Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Litmus Test For Teachers

I posted a few weeks ago about the University of Minnesota's ideological litmus test for students enrolled in its teacher education program; I feel a little better now that FIRE is involved.

The task group, formed as part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative at the state university, aims to change how future teachers are trained, based on the assertion that the teachers' lack of "cultural competence" contributes to minority students' poor grades...

But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says the Race, Culture, Class and Gender group is going beyond addressing how teachers are educated and is trying instead to mandate their beliefs and values.

"Unlike what many schools of education have in terms of cultural competence, this task group really wants to invade the minds of future teachers and demand that they hold the 'right' values attitudes and beliefs about society, about themselves, and about race, class, culture, and gender, to a degree to which it really violates the freedom of conscience of future teachers," Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program, told

Of course the university spokesman says FIRE has it all wrong, but you can go here and see the inflammatory report for yourself.

Some of the proposed curriculum requirements are:

• "Future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression."

• Teachers will be able to articulate a "critical analysis of this story of America, for what it illuminates and what it hides or distorts" including:

- "myth of meritocracy in the United States"

- "historical connections between scientific racism, intelligence testing, and assumptions of fixed mental capacity"

- "alternative explanations for mobility (and lack of it)"

- "history of demands for assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian meanings and values"

- "history of white racism, with special focus on current colorblind ideology"

• "Future teachers are able to explain how institutional racism works in schools" and recognize that "schools and classrooms are often structured in ways that advantage and disadvantage some groups but are also critical sites for social and cultural transformation."

Wow. Schools sure are hotbeds of racism. Who knew all those liberal, union-supporting teachers were racists! I blame the NEA.


maxutils said...

Litmus tests are inherently base-ist.

Rob said...

Your posts are great. May I have your permission to syndicate them on my blog at (giving you full credit for authorship, of course)

Darren said...

Thank you for asking.

At the very bottom of the blog is my Fair Use and Copyright statement, that grants permission as long as proper citations and/or links are provided.