Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Powell Teacher Chooses Political Activism over Teaching in the Classroom

In what is yet another example of liberal agenda indoctrination via academia, an Olentangy Liberty High School Spanish teacher, Erica Vieyra, has assigned her kids an assignment where they are told to try and immigrate.

When the students fill out the paper work, she stamps them “Denied” and then tells them how to do it illegally. Of course she claims this is not political indoctrination. As reported by the Columbus Dispatch:
But she cautions that the point isn't to sway the students, only to teach them a little empathy.

Read the whole Story

No, of course not. Far be it for a teacher to be a liberal, let alone use her class room for political gain. A captured audience I might add.

She goes on and seems to get the reporter to adopt her politics when it is reported:
But they would gain, she hoped, an understanding of what is one of the most important political and humanitarian issues facing the U.S. government today.

Really? The MOST important humanitarian issue? Political too? Well, at least she admits she is engaging in Political influencing.

Bare in mind liberals fight to remove any reference to religion, no matter what it is, claiming it intimidates, or I guess tricks people into believing, but liberal indoctrination in the schools? Well, that is not only ok, but damn near a requirement for tenure.

So, good job Olentangy Liberty High School. You disappoint like so many others.

Fair is fair, so can I force Erica Vieyra’s kids to read my blog? Hell, she forces outr kids to listen to her beliefs.

Teachers are seen as authorities on information. Kids take what they say and how they act as fact. Shame on Erica Vieyra for using a publicly funded classroom as her pulpit. Shame on Erica Vieyra.

BTW, I get to complain. I pay taxes to the Olentangy schools.

UPDATE: A lot of comments have been left here over this. Most are left by students who are passionate about their teacher. We may not agree, but I am impressed by their determination and debate. Some comments, however, have been childish. At one point a comment was simply a derogatory anti-Semitic word and an offensive derogatory word regarding women repeated over and over. For this reason, I have turned comment moderation on.

I will approve ANY comment left that is an actual comment, but will block any ‘troll vandalism’ that is akin to a fourth grader. Please continue to comment and debate, but for those who simply want to be childish, go elsewhere. Also, since comments leave IP addresses, I know from where comments come, and those leaving derogatory comments do not represent your school well.

For those who have commented, agree or disagree, I appreciate your comments. I am especially impressed with the students of OLHS who have made very intellectual arguments.


Vieyra's Students said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I really have no idea where to start with these lies you've been spewing.
The students at OLHS(me being one of them) thought the projects was a very difficult assignment that challenged them to view a controversial political topic from a different, often unviewed, angle.

There is no liberal indoctrination here, simply an understanding of how hard the process of immigration to America is. The fact of the matter is that US immigration policy is too strict/archaic and needs reform. This view is not some partisan issue, but an issue that both sides can see as unfair.
Stop spinning the story and distorting the original purpose of the project.
The kids I know in Spanish 5 are for the most part conservative, yet can emphasize with the hardships they have to face. Just because the students completed the project doesn't mean they have automatically accepted these "horrible" liberal views.

Open your eyes you inept neoncon. No one cares for your little blog. Get of your soap box and educate yourself.

And I'm glad you pay into our school, we are in the top 300 in the US.
Ron Paul 2008

Ashlan M said...

I'm a student at Olentangy Liberty High School. This teacher only taught us and educated us. She opened up our minds to immigration and admired the opinions of even those who were against doing this project. This is a major political issue and will continue to be. This is all I simply have to say.

Oh, and by the way, just because you pay taxes for Olentangy Liberty shouldn't make you feel like you have a right to complain. This isn't Oprah, it's Ohio. If you need to vent your frustrations, go to Hallmark and buy a diary.

The Squeaky Wheel said...

"Open your eyes you inept neoncon. No one cares for your little blog. Get of your soap box and educate yourself."

You care. You care so much that you commented.

Obviously today's assignment in Spanish V is to Google your teacher's name and comment. That is cool, lord knows I need the traffic :-)

As for the top comment, I am not wild that you posted your email addresses. I am not responsible for who uses them as I can not edit your comment, I can only delete it and I don't think it is cool to censor comments, especially those who disagree with me. A bit un-American.

Anyway, I am sorry that you see this post the way you do. I do appreciate the mature argument made with insults (That is for the second commenter).

I am hardly a neo-con (and that cliché term is a bit passé now, isn't it?) but believe what you want. In regards to immigration I am a bit more moderate since this country was built on immigration, there just need to be rules to make sure it is fair and safe.

As for it being “hard" to immigrate to the US, so what? Anything worth doing isn't easy. Try immigrating to almost any European or African Nation, or the Middle East. You would be amazed how EASY the US is. The Dutch require that you speak the language (Heaven forbid) and pass a culture test just to live there, not even for citizenship.

Immigration is not a human right, it is a privilege.

However, I do commend you, as students, seeking out blogs about your teacher and voicing your opinions. We may not agree, but it is refreshing to see High School students actually debating and thinking of the issues. Very cool and please continue to be an example. Too many students are apathetic. Of course I wish you agreed with me, but I will take thoughtful disagreement over apathy any day.

If Olentangy Liberty is putting out THINKERS, then yes, my tax money is well spent.

The Squeaky Wheel said...

"Oh, and by the way, just because you pay taxes for Olentangy Liberty shouldn't make you feel like you have a right to complain."

Yes, I do have the right, and the civil duty to do so. The moment citizens stop criticizing the government (And the schools are run by the government) we cease to be a Democracy. When you see something you disagree with you MUST speak out. THAT is what America is about. I do appreciate your comment (Until the end, a bit childish) but thank you for your input.

THIS is what free speech is about: One person bitching, another arguing against them, and so on.

Vieyra's Students said...

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was originally the first comment which I removed. The only way to edit was to “Repost” it. No text has been altered, just email addresses removed. BDO manager was not comfortable with publishing high school students’ emails.

First of all - as third year students of erica vierya we can comfortably say you are all out of your minds. People do not even understand all the details of the project - had any one of the people trashing this project (and this amazing teacher) come to see the project, there would be no problem. She has never forced her beliefs on anyone we do not even know where she stands on the political spectrum, even though the rest of you assume you do. There are people here who still are completely against immigration, even after this project and Erica Vieyra has every bit of respect for her students opinions. Maybe you should read Ohio's Spanish V curriculum and how this project met every single standard, but we would hate to force our beliefs on you.

If you have any further questions for the three of us senior girls please respond.
Laura- XXXXX@yahoo.com
Sydney- XXXXX@yahoo.com
Ashley- XXXXXX@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

First of all, you took a quote out of context. She did not say it was the most important issue, one of the most important issues. If you don't think it is, then you no longer have a reputable blog(if you ever did in the first place).

The process is uneccesarily hard. There are many procedures and "red tape" that can be removed from the process.

Open immigration policy and no minium wage. Let the free market balance itself out.

The fact is that you took an article out of context. The teacher in question happens to be a conservative, but wants students to view the story from an angle that isn't viewed that often. So you assumed incorrectly that she is trying to spread this liberal ideology.
Few know how hard it is to immigrate here. For all we know she could have made the students grateful that they were here in the first place.

She was no condoning illegal immagrartion, she wanted kids to see why some people resort to it. This it not advocating anything like " you can't do it legally, then do it illegally".

You're blowing this out of proportion with the few facts you have.

Also, quit coming of like some pompous elitist.

Brian Kirwin said...

So, the teacher taught them how illegal aliens break the law and encouraged them to commit identity fraud?

Tolley said...

She didn't teach them how to illegally immigrate, she told them they had to try and enter legally. They had to devise a plan to enter the US and how to survive here.

Quit warping the topic you idiot.

Also, why would a bunch of upper-middle class citizens decide to illegally immigrate into a country where they already have citizenship?

You're pretty stupid.

The Squeaky Wheel said...

"If you don't think it is, then you no longer have a reputable blog(if you ever did in the first place)."

Who said this blog was ever credible. Read my ABOUT ME... I am just guy with opinions.. I am no one special... Just a guy with an opinion. Is that ok with you?

The process is unnecessarily hard. There are many procedures and "red tape" that can be removed from the process.

I know... So what. There was a TON of red tape when I joined the military, but I still did. Heck, I did it for ten years!

"Also, quit coming of like some pompous elitist."

I'm not. I am just voicing my disapproval of the tax funded lesson... To imply that I am not allowed to have an opinion different from yours is elitist.

Of course, being a resident of Powell I know one thing: there is nothing better than a student in Olentangy schools accusing anyone of being elitist. I'm just saying. It is not like you are having bake sales for books... or a new high school, or well, anything. Olentangy is one the finest schools in Ohio and it is because citizens are involved and gladly pay some of the highest real estate taxes in Central Ohio.

It is not like I am some guy in some other state ranting about this. I live in this community, and if it is ok with you, I will have an opinion. I am not on the school board, I am not in charge of anything so attacking me, calling me stupid is a waste of time. I am just a guy with an opinion. Are they not teaching you that it is good to have a variety (or diversity) of opinions?

I respect your right to have an opinion, hell I am even providing you a forum to disagree with me on my own blog, so could we stow the insults? Ironically I am being attacked and insulted by people who claim they are being taught tolerance. You get an ‘F’ in my grade book today.

Brian Kirwin said...

SW, I have no problem with showing them the red tape involved in government. Good lesson.

I have a problem with her showing how to use a fake identity and show how "tough" it is to be an illegal alien.

What's next? Try to get a car loan, and then teach them how much easier it is to steal one?

Anonymous said...

So what? It is unnecessary is what.

Look at it this way. What is the incentive for a Mexican citizen to use the legal way? Why they have to pay taxes and wait 8 years. Where is the benefit for them besides not being persecuted? They are taking advantage of the lax laws and enforcement for illegal immigrants.

Face it, we need cheap labor. They provide cheap labor, For example, it was New Mexico that began to crack down on illegals. Prices rose and businesses went bankrupt. Americans do not want to take these menial jobs that are paid below minimum wage.

Deregulate the process(or open the borders) and increase security/enforcement(if the borders aren't opened). They will have an incentive to apply the legal way.

She was merely teaching part of the Spanish 5 curriculum.

SHE DID NOT SHOW THEM HOW TO BECOME ILLEGALS. They developed the plan. These are upper-middle class kids that are not going to go get fake IDs and immigrant to Mexico and Canada.
She was not advocating any illegal activity, get that through your head.

I don't have a problem with tolerance, I have a problem with people misconstruing news and spinning topics.

Give me your F, it doesn't fucking matter.

Also, remove all religion from everything.

She was not indoctrinating anyone. She is a conservative. Not sure if I said that...She wanted people to see things from a different angle, not to teach them how to break into a nation and cripple it from the inside out.


These aren't impressionable little kids. These are mature 18yr olds. they have the ability to decipher information and formulate opinions.

Anonymous said...

Debate is always helpful. However, it is particularly important to focus on the facts. I have two factual concerns: 1) This teacher actually assigned her students to research how to successfully break the law. This is genuinely worrisome to me, especially in a public educational setting. 2) Once the students completed their efforts to ‘legally’ immigrate, it was reported that the teacher “took out her red ink pad and stamped a big, fat DENIED across *every* request.”

This is, to my view, subtle indoctrination. Oxford dictionary defines indoctrination as “to cause to accept a set of beliefs uncritically through repeated instruction” – for example, repeatedly stamping *every* application as ‘denied’. I believe that her actions communicated a hidden agenda far more effectively than anything she ever said. She gave the illusion to impressionable students that no immigration application will *ever* be accepted, no matter what the prior effort or preparation.

I refer to the students as ‘impressionable’, in part, because no student who posted comments here seemed aware of the underlying message that was sent. They then resorted, not to critical thinking and debate, but to somewhat rude and adversarial attack.

I particularly appreciated the posting about the difficulties of immigrating to Holland (must speak the native language, etc). But, the rules for immigration to Mexico may well be more stringent. Consider:

You must speak the language at least passably, and you must also be an educated or skilled professional (i.e., no unskilled immigrants allowed) or else an investor (specifically, able to invest an amount equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage).

If you are ultimately granted resident status, the obstacles continue. There are no bilingual programs in the schools for your children. No government business is conducted in your own language. Should you fall upon difficult times, you will never be entitled to welfare, food stamps, or any governmental resources. Further, if you ever buy land you must relinquish all individual ownership rights in spite of having purchased it fully.

If you find their immigration rules to be harsh, seeking change is exceedingly difficult. You have no right to vote, nor will you ever be allowed to hold political office. There is no right to protest, no right to display a foreign flag, and no political organizing is allowed.

Functionally, you largely remain a foreigner. Perhaps immigration to the US isn’t comparatively so bad, even if the need for improvement still remains. Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

You're right. I should have realized that Commie teacher was indoctrinating us from the start. The hammer and sickle above her door should have been a dead give away...not too mention her shrine to Hillary Clinton.

No. You're still wrong. She was not trying to say every application would be denied, but it is likely it would have. They were average Mexican citizen. You have thousands and thousands applying daily, and obviously we are not letting them all in.

Would it have been smart for the teacher to make some students get in and others not? No. That would be unfair. She wanted to experience what is was like to try and make it in America illegally, not actually go through the process. She wanted them to see that viewpoint, it doesn't matter what political faction she was apart of. She wanted them to experience the illegal side.

Repeated instruction? This is a one time project, not constant brainwashing that you will never make it in America.

I can research how to break the law, it doesn't mean I am going to. They are not going to apply these concepts in a real world setting, this is a fake project. And technically they are just taking advantage of America's lax policy. Besides coming in illegally, they could easily have done everything else legally. It was part of the experience.

Blow this out of proportion more, you're pretty good at doing that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reiterating your actual point: "She wanted [us] to experience what is was like to try and make it in America *illegally*, not actually go through the process. She wanted them to see that viewpoint, it doesn't matter what political faction she was apart of. She wanted them to experience the *illegal* side."

Confirms my concerns perfectly. We don't need to empathize with illegal behavior. We need students taught to avoid it. Period.

Interesting how you continue to reiterate that others' concerns with teaching, affiliating with, reckoning with, experiencing, empathizing with, etc, illegal behavior is somehow "blowing it all out of proportion."

It's illegal. Illegal. Illegal. Every nation protects its borders and encourages its citizens to do so, as well. Not to teach them how to sympathize with those who breach the borders. Problems with that will never amount to "blowing it out of proportion." Think, please.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It is illegal and she is not condoning it. It's an understanding of why they would do it, but that doesn't mean she is saying it is right.

What it comes down to is that you're a heartless moron. Empathy does not mean we are going to enact some law enabling them to come here. But if we did, it would make it legal.

Your blowing the project and the affect on the students out of proportion. The issue of illegal immigration is serious, but the fact that you are trying to draw political indoctrination from this project is asinine.

You ever think that this would reinforce the need for stricter borders/laws? Well, from the students I've talked to it has. They are not being taught that it is inherently right to enter illegally and that they should turn the other cheek if they do.

Do you ever think that maybe this instilled compassion would want these to students to possible deregulate the process? You can spin it either way you'd like.

Something somewhat analogous, you could compare this and the Berlin Wall incident. They tried escaping oppression and hardships, but it was illegal. So we should say fuck off if you're trying to have a better life. Yes, they should go through legally, but though the current system we have it is hardly an option.

We are not teaching them to go immigrate illegally. Jesus, are you that thick headed? They are experiencing that point of view, they never condoned it themselves. Some were outraged that they could do it so easily and therefore angered that the current state of illegal immigration is how it is today.

The fact is that Mexicans are trying to immigrate but these archaic and unnecessary laws prevent them from coming. So they do it illegal.
Yes it is bad because it is illegal, but our standards for citizenship are criminal.

Anonymous said...

"Heartless moron", (and it is 'effect' not 'affect'),"asinine", "f**k off", "Jesus", "thick-headed" -- amazing that you cannot articulate your point without offensive and degrading language.

As you noted, "these archaic and unnecessary laws prevent them from coming. So they do it illegal.
Yes it is bad because it is illegal, but our standards for citizenship are criminal."

The truth is, we immigrate more than 900,000 people *legally* each year through these "archaic" laws. The process must be rigorous, or the influx would overwhelm our capacity to accommodate them.

Again, think.

And, next time, please try to do so without the use of ugly, intolerant, and offensive language.

I previously noted, "even if the need for improvement still remains" in my prior post. Yet you remain entirely unable to tolerate *any* leeway in your thinking. Isn't there *any* possibility that others are making even marginally useful points?

Surely you can understand the concerns. We don't sit in your class, talk with your fellow students, hear your teachers comment, etc. I am all for empathy and heartfelt caring for the plights of others. Regarding immigration, I would hope that it would impel them to try and improve their own country first, rather that simply fleeing it. Is there nothing good about countries south of our border? I am certain that there is. They have many, many fine people. Many of whom I hope will immigrate here.

Personally, I'd have been much happier with you Spanish teacher assigning you to research ways for these countries to retain their best people, or even specific ways to improve our immigration laws, that would still keep influx numbers manageable, etc. Anything but a "how to" assignment on illegal immigration. Perhaps you could suggest this.

Anonymous said...

Ewwww, someone is offended.

Sorry. Simple slip of a finger. Why do you have to be a grammar Nazi? Argument not strong enough?

I am not advocating letting in millions upon millions. Just saying the process can be simpled/more fair.

If an illegal wants to get in, then they are going to. Obviously these rules haven't stopped the estimated 12+ million entering.

If we did open the borders and they could register for citizenship, they would pay taxes and the free rider problem eliminated.So if the reform laws are changed and citizenship is simpler, wouldn't the revenue from their taxes even out the problem. As far as letting too many, if they can't get employeed they will not come. So if it reaches an equilbrium of immgrants then the immgration would stop. No housing for them, they aren't coming
We aren't near the carrying capacity yet..

Sorry you're offended old man.

Last time I checked it is pretty difficult to reform Mexico. It's not in the hands of the poor immigrants to change4 their impoverished state.

I am not condoning illegal immigration. I think it is wrong, but I can understand why they feel the need to come.

Yes. I see your concerns, but I've explained that this is being spun the wrong way. You posed your questions and the students answered. They do not feel they were being indoctrinated, so therefore they weren't. Again, think.


I'm not a student in the class.

It is part of the curriculum to teach culture. Part of that culture can be considered their plight and what they have to go through. It is obviously a pretty big deal down there(and here), why not teach it from their view?

The Squeaky Wheel said...

I do not like the justification that we "Need cheap labor" because that assumes that we only let in a certain type of person to do certain labor. Take away the lousy wage and you have slavery, and that was immoral as well.

You do not let a people break the law simply because you want someone to mow your lawn. Wow, I can not believe you justify this for cheap labor! And they called ME an elitist?!?!

You WANT to create an impoverished lower class so that you can save a buck? Wow, you are so wrong on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

They come here for cheap labor. Obviously the state of Mexico drives them here for it. They choose to earn that wage and will continue to come here illegally to do so.

We do not let in only a certain type of people. I don't know where you heard that from. I am not saying keep all the smart people out and the workers can come in. Equal for everyone(barring felons and those with dangerous communicable diseases)

Cheap wage or not they are improving their quality of life. The price for that labor is set by the markets and if they want to work at that wage then let them. if we have any huge influx of immigrants for cheap labor minimum wage must be abolished so the markets can do their thing.

There will always be a lower class. Can't change it. Those jobs must be filled and if people are willing to work them, let them.

If cheap labor means they can have a better life than in their existing country I see no problem with that. The income earned only gives them a chance to attend school and earn a higher income. Immigrants are not just some stagnant people that will always remain in the lower class. You can look at it both ways: I want cheap labor or I want them to improve their standard of living.

The Squeaky Wheel said...

No, you ,ade the argument that we should make it easy to get in because we need the cheap labor.


Anonymous said...

The argument is inherently the same. They get more money than in Mexico but still at a cheap rate for us. Obviously they don't mind if they continue to brave the MinuteMen to get here.

But you're right, you know what I think.

Bring them in by the truckload so they can mow Sawmill Parkway at virtually no expense to me.

Self interest baby!

The Squeaky Wheel said...

Last comment deleted since it was simply derogatory words repeated over and over.

Now I have to turn comment moderation on.

George said...


There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools, no special ballots for elections; all government business will be conducted in our language.

Foreigners will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.

Foreigners will NEVER be able to hold political office.

Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs.

Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.

If foreigners do come and want to buy land that will be okay, BUT options will be restricted. You are not allowed waterfront property. That is reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.

Foreigners may not protest; no demonstrations, no waving a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies, if you do you will be sent home.

If you do come to this country illegally, you will be hunted down and sent straight to jail.

Harsh, you say?.................

The above laws happen to be the immigration laws of
" MEXICO " !

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how closed minded people can be with their comments. I have never wasted my time on a blog before but I felt compelled to say something. Has anybody actually taken the time to find out what this teacher's true motives may be. Maybe it's to simply challenge students to look outside the box. From my approximity to this situation I know that the teacher does not believe in illegal immigration. She is simply a big enough person to do her job and not tilt these kids decisions either way. People rush to judgment way to fast before they get all the facts. It takes a strong individual to still not come out with their beliefs even with all of the criticism she has endured. She simply allowed the students to learn a life lesson. People never cease to amaze me with their rush to judgments when they don't even know the facts.

Just Curious said...

Squeaky - I'm curious. What, in your mind, is the appropriate way to teach about the economic, social and cultural impacts of immigration - both as an immigrant and a receiver of immigrants, illegal or legal?

I ask, because you've articulated a very specific set of criticisms to the method of teaching - but, as critics (liberal or conservative) often do - you provide no better approach. So - what's the correct academic solution?