Friday, December 16, 2011

The OISE cult of conformity

OISE, the Mordor of Education

The Ontario Institute for studies in education trains teachers. Unfortunately, its been largely taken over by a far left cult that believes white people, particularly straight men, are oppressors.  Sociologist Werner Cohn has written an excellent series of blog postings about this. See here.

Below, I've pasted in one student's report of her year spent at OISE. I suspect my views on many matters might be closer to the views of her far left professors than to hers. For example, I think it's important that all children feel at home in our schools, which means our school must affirm their identities.

So it's important for kids to see their holidays recognized: Christmas for Christians, Rosh HaShannah for Jews, Eid for Muslims. Gay kids should be able to be who they are without being bullied. Girls should be able to walk the halls of high schools without having their asses grabbed. And no kid should ever have to put up with being harassed about their race. 

For the most part, Toronto schools seem to be doing a do good job - particularly on the multicultural front (though I do hear extremely disturbing things about bullying, sexual harassment and violence in some schools).

But to get back to OISE, while supporting a diversity of identities, OISE draws the line at allowing diversity in thinking.  There is a party line at OISE that's taught to new teachers. It includes explicit support of the NDP, hatred of Israel and tolerance of antisemitism if it's dressed up as anti-Zionism, and hostility toward straight white males as oppressors. (Again, see Cohn's postings here.)

With teachers being educated in bigotry at OISE, is it any wonder that now we have a Toronto teacher connecting his students to antisemitic websites, as I noted in this recent article.
Here's one woman's experience of her year at OISE....

OISE, Indoctrinating the Teachers to Indoctrinate the Children
By: Ruthann Attia

I am sure that many of you have heard about the liberal and leftist agenda that has taken over our institutions of higher learning. I would like to share some of what I experienced attending the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

It was my first real experience in a Canadian public education institution as I had previously attended a small private high school, followed by attendance at a university in the United States. I can say now that I am very thankful that the time I did spend in the Canadian public education system was not lengthy.

I began my year at OISE with my mind open and ready to learn, with no previously conceived notions about the political atmosphere of teachers college; I had simply heard that, in general, it was often boring and easy. However, my experience at OISE was anything but boring. In fact, it left me feeling angry, deflated and, most of all, deeply saddened about the direction in which Canada is headed.

Initially, I was entirely shocked by the blatantly obvious political agenda. On the first day I noticed that my classroom wall had a poster listing the main Canadian political parties. It then listed each party’s supposed track record with major Canadian issues, such as health care and education. Unbelievably, the poster went on to proclaim, that, as future teachers, we should be sure to “Vote NDP.”

I looked around for other posters proclaiming the same for Conservatives and Liberals: I could find none. I was so shocked that I pulled out my cell phone and took a photo of it, as proof of the propaganda! Sadly, this poster was the least of my concerns by the year’s end.

Classes began and I was repeatedly baffled by the content of discussions being held in my classrooms. Such issues included why universities and high schools lacked transgendered washrooms, how to not stand for the national anthem, and censoring the celebration of Christmas in schools because it is too “painful of an experience for non-Christians”.

After speaking out numerous times and trying to create a more even-keeled discussion about several issues raised in class, I realized that what was most upsetting about this whole situation was that the door to discussion had been closed. Permanently.

My classmates and professors at OISE had absolutely no “tolerance” for anyone who opposed their views on tolerance, equity, diversity and social justice. I was fighting a losing battle. It was obvious that my classmates and professors were on a mission.

This mission involved indoctrinating each student teacher, and eventually each high school student, with the tenets of their secular religion. The religion’s highest objective was to attain “equity, diversity and social justice” in all aspects of education and social life.

While it sounded great, when seen through an OISE lens it was actually a very totalitarian policy, with a complex language and some very self-righteous believers. I could not even speak about a possible doubt without being cast out of the group altogether and labeled a diversity-hater and an enemy of social justice.

I desperately tried to fight this belief that I did not care about the issues discussed in class, simply because I approached them from a different angle. I was consistently shut down by shallow arguments and silly comments that implied I simply hadn’t developed as far as the rest of the group on the “progressive path”.

One of my classmates even began crying and told the class she found it very hurtful when people (looking in my direction) did not pay attention to issues she found to be of profound importance (this particular class focused on homosexual education). It was all very demeaning and, by the end of the year, I had mentally and emotionally checked out and no longer spoke in class at all.

Fighting against 30 classmates every day took its toll. The last comment I made in class was to let my peers and future colleagues know that it frightened me that they could not deal with my questions or my disbelief in their policies without ostracizing me, for how would they treat the high school students that disagreed with them? As you can imagine, this did not lead to an increase in my popularity.

Needless to say, the year passed by at a dreadfully slow pace. I found myself sitting through classes on how to get hetero-normative language out of the schools, reading countless documents that had been reviewed for “equity”, and reading mandatory Marxist and feminist literature.

I was urged to attend equity/diversity workshops, and asked to volunteer in Gender Construction workshops that were mandatory for grade 10 students, where issues like “straight supremacy” would be discussed by curious 15-year-olds.

At one point, a classmate asked the professor: “So, are we supposed to be activists, or teachers?” and the professor promptly replied, “Can the two really be separated?”
Looking back on my experience now, I realize that, as a student attending OISE, I was subject to what should be described as indoctrination. This indoctrination is of great concern not only to me, but also to all Canadians, no matter what side of the political spectrum.

It is institutions such as OISE that educate the educators, who will in turn educate the nation. It is scary and sad to think of the thousands of students who will be indoctrinated in the classrooms of all my like-minded, unquestioning, and intolerant OISE-educated peers.

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