Forgive me, but I'm angry right now. This morning, I came across an article on the LA Time's website that really got to me. So what got my ire? We lost another teacher.
She wasn't killed, she was let go. But to me, the effect is the same. In a time when school systems from New York to Hawaii are in dire need new teaches, the last thing we need is some arcane rule to exacerbate the situation. She wasn't let go because she molested a student. Nor was she an under performing teacher. No crime was committed by this young lady.
So what was the reason she was terminated? She wouldn't take a loyalty oath. That's right, Ms. Gonaver (the victim) wouldn't sign her name on a piece of paper that basically says she would be loyal to America. For Ms. Gonavar, this went against her religious beliefs. Did the State of California care? Hell no!
For the uninitiated, many school systems have been employing this oath system since the beginning of the Cold War. Back then it was deemed as an attempt to supposedly route out Communists from public service.
It was the late 40s/early 50s, and it was the big Red Scare, everyone thought that those pesky Commies were everywhere.
The loyalty oath was added to the state Constitution by voters in 1952 to root out communists in public jobs. Now, 16 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main effect is to weed out religious believers, particularly Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses.- excerpt from "Teacher fired for refusing to sign loyalty oath"
Now whether this was true or not, I could give a shit these days, and so should you. The Cold War has been over since 1991, there is no more Soviet Union, and the closest thing we got to that is China and they're more capitalist than we are! There is absolutely no need to have this Oath! It is a useless relic from a now-bygone era, something that should have been scrapped.
Yet, saying this, I can see why many on the Right would think this was still needed. The other day by some weird coincidence, I had Michael Savage on the radio (for some reason, I could not get WCPT) and the bastard was calling on such an Oath system for other things. Many conservatives genuinely believe that liberal-progressives are out to destroy the country. That there is a wave of subversion to destroy the nation in order to build some lefty commune. Laughable as this may seem, it is this type of thinking that has given us this Loyalty garbage.
I've had good teachers, and I've had mediocre teachers and lastly some really shitty teachers. Some were dire hard conservatives, and a couple were adamant Communists (so much for that Oath, eh?). But not one...NOT ONE has preached the downfall of America or engineered a curriculum that would generate such ideas. Sure they spoke out against some policies, but that is all our rights to do so. Frankly, to me, this so-called Loyalty Oath is a violation of this right.
As a Quaker from Pennsylvania and a lifelong pacifist, Gonaver objected to the California oath as an infringement of her rights of free speech and religious freedom. She offered to sign the pledge if she could attach a brief statement expressing her views, a practice allowed by other state institutions. But Cal State Fullerton rejected her statement and insisted that she sign the oath if she wanted the job.
"I wanted it on record that I am a pacifist," said Gonaver, 38. "I was really upset. I didn't expect to be fired. I was so shocked that I had to do this."- excerpt from "Teacher fired for refusing to sign loyalty oath"
This isn't the first time either. Calstate had let go of a Math professor, Marianne Kearney-Brown, because she wanted to include a clause of non-violence. She was soon rehired after the media spot-lighted this. And I'm sure there are many many more who the press haven't focused on, that still are without a job.
As previously mentioned, education to me is very dear. Education is one of my "5-Es" of true national security. Teachers, so disarmed by lack of investment for so long by this conservative environment, should not be furthered hampered by this. In this day and age, do we really need a Loyalty Oath?
"The way it's laid out, a noncitizen member of Al Qaeda could work for the university, but not a citizen Quaker," she said. - excerpt from "Teacher fired for refusing to sign loyalty oath"
You know, I take that back. We do need one, but not from the teachers! We need to make our politicians swear a Loyalty Oath that they would properly invest in education. That they would swear to cut the bullshit about promises for new schools, new teachers, and supposed new standards, and actually do what's needed.