On the Primacy of Political Correctness in Education

The Education System is full of trends and fads. Most just distract us from the job at hand which should be producing literate, well read, mathematically proficient, historically informed individuals. 

The newest trend roaring through our public schools in many districts is the politically correct Cultural Sensitivity training. It would seem the assumption is that all are racist and need to be worked over by the political correctness police to ensure there is not an ounce of common sense left to be found. It’s an overreach, an overstep, an overreaction by those who swoon at the suggestion of someone somewhere being offended, thus producing oversensitive, over reactive people who have no coping skills for life in general. 

In Chilliwack there were two events that took place a number of years ago that brought forward a knee jerk reaction to inculcate all staff in the school district to take a course by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. What were the two offenses that necessitated this correction of behaviour? A high school featured a student (in black face) playing the role of the protagonist in the play, To Kill a Mocking Bird. But here’s the rub, if there was no black person in this play, the entire premise for the story and the inherent racism in the story is lost. Let your mind rest on that a second. But, someone saw the picture in a yearbook from several years ago and saw an opportunity to vilify those who would seek to portray a black person by, well, being black. 

The second offence was a school that had a fundraising event called Slave for a Day, again, several years ago. And incidentally, most schools did this and most likely ran for cover when this story broke. How could they be so immoral as to enlist students in doing errands, jobs, tasks (voluntarily) to raise money! I mean, the nerve of them?  Such practices must have harmed these students irreparably. Sarcasm aside, this was always a fun event for both students and teachers. It is truly such a shame that it has been infested with the accursed title of political correctness. Incidentally, the money raised went to good causes which was the entire point of the event.

But the bigger picture of these scenarios, the reason for this cultural sensitivity training is actually a gigantic insult to the staff in our schools and the school district as a whole. Really and truly, to insinuate the need and then encourage all staff to take this training is in and of itself an offense!  And to put an onus on everyone to be transformed into correct thinking by this is far more offensive than either one of the two aforementioned events! 

So, three cheers for the staff in our school district who most assuredly don’t need this overreaction of cultural sensitivity training.  But here’s the thing, the staff are just too darn polite to say that they are offended. Irony abounds. 

Heather Maahs

Heather has been a school trustee in Chilliwack since being elected in 2008.