Rantz: Teacher admits she brings politics into the classroom, miffed people are upset
A Seattle-area high school teacher admits that she and her colleagues deliberately bring politics into the classroom. Yet, she appears miffed at the criticisms.
Shila Hodgins teaches humanities at Eastlake High School, a Sammamish public school that has come under increased scrutiny for indoctrinating students.
Hodgins admits she and her colleagues “always bring in our politics.” But she doesn’t seem to understand why it’s wrong.
Teachers get political — on purpose
Hodgins was featured in a well-done, student-led podcast called Indy on Air, hosted by two Eastlake students who likely have careers in radio once they graduate. The topic was political indoctrination in the classroom. I was part of the piece arguing the dangers of left-wing indoctrination.
“There’s no neutral spaces, right? We always bring in our politics, because our history and the systems that we’ve created mean that our identities, our histories are tied to politics,” Hodgins explained. “It’s just … that’s what happens. And so when we walk in the room, we carry these biases. And these biases or, you know, sometimes someone walks in the room, their entire identity is on display, right? So we know that sometimes we walk in a room with these deep down or more obvious biases. Maybe it’s racial, maybe it’s religious. They’re always with us.”
But schools are supposed to be neutral spaces. And Hodgins and her colleagues are supposed to leave their political beliefs at the door — along with the biases that come with their identities.
But to Hodgins, that doesn’t seem possible.
A previous societal ideal was to focus on one’s character, not one’s race. But using a critical race theory lens, left-wing educators focus everything on identity. You’re either oppressed or an oppressor.
“I do my best to teach through the lens of justice in a way that centers a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds,” Hodgins said. “I want my students to see themselves in the classroom. To see that they are valued, heard, and supported. And I want them to know that I stand with them and the continued fight for equal rights in a more equitable world.”
That Hodgins believes something is promoting “equal rights” and an “equitable world” is irrelevant. It doesn’t mean she’s on the right side of the issue because she says she is.
Hodgins frames her views in ways that she thinks are difficult to argue with. Who, after all, would be upset with fighting for “equal rights” and a “more equitable world?” It’s a rhetorical trick. But she leans onto the same lazy, disingenuous argument that so many other educators use to justify their political leanings in the classroom.
And if you offer reasonable criticism of her or her colleagues, she plays the victim.
“I’m tired. I am tired and frustrated. Sometimes I’m nervous. And sometimes I’m angry,” she admitted.
CRT proponents seem to relish in gaslighting the public. Hodgins lays it on pretty thick while discussing criticisms of her class.
“It’s been said that it’s too liberal. Right? What is controversial about talking about systems of oppression? What is controversial about talking about race and equal rights?” she asked.
If a frequent criticism of a class is that it’s too liberal, then the teacher is bringing personal politics to the classroom.
When a teacher truly brings all sides to a discussion — which Hodgins claims to do — then you’re unlikely to be hit with criticisms of being one-sided. Neither students nor parents should know the political leanings of teachers.
The disingenuous argument
One oft-used argument is that the CRT proponents are “just teaching history.” But what they’re providing is analysis, yet presenting it as fact.
Hodgins laments the pushback, including threats teachers receive “for teaching about race, teaching about gender, sexual orientation, any category that would be fit under ‘marginalized persons,’ … it’s disheartening.”
Any illegal behavior in response to partisan teachers is wrong. It’s also wrong to lie about what’s happening in the classroom.
No one argues that racism shouldn’t be discussed. There’s no movement to ban lessons on the fight for equal rights. But that’s not what’s being taught. Claiming this country was founded on white supremacy and that institutional racism still permeates every faction of American society as a result? That’s opinion — one steeped in ideological bias.
Pretending all white students are some monolithic group that benefits from unearned privilege while every Black student is suffering unseen racism? That’s not fact; it’s a dangerous analysis that creates a mindset that will keep students from success.
And what is any high school class outside of health or biology “teaching about gender” exactly? The lesson plans she’s likely referencing have nothing to do with gender beyond pretending there are endless genders and that they’re all fluid. That is a political position, not one based on science.
Keep your worldview to yourself
Hodgins comes off as someone more interested in instilling her worldview in students than actually teaching them to think for themselves. I find that dangerous and unfair to students. They should make up their own minds on political issues, not feel like they must parrot the view of the teacher out of fear they will receive poor grades for taking the wrong position.
For someone so woke on the issues, Hodgins is rather naïve. She said in the interview that she doesn’t “mind if a student doesn’t like me, or doesn’t like what I believe in or anything.” Leftists usually focus on the power dynamic in relationships, yet when it comes to teacher-student, their concern over undue influence goes out the window.
A student may reasonably question if a teacher who presents herself as an equal rights freedom fighter may judge them harshly for disagreeing with what she believes.
Eastlake High School students have reached out to me since I started covering their school’s leftward drift. Some are scared of being openly conservative. That means they’re not in a healthy environment. And Hodgins contributes to that toxic campus. But she seems too far gone to do anything about it because she doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong.
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