Those who take pleasure in vices that undermine their judgment and health are not necessarily damned. People can do what they wish in private, as long as it does not harm others. For those, however, whose teachings wreck the confidence of students in history and moral faith, it is a different matter.
Employment as a teacher is not an unconditional right. Teacher tenure laws reflect harmful public sector collective bargaining laws and subsequent teacher union contracts that school boards are expected to sign. In Iowa, that Code is 20.1 – 20.26. Instead of protecting the students, parents, and the community, radical teachers can defy and overpower local citizen control about what is taught.
If the totalitarian idea of teacher tenure privilege and collective bargaining are not abandoned in favor of citizen control and academic freedom for competing ideas, the demise of America seems clear. I predict that those newly required university-wide courses will, because of the secular militancy of a few tenured professors, soon include God-rejecting anti-American propaganda.
Confidentiality protections make it a crime for school administrators to disclose problem teachers. They have been privileged to the protection of costly judicial proceedings, shielding them from accountability to the citizens who pay their salaries. Collective bargaining laws, that do not allow the people’s school board representatives to verify and follow a superintendent’s judgment for dismissing a teacher, destroys both the citizens’ sovereignty and democracy. The cure for injustice is not legalizing it.
In March 2008, harsh debate in the Iowa legislature brought this problem to the public’s attention. Politicians, whose elections were advanced by campaign money that was received from outside the state and local teacher dues, were pushing for changes in the government public sector collective bargaining law. A section making it even harder to dismiss harmful teachers caused grave concerns among school administrators. Margaret Buckton, chief lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards, says regarding arbitration, “Adjudicators have tended to rule in favor of the teachers.” As the teachers’ bargaining rights law now stands, “Attempts to remove a teacher can last years an cost hundreds of thousands of dollars” (The Ames, Iowa Tribune, March 27, 2008, p. 4).
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that both parties (in this case, those who trust God, and those who reject the knowledge of God) must be free from government interference to promote their views. This approach in the context of history is beneficial, because competition sharpens citizen understanding. This is the civic duty of newspapers, civic organizations, churches and education in our Republic. Citizens can subscribe to newspapers and purchase textbooks that uphold and emphasize honest renditions of history. The wisdom for that freedom was paramount in the hearts and minds of the men who framed the foundational American charters.
Ernest Renan, a Pantheist with agnostic tendencies, wisely understood the historical value of the Judeo-Christian Bible to his religious freedom. He warned his agnostic friends, “Let us enjoy the liberty of the sons of God, but let us take care lest we become accomplices in the diminution of virtue which would menace society if Christianity were to grow weak. What should we do without it? If Rationalism wishes to govern the world without regard to the religious needs of the soul, the experience of the French Revolution is there to teach us the consequences of such a blunder” (Ernest Renan’s appeal to his agnostic friends; David A. Norris, Restoring Education Central To American Greatness, iUniverse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2011, p. 120).
~ D. Norris