Monday, February 06, 2006

Schools of Reeducation?

From the Washington Post, a chilling reminder of how badly we are losing the culture wars. In Schools of Reeducation? Frederick M. Hess shows how left-wing cadre in the education schools use ideological criterion to judge potential school teachers.

At the University of Alabama, the College of Education explains that it is "committed to preparing individuals to promote social justice, to be change agents, and to recognize individual and institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism." To promote its agenda, part of the program's self-proclaimed mission is to train teachers to "develop anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist . . . alliances."

Of course, this cacophany of ism's, coupled with fairly transparent admonitions to practice ideological conformity are nothing new within the academy. But these are the people who determine who gets to be a teacher and who does not. They are, in effect, private entities with quasi-state power. They certify. They qualify. Consider one of the Post's examples:

Ed Swan is pursuing a degree in teacher education at Washington State. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that he flunked an evaluation of dispositions last year. The teacher who failed him explained that Swan, a conservative Christian and father of four Mexican American children, had "revealed opinions that have caused me great concern in the areas of race, gender, sexual orientation and privilege." Washington State insisted that Swan agree to attend sensitivity training before being allowed to do his student teaching -- where observers could observe his classroom performance.

What an Orwellian nightmare. But beyond the problems of ideological lunacy and political correctness looms the most pervasive con game of the 20th and 21st Century: that private, ideologically-motivated, groups or organizations can control an entire profession (teaching, medicine, law) by setting the standards (explicite and implicit) by which one may enter the profession. Or as the Post writer put it:

Schools of education are not merely private entities. Rather, in each state, they are deputized by licensure systems to serve as gatekeepers into the teaching profession.

Conservatives (always late to the battle) complain incessantly about liberal bias in various professions. But they almost never mount an attack on the very source of the problem: the ability of private groups to use public funds and exercise public power over persons wishing to enter a particular profession.

Those Education colleges and Teacher Training Programs which receive public funding should be frightened on a regular basis with the real fear of losing funds, should they stray from an ideologically-neutral curriculum. And on no account should any such organization, university, program, or private entity be allowed to determine who enters a particular field. That's something best left to employer and employee.


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