If teacher’s want to be treated as professionals and to be given professional responsibilities, for their classrooms specifically and for educational policy generally, they must act like professionals in their dealings with school management and with the public. As long as they behave in their employment negotiations like interchangeable labor units, they can’t really expect to be treated as anything other than that in their classrooms.
The uproar over President Obama making a speech to school kids is ludicrous and, once again, undermines efforts to steer the liberals away from their most harmful and anti-liberty projects by making the conservatives, by association with such paranoia, look like idiots. The response, even to well-reasoned and principled opposition, is now the general-purpose dismissal, “Oh, it’s just those crazies again”; and a Republican party (and any Republican office-holder or aspirant) that wants to reclaim any moral authority and/or intellectual integrity should be up front in telling those people, “Get over yourselves! And stop claiming to speak for me!”
But I have to ask: Wasn’t the root of this paranoia established by the left during the Bush years?
The wingnuts complaining about Obama’s speech are failing to distinguish between the Office of the President and the man who occupies it. They so dislike and distrust the man that they can’t accept any action of the Office, no matter how proper and reasonable.
But wasn’t that precedent set by those leftist nutters who utterly refused to accept George W. Bush’s legitimacy — “He’ll never be my President!” — and who did everything in their power to undermine anything and everything he did just because he did it, even if it undermined the nation in the process? Did they not create the template of contempt for the Office that we are now seeing? Did they not set the pattern of refusal to respect the Office because they did not respect the man? And, if we are honest about it, was that not, in itself, a continuation of the pattern they set during the administrations of Nixon and Reagan (and, to be fair, embraced by the right during the Clinton years)?
It seems in this, as in many things, we have seen a reasonable impulse lead inexorably to an unreasonable, and perhaps disastrous, outcome….
…As much as “conservative” talk of “values” and “social decay” has been derided as paranoia and prudery over the last decades, this is what they were talking about: that, compassion aside, if you consistently and persistently relieve people of responsibility for their own circumstances, then, over time, you inevitably create a culture in which people will not take responsibility for their own circumstances — and, in the end, you create a culture in which people not only will not do so but are incapable of doing so because no one has ever taught them how.
Yet another story (from The Boston Globe) in which some mathematical or statistical analysis is reported with no critical evaluation. And, yet again, I register my protest.
The fact that complexities were over-simplified is part of the format and a necessary evil. However, at the end one of the characters, as a closing remark on the Constitution, read from its preamble. Nice touch — except that they left part of it (many would say the most important part) out. What they read was:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, …. , promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to us and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America.
What was left out, of course, were two of the primary purposes of government, ones which provide the necessary specifics for fulfilling what the Declaration of Independence considered the very reason for government to exist — the protection of individual rights. The missing phrases were:
… to ensure domestic tranquility, to provide for the common defense, ….
Adair Lara is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. In January of 1997 she wrote a piece about math in which she implied that the study of math was a tortuous, pointless exercise. The column was lighthearted and left room for a dissenting view but, for me, it dredged up ugly high-school memories of the self-righteous pomposity with which the ‘liberal arts’ clique derogated the ‘math rocks’ and ‘science rocks’ as some inferior type of creature. There is a general attitude in our culture that to be mathematically illiterate is not only acceptable but, perhaps, a source of pride — proof that you are a broad and open-minded thinker, not constrained to the ‘linear’ and ‘mechanical’ modes of thought required for mathematical rigor. As you might surmise, I disagree.