Politics in the Classroom

Sun News is reporting that the BC Teacher's Federation has put out a new lesson plan which involves presenting one side (and only one side) of the debate about the Northern Gateway pipeline.

You can read the story here: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/10/03/feds-unimpressed-with-teacher-unions-northern-gateway-lesson-plans 

The article notes "The lesson plans and classroom resources emphasize opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to connect Alberta's oilsands with a tanker terminal on the north coast of B.C. Teachers are encouraged to get middle school students to sign an anti-Northern Gateway petition while pointing them to anti-oilsands groups like the Dogwood Initiative and the left-wing Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives."

There is nothing wrong with discussing politics in the classroom, and schools with a particular mandate (such as religious schools) might choose to teach issues from a certain perspective. However, ALL schools should teach critical thinking, and regular public schools who do not have some pre-advertised special emphasis, should seek neutrality on contentious political questions.

For a teacher's union to suggest that only one side of the debate about the Northern Gateway pipeline should be taught in general public schools is not acceptable. It undermines the right of parents, who have a right to put their children in a school that is going to present them with more than one perspective.