Friday, March 03, 2006

Party Time in Colorado

The ranting teacher case is heating up. Here is a story and some video about students walking out of class in support of and opposition to the teacher. (Apparantly, they loved their typo so much that they pulled it out as caption for the photos.) Here is a local editorial that doesn't mince any words. It might also be a good idea to go back to the original story that Little Green Footballs linked. It is notable as an anecdote that a student in this interview says that the teacher's comments were nothing new at Overland High School, since three-quarters of the teachers are openly anti-Bush.

In other Colorado news, an Arapahoe county employee might lose his job for advertising his side lawn care business as run by "An English Speaking American."

Good times. The thin air out there is making everybody crazy.

10 comments:

dcat said...

But in fairness, let's not assume that the 75% figure is in any way accurate. I would maintain that students actually have no idea what the politics are for the vast majority of their teachers, and I would further assert that those students whop are asserting the 75% figure have their own ideological axes to grind. My own experiences indicate that teacher ideology tends to trend pretty close to that of the community in which they teach. The national teacher union certainly runs toward democrats, but I do not get any sense that the rank and file necessarily skew that way any more than I think that cops skew democrat just because on the issue of gun control they tend to favor policies that are often associated with democrats.
I would say that teachers in public schools should have almost nothing to say in the classroom about current events anywhere other than in a contrmporary issues or comparable class.
Unquestionably, this teacher is a world-class jackass.

dcat

Tom said...

The girl's comment was obviously an anecdote and a wild guess at the actual percentage. From the tape it is tough to get a read on whether or not the girl had an axe to grind. She may have been saying it as a bad thing, then again, she might have considered it a positive.

For what it is worth, Overland High School is the poorest area economically in a wealthy school district. It has average achievement academically. Other than having higher percentages of black and Hispanic students, it is pretty average, overall.

Paul said...

91% of NEA PAC money goes to Democratic candidates. (FEC, 2000)

Why wasn't this guy teaching geography? He should be disciplined simply for failing to do his assigned job.

dcat said...

Paul --
I think I addressed that in my comment, but I'll repeat -- I've seen no evidence that beyond issue agitation, actual rank and file teachers are any more liberal or democratic than the communities they serve.
Despite rhetoric, the NEA does NOT = teachers. I'll promise you that more teachers in Odessa, Texas are republicans than democrats. To put it another way, your evidence does not say what you think it says, taking me back to the cops analogy with regard to gun control.

dcat

Paul said...

I believe you. The school where I teach is out in a rural/suburban area and the faculty tends to gravitate right of center. We pretty much know each others' politics (mainly because our governor, Jeb, draws so much ire.) I wasn't contesting that point.
But why is it that a union that employs public servants gives 90% of their contributions to one party? Why is it that there is no teacher's union that donates heavily to republican candidates? Why is it that if I join a the union, I have to accept the fact that 90% of their donations will go to a political party that I disagree with on many issues?

Atlas said...

I completely disagree with dcat. I have been spending a lot of time recently in classrooms, in Colorado. Teacher’s ideology does not "trend pretty close to that of the community". As one example, one government teacher was aghast that over one half of her students did not see a problem with Bush's wire tapping program. I happen to agree with the 75% figure, it matches my experiences with many teachers in Colorado.

dcat said...

Atlas --
Your evidence is purely anecdotal. I simply do not believe that you have any idea what the politics are of the vast majority of Colorado teachers, never mind of teachers nationally. You have gven us the opinion of one government teacher whose views, by the way, could also be accorded with those of libertarians or a good hunk of conservatives. There is nothing inherently liberal about opposing wire tapping. Basically, I don't care if you "agree with the 75% figure"; please show me one scintilla of evidence that it is true. You really have spoken politics with enough teachers to know what 75% of their politics are? This is nonsense.


Paul --
I agree with you. I am a liberal who supports some form of vouchers, for example, though not to religious schools. And it is infuriating to me that because of the stances of teachers' unions, a lot of politicians feel hamstrung to consider this option. I also think it is problematic, to say the least, that you have no choice about union activities and where your dues go. That said, I cannot help but wonder if this is not purely issue advocacy and not party support per se. I realize that is a fine line and a differentiation not worth making from your vantage point, perhaps.

dcat

Atlas said...

Dcat,

I simply will use your argument against you. You have no idea that the 75% figure isn't correct. Certainly you also have not spoken to enough Colorado teachers to have any idea. I simply am stating what my experience has told me. And the teacher that I mentioned before, is not a libertarian, she clearly is a progressive liberal. In other words, we are both talking about a number that neither one of us can conclusively support. Perhaps this is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

This is all much ado about nothing. who cares if some high school teacher somewhere says something stupid. It was dumb and school officials should reprimand him but who cares???

montana urban legend said...

Volokh's Bernstein supports vouchers as you do, dcat, and further I think he is right to conclude that in simply choosing and designing curriculum, it is inevitable that specific "value-laden choices will dictate what students learn about various social, moral, and political issues." (2/2/2006). I assume this view would hold regardless of whether those values fall under the rubric of some religion or not, although I think I would find the possibility of the former a reasonably acceptable outcome given that his plausibly stated alternative is that school systems be run by and transmit those values through an essentially "authoritarian operation," - as secular and deferential to the First Amendment as it might be.