woke young people can report their teacher to the school Wellbeing Coordinator for misgendering or using an offensive term.  Last year, a teacher trying to teach John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men deliberately used the euphemistic ‘N-word’ to avoid using the word it stands for, which frequently appears in the novel written and set in California during the Great Depression. But with some misbehaving kids fixated on baiting the new teacher, all they had to do was report that they felt ‘shamed’ to precipitate a bureaucratic process that led to the union becoming involved to save a decent teacher who had raised her own mixed-race family.  No wonder there’s a teacher shortage. 

Mark Lopez is the author of School Sucks: A Report on the State of Education in the Politically Correct Era, Connor Court, 2020

29 thoughts on “Comrade Teacher, Young Minds are Yours

  • Kevin Donnelly says:

    Hi Mark, great that you are highlighting this as you know first hand how bad the situation is. I resigned from VATE over 30 years ago as I realised back then how the cultural-left had been so successful in destroying literature as a subject.

    • jim brough says:

      I agree. I am now in my 91st year and started on the left. My lovely Dad was almost communist. As we experienced life and events over the years which taught us that unbridled socialism did not work which saddened him greatly. It annoys me when people talk about being “progressive” and go off into flights of fancy on electricity and energy production. I have had to be conservative in my work and career simply because it involved care of the people who might be affected by my decisions. I am a cautious progressive.
      I wonder how many people have read Aldous Huxley’s novel about a brave new world of the future of progressive ideas.
      In my experience Year 9 High School Students do not need to be at school because they know everything and when I got talking to university students about my scientific knowledge I found some were that way inclined.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Of all the myriad material that is published in QoL, the periodic reports from the frontline of primary and secondary education that appear here thanks to the few brave souls willing to provide insight, is without doubt the most depressing. To know that my kids along with all of their generation are daily exposed to anti-intellectual crusade of the postmodernist/Neo-Marxists casts dark clouds across my horizon and the hope fi would otherwise hold for their future. One clings to a faith (blind or otherwise) that ultimately there will be a counter revolution led by these same young souls tearing down the shibboleths of their education to save us all from a new dark age, the precipice upon which we sit. Go well Mark.

    • Sindri says:

      Without wanting to sound unduly depressing, if a new dark age came as the end result of a nuclear conflagration – a scenario that somehow seems less and less improbable – and preceded by a fatal loss of confidence in our civilisation, why does anyone think that humanity would recover from it? Learning survived in the dark ages largely because it was kept alive by the clerisy in monasteries and churches; to a lesser extent, learning of certain kinds was kept alive by the caliphs. The result was that there was learning to resurrect in the renaissance, a thousand years after the fall of the western Roman empire. I see no reason to think that humanity would necessarily have the same good luck in the nuclear age.

  • March says:

    The indoctrination is relentless, from pre-school to university. What hope do families have to avoid the constant brain washing?

  • Surftilidie says:

    I have been a teacher of secondary students for 54 years and have watched how the indoctrination process has well and truly overtaken the learning process, increasingly so over the past decade or so. A few years ago a very bright student in my Year 12 specialist maths class proudly announced that she wasn’t going to have any kids. When I asked her why, she responded with the usual claptrap about the earth self immolating because of our reliance on fossil fuels. On top of being very bright, she was also the environment prefect at the school. I asked her if she knew what the concentration in the atmosphere was this terrible CO2, thinking one would have to base such a critical decision on facts. She had no idea, so I let her know that it was about 410 ppm i.e. 0.041%. Then I asked her if she knew how low the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere could drop to without causing life on earth to cease due to all the plants dying from CO2 starvation. Again, she had no idea, so I informed her that it was a little under 200 ppm. At this point, I asked her if it was known what the perfect concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere was, given that her indoctrinators had informed her that 410 ppm was too much, and that reality would inform her that 200 ppm was too little. She had no idea, and I told her that no one had any idea so she should not feel alone.

    As the “discussion” progressed (I never miss an opportunity to point out the stupidity of the CAGW nonsense, and as a consequence I am seen as the spawn of Satan by my science and humanities colleagues) I asked her if she knew how big humanity was. Again, no idea, so I took her through the relatively simple mathematical task of showing her that if all the human beings could be packed into a box, the box itself would measure about 800x800x800 metres. i.e. about half a cubic kilometre. An equally simple mathematical exercise can show that the volume of usable atmosphere is about 4 billion cubic kilometres, i.e 8 billion times the volume of humanity. If you represented humanity by a sugar cube 1 cm by 1 cm by 1 cm, and the atmosphere by 8 billion of such cubes, you could fill more than 40 classrooms with 8 billion sugar cubes and humanity would be represented by just 1 in the bottom left hand corner of the first classroom.

    Despite the maths, I don’t think I got through to her, as at the end of Year 12, she bought me “The Big Picture” by David Suzuki. I suspect though that after plowing through her university studies and running into the realities of career, mortgage, relationships, etc, she will have kids .

    • gareththomassport says:

      Great story, and love the moniker.
      My sons and daughter-in-law have 2 young boys with more on the way, and plan to home school them on a small farm with the help of me ( a doctor), and my wife ( a retired art teacher).
      I marvel at their curiosity about the universe they inhabit, and would willingly do anything to help them avoid the stultifying milieu that the school system has become.
      Possibly naive, but we will do what we can.

    • Twyford Hall says:

      I may be sorry I asked, but what does an environment prefect do?

      • Surftilidie says:

        Very little it appears, as the environment here at the school doesn’t change much from year to year. It’s always pristine. Maybe she had to promote the ideology. Prefects usually get a gig at assemblies, but I’ve stopped going to those as they always start assembly with welcome to country, and I refuse to have anything to do with that nonsense.

        • mrsfarley2001 says:

          Bright? Don’t think your student was very smart. She was obviously from a gullible background. We were taught to think at home and in this way, inoculated from much of the lefty piffle at school. And this was in the sixties! I’ve done the same with my kids, who were sent to school to learn to work the system. Bit grim, but there it is.

          • mrsfarley2001 says:

            Inoculated “against”. What a fine thing an education is, ain’t it da troof? Turns out there’s quite a bit to be said for Cold Warrior parenting style!

            I like to think I received the best of both home-schooling and of the Oz education system, private & public, primary, secondary & tertiary. Leftism has been in there for an awfully long time for those who had eyes to see it. Now, it can’t be avoided.

            Perhaps the yoof might rebel. Perhaps pigs might take wings, too. All things are, after all, possible…as we are lately so glibly instructed by our glorious comrade-teachers.

    • vickisanderson says:

      I, too, saw this coming many decades ago. As a syllabus committee member I recall the humourless, intense cultural Marxists bent on eliminating the exploration of the achievements of the West. At the time it seemed so absurd to be almost not worth contesting. But we underestimated their dedication to destroying the very concept of excellence.

      I have since watched in despair (as a grandparent) as these ideologues not only banished textbooks from the junior school classrooms, but diminished their own role by the infernal large desks where students were gathered to teach each other. The “triumph” of child centred, rather than reacher centred education.
      As a result, Australia has now catapulted down the international register of educational prowess, with appalling levels of literacy.

    • jim brough says:

      Very well said. And the perpetrators of the nonsense may earn a Darwin Award

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    So it would seem that I am equal to everybody else, both on and off the planet now. So I am legally equal and I can now sit on my arse and do nothing. Surely this is a truth statement, in the same vein as every ‘truth statement’ from the pens of these mongrels puts it. We all know though and have done for years that some are more equal than others, obviously. So my Australianness is not now known to be equal to that of Blackness, or Viciousness or Corruptness or Murderessness or Muslimness or ………I shan’t go on. It is as obvious as the fact that the Sun does not ‘rise’ in the East that our country, or the sacred idea of Austrailanness, has been dismantled and fenced into a concentration camp such as Dachau. All without a shot being fired. If I was a writer of fiction, I couldn’t make this up. There are more filthy lies, evil deception, obtuseness, theft, greed, treason, and so on, than one would find in a Koontz novel. Cry, my beloved country.

  • S A Benson says:

    The muck that school age children are being fed by the woke left amounts to child abuse. The only answer is to ‘beg, borrow and steal’ if you have to – or just work hard – to send your children to a faith based private school where, at a minimum, children will be schooled in some basic truths including the fact that cows (females) give us milk and roosters (males) don’t lay eggs! Don’t worry. In NSW, the alleged ‘Association of Independent Schools’ is doing its level best to indoctrinate our children and our teachers too with its own brand of the left wing, woke agenda. Last time I went to one of their gab-fests, AKA a “PD day”, I thought I would learn how to be a better teacher. How wrong I was. The entire morning was a reminder to tell students about the racist Uluṟu Statement (those behind that document should be charged and prosecuted for a race hate crime quite frankly) and the importance of “the voice”; an idea so odious, two thirds of all Aussies, including Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people stared it down at a ‘referendum’ (which itself was constitutionally flawed). So much for ‘independence’ let alone an ‘association’ that genuinely represents the interests of faith based schools. It is, if anything, antithetical to the entire interests, values and teaching, of many. Which begs the question: should faith based schools reject any and all association with the AIS? The answer, one would have thought, is obvious.

  • padmmdpat says:

    It was reported that in the 1930’s parents approached Nazi officials and expressed their concerns about many policies. The Nazis replied, “Do you think we are going to take notice of your concerns? We have your children. “

    • David Isaac says:

      Even if this ‘report’, presumably from those rare honest leftists, is true, I’m fairly sure that whatever they were being taught it was not to hate themselves, disrepect their parents and give up on the future of the nation their ancestors bequeathed them.

      • Sindri says:

        “Whatever they were being taught”. Typical evasive piffle from you. You know exactly what they were being taught: that Germans were the master race, jews were evil, conspiring untermenschen who needed to be excised from the German polity, and that men should follow the the law of nature that the strong wiped out the weak.
        Just give over trying to rehabilitate the Nazis, or else go over to stormfront and do it there.
        What’s with the faux-jewish screen name?

        • David Isaac says:

          Hi Sindri. I’ve almost missed your snide comments although I suspected responding to this one would entice you away from your forge. I’m not rehabilitating anyone, merely pointing out that such complaints even iin the ‘darkness’ most likely came from leftists whose level of affection for the truth ought to be well known by now. It’s possible that the unreferenced ‘report’ is true of course but it is more consonant with the anti-family stance of Marxism than German national socialism.
          My name means ‘Beloved of God’ ‘Laughter, Joy’

          • Sindri says:

            Look, I know it’s tough since the Adelaide Institute shut down, but this is an intelligent conservative site. So whenever you get the urge to leap to the defence of the Nazis, as here, or let fly with one of your anti-semitic remarks, or go on about the “ingenious, fractious, restless, warlike white folk” being under the thumb of the “world controllers” — your words – could you please take yourself off to and do it there?

  • antonius says:

    At the risk of being called sexist, is it just coincidence that the majority of primary teachers are young, female, and not very bright, if what we are told about the low entrance requirements for teaching is true? These are young women who have been persuaded that the myth of their victimhood is actually true. I am retired now, but taught in high schools for 40-odd years, during which time I saw the same gradual indoctrination. On one “PD day” probably about ten years ago, I particularly remember the shock for us all that an aboriginal slant had to be inserted (we were told that it had been “mandated”) into all subjects, whether it was English, manual arts, mathematics or accounting, so it was coming from the top.

  • Sindri says:

    More power to your pen, Mark Lopez (and Kevin). It’s depressing that the mainstream parties are utterly unable to bring any sense to bear, and take on the bureaucracy that mandates and facilitates this stuff.

  • padmmdpat says:

    In 1963, when I was in Grade 4 in a small working class Catholic school and taught by a Dominican nun, I remember, and have still now I am in my 70’s, one hot afternoon, standing by her desk. It was a very hot day. I noticed a trickle of sweat came from the linen wimple that encased her face under her veil. “You must be very hot Sister.” She looked at me and smiled, and then looked at the crucifix. And then smiled at me again. “It’s not important darling. ” It’s the best lesson I ever learnt.

  • whitelaughter says:

    At this point, my only response is “if you let your children got to a public school, you don’t love them”

Leave a Reply