"How long do you have to get hit in the head before you start asking who's hitting you in the head?"

Monday, February 27, 2006

All He is Saying is View Peace Askance

“For months, 17-year-old Andrew Saraf had been troubled by stories he was hearing about a Peace Studies course offered at his Bethesda high school. He wasn't enrolled in the class but had several friends and classmates who were. Last Saturday, he decided to act.”

Okay, let’s stop right there and take a little quiz, shall we?

Saraf registered his protest by

A) joining the Marines and proudly serving in Samarra.
B) enrolling in the course in order to better form an opinion.
C) attempting to have the course banned from the curriculum.

Hint: The answer is not A. It’s not B, either.

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At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

Gee -- all these kids did was question whether or not the course met a pretty reasonable standard of objectivity and balance. In your book, that makes them fascists.

I've actually got a couple of comments from kids at the school (one in the class, and one of the kids who raised the fuss), and from what I see there are serious pedagogical concerns that could justify the cancellation of the class.

I'm curious -- what would your reaction be if I were to take some of my 10th graders out to the major thoroughfare by my school to hold up signs condemning abortion? Would you find that acceptable, or would you demand that my actions be stopped and that I be fired?

And interestingly enough, the school has no ROTC program.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Alex Bannon said...

I wouldn't agree that one would have to enroll in the course in order to dismiss it, simply learn at least something about it through sources that can't be titled hearsay. It is quite simple, really. Saraf attempted to dismiss the class through what he heard about it from teachers and fellow students. Funny how he talks about a teacher being biased. I think that McCarthy is a cool guy. I am taking the class right now and I assure all those who read this that the class is not one sided. On our topic of animal rights, we discussed both sides equally. While McCarthy agrees to being liberal, I would say it is somewhat difficult to find a teacher who doesn't hold true to some political stance, while I do not say that is impossible. I do believe that, seeing how the class is simply an elective, and the class is not forced on any student, and if the student finds themself in the class and they do not agree with the course they are absolutely free to enter in the discussion, as it is currently occurring, despite the attempts of those against the course to make it look one sided. In conclusion, if you are to dismiss, do it through a little more information than through hearsay.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger lee said...

The way I read the article, Rhymes, the students didn’t merely “question” the course, they are attempting to have it banned altogether. In my opinion, they would have a legitimate argument if all students were required to take Peace Studies in order to graduate, but that’s not the case. It’s an elective, for heaven’s sake, yet they are trying to see to it that those who want to take the class cannot—that’s what I find so disturbing.

You want “balance” in an elective course entitled Peace Studies? Okay, but why stop there? Why not insist upon balance in Drama class? Not everyone wants to be involved in theater, you know, or even likes theater, so perhaps the students should spend a few weeks working retail or studying law—just to be fair.

And I’m a bit confused by your final question: I mean, I can understand students of a Peace Studies class attending a peace rally, art students visiting an art museum, ecology students hosting a recycling drive…you get the idea. But which course’s content, exactly, elective or required, would be reinforced by voluntary student participation in an anti-abortion protest? You fail to say.

Oh—and I never called anyone a fascist. But thanks for the comment!


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