Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blogs grade the pop quiz

The right wing bloggers are abuzz over the high school teacher in Vermont that used Bush's name in a vocabulary test. Professor Bainbridge beats up on Kevin Drum for making light of it.
As a teacher, you're an authority figure with a captive audience. Your job is to educate students, not to serve up propaganda. By introducing political biases into the classroom, you create a coercive and hostile learning environment that may impede some students from doing their best work. In particular, when it comes to assigning grades, you can't let students think that their grade depends on appeasing your political preferences rather than the merits of their answer.
I wonder where Mr. Bainbridge stands on teaching ID instead of science? He goes on to admit he uses controversial methodology in his own classes but claims, "there's a difference between that and using the power of the podium to score cheap political points."

To that I say, lighten up Professor. Maybe you need one of these. We're talking about a tiny high school in a town you would never have heard of if the AP hadn't picked up the story on a slow news cycle - not the campaign trail. It's not like Bush's proclivity for mangling the language isn't well known already. Not to mention these are youngsters who will never have the opportunity to vote for Bush anyway.

It's difficult enough to engage teenagers in learning, much less current events. I doubt most of them have political views, much less worry whether their teacher will penalize them for taking contrary ones. Good for Mr. Chenkin for bringing some humor and context into what otherwise would have been a boring exercise in rote learning.
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