Maine state representative Lawrence Lockman isn’t backing down after a committee in the state legislature killed his proposed bill that would have forbidden political and ideological indoctrination in the public schools of the Pine Tree State.
Leftist indoctrination in the classroom “is a violation of the civil rights of the students,” Lockman told FrontPage. Politically correct identity-group politics is now the norm in Maine’s classrooms, he said. (FrontPage published an op-ed by Lockman on March 5.)
“Realtors, architects, dental hygienists, have a code of ethics,” he said. “Why not teachers?”
Teachers were wrong to get involved in and bring students to a previous demonstration to lobby for the passage of legislation restricting firearms, Lockman said.
“It’s outrageous that teachers are taking sides on a legislative issue.”
“The kids were used,” he said. “They were pawns. They were dupes.”
“If the gun owners of Maine were having a demonstration or a rally to press for pro-firearms legislation I would just as strongly have opposed teachers getting involved in that.”
Lockman said his 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the Maine First Project, is moving forward with a “forgotten parents’ initiative” to get parents involved at the local level.
Lockman’s comments came after his fellow Republican lawmakers abandoned him and allowed his bill, known as LD 589, to die in committee. The measure, which the David Horowitz Freedom Center helped to draft, was unanimously voted down by the joint House-Senate Education and Cultural Affairs Committee Feb. 28. Not surprisingly, the teachers’ unions and the ACLU opposed the bill.
The legislation would have required the State Board of Education to “adopt rules prohibiting teachers in public schools from engaging in political, ideological or religious advocacy in the classroom.” Those rules “must be clear and provide enforcement mechanisms for appropriate and professional ethical behavior by teachers licensed in the State in tax-supported schools.”
While on the job public school teachers would have been forbidden from endorsing, supporting or opposing: any candidate or nominee for public office; any pending, proposed, or enacted legislation; and any pending, proposed, or executed executive action by an executive or executive branch agency at the local, state, or federal level.
Teachers would also have been barred from “[a]dvocating in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue,” and from taking a stand on any pending, proposed, or decided court case and from introducing any controversial subject matter not germane to the course being taught. They also would have been forbidden to endorse, support, or engage in any activity that hampers or impedes the lawful access of a military recruiter to the school campus or that hampers or impedes the actions of local, state, or federal law enforcement.
“Segregating students according to race or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students,” would also have been prohibited.
Republican lawmakers on the committee joined Democrats to brush aside Lockman’s concerns about the ongoing leftist indoctrination of Maine students.
Rep. Gary Drinkwater (R) said the bill “goes against the core belief” that this issue should be “handled by [local school] administration,” the Bangor Daily News reported.
“It’s not a major issue. It’s a small issue that happens, and it’s not to be tolerated,” Drinkwater said. “We want controversial issues brought up in the classroom — that’s a good place for it to be discussed. We just don’t want one-sided philosophy taught.”
Drinkwater said everyone agreed the way to proceed “is not with legislation.”
This “local control” argument that Republicans on the committee hid behind was a complete cop-out, according to Lockman. It amounts to Republican lawmakers saying they don’t care about the civil rights of students and that ethics are optional for teachers in Maine.
The state government already bears most of the cost of K-12 public education and imposes mandates on local governments and school districts “all the time,” he said.
The testimony of parent Cathy Nichols, who co-chairs the Falmouth Town Republican Committee in Cumberland County, Maine, fell on deaf ears.
When the bill was scuttled by the committee, “I was stunned,” Nichols told FrontPage.
“Icouldn’t understand how they could ignore such raw verbatim testimony.”
Children “have very malleable minds” and some children “are being victimized” in the classroom, she said.
In her testimony before the committee, Nichols said students who expressed non-leftist opinions were marginalized, and in some cases, punished.
One parent told her that at a school in Portland “students who chose not to participate in the [March 2018 pro-gun control] walk out were required to remain in the library with no books and no computers, a virtual detention.”
One girl was told to remove her pro-Trump MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) hat while her classmates wore the pink pussy-hats popularized by the Women’s March. Another said her political science class was completely one-sided, teaching about Democrats without discussing Republicans.
A 7th grade female attended a “Girls Rock” event supported by a school. The girls were given tee shirts bearing the word “feminism” and were asked to draw the shape of a vagina on paper and pin it to the shirt. Later the girls were taught that anal sex, same-sex sex, and not shaving body parts was acceptable. Many parents were horrified when their daughters recounted the experience, Nichols said.
The father of another 7th grader complained about the radical bent of social studies homework. The student was asked to research a website called We The Future which describes only leftist causes including Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, gun control, and open borders. Students were encouraged by their teacher to become politically active on behalf of these radical causes.
A boy was asked to write an essay about the border wall promised by President Trump. He complied and received a failing grade when he supported Trump’s position.
“There is an inherent bias in our school system towards a liberal interpretation at the exclusion of any kind of conservative opinion,” Nichols said in her testimony.
“This bias fosters intolerance of different beliefs and this is not the kind of education we deserve. Please teach our children how to think, not what to think.”
“These students, our children, who did not go along with the ‘groupthink’ were shamed not only by certain other students, but, more distressingly, by teachers. They were punished not for anything they did, but for beliefs they hold.”
FrontPage readers are painfully aware that the Left has long been attempting to radicalize students and encourage them to become activists obsessed with the Marxist holy trinity of race, sex, and class.
With help from extreme-left hate groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and California’s Just Communities Central Coast, and other radical activists trying to impose unwanted social change on the country, public school teachers across America already saturate students with information about racial injustice in America in a nonstop barrage of historic facts and ahistorical nonsense. And in the culture at large, the media, politicians, and the entertainment industry can’t stop talking about race.
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Marxist theorist Paulo Freire urged that schools be used to inculcate radical values in students to transform them into agents of social change. Freire argued that the so-called dominant pedagogy “silences” poor and minority children and that there is no such thing as a neutral educational system.
Joining Freire in his desire to use the educational system to level institutions is unrepentant communist terrorist and education theorist Bill Ayers, a close associate of Barack Obama who has long advocated corrupting the young so they can agitate to fundamentally transform American society.
“If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to; the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon,” he said in 2012. “We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm.”
Fortunately, there are still people like Lockman and Nichols who are willing to fight back against the radical indoctrination of young, impressionable students, even if it means taking on fellow Republicans.
As Lockman wrote in his op-ed:
I suppose that when you’re always tucked into a defensive crouch, and want to be well thought of by the Democrats and the Fake News media, you would have good reason to be scared of losing your next election campaign if you voted against the wishes of the ACLU and the union bosses.
But what if our side played offense for a change?
What if we hammered the union bosses for all they have done to wreck public education and indoctrinate our kids? What if we went to bat on behalf of parents and students who are being cheated by the rigged system?
What would happen if we decided to fight fire with fire?
We’ll never know until we try.
This article by Matthew Vadum appeared March 8, 2019, at FrontPageMag.