Monday, November 04, 2013

Union Thug

This surprises me not at all:
A Pennsylvania father is steaming mad after the head of a local teacher’s union suggested he may be a “neo-Nazi” for questioning a school assignment.

Josh Barry, of Camp Hill, Penn., expressed concern after his daughter brought home an assignment analyzing a New York Times article discussing the recent government shutdown. first reported the story.

The assignment asked questions like, “Whom do you hold most responsible for the government shutdown?” and “Do you feel it is principled or irresponsible for politicians to threaten a shutdown?”
Barry thought it was an exercise in indoctrination.

After contacting his daughter’s teacher, Barry heard back from the school’s principal. After a discussion, a friend of Barry’s relayed a voicemail she received from another teacher named Cydnee Cohen.

Cohen, who is also the president of the local chapter of the teacher’s union — the East Pembrook Education Association, which is part of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) — said on the voicemail, “We’re having some problems with a parent in our school district and on his [Facebook] page you are one of his friends … but I would like to know, some of it seems like he is a neo-Nazi.”
The guy is Jewish and not a tea partier, as if either of those things matters in this story.  He'd be just as right, or wrong, questioning the assignment even if he were a neo-Nazi or a tea partier.


maxutils said...

An important distinction seems to be left out... was the assignment relevant to the class? If it was government, Social Studies, or economics, this seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable assignment. The first question seems completely impartial; the second, a slight liberal bias. But both questions are opinion based, and therefore fair -- as long as the teacher grades on quality of argument, not which side they take. Another thing that is not mentioned in the article. As for the neo - nazi thing... any time you pull that card, you automatically accept the burden that what has happened to you is just as bad as killing 6 million jews. And you're wrong, every time. That said? Parents trying to control school curriculum based on their political views IS borderline fascistic, which would have been a better word. Sometimes, I agree with the parent. Not this time.

allen (in Michigan) said...

"borderline fascistic"? For expressing concern about the education of their child? I guess it's a good thing that failure to display proper obeisance to public education officials isn't a felony.

The teacher was obviously indulging his fantasy that he's a courageous agent of change, arming today's youth with the proper - his - views, shared by all worthwhile peoples. The various others, the principal and the union local president, were reacting in a way appropriate to people who have a sweet deal to which they have no legitimate claim - bluster, threats, insults and veiled threats.

If anything ought to be tagged with the term "borderline fascistic" it's the public education system which has as its foundation not the display of competence that attracts patronage but the indifference to competence because the force of law renders parents largely impotent. The teacher, and everyone else associated with this trivial but sorry episode, are free then to indulge their fantasies and conceits, without much regard to the views of those parents.

maxutils said...

Upon reflection... I'll withdraw 'borderline fascistic' , which doesn't really suit the parent's stance. Fascism really does require power ..something the parent does not have. On the other hand? The questions asked did not reflect education, but rather personal opinion based on what had been taught. There is NO evidence here that the teacher was trying to impose his/her views on the class. If the teacher consistently graded one position higher than another, then yes,
I'd agree. But both questions leave room for argument, which is a good thing to develop in students. Without any other info ... the parent was a moron.