Modern Education is a Safe Haven for Left Wing Teachers to Influence Students | Emily May Davitt
It’s no secret that young people in the U.K. are, on average, more left wing that their grandparents. Is this due to a lack of understanding of the fiscal system or a need to rebel against the government? Who knows, but perhaps it’s time to acknowledge the fact that there could be a hidden factor behind their reasoning, the education system.
In no way do I believe that the whole system is corrupt, just that it has flaws that have allowed teachers to pass on left wing ideologies to pre-teens that have then been nurtured to create today’s generation of left wing Instagram activists.
In the first instance, let’s look at English literature classes. Taught from the age of eleven to sixteen, the class is designed to allow students to learn to analytically read and write about classical literature. While this class is crucial and helps students build writing skills that are used in later life, it has turned into an opportunity for teachers to preach about texts with left wing undertones. Popular examples of texts that are studied at GCSE level include Blood Brothers, An Inspector Calls, Of Mice And Men, and Animal Farm. All of these texts quite obviously have left leaning political themes that run throughout them. Students are taught to “unpack” these novels that frequently villianise any character who is even remotely pro-capitalism. While no one is denying that these books are well written and worthy of being studied, it is naive to expect young people with limited knowledge of the opinions they are villianising not to absorb some of these views.
A 2018 YouGov poll of 18 to 14 year-olds were surveyed showed the Labour Party winning six hundred seats. It is undeniably clear that young people are more often than not left wing, yet we are ignoring the fact that the people who have been responsible for their education are just as renowned for being left wing. A TES poll carried out on teachers prior to the 2017 election found that fifty three percent of teachers were planning to vote for the Labour Party. While this dropped slightly in the 2019 election to forty nine percent it was still an overwhelmingly large proportion compared to any other party.
A quick Google search on this topic shows that it’s not hard to find the many horror stories of the rare right wing teacher sharing their experience of how the school they work at had silenced any opinion that wouldn’t feel at home in the Labour Party manifesto. During the 2018 Labour Party conference Sion Rickard, a teacher, made the claim that with a “proper education” we would no longer have any Tories. If this is true, then why is it continuously the case that as people get older and experience life in the real world they, on average, then lean more to the right? Schools have regrettably become a place for determined teachers to promote their views to young people and not be called out for it under the pretence of it being “education”. I spoke with someone who recalled their teacher once saying “when people ask me why I don’t go to marches for ‘the cause’, I look at what I do here for ‘the cause’, and you have to ask, which of us is more effective?” This is a clear example of how our education system has become a playground for morally corrupt teachers to influence students.
I had many discussions with students and teachers to see if the stories I read were a one off or if biased teaching was truly an issue that was even able to affect people I know. It quickly became apparent that left wing teaching is not just present in a few isolated incidents. People shared stories of everything from teachers telling them their opinions are wrong purely because they disagreed with it to teachers refusing to acknowledge or answer questions from a student just because they had different political affiliations. Not only does it seem that teachers are encouraging students to be left leaning but when one pushes back they are immediately dismissed and in some cases it seems they are punished for their political beliefs. One teacher I spoke to said they keep their political beliefs quiet at the school they teach at as “being openly Tory isn’t something I would risk”. When asked their opinion on how teachers with left wing beliefs are teaching they said they felt “the problem lies with children being given [political] views in the same way they are given answers in maths or science where there is a right or wrong”.
Overall it seems undeniably clear that the education system has opened the door for left wing radicals to leave an impression on naïve students through both the curriculum and the way it is taught as well as through the way they teach their students. By schools turning a blind eye to this type of teaching it sets a dangerous precedent that could have a lasting impact on our education system that goes unacknowledged.
Photo by Cheryl Williams on Flickr.