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Teachers should not voice their personal political view points, as this interferes with fair and unbiased teachings. I do not want a teacher teaching my child political morals [their view]. If parents do not believe in same sex marriage, entitlements amongst other issues as some teachers may, their discussion on those topics would send a wrong signal to children whose parents don't have the same political agenda. Just as religion is no longer permissible in school, personal political view points have no business in the classroom.
[quote]I would like to know who says that teachers are supposed to be a-political? What other profession leaves their leave their Constitutional Rights at home? What other rights should teachers give up?[/quote]
The majority of the business world does not allow for political comments to be in the workplace. It is a one way street with the employer telling the employee what to think without asking for the employee's opinion. If the employee does not like this restrictive environment, they have the right to start their own business and express their opinions to their employees.
This even happens in local government jobs, except they are asked to campaign for people the may not like just to keep their job.
Agree with Steve Taffee re. unequal status.
I know of at least two instances where teachers required students to agree with their political stance in history essays. Not only unethical, but often has the OPPOSITE effect on student opinions.
I'm working toward an educated electorate, for people who will think ahead, be skeptical and compassionate, respectful of others and of all of nature. It IS political. Thinking is political. But letting them make up their own minds is so much more powerful.
I have a 15 year old son with whom I discuss politics and everything that seems to fall under the "political umbrella" these days, including (but not limited to): religion, sexual orientation, racism, human rights, war, foreign relations, the environment, right wing, left wing, tea party and all the other philosophies, etc., etc... It's been a humbling and enlightening experience to have these discussions. Many times he's asked "why" or "how did this or that happen?" - questions where we ended up having to do a bit of historical research to find the the whole answer to each of his questions. I've discovered that in fulling researching these topics, I'm not only better able to answer HIS questions, but both he and I are becoming informed citizens who are better able to discern, as well as truly debate and support our reasons behind our ideas and ideals...and (in my case) for whom I vote.
That said, I would LOVE for teachers to encourage the discussion of political ideas and philosophies, but without inserting their personal opinion regarding issues or candidates. If we can create generations of historically educated children, I think we'll all be better for it in the end.
I would like to know who says that teachers are supposed to be a-political? What other profession leaves their leave their Constitutional Rights at home? What other rights should teachers give up?
I don't think anyone is asking teachers to give up any of their Constitutional rights. I think what is being asked is if teacher personal OPINIONS regarding politics should be allowed while in the role of "teacher". I think that personal feelings around potentially emotionally charged topics such as religion and politics should be voiced personally, but not professionally. (but that's just MY opinion).
Teachers and students have unequal relationships in schools, and therefor teachers, who are in the power position, have an obligation to try to bring out the best thinking of students on topics of the day without influencing, overly or inadvertently, the opinions of students.
Teachers do not want to recognize the inequitable relationship they have with students, just as caucasians are uncomfortable confronting the idea of "white privilege." Unless we are honest with this power and influence issue, we can't beging to address these issues with anything resembling neutrality,
That said, there are some things that educators should take head on: racism, sexism, violence, and related issues. The Declaration of Universal Human Rights is, in my view, a non-partisan document and one which all educators can and should proudly profess in their classroom.
I don't think it's right to endorse any candidate - just as I don't think it's right for a manager or boss to do the same. BUT it is appropriate for students old enough to understand civic duty to vote responsibly when eligible to be assigned sides of a political question (in groups) for study in preparation for classroom discussion aimed at the BEST answer to all sides and thus, as Stephen Covey labels it "the third alternative" better than the starting sides.
I agree with you that presenting all sides of issues is important. However, I always give my own view emphasizing that it is my opinion. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my students don’t have discussions with their family about political issues, let alone ones that lead to critical thinking. That is why I feel I not only have the responsibility to bring forward past and present issues, but I also have the responsibility to model expressing one’s own opinion without insulting another’s idea, belief, or choice.
I believe there is some confusion here over rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the obligation one has as a professional. I don't think if a loved one were in a coma that you would want your doctor making political statements about your right to die - you would want treatment and balanced options. Your district employs you to teach a district prescribed curriculum. The support or endorsement of a group of political ideas or candidate is not part of the job description of any collective bargaining agreement, professional goals, or curriculum-based goals or objectives that I am aware of. In fact, many of the state codes of conduct warn against the act of endorsing a set of beliefs. I find it disturbing that some of my colleagues should seek to share their own beliefs, rather than teacher their students to look at all sides of an issue and decide for themselves.