Wednesday, October 10, 2012

McCarthyites Take Up Teachers

More than any of my posting, my take on Paul Ryan and Me has drawn lots of attention from all over the country. Many middle class Americans, Wisconsinites, and Janesvillians share my concerns about Ryan's devout faith in lassez-faire capitalism. Expectedly, however, my critique of Ryan's political philosophy irked those who share Ryan's blind devotion in the free market.

Through the recall season and this new age of scapegoating teachers, I have grown accustom to the constant push back. Nevertheless, justice necessitates a reply to Tim Probst’s questioning in the Janesville Gazette (Sept. 4th, p. 6A) of my professionalism and patriotism.

Probst’s insinuation that my teacher's podium is a political pulpit is far from the truth. My pedagogy centers largely on a constructivist approach to learning, which empowers students to construct their own understanding through exposure to multiple historical perspectives. Professionally and without promotion, my students are exposed to a variety of historical views. My school district’s diverse (and transparent) curriculum develops critical thinkers for a complicated world. 

Most impertinent is Probst’s proposal for me to move to China. Sadly, Probst’s fear mongering is in line with the Citizens for Responsible Government’s and the Education Action Group’s recent efforts to link Wisconsin's public educators, like me, to communism. Probst's pinning my capitalism critique to communist ideology is poor, unjust reasoning and classic McCarthyism.  

To be clear, I am grateful for the privileges provided most Americans. My desire for social justice and a greater percentage of privileged in America does not make me un-American and certainly not a communist. I contend it is completely American to speak out about America's rising inequity, over 20% childhood poverty rate, and alarming lack of social mobility.  

America fittingly strives to be a land of equal opportunity. Probst’s "love-it-or-leave-it" mentality permits America to fall desperately short of this ideal. I am undeterred by Probst's red-baiting attack. 

For my students' sake, I will continue to think critically and teach critical thinking.

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