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Should Teachers Share Their Political Views With Students?

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Should Teachers Share Their Political Views With Students?

Should Teachers Share Their Political Views With Students? When I first started teaching high school history, government and journalism a decade ago, I worked hard to appear politically neutral. I belong to one of America’s two major political parties, but I took pride in controlling my bias and selecting readings that (I hoped) would allow my young charges to make up their own minds regarding right and wrong, fair and unfair. People at both ends of the political spectrum are quick to accuse teachers on the other side of unfairly influencing students. I refrained from sharing my political leanings even after students graduated, not out of a sense of intellectual superiority or to ignite frustration, but to curtail accusations of indoctrination and perceived bias. Students have accused me in the past of not having faith in their intellectual maturity. Quite the contrary. My job is to expose young minds to new ideas. I respect their intellectual maturity so much, I go to terrific lengths to avoid exerting untoward influence on what they choose to support or believe. I was certain of that approach until my juniors and seniors expressed their disgust with Donald Trump’s 2015 presidential announcement speech. It promoted xenophobia and racism, they told me. Several pointed to an especially egregious line often cited during the following president campaign: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” I started to wonder: Do students take my silent and neutral behavior as a sign of apathy or endorsement of Trump’s views? Does that alter the way they perceive me as their teacher? These conversations became more frequent and urgent in my classroom after Trump’s election. My journalism class expressed outrage over one of the president’s tweets in February 2017, which read, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”


Location: New Jersey


Channel: 258

Added On: August 18, 2018, 9:28 am EDT

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August 18, 2018, 9:28 am EDT

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