Troublesome teachers

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Troublesome teachers


How can elementary, middle and high school teachers have such a one-sided perspective? Is it right for them to express their biased political points of view in this way? How can we feel safe leaving our children in their care, essentially allowing them to shape their minds?

Recent comments by the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union criticizing the government dash the last modicum of hope we had in the union.

The declaration signed by 16,000 union members attacked the government for its “serious infringement on the bedrock of a democratic state - freedom of speech, unfair prosecutions and investigations into those involved in public rallies and anti-government media coverage - and threats to hard-won peaceful inter-Korean relations.”

It added that it hopes the tragic cycle of having a government chosen and then abandoned by the people will not be repeated.

Their perspective on the current state of affairs is completely subjective. Statistics show that arrests from rallies are significantly lower than reported in the previous two administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. Prosecutions resulting from riots have also decreased sharply.

The union also condemned a recent ruling by the Seoul High Court, in which it dismissed an appeal by four producers and a scriptwriter for MBC’s investigative news program “PD Diary,” upholding an earlier court decision on their report on mad cow disease and demanding the broadcaster run more extensive corrections.

It is worrisome that the twisted and distorted words in the declaration come from teachers of our children, who are supposed to be fair and objective.

They kept silent on the belligerent North, which has been threatening the domestic and global peace with nuclear weapons. How is it that they refuse to share their opinions on the current nuclear issue?

The government is planning to take action against the teachers who signed the declaration. The union insists its freedom of speech is “legal.” But whether legal or not, what concerns us is that the union’s perspective could negatively influence students who are not yet mature.

Only last month, on the occasion of 20th anniversary of the union’s establishment, they vowed to lead a second campaign for “true education.”

Meanwhile, teachers’ union executives have tried to hide union members’ involvement in a series of sexual abuse cases. It seems they should have been spending more time reflecting on themselves rather than on politics.

How long will they continue with their uncompromising parochialism?
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