Thursday, August 13, 2015


A couple days ago I wrote a post that was essentially about teachers who indoctrinate students.

I have some West Point posters hanging in my classroom--I'm proud of my alma mater.  I have pennants from each of our service academies hanging in my classroom.  At the back of the classroom I have pictures of President Reagan, President Bush, and Queen Elizabeth II, all people whom I admire.  Also hanging on the walls are comics that have mathematical content, and various and sundry quotations on educational and motivational topics (e.g., "I can teach it to you, but I cannot learn it for you" and "Algebra:  the intensive study of the last three letters of the alphabet").  Everything I have on the walls is a "pro" thing.

I was stunned today when I walked into a classroom and, hanging right next to the door, is a poster showing gravestones, with the text "You can't be all that you can be if you're dead."  The remaining text made it clear that it was, in fact, an anti-military poster.  Imagine my horror at seeing something so offensive!  To try to convey that horror to lefties:  imagine how you'd feel if, upon walking into a classroom, you saw one of those aborted/dismembered fetus posters that some pro-life protesters display.

I'm sickened by this poster.  How vile do you have to be to put such a thing on the wall of a classroom?  If I thought such a person could be reached by logic, I'd point out that the military, like the police, is a part of government, and this particular teacher is of the political persuasion that "wants more government than Darren does".  But this person isn't going to be persuaded by any logic, fact, or reason.

I've mentioned Jonathan Haidt lately; in this post I show my scores on his "moral foundations" quiz.  I'm not sure if that poster hit me in the loyalty, authority, or purity foundation (which includes what you hold sacred), but hit me it did.  Haidt's book has given me some knowledge and some vocabulary to describe not only what I'm feeling, but why, but it doesn't help me overcome my disgust.

Update:  it looks like what I saw today was a variation of the picture in this 10-year-old blog post.  Based on the comments, I'm not the only person who finds the poster's sentiment to be "off-putting."


maxutils said...

Yeah, that's fairly inexcusable. And I'm not a huge fan of the military … but ther's no question that crosses the line. I hope it's not the neighbor I know, but even if it is? This might be a tie for a subtle word.

Rhymes With Right said...

Here's hoping you raised the issue of the posters with the administration -- either in your building or at the district office.

And here's hoping someone in your local news media reads your post and decides to run with the story.

maxutils said...

Going to the admiistration first is a violation of the cardinal structure of education … if you can't speak to the teacher in question about it … then you don't care enough about your staff. If you can't resolve it … then administration can get involved. Or … if you want to be sneaky … have a student present your case.