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Making the case for private school


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Meet Gillian

WHEN I FIRST SAW GILLIAN RUSSOM, she was standing on the back of a flatbed truck in downtown Los Angeles, preparing to address a crowd of anti-war protestors. The first thought that crossed my mind was, “what is that little girl doing up on the stage?”

But it turns out that Gillian, the spokesperson for the Los Angeles chapter of the International Socialist Organization, is no “little girl.” Her chapter of the ISO was one of the sponsors of Saturday’s anti-war rally in Los Angeles, where she had the "pole position" as one of the final people to address the crowd of about two thousand demonstrators preparing to march through the heart of downtown LA.

Much like her fellow socialist Rebecca Anshell had done two months earlier in San Diego, Gillian outlined her organization’s ideas to help “end the occupation” in Iraq.

…The people who are going to bring an end to this occupation are not the politicians of (the Democratic or Republican) parties, but the people just like us here, and around the world, who are fed up and disgusted with this war. I know you can feel powerless sometimes… but remember that not too long ago a peoples’ movement here helped to stop the war in Vietnam, and forced the government to bring the troops home. We can do it again!

The Iraqi people have shown their willingness to resist under great odds. So have soldiers like Camilo Mejia, who was just sentenced to a year of hard labor for refusing to go back to Iraq. Now it’s our turn. We have a huge responsibility – let’s get out there and rebuild this movement, step by step, until Iraqis can determine their own future, and all our troops are home!

Indeed, Gillian and her comrades aren’t simply advocating for peace – they are actively working to bring about an American defeat in Iraq, using the Vietnam War as a template. They believe that by holding demonstrations against the war, encouraging soldiers to refuse to fight, and supporting the Iraqi resistance, they can help “defeat the US war machine.”

So, you might be wondering, what does a young woman like Gillian do for a living?

She’s a high school teacher. In fact, she’s an active member of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, and Progressive Educators for Action.

After the march, I found Gillian in front of the ISO booth. “I heard you speak before the march,” I told her. “So you’re a teacher?”

“Yeah! I teach high school history.”

“Oh? I studied history in college. Where do you teach?”

“Roosevelt High – it’s in East LA. The classrooms are so crowded… You know, if you like history, you should definitely come to our meeting this Thursday. We’re going to talk about what the anti-war movement can learn from Vietnam.” She pressed a flyer into my hands.


*When the US War Machine Was Beaten


30 years ago, three things defeated the US war machine in Vietnam:

*A determined national liberation struggle in Vietnam

*A historic revolt within the US armed forces

*The anti-war and other political movements at home

…What lessons do we need to draw from the experience of Vietnam for OUR movement today? Join in a discussion hosted by the LA branch of the ISO. What we do now matters for the future course of this war, and for the politician’s never-ending “war on terrorism.”

To underscore the point, the flyer featured a photograph of a helicopter preparing to lift off from the roof of the US Embassy as Saigon fell, in 1975.

(If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you can attend their meeting on Thursday, June 10, 7:00pm at Señor Fish Restaurant on the corner of First and Alameda Streets in Los Angeles; or drop in at any of the regular meetings of the ISO in your local area).

I thanked Gillian for the flyer. “So, do you try to get your students involved in activism?”

"Oh, definitely! I teach the required World History course, but I also teach an elective course on Revolutionary History. Those students are really receptive to new ideas. We cover the Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution, French Revolution, Mexican Revolution…”

“What about the American Revolution?”

“Oh, they cover that in US History,” she replied, dismissively. “Hey, you should read this article in the Socialist Worker on this so-called turnover of sovereignty in Iraq.” She opened the newspaper, pointing to an article titled “What the US has in store for Iraq.”

“Thanks. So, are there any other teachers in your group?”

“Of course!” She pointed to a man standing a few yards away. “My colleague Randy Childs even wrote an article in this newspaper!” She pointed to an article about a group of Los Angeles teachers picketing a school board meeting. "You want to buy a copy? It’s only a dollar!

“Sure, why not?” I forked over a buck.

Later, sitting in the shade of a tree a block away, I perused my copy of the Socialist Worker. Under a section titled “Where We Stand,” I found this interesting tidbit:

Reforms within the capitalist system cannot put an end to oppression and exploitation. Capitalism must be overthrown...

Do you know who is teaching your children?

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Shocker, teachers have opinions. I'm amazed.

Perhaps then we should all send our kids to private school, like where my girlfriend went.....where she was taught homosexuals are evil and dinosaurs never existed their bones are just a test of faith.

yay education!

....or we could be invovled in our kids education, not lose our cool at the first sign of something we disagree with, so that our kids can actually learn that there is more out there then what daddy wants you to learn and that you need to know it all and decide later in life.

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Catholic schools are the best. Parochial schools (K-8) are not very expensive, either. I learned the value of discipline, morality, and fundamentals in my K-8 years. I came to highschool far better prepared than my classmates (even ones who were smarter than I am), and it translated into getting into a good college.

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Originally posted by Kilmer17

Teachers are allowed to have opinions.

But they are only allowed to teach left wing opinions in the classrooms.

I'd prefer teachers stick to actual histor and not try to indoctronate kids to socialism.

That's not true Kilmer. Education varies based on location. You get a much more liberal education in liberal districts and vice versa. If you want something changed you do it with your vote. I had teachers that hated democrats and never failed to mention it and vice versa.

Problem is some people consider an education that isn't conservative is liberal by default.

Oh and I agree with you on the socialism thing. That is easily solved by being involved in your kids education.

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Teachers are fired for wearing crosses to school, yet crap like this is tolerated.

I dont mind teachers having an opinion. I dont mind them sharing that opinion either. What I have a problem with is them TEACHING their opinion as fact and not providing an alternate opinion.

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Originally posted by Kilmer17

I dont mind teachers having an opinion. I dont mind them sharing that opinion either. What I have a problem with is them TEACHING their opinion as fact and not providing an alternate opinion.

I agree 100%

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Exactly Kilmer... my thoughts exactly. Why must these "activists" teachers slant the curriculum towards their political views. The kids are there to learn, in her case history, so why doesn't she just teach history? Instead, she laces the class with a political slant that makes her history lessons appear to be the result of America's participation.

Can you imagine her segment on Vietnam? Is it her place to tell her students that America was wrong, that we had no business protecting the South Vietnamese, and that the North prevailed due to preseverence and blah..blah...blah.

Teach the damn lesson.... let the kids decide their views on the subject. Same goes for College.... but that day is far far away from the Liberal breeding ground enviroment we have today.

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