Three Strikes; You’re Out!

My latest in today’s paper:

Last month, I noted that
Glenn Perry’s letter highlighted a problem within our schools: political partisans who advance left-wing agendas in the classroom. Two educators and one student challenged me, yet they actually support my thesis, if unintentionally.

First, none of them can get the basic facts straight. Local teacher
Dan Sitter characterizes my objection as “there were some liberals…that felt the Iraq war was a big mistake.” UW Madison student Brent Schmitz suggests I characterized Fond du Lac High School as “full of” liberals. Professor Omer Durfee of Northern Michigan University writes, “since you supposedly received such a poor education.”

All of this is wrong. I credited my “many outstanding teachers,” and noted there were “some” “liberal fanatics” and “hyper-partisans”—NOT teachers who simply held liberal views (Indeed, I’ll be the first to say several of my good teachers were liberal).

Second, their own liberal prejudices inadvertently shine through in their writing. Mr. Sitter surmises that my “self-righteousness” must be caused by that predictable left-wing boogeyman: “radio hosts spewing hate.” Professor Durfee simply rails on that I’m a “neocon,” that “King George” Bush is a liar, and plays the Nazi card. Nope, no left-wing bias here…

Lastly, Mr. Schmitz says I seem “to devalue debate and disagreement,” and imagines I propose some sort of ideological purity test for school employment. These are lies, and I believe he knows it.

Three people may not make a pattern, but it doesn’t speak well of our educational system that it employs and churns out such intellectual laziness, bias, and dishonesty; and that theirs are the only voices we seem to hear from the educational community on the matter. Silence really is deafening.

4 thoughts on “Three Strikes; You’re Out!

  1. Curious. Why do you decry partisanship from the left when you practice it from the right?If you had it in your power to enfroce ideological purity from your side in education, would you do it?


  2. What, is it your lazy night or something? The answers are right in front of you – as I’ve written at lenght in this letter and its linked predecessors.Come back when you feel like, y’know, actually READING the arguments you plan on responding to.


  3. Now my patience is wearing thin. Allow me to show you where I have answered your questions (pay attention; I’m only gonna do this once).“Why do you decry partisanship from the left when you practice it from the right?”The glaring flaw in your question is the fact that “partisanship” in general is not even remotely the issue at hand, as is obvious from my writing. For instance, you might have gleaned thist from:“Political opinions become an issue in the classroom when a teacher uses his authority to try to persuade his students to adopt a political belief, and when he presents disputable (or flat-out false) political propositions as facts, and when he does so at the expense of the actual class subject—all of which happened at Fond du Lac High School….And while teacher indoctrination may not have harmed me personally, since I had a solid grounding in political values & independent thinking, many students can’t say the same—they simply hear these things from an authority figure they’re supposed to be able to trust, and understandably assume what they hear is on the level. Moreover, any class time spent ranting about George Bush is time spent not discussing a class’s actual subject.” maybe you’d have gotten the clue from my writing about “‘liberal fanatics’ and ‘hyper-partisans’—NOT teachers who simply held liberal views”. (That’s right above this comment section, in case you didn’t notice.)“If you had it in your power to enfroce ideological purity from your side in education, would you do it?”No, I wouldn’t. That’s sort of the reason I never suggested anything of the sort, why I credited several of my left-of-center teachers, and why I said in no uncertain terms: “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.”


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