Woke Politics In Schools Is The Problem
The Pandemic Is Only A Symptom
This is a guest post written anonymously by a teacher at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
The HWDSB’s Interim Director’s March 30th email was delivered to all of our inboxes and never was there a more serious sentiment delivered from a man at the top of a hierarchy to employees he will most certainly never meet.
On the heels of Learn Disrupt Rebuild, Wellness, a mask-mandate-if-necessary-but-not-necessarily-a-mask mandate, the board’s (in)voluntary approach to employee pronouns, the suspension of student suspensions, the rise of “equity” leadership, the endless anti-racism PD meetings, the virtue signalling over being on “stolen” land, the fabricated moment of “reflection” when administrators discovered—lo! just this past year—that Canada had a residential school system, the senseless wailing and gnashing of teeth over the meaning of “Canada”, the gaslighting of staff who refuse to accept that Canada has always been a cauldron of hate, the Interim Director had this to say to his employees: “On a final note, we want to thank you for your continued effort supporting our students and families. Staff have been through so much in the past two years. We understand you are tired. Together, we will collectively process what our new normal looks like and heal from the pandemic as a community”.
I realize that dissent at PD and staff meetings is verboten, but I cannot resist the obvious foray into honesty here: the pandemic is not the genuine cause of staff fatigue. Staff are tired because our board has adopted the tenor and purpose of Ignatius of Loyola and the psychology of an organization suffering from “military incompetence syndrome” [MIS].
MIS is what happens to militaries that ossify under leaders that lack foresight and dynamism. There are a few glaring symptoms of MIS that should be elucidated upon to demonstrate what ails this board: wasting human and other resources; clinging to outworn traditions without learning from past experience; ignoring information that contradicts one’s confirmation bias; continuing with a strategy despite evidence it is defective; seeking scapegoats; believing in magical forces (hello equity assessment and Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy).
I implore readers to go to @WokeatHWDSB’s twitter feed and review a “leaked’ staff document that has emerged from an HWDSB high school. One would hope that leadership this divisive, myopic and oblivious to the needs of staff would be an anomaly. Unfortunately, 13 staff in 13 different high schools across the HWDSB insist that the document was created at their school because the problems seem so immediate.
Has the pandemic itself caused staff to be demoralized and tired? COVID could be a symptom but it is not the disease. As the report details, staff everywhere are being discouraged from having political opinions (particularly anything right of the NDP or the CBC), department head promotions have become an exercise in memorizing passages from White Fragility or pretending that you have always smudged, misbehaving students are being ignored by administrators too distracted by the “mission” of wokeness to discipline them, book clubs are rewarding mediocrity, there is a complete disregard for Canadian symbols and traditions (every student too lazy to stand for O Canada is a ‘conscientious objector’), administrators are badgering teachers to give credits to students who have done nothing and have rarely attended and, finally, the great unknown: is this the statement that will get me hauled before the board’s HR inquisition committee?
I have no idea what the Interim Director’s definition of “new normal” means, but it surely can’t be more of this, can it? Will students start getting credits for merely hanging out in hallways because the classroom is a symbol of colonial oppression? Will our newly-evangelized-woke leaders find someone to blame other than teachers, for students congregating in stairwells, bathrooms and front foyers? Do the people who work at the Education Centre seriously think that students learn reading, writing and numeracy through osmosis?
Should this Director be sincere in his desire to “heal” I would suggest this to him: randomly show up, unannounced, at any high school in the middle of the afternoon and sneak in a back door. Try to use a student washroom without being intimidated. Try to determine whether class is in session or not based on the number of students in the hallways; observe the number of closed classroom doors from staff who have simply given up; observe the number of students obliviously playing on their phones during class time because staff cannot ask a student to surrender their device; walk by the front office, pretend you are a teacher, and see if you can pry the administrators away from their ‘crucial’ MS Teams meetings.
But I honestly wouldn’t want to ruin your afternoon. You should also observe the woke initiatives and rituals. The social justice posters, the rainbow flags, the chair yoga, the students aimlessly walking around the building in the pursuit of mental bliss. The disregard for “whiteness”, including clocks, rules and a semblance of discipline. You might even be fortunate enough to arrive on one of the many “colour calendar” days where we profess to the world how much we care about something we know very little about by wearing pink, red, orange, blue, teal, cactus green, Douglas fir green, white spruce, banana yellow, banana brown, rainbow pride, Leprechaun rainbow, etc.
Let me finish by offering the Board and interim Director some advice: HWDSB, first heal yourself.
Thanks for reading. The issues discussed in this post are not unique to HWDSB. Here are some more examples of articles written (there are many more on this substack) by parents and teachers at the following school boards: