Here is what’s scary to me: a teacher considers giving his middle school students the assignment of doing opposition research on the Republican presidential candidates, and no ethics alarms go off for him at all. Fairness? Objectivity? Abuse of power? Prudence? Bias?
Not a ding.
Michael Denman assigned his 8th grade students at Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County the task of researching the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the four presidential hopefuls looking to challenge President Obama and forward them to the Obama campaign. The students were told to research the backgrounds and positions of each of the candidates ,find their “weaknesses,” and to prepare strategy papers to exploit them in the campaign. Then they were told to find a contact in the Obama campaign to send them to.
A “Jeez, I’m going to get busted for this” alarm should have also gone off, but when you are a stone-cold ideologue who thinks it’s responsible teaching to use your position to indoctrinate your students just like in totalitarian regimes, I guess the likelihood that parents will flip out just doesn’t occur to you. Yes, this is public school Honors Civics in 21st Century America, my friends, where teachers think education means “making sure they grow up to support the teachers unions and vote for Democrats.”
After parents complained, the school’s principal suggested to Denman that having the kids do research on the candidates of both parties would be more appropriate. “Really? You mean Democratic candidates have weaknesses? Oh, okay!”
Fairfax school district policy states “employees shall not involve their schools in political campaigns, distribute political literature on school property or attempt to indoctrinate students with their personal political beliefs.” So Denman’s policy alarms weren’t working either. I’m sure he didn’t think the district meant it, I mean, not as long as he was teaching the right political beliefs.
At least he wasn’t having sex with any of his students.
Tell me: what’s the benchmark—indoctrination, cheating on test scores, unreasonable discipline, infringment of basic rights, sexual misconduct, teachers who mock and denigrate their students online—for America to conclude that its public school system is no longer trustworthy, and that it is no longer responsible for parents to allow our children to be under its control?