Editor, Times-Union:

Anyone and everyone who is currently accusing public school teachers of grooming or Indoctrinating or even brainwashing America’s children — shame on you!

Anyone and everyone who is currently blaming public school teachers for the increases in learning problems, emotional problems or psychological problems plaguing America’s children — shame on you!

For hundreds of years public school teachers have been increasingly burdened with the task of solving society’s problems while at the same time trying to teach the “basics” and prepare students to become productive adults. Responsibility for teaching life skills, math skills, reading skills, writing skills, social skills, good health habits, good physical and mental development, good citizenship, patriotism, and ultimately independence was the job, the duty of the classroom teacher. Eventually a four-year college degree became a prerequisite to obtaining a teaching license. Then, in addition to continuing education classes, a masters’ degree was added to the requirements.

In addition to a full day of teaching, many if not most teachers also had to bear responsibility for recess duty, bus duty, sports sponsorship, other extracurricular sponsorship, staff meetings, committee meetings, and, of course, parent meetings and conferences. Through the years, teachers became responsible for handling standardized testing, making sure children were fed, were clean, were safe from abuse and bullying, and were equipped with all the tools necessary to accomplish their learning with paper, pencils, tablets, etc., etc., etc.

Why now, all of a sudden, are teachers and public schools in general being accused of the most egregious offenses? What has changed? Could it be that greedy, power-hungry, fear-mongering, autocratic politicians have discovered that when far-right, holier-than-thou citizens are fed lies, they easily work themselves into their self-righteous frenzies and pave the way for conspiracy junkies to gain positions of power. Shame on all of them!

While I believe in the right of all parents to send their babies to private or parochial schools or to home school them themselves, I also believe these are the real places where children are “indoctrinated,” “groomed” and “molded” into the kinds of people their parents want them to be. Please note I am not saying this is bad or wrong or should be stopped. I am saying this is the alternative choice parents have if they do not believe in public education for all. Those parents do not have the right to force changes and put restrictions on public education because of their personal beliefs and biases. Shame on them!

The restrictions and laws proposed and pushed by narrow-minded, power-seeking politicians are taking education backward at an alarming pace. Good teachers are leaving the profession. Public schools are closing. Our country will become a land of robotic, mindless, sheep who have lost the ability to think, to reason, and to control their own destinies. There will be only Big Brother and his minions forcing them how to think, what to think, and threatening consequences for not obeying. Shame, shame, shame!

Jeanne Schutz

Winona Lake, via email