Thursday, February 17, 2005

Politics in the classroom

In what may become a staple on this site, consider this my first political post.

From NBC affiliate WAVY TV Virginia by way of Thursdays edition of Hannity & Colmes

Apparently, a teacher in a North Carolina school handed her grade 7 students an assignment recently asking them to write a letter to President Bush giving reasons for him to callback all the troops in Iraq.
The assignment included such guides as:
* "Focus on the problem of how sending U.S. soldiers over to fight in Iraq is too risky and clearly present your solution."

and

* "Support your solution to the problem of risking innocent men and women's lives to fight for another country."

Some of the students claim to have spent up to 3 days of classtime on this "project".

The letters were not intended to be mailed but the fact that a middle school teacher would hand out such a blatant politically biased assignment is, to my mind, unforgivable for an educator.

I have no problem with a teacher encouraging an open discussion on a topic, but it is not their job to preach their own political views from their positions of authority. A good teacher should be able to moderate any discussion without anyone know which side they personally agree with.

That is not to say a teacher can't have an opinion. If a student wants to know which way their teacher leans on a particular subject they should be free to ask them AFTER class but a teacher, especially one in charge of young children, should first and foremost realize the power they wield and act accordingly.

The district superintendent and school Principal have already apologized to the students and parents involved but it appears that as they consider this an "internal" matter, the teacher or teachers involved have not had to publicly apologize themselves.

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