Political science class

In Alabama, an eighth grade science teacher showed a crude anti-Bush video to his class. The Athens News-Courier reports:

The video clip, which can be viewed at Filmstripinternational.com, shows a slideshow of images accompanied by a song called “A–hole.” The slides show President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others in the administration. Words are typed on each image; a photo of Bush in college bears the caption “A ‘bad apple’ in college.” A scene showing Rice said she was shopping for shoes after the “levee broke.” The word a–hole is sung nine times and shown on screen 11 times; the s-word is used once and someone is shown “flipping a bird” once.

The teacher, Steve White, is a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives.

Christy Jackson, whose son is in the class, complained. The teacher was reprimanded, the principal says.

According to her son and his friends, (Jackson) said, discussion in White’s science class often turns to politics.

“I know of one instance where my son was told he couldn’t leave the room without saying, ‘John Kerry rocks,’” she said. “I think my son is entitled to his opinion, just like (his teacher) is. I don’t think any issue should be forced on my son.”

It might help if the science teacher would stick to teaching science.

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Comments

  1. Now imagine how different the reaction of the principal, media, and fellow teachers would have been if he had been a Conservative, and the students had to say “Pres. Bush rocks”, and watched a profane video against the Clintons, Kerry and Kennedy.

    Does anybody seriously think the reaction would have been this mild and inappropriate?

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Screwing student minds should carry the same penalty as screwing their bodies.

  3. Indigo Warrior says:

    Screwing student minds should carry the same penalty as screwing their bodies.

    Yes, raping students’ minds, emotions, souls, and spirits should carry the same penalty as raping their bodies, and the penalties should actually be enforced. But the problem is, that the forced-draft government school system itself is based on a form of rape, thus making it difficult to draw the line somewhere!

    Political propaganda in a science class, shmaltzy (and hypocritical) anti-cult and anti-drug propaganda on school time, tolerance of bullying as “character-building”, interference with students’ growth as individuals – the list goes on. Feel free to add to it.

  4. Meanwhile, ten thousand other eighth grade science teachers just taught science as it is supposed to be done. But let’s do go nuts about this one and certainly use it as a means to tell us how awful all democrats are.

  5. Wayne Martin says:

    > Now imagine how different the reaction of the
    > principal, media, and fellow teachers would have
    > been if he had been a Conservative, and the
    > students had to say “Pres. Bush rocks”,
    > and watched a profane
    > video against the Clintons, Kerry and Kennedy.

    It’s unlikely that a “Conservative” teacher would have engaged in such behavior. It’s extrememly unlikely that anyone who is “Conservative” and/or religous would have shown a “profane video” about “the Clintons, Kerry or Kennedy” to a class of public school students.

    Core values separate “Conservatives” from people who would do something like this, or just don’t seem to see anything wrong with this sort of behavior on the part of public school teachers.

  6. ElizabethBennet says:

    atlas writes: “Meanwhile, ten thousand other eighth grade science teachers just taught science as it is supposed to be done. But let’s do go nuts about this one and certainly use it as a means to tell us how awful all democrats are.”

    Huh. I don’t remember Joanne Jacobs using this as an example to prove that all ‘democrats’ [sic] suck. But if you’d like to make a case that that was what in fact occurred, I’m sure we’d all be amused to hear it.

    In fact, the point that the science teacher should have been teaching, well, science, seems thoroughly unpolitical to me.

  7. Indigo Warrior says:

    It’s extrememly unlikely that anyone who is “Conservative” and/or religous would have shown a “profane video” about “the Clintons, Kerry or Kennedy” to a class of public school students.

    On the profanity issue, you are mostly right. But conservatives, just like liberals, are just as capable of sneaking their politics in through the back door.

  8. SuperSub says:

    Indigo-
    While there will be some Conservatives who openly espouse their viewpoints in the classroom, the tendency for Conservatives to do so is probably less than Liberals. This is largely due to Liberals’ tendency to focus on single topics and intent to force change through popular support. Liberals are the revolutionary party, trying to mobilize voters to change the status quo.
    As such, there is more “reason” for Liberals to try to recruit students than Conservatives, who generally leave policy decisions to already-elected officials.

  9. Walter E. Wallis says:

    That was not the back door, that was a bold assertion that if you wanted a good grade you had better echo the teacher’s politics. I agree that adding the latest enlightenment to the curiculum when the fundamentals still don’t get through is an agravation, but teachers should have been in the forefront resisting. That is why we gave tenure. That is why we will take tenure away, because teachers couldn’t handle tenure.

  10. If the teacher is doing a good job teaching science, including raising student interest, he can ask them to say “John Kerry rocks” or even “Dick Cheney rocks” every time they leave the room as far as I’m concerned. In fact, if he’s getting students to take and pass AP Anatomy, I don’t care if he thinks Leonid Brezhnev rocked.

  11. Yeah, but if he’s spending entire class periods on crude and insulting films* about the government, I can’t see how the students are gonna be learning much science in there.

    I actually regard it as a success if the students walk out of my classes at the end of the semester not knowing my political affiliation…that’s a better way of actually getting discussion going without someone being afraid of saying things you might disagree with, and theoretically grade them down for.

    (*I’d be happier if he were actually engaging in a reasonable level of public discourse rather than just parroting the rude things and rumors about the party he opposes)

  12. Hunter McDaniel says:

    What I find striking about these cases is the widespread lack of professionalism that they illustrate.

    This kind of stuff never happened when I was a kid, and it’s not because politics hadn’t been invented yet. The difference is that any teacher who abused their position this way would have been castigated first by their peers; it would never have been necessary for parents to complain.

  13. Indigo Warrior says:

    I am not going to argue the numbers of liberals vs conservatives who sneak their politics in through either back or front door. (And in this case, it seems more like the front door.)

    Consider also, that the teaching profession as it stands now attracts more liberals than conservatives.

  14. Indigo Warrior says:

    Hunter McDaniel:

    This kind of stuff never happened when I was a kid, and it’s not because politics hadn’t been invented yet. The difference is that any teacher who abused their position this way would have been castigated first by their peers; it would never have been necessary for parents to complain.

    You must have went to school before there were teachers’ unions. I am an old fart myself, and I have experienced plenty of this kind of abuse. The union-fed “teachers of a feather, right or wrong” attitude makes them incapable of policing each other.

    The few times that teachers are castigated:

    When such castigation wouldn’t make teachers as a whole look worse,

    Political heresy (e.g. John Taylor Gatto),

    Political heresy combined with good teaching,

    Being more popular with students and parents than with other teachers and the principal.

  15. Wayne Martin says:

    > I don’t care if he thinks Leonid Brezhnev rocked

    This is disconcerting .. Brezhnev (and his ilk) lorded over a political system that killed over 100M people since 1917, in order to force their views on the “little people”.

    Why not leave science class in the public schools to the teaching of science alone?

  16. Thomas Sowell relates this story about teaching a class in Marxism….

    Later in his academic career he was teaching an economics course which contained a significant unit on Marxism, which he taught “by the book.” One student approached him later and asked Sowell what his personal views of Marxism were, and he recalls that that was the highest praise anyone could have given him.

    I’ve seen way too much (liberal)politics eminating from Middle School science and english teachers. I think these teachers would consider it an insult if a student didn’t know their political views. I can only hope for backlash. 🙂