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The Tyranny Of Political Correctness In Schools


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I don't happen to agree with the application of 'politically correct' thinking on ALL issues as it has been applied to all forms of discourse lately..

Its lazy.....

I don't regard teachers (for example) as the 'correct' people to pass that type of categorisation onto students.

I tend to agree with many of the reponses to this article - that to teach a correct opinion is pretty darn close to indoctrination. Or at least......counter to teaching students to think for themselves - and in my opinion this stuff is something you need to figure out for yourself.

 

I also support this statement.......... 'I would characterize political correctness as an agenda to be a very serious problem"...?

 

yes.. ..

I see that people who challenge popular PC opinons or viewpoints are often stigmatized or accused of 'witch craft' or....some other bullshit like errr........promoting a worldwide web conspiracy. Well ain't that a hoot. :HaHa:

Anyone recall the MacCarthy era?

 

 

MARY-ELLEN LANG:

The tyranny of political correctness in schools

CBC News Viewpoint | Aug. 30, 2006 | More from Mary-Ellen Lang

 

 

In some provinces, according to the teachers' unions, good teachers will advocate for women's rights, abortion rights, native rights, same-sex marriage rights, secular humanism, feminism, multiculturalism, diversity, the environment, the Earth, meditation, co-operation, wild whales, wild salmon and moral relativity. If you happen to believe in the rights of the unborn, or the traditional definition of marriage, or if you dare question the joys of diversity, feminism or homosexuality, or believe anything that is not on the bandwagon of the politically correct, you should keep your mouth shut, or you may be admonished by the high priests of correct thinking.

Teachers whose views run contrary to their union's opinions hardly ever suffer censure from fellow teachers. For one thing, those contrary views seldom find their way into a classroom and never into a curriculum. Teachers are as various as individual members of any group. Their personal opinions and beliefs span the full range of thinking on any issue. This is not a problem. Most teachers know very well how to draw the line between having personal beliefs and promoting them to students.

However, when a teachers' union makes a public statement supporting abortion rights, same-sex marriage, the Kyoto accord or whatever, it is crossing a line in education and seriously inhibiting a teacher's right to differ, and (more importantly) limiting students' rights to an unbiased education.

Matters of opinion

No one argues that politically incorrect views are unbiased. Most of us have no trouble understanding that preaching the rights of the unborn, or the sanctity of traditional heterosexual marriage, or the joys of big-game hunting in the spring has no place in the public school system. But the same people who claim to see the folly of one point of view and the need to avoid promoting it in classrooms have no problem endorsing the opposite point of view and transplanting it into the curriculum.

My point here is that these issues are matters of opinion. Perfectly nice, reasonable, intelligent people have opposing ideas about things. This is good. Every one of these and many other issues are legitimate material for student debate, exploration and discovery. What is not good is how a point of view becomes a mantra that the self-declared enlightened put forward as required or even optional course content.

For example, the issue of same-sex marriage has been a topic of debate in B.C. school systems for years. People who are for and against the issue have been competing to have their particular beliefs included somewhere in the curriculum while at the same time insisting the opposing beliefs be excluded. Just recently in B.C., a gay teacher and his partner won a concession from the B.C. Ministry of Education to have course content in an elective course include a unit on gay-lesbian issues. While I am sure this issue should be explored by students at some point in their education, I am also convinced that it should be presented to students minus either side's agenda.

When teachers are expected to promote one side of an issue of any kind, students are denied the chance to carefully assess the full range of thinking on the subject. Virtually every issue out there has at least two sides — otherwise it would not be an issue. It is therefore important that students explore the complexities and nuances that exist by finding out what they are in the first place. This will not happen if the teacher responsible for the topic comes at them with an agenda or a bias that is presented as fact, or as the "right" way to think.

I personally don't have a lot of trouble with most politically correct issues or agendas. I even agree with some politically correct thinking. What I take exception to is the presumption that I must promote one side of an issue when teaching. I deeply resent any teacher's union taking a firm position on issues and expecting teachers to toe the line. I don't believe in lock-step thinking. Rather, I think it's my duty to advance the range of students' understanding of how many valid, however contrary, ways of thinking there are in the real world.

Promote learning, not bias

This does not mean that I think myself free to be a loose cannon and blast away with every contrary view out there. It means I think it's my job to encourage students to discover the range of thinking on issues and leave the decision about which are valid or off the wall up to them.

It is not the school system's job, in my opinion, to teach students to believe in fetal rights, same-sex or polygamous marriage, salmon farming, euthanasia, the death penalty, the gun registry, the glories of war, or the sanctity of the ozone layer. It is not the school system's job to teach students to believe in their "opposites" either. It is the school system's job to promote learning, and surely this means, when it comes to issues, that there are many ways of seeing the world, and the more you know about that, the better.

And eventually, the more you know about how other people think, the better you'll be able to defend your own well-considered views.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_lang/20060830.html

click to read the responses...and join the debate

 

btw...I never heard of mary-ellenlang before but I think she writes a pretty damn fine viewpoint - better I have time for.

 

Of course Church is another fine place where all kinds of Politically Correct opinions are foisted down peoples throats.! :wicked:

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I agree that it is not the role of the teacher to advocate in the classroom for any side of any issue. It is, however, the teacher's role to help students learn to evaluate sources of information. Students should be taught to recognize bias and detect bullshit.

 

It is not the role of teachers' unions to promote a political agenda except that which relates to education. I certainly don't want my dues to go into any party's warchest.

 

That said, I must point out a couple of problems with Lang's article.

 

1. She talks about what the teachers' union is saying and doing, but she fails to provide links, cite specific documents, or even use direct quotes. What are we supposed to do, take her word for it?

 

2. She contradicts herself. She assures the reader that teachers know better than to indoctrinate students, but then she implies that the positions of the teachers' unions will somehow intimidate teachers into doing that very thing. Preposterous! Such intimidation is in fact what the unions protect teachers from! Lang is right to point out the inappropriateness of teachers' unions advocating non-education-related political issues, but she is being unnecessarily alarmist in her approach. Which leads us to:

 

3. Nine times out of ten, those who rail against "political correctness" do so because they wish to advance their own right-wing agenda. The term is merely a way to refer to liberal ideals in the pejorative. Often you will find that it is just a strawman, a liberal caricature that resembles no real person or position but merely serves as a focal point for righteous indignation. Recently we have had nutjobs asserting that had Mel Gibson's remarks been directed at Christians, there would have been no media outcry. Does anyone here really believe that?

 

Teachers don't always agree on the issues that face our nation. Some teachers carefully avoid inserting themselves into the classroom discourse, eschewing the "sage on the stage" model in favor of the "guide on the side" role. This strategy is to be commended and encouraged.

 

Other teachers, no doubt, can't resist imposing their own opinions and worldviews. Perhaps they are motivated by the notion of "making the world a better place." That rationalization should not hold sway. The way to make the world a better place is to teach the children HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

 

All in all, I agree with Lang's position if indeed the unions are acting as she says, but I question her motives and her intellectual honesty.

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