Thursday, December 10, 2009

University of Minnesota Spokesman

Makes Things Worse.

From University Diaries:

A University of Minnesota task force that proposes one-on-one remedial work with school of education students who fail to adopt mandated political views has attracted a lot of negative attention to that school. All sorts of people have pointed out that this profoundly anti-democratic initiative violates freedom of conscience.

Here’s the Minnesota damage control guy:

“It’s not at all what they’re suggesting — that it’s some sort of litmus test — it’s just making sure that teachers are prepared to deal with the different situations that they might have for each and every student — which has been a challenge in the past,” he said. “Teachers obviously come from one perspective, so if they’ve got 15 other people of different backgrounds in their classrooms it’s a completely different situation.”

No, actually teachers don’t come from one perspective. No one – except, it seems, the ideologues on the task force – comes at life from one perspective. Americans especially, for obvious historical and social reasons, tend in fact to be remarkably culturally flexible. It’s sickening and insulting that anyone in a position of responsibility would take what’s best in us, what’s made this country a success — our high levels of assimilation and tolerance, our ability to imagine our way into foreign worlds — and gut it on behalf of a witless reeducation program.

Instead of shoving Dan Wolter into the spotlight for flak-catching, President Bruininks and Dean Quam should admit that this TERI business is wrong and has been a public relations nightmare.

They should also explain what is going to be done to rectify this situation.

But no, President Bruininks persists in sloughing off the tough questions to Mr. Wolter who really should not be speaking for the university community on these matters.

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