QVGOP Think Tank

Politics in the Classroom? Yes or No?

Representative Will Tallman announced in September 2018 his intention to introduce legislation to create a Teacher Code of Ethics designed to constrain political and ideological influence over public school classrooms.  This Teacher Code of Ethics would officially characterize support, opposition or endorsements of officials, candidates, legislation, court cases, party platform and national policy as speech exceeding the scope of their employment agreement with violations being subject to penalties such as probation, suspension or withdrawal of teaching license.  The legislation would specifically define a violation of the code of ethics to include promoting or opposing political positions in a classroom setting during academic class time in the following areas:

  • Candidate or nominee for public office or any local, state, or federal official, regardless of whether such official is elected or appointed;
  • Local, state, or federal legislation or regulation, regardless of whether such legislation or regulation is pending, proposed, or enacted;
  • Local, state, or federal court case or judicial action, regardless of whether such court case or judicial action is pending, proposed, or decided;
  • Pending, proposed, or final executive action by any local, state or federal executive branch agency;
  • Activities that hamper or impede the lawful access of military recruiters to school property;
  • Activities that hamper or impede the actions of a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency;
  • Introduce into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught; or
  • Advocate for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local Level.

Representative Tallman, to date, has not introduced an official bill to reflect this amendment of the Public School Code of 1949 but politics in the classroom should without doubt be a matter of interest for Pennsylvania voters and parents.

After the midterms, should Pennsylvania voters begin asking their representatives to support this type of legislation?