Wednesday, June 01, 2005

AND I THOUGHT IT ONLY HAPPENED IN CANADA

I'd read about PC gone wild in Canadian education. I never would have believed that it could happen here. This is from the always excellent Common Sense and Wonder
Brooklyn College's School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views.

The School of Education at the CUNY campus initiated last fall a new method of judging teacher candidates based on their "dispositions," a vogue in teacher training across the country that focuses on evaluating teachers' values, apart from their classroom performance.

Critics of the assessment policy warned that aspiring teachers are being judged on how closely their political views are aligned with their instructor's. Ultimately, they said, teacher candidates could be ousted from the School of Education if they are found to have the wrong dispositions.

I was lucky - I was credentialed in 1987, before PC nonsense was firmly entrenched in state schools. Although I was then, as now, more than a little outspoken and irascible, my professors were more amused than otherwise, and did not penalize me for expressing myself in blunt terms.

No so today. Two years, I needed a class in education, with a focus on some aspect of social science. I chose EDB 609: Comparative & International Education.

As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman - Big mistake. Huge.

Initially, I threw myself into discussions, antcipating that they would be moderated so as to keep them on focus and civil.

Wrong.

Quickly, it became apparent that the professor steered some of the class (the "right" students - those of color) to respond to any non-PC comment with attack mode. She approvingly nodded as they made one illogical statement after another, completely ignoring any calls to back up a statement with proof.

It didn't take long for the class to polarize. And to marginalize the dissenters. Most folded, wanting to preserve their GPA. I didn't care. I didn't believe that I would suffer in a lowered grade. After all, the final project (a majority of our grade) was a PowerPoint presentation of a research project, and I was very good at both PowerPoint and research.

Boy, was I wrong.

As soon as I started my oral presentation, I knew I was in trouble. She made a face like she'd smelled something bad, and kept that expression on her face the entire time.

Initially, I assumed that I was making my report (Distance Education) too technical for her. So I simplified and added to my explanation.

That made no difference. My final grade was B-.

I got even, though. I posted the story of my experiences on No Indoctrination, which allows you to publicly nail the ba$tard$ who use their position to push their agenda on the unsuspecting.

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