Thomas Sowell has a great column about the brainwashing kids get in classrooms. And when the lecture is about politics, it’s no wonder that the slant is to the Left. He points out that “Stanford University, for example, the faculty includes 275 registered Democrats and 36 registered Republicans.” That’s 7 to 1 odds you’ll get a Democrat teaching your class.
Here are the first few paragraphs of Sowell’s column. It’s well worth reading the whole thing.
Governor Bill Owens of Colorado has cut through the cant about “free speech” and come to the defense of a 16-year-old high school student who tape-recorded his geography teacher using class time to rant against President Bush and compare him to Hitler.
The teacher’s lawyer talks about First Amendment rights to free speech but free speech has never meant speech free of consequences. Even aside from laws against libel or extortion, you can insult your boss or your spouse only at your own risk.
Unfortunately, there is much confusion about both free speech and academic freedom. At too many schools and colleges across the country, teachers feel free to use a captive audience to vent their politics when they are supposed to be teaching geography or math or other subjects.
While the public occasionally hears about weird rantings by some teacher or professor, what seldom gets any media attention is the far more pervasive classroom brainwashing by people whose views may not be so extreme, but are no less irrelevant to what they are being paid to teach. Some say teachers should give “both sides” — but they should give neither side if it is off the subject.
Kudos to Sean Allen for taping his World Geography teacher, Jay Bennish, in his President Bush-bashing, capitalism-trashing rant. Here’s a snippet that caught my eye when I read it:
Bennish: Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?!
Unidentified student: We are.
Bennish: The United States of America! And we’re a democracy. Quote-unquote.
No, Bennish, we are a representative Republic. There is a difference. Bennish needs to be fired. Not because he is a liberal, and not because he bashes our President and nation. He needs to be fired because he is incompetent geography teacher. He has whined that his First Amendment right of free speech has been violated. But that is a bogus argument. He is still free to peddle his views on the TV, his home, on the street, or in a blog, but when he is being paid to teach geography, he should teach geography. Allen was not wrong to tape his teacher. And taping your teacher’s lectures is not a violation of the teacher’s privacy. When the teacher is being paid by public funds to teach in a public school, and he gives a public address in the public class before a group of kids, what he says is far from private.