Friday, February 23, 2007

Shut Up And Teach

I learned to read in elementary school, conquered math in middle school, and refined my writing in high school. But I didn't learn how to think until I got into college. In order for that to happen, somebody had to challenge my beliefs. That's called teaching. Apparently some Arizona legislators call it treason.

WE INSTRUCT, YOU DECIDE. Arizona is considering a bill to keep politics out of public schools.

From the AP:
A proposed state law would prohibit any instructor in a public school or college from advocating or opposing a political candidate or one side of a social, political or cultural issue that is part of a partisan debate.

A group of Arizona lawmakers concluded Thursday [Feb. 15] that classrooms should not be forums for schoolteachers and college professors to espouse political opinions.
For the record, no college professor or high school teacher ever tried to indoctrinate me or pass out campaign buttons. We had classroom debates, but the teachers stayed out. But apparently, lawmakers fear teachers will flunk students who disagree with their political beliefs. I ask, how many times has this reallyhappened?

I also detect some lingering resentment towards the Tucson Unified School District, which was called on the carpet last year after immigrant-rights activist Dolores Huerta spoke to students. She said, among other things, "Republicans hate Latinos."

It's the unwritten commandment wafting through the state capitol: Thou shalt not insult a Republican in Arizona. But thou shalt also remember the First Amendment.

TAKING THE "V" OUT OF "TV". Irrationally cracking down on sex and dirty words isn't enough for the FCC. Now it's going after violence on the tube. And cable may not be exempt.

From ArsTechnica:
"The pressure to do something on this is building right now," Commissioner Michael Copps told the AP. "People really feel strongly about this issue all across this land. This is not a red state or a blue state issue."
It is a constitutional issue, however -- and a logistical one.
Another challenge would be coming up with a workable definition of violence. Profanity and sex are arguably simple: provide broadcasters a list of words that cannot be uttered and body parts that cannot be shown, and you're all set. Violence is another matter. Would reports in prime-time news magazines like 60 Minutes and 20/20 be exempt? What about a full-court brawl during a basketball game like the one the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets engaged in late last year? It's a minefield, to say the least.
And blowing up broadcasters with fines won't solve the problem.

BATTLE OF THE BOOKERS. First, 15-year-old old Jennifer Mee was besieged by hiccups. Now she's besiged by the media. The Florida teenager got caught in the crossfire of the morning show wars when ABC's "Good Morning America" tried to wrangle her story after she appeared on NBC's "Today" show. A GMA booker called Mee's home 57 times last Sunday and slipped a note under her hotel door. Other talk shows are lining up.

From the St. Petersburg Times:
"We went to the media for one reason only, but now I just feel like she is being used," Jennifer's stepfather, Chris Robidoux said about reaching out for help.

"She's not for sale. She's a human being."
And she still has the hiccups.

YOU AGAIN? 911 operators in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin have seen their own deluge of phone calls -- more than 100 prank calls from an 8-year-old girl on a cell phone. She will not be charged with a crime.

From UPI:
"At this point, the matter was corrected," [a Sheriff's department spokesman] said. "We'll leave it for the parents to deal with."
Or not.

EXCUSES, EXCUSES. Since "the dog ate it" doesn't work anymore, Job Profiles provides some ones that might.

A sampling:
* Too worried about genocide in obscure African nations to focus on homework
* Didn’t you see the flash of the nuclear explosion? I was duct taping my windows shut.
* The nice man with the sign says the end is HERE. No one does homework on the eve of the apocalypse.
* The two lights were lit above the clock tower in the center of campus, which if I’m not mistaken means the British are coming by sea, and there is another reason not to do homework.
You just may get points for originality, if nothing else.

No comments: