Is This the Best You Can Do?

And another vain attempt to demonstrate the error of my ways, this time courtesy of Brent Schmitz:

Mixed metaphors aside, Mr. Calvin Freiburger seems to think that Fond du Lac High School is full of evil liberal educators that are out to indoctrinate your children in their evil liberal ways.

It’s never a good sign when the falsehoods start in the first sentence. I wrote: “I was blessed to have many outstanding teachers. But I also encountered some teachers who were precisely the kind of liberal fanatics Rob Hynek warns us about.” Does that sound like I’m claiming FHS is “full of” them?

My own experience at the same school paints a far different picture. As an AP political science student, I was a witness to several informal issue debates in which the participants were two teachers. One of them I would describe as liberal, and the other was a conservative Gulf War veteran. Both were excellent teachers and great friends.

Their discussions were always polite and focused on the merits of a particular position; the debate never became personal. These exchanges taught me that through debate and argument that the best ideas are found. It is through discussion that we develop and reinforce our own thoughts and philosophies. It is also in these exchanges that our minds can be changed.

Good for him. However, just because he had certain experience with certain teachers doesn’t disprove the fact that I had different experiences with different teachers.

Mr. Freiburger seems to devalue debate and disagreement within the American political sphere. Evidently, only conservative teachers are worthy of community support and funding, as per the veiled threat he makes at the end of his letter.

This is an absurd mischaracterization of what I wrote, and I challenge Mr. Schmitz to back it up with a single one of my words. Only teachers who do their jobs—liberal & conservative alike—are worthy of community support & funding. Teachers who use their authority to advance any personal agenda—liberal & conservative alike—are not.

In a few months, I am going to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (yes, that liberal bastion) with a degree in political science. It is clear to me, as a student of politics, that oftentimes in the political debate we are so busy hurling partisan insults that we lose sight of what is at stake.

If Brent really cared about the integrity of debate, he would debate my actual words, not mischaracterizations.

In this case, the education of more than 2,000 students at Fond du Lac High School is in the hands of many teachers, some liberal, and some conservative. Just like America. And that’s the way it should be.

If that were the case, there’d be no problem. But that’s not what we’re talking about, Brent. Read a little closer next time.

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