Monday, May 12, 2003

Our Politically Correct Schools

Down the road a piece in Springfield, a teacher was suspended this week for asking students to write a list of words they were not to say in class as part of a follow-up discussion after the school Principal announced that abusive and inappropriate language directed towards others would not be tolerated. The students quoted are all 13 -- the same age as our freshmen here at NMH -- so trust me when I tell you, as an experienced teacher of this age group, that the teacher did nothing wrong and everything right.

Most kids this age have never heard the word "kike." All hear the words ass and bitch on network television all the time. That doesn't mean these words aren't hurtful to those who have heard it before, but because standards for classroom language are almost always more conservative than standards for cultural language, and because language standards and language itself change all the time, how else are students supposed to know what words are taboo or hurtful to others in a specific context if they can't discuss them? The teacher did nothing wrong; it's the inherent impossibility of Political Correctness -- that you can't talk about some topics, which leaves holes in the cultural sensitivity of a rising generation -- which is at fault here. Most adults can't see it; they already know which words are taboo, and have conveniently forgotten how they learned the list.

Note, too, the bias in the article: the first line states that the teacher "forced" the students to write these lists. Last I checked, pretty much everything that happens in a classroom is expected of everyone; that doesn't make it okay to use bias-heavy words to describe it. For forgetting the difference between reporting and editorializing, and for kowtowing to the PC culture in which we live, Mary Ellen O'Shea, staff writer for (no surprise here) The Republican, deserves jeers here; the teacher-in-question does not. Why not tell her so yourself?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:35 PM |

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