Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bill Gates' Alma Mater Staffed by Cowards, Not Teachers

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselvesthroughout their lives.

--Robert Maynard Hutchins

The prestigious Lakeside School, outside of Seattle, WA, which has been consistently ranked near the top of private schools nationwide, has recently demonstrated it is staffed by cowards--not teachers. The school extended an invitation to Dinesh D'Souza, a controversial author and speaker, to give a presentation at the school on Iraq and US Foreign Policy. However, once teachers got word of the engagement, they went to the headmaster and threatened to resign if he did not retract the invitation! What could these "teachers" be so afraid of?

Mr. D'Souza created significant controversy with the publication of his book, The End of Racisim in 1995--primarily because it advocated that underachievement of African-Americans was caused more by cultural values than by white racism. Obviously, such a hypothesis will create controversy. However, isn't that why we have schools and teachers? Isn't "critical thinking" one of the most imporant skills a teacher could help develop in a child? How can such skills be taught and truly learned if the school and classroom has become a sanitized place for only the least-offending, politically correct drivel to be offered (notice I did not say "taught")?

What I also find interesting is you will have to look far and wide to find any coverage of this story in the media. I originally heard the report on Hannity and Colmes on Fox News (by the way, both sides agreed this action was shameful--how often do you see that on H&C?), so I tried to look up more information on the web later. Search Google? Yep. Anything? Nope. Search CNN? Yep. Anything? Nope. Search the major newspaper sites? Yep. Anything? Nope. Certainly it would be in The Seattle Times? Nope. It was however, in The Seattle Post Intelligencer here. Only one newspaper thought it was a story worth covering. That's sad.

To be clear, I would oppose this type of academic cowardice no matter what the subject matter. School is a place where you are supposed to exposed to different ideas and points of view and learn to determine what makes the most sense to you--and how to justify your position. As the old saying goes, "Stand for something, or you will fall for anything". By trying to keep kids from seeing those things we disagree with, we only guarantee they will lack critical thinking skills and will spend the rest of their lives "falling for anything" they are told to believe.

If the headmaster wanted to be a real leader, and teach the parents, students and cowards..I mean "teachers"...a life lesson, he should have let them resign. In fact, he should fire them now, before they do more damage to the kids at the school through intellectual neglect and cowardice. Anyone who impersonates a teacher like these folks, and lacks the moral courage to let views they disagree with be viewed and discussed, should not be allowed to keep their jobs. Can somebody at The Lakeside School do the right thing here and replace these cowards with actual teachers?

Education's responsibility is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

--Malcolm Forbes



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