Monday, October 06, 2008

Now This Is Too Much Teacher Free Speech

Joanne has the story of a teacher who--well, just go read her few paragraphs yourself. If you don't want to surf, I'll give you the punch line: “C.H.A.N.G.E. — Come Help A (N-word) Get Elected.” Now go take a look.

I have no idea if the person in question is a racist or was just being provocative for academic reasons. The news story Joanne links to doesn't give enough information from which to draw any such conclusion. I'm pretty sure that most of us can agree, though, that he certainly exercised poor judgement in either case. I'm not one who believes that one example of poor judgement, even in this case, necessarily merits being fired, but if he were expressing racist beliefs, I would. That dichotomy makes me very uncomfortable because I don't like thought police. I need to give this topic more consideration.

Here's an interesting question, though: what is the best reason for excluding racists from teaching?


Anonymous said...

Very reasonable to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. And I agree, what he wrote was very bad judgment, at best.

But on the other hand, I think it is safe to assume that it's not the first time the kids in his class have been exposed to the "N" word. Were they damaged for life? I doubt it.

How do you define a racist?

And suppose someone satisfies your definition and would be classified as racist according to your scheme. Does that automatically make them unsuitable for teaching?

On what basis?

I work with a guy who is a very liberal grader when he is teaching people with an ethnic background that is similar to his. He seems to think that he's helping the home team get ahead by lowering the bar for them. How does his racism compare with the middle school teacher from the story? In my view, it's probably worse. But I don't see him getting any media coverage for this, and his stance makes him quite popular with the students, even if he's doing them a greater harm, in some respects, than the middle school teacher inflicted on his students.

Kelvin Oliver said...

Oh wow LOL. I remember my cousin's friend who lives in Florida told her this story and she told me and my mom. I couldn't help but to laugh. This is one crazy teacher. I think this is too much free speech for the teacher. I guess the best way is not to hire them, but no then there could be some problems with not hiring them. There are some out there and sooner or later they will be noticed. Anger parents will want to know what exactly the teacher is teaching in his or her classroom.

Anonymous said...

Context is key here. Presented in a vacuum, dude's an idiot. But, what if he presented it this way: "Someone told me an interesting acronym could be made of "Change:" . . . what do you think?

That totally changes the impact of the words. If he's up there telling n-word jokes, it's classless. If it's like I suggested, it's edgy. Let this one work itself out.