October 02, 2008

The downside of being a teacher

Too many of us are idiots:

"Educators for Obama" buttons are no longer worn by teachers at Soquel High School.

The buttons began sprouting up at the Santa Cruz County school and parent John Hadley complained that teachers were attempting to politically influence his 16-year-old daughter and other students. Hadley is a John McCain supporter.

Teachers have now agreed not to wear the buttons in class.

Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers president Barry Kirschen says the teachers were simply exercising what they believed was their right to free expression.

Which is fine. But they're wrong. I like what a commenter over at Joanne Jacobs' site said:

Where in the world did teachers get they idea that they have a right to say whatever they want in class? They don’t. They shouldn’t. They never have. And as long as we have a pluralistic society, they never will. Why do they have to discover this the hard way? Weren’t they taught about these things in ed school? (Silly question, of course).

Legal (free expression) questions aside, WTF do teachers believe it's OK to blatantly endorse one candidate over another? Aren't we in the business of teaching these kids -- especially the means to think critically ... and for themselves? By what right does a teacher have to use his/her position of authority to subtly pressure students into who the "right" choice in the presidential race is? As a former social studies teacher, I was taught NEVER to allow my personal politics to enter my teaching. Indeed, many students this year thus far have asked me who I am voting for. I have refused to answer, telling them I will reveal who after the election if they wish. And if I do, I will actually cover both sides of various issues and explain why I agree with one side over the other.

Elsewhere, the Virginia teachers union sent an e-mail encouraging its members to wear blue collared shirts in order to show support for Barack Obama:

The Virginia Education Association sponsored "Obama Blue Day" on Tuesday. In an e-mail sent last week, it urged teachers to participate by dressing in blue.

"There are people out there not yet registered. You teach some of them," the Sept. 25 e-mail reads. "Others, including our members, remain on the fence! Its time for us to come together, voice our unity, because we make a difference!"

"Let's make Obama Blue Day a day of Action!" the e-mail continues. "Barack the vote!"

In a statement released to FOXNews.com Thursday, VEA President Kitty Boitnott defended the e-mail, saying that it called for teachers to wear blue shirts, but not ones that mentioned a candidate.

Does she think people are really this stupid? And this woman is a teacher. As Joanne Jacobs said (and to whom the h/t goes for these articles), "Perhaps the use of the words 'Barack' and 'Obama' gave teachers the idea that the union wanted a 'day of Action' for Barack Obama."

Gotta love the assumptions teachers unions make. I think I posted this once before, but I recall the DE senate election of 1994 -- Charlie Oberly vs. Bill Roth. A fellow teacher came by my room asking if I wanted an Oberly lawn sign. "Why?" I asked. "I'm voting for Roth." The look on the teacher's face was one of utter befuddlement and anger.

Posted by Hube at October 2, 2008 08:00 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

sometimes I think some of the most ignorant people are teachers...not that they can't teach, because many can and do a wonderful job in the classroom...but when it comes to politics, many simply follow the un ion like lemmings to the sea without a thought process at all...if they would only put the critical thinking skills to work that they teakch the kids to use, and add up the +'s and -'s, how can you not come out on mccain's side?

Posted by: cardinals fan at October 2, 2008 08:20 PM

If your kids ask you who you are voting for give them an answer they will understand - "I have learned there are three things to never discuss. Religion, politics and the great pumpkin."

Posted by: arthur at October 3, 2008 09:43 AM

You're absolutely right Hube, influencing kids in any way instead of teaching them to use their brains is just wrong. It goes against everything we teachers are supposed to be about. We're in the middle of federal elections here in Québec, the kids are going to participate in a voting activity next week to learn about the democratic process. So I presented all the main parties to them, their running platforms, their promises and the usual criticisms they commonly face from other parties. Kids have absolutely no idea who I'm voting for. And I think I did a pretty good job because, judging from what I'm hearing, their vote is fairly divided... if they were all voting for the same candidate, I'd be worried about having influenced them in some way. So, yeah, great point there, Hube. I hope a lot of teachers read this.

As for that Cardinals Fan dude, who thinks anybody who doesn't vote for McCain is a moron... that is too funny! ;-D If he was capable of using the very critical skills he is talking about, he would realise that people can actually have perfectly valid reasons to think differently than he does. It's like saying "It's important not to follow everybody blindly and to use your critical thinking skills, but if you reach a different conclusion than mine, then you're a moron!" ;-D

Guess he didn't have a very good teacher as a kid! ;-)

Posted by: Prof Solitaire at October 4, 2008 06:27 AM

I work in a grocery store and when I'm asked who I'm voting for, I just say "hopefully, the winner".

Now what would happen if these teachers wore a cross or had a Bible on their desk among the other books? Lawsuits, firings, and complaints that said teacher was trying to "influence our kids".

Posted by: ShadowWing Tronix at October 4, 2008 06:06 PM

I should note (since I know I'll be accused) that I don't think teachers should push any faith (not even mine) on other students. That would be my job as a parent, had I kids. I'm just noting a double standard that exists.

Posted by: ShadowWing Tronix at October 4, 2008 06:09 PM