Field of Science

How to teach politics and government

Uh oh! Some of the fine citizens and the upstanding high school principal in Ronald Reagan’s college home town of Eureka have decided that the Daily Show’s coverage of politics is not appropriate material for a high school politics and government class, so after parent and student complaints, a 1st year teacher has been suspended, at least for now. For those of you who do not known Lincolnland, our state consists of one great big city, a handful of small cities, and a whole big bunch of small rural towns nestled in the maize and soybean agricultural desert. The Phactor can certainly sympathize with these people. You certainly don’t want your children to ever encounter any different opinions, any discomforting ideas, or any material that might make them uncomfortable. Proper schoolin’ should help them to remain smugly assured that their views, values, and ideas will never be subjected to any criticism particularly when that education is paid for by taxes. Any first year teacher of politics and government should know that the correct way to teach is to drone on about the 3 parts of government and how it was an OK idea until the presidency got too big for its britches especially when the office is not occupied by the party of choice in these parts like back in the good ol’ days of Reagan. Bringing in current events and popular culture to stir up interest is terrible teaching. No teacher should openly disparage political candidates. They should use clips and quotes from news sources, perhaps even the Daily Show, so that students can actually hear what the candidates actually say, you know, all those historical, geographical, political, and constitutional gaffs, which of course is exactly what the Daily Show does. What teaching moments they provide! No teacher disparagement required; just let students listen to and evaluate what politicians actually say. But rather than suggesting to their children that they figure out how to respond appropriately, how to defend their positions intellectually, how to make a case for their support of a political position, these parents whine to the principal who suspends the teacher. If people want to know why the educational system in this country is not what it used to be, parents and principals like these are the reason. They don’t want education; they want indoctrination, oh, and their children admitted to our state colleges and universities.


Larissa said...

Truth be told, you would be hard pressed to find a bigger Jon Stewart fan than me. However, I must come to the defense of the parents of the Eureka students, and tsk the teacher because some of the clips he decided to show, were much less about Jon Stewart pointing out the blatant hypocrisies in the media and in politics, and much more about him making suggestive (and hilarious) jokes about the sexual nature of the pizza business. That might not be so thought provoking.

The Phytophactor said...

Very true, if indeed such tasteless clips were used. So not knowing the details I've given the teacher more credit than the parents. And given the town that feels about right.