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Controversial Topics Tough in Class-Teachers' views can come into classroom ("Outfoxed" shown?)
Los Angeles Daily News ^ | 9/11/05 | Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer

Posted on 09/11/2005 3:35:44 PM PDT by Mark

Government teacher Nareg Keshishian never expected a parent to complain when he advised his Advanced Placement class he planned to show a documentary on media bias in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But a parent did, telling the principal of Glendale's Hoover High School that the documentary "Outfoxed," which alleges right-wing bias at Fox News, was one-sided and that Keshishian wasn't presenting the "facts" about the attacks in a fair and balanced way.

"When they come up with a documentary showing the bias in CNN, I will happily air it. I want to bring to the students' attention that one person's freedom fighter is another person's terrorist," said Keshishian, a self-described liberal, who decided not to show the documentary.

"My students are encouraged to have any opinion they like, so long as they support it with facts. I'm giving them as many facts as I can and my goal is to make the classroom feel safe for everyone's opinion - including my own."

As some local schools wait for the official version of 9-11 and its aftermath to appear in textbooks, many teachers have allowed their own passionate views to guide classroom discussions of an event that transformed the nation's understanding of security and reshaped its foreign and domestic policies.

Others have been relying on filmmakers' documentaries and articles from newspapers and magazines, which they feel fairly depict both sides of the story.

But, aside from being careful about presenting all sides of broad topics like religion, foreign policy and impacts on the economy, teachers should become sensitive about seemingly obvious "facts" like calling the people who perpetrated the attacks terrorists, said Etta Hollins, professor of teacher education at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

Already, some textbooks refer to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, without using the word "terrorist."

But it all comes down to discussing terms and concepts with students to teach them how to be critical readers, Hollins said.

"I think we should all be careful about the language we use and the conditions under which we use language. We should look at how words are defined and used," she said.

"Is terrorism something that occurs only by someone from a foreign country? Or were there acts of terrorism committed before 9-11? They have to understand the definition of the word and how it's being used."

Veteran educator Ron Wood, who sits on the committee tasked with recommending which social studies textbooks will be used in Los Angeles Unified School District classrooms beginning in 2006-07 - which will include the 9-11 attacks and the subsequent wars - questions the lessons some teachers are presenting about Sept. 11 in the meantime.

"Administrators, especially in the Los Angeles area, are notorious for not going into the classrooms and seeing what's going on," Wood said. "The temptation exists in social studies to insert your own opinion, and many teachers violate that kind of thing all the time. Who's looking at the teachers to see how well these discussions are being conducted?"

Bob Collins, the school district's chief instructional officer, recalled a few isolated cases in which parents have complained about a teacher's techniques, but said they've never risen to the level of requiring discipline.

"There's a district policy that requires teachers to ensure that for all topics, particularly controversial topics, both sides are presented," Collins said. "There's not an advocacy role to be played by the teachers in an instructional program."

The best way to avoid parent complaints is to send letters home informing them about what's going on in class, and giving the student the opportunity to opt out, said Nick Doom, an Advanced Placement government teacher at Clark High School in La Crescenta.

Doom, a Republican, remembers the slip-up that taught him how to appropriately handle political topics in class.

In 1992, when he first started teaching government, he told his class that Texas businessman Ross Perot had no chance of winning the presidential election.

Four parents - all volunteers for Perot's campaign - complained.

"I wanted to teach realism - that no third-party candidate had ever won, and I got called out to the office," Doom said. "My tone and inflections might have been too sarcastic.

"It's also all in the delivery, how you present it. You have to be fair."

Educators agree that discussing multiple perspectives helps develop students' critical-thinking skills.

"Whether it's immigration, capital punishment, religion or the governor's special election, be sensitive and have a balanced approach in your presentation, because sarcasm sneaks in everywhere," Doom said. "And laugh, so they know it's not personal and that you can agree to disagree."

Gregg Solkovits, the social studies department chair at Monroe High School, said he weaves a lot of current events into his lessons and encourages the discussion of differing points of view.

"The idea is to get kids to think - not for us to proselytize. The last thing we need is to make 120 little copies of myself. That's a horrible thought," he said. "Most teachers take presenting balanced information as pretty important."

The accepted approach, according to state standards, is to present multiple perspectives on a particular issue. But the biggest challenge for the teacher is to find what appear to be objective accounts and different opinions on an issue, Hollins said.

While there's no hard-and-fast rule about teachers giving their own opinions in class, they should present evidence that both supports and contradicts that perspective. But they still run the risk of upsetting parents who hold different beliefs, Hollins said.

"The risk is of converting students to a particular point of view and that's not the purpose of schooling. High school students are very impressionable," she said.

Gail Leshaw, the parent of a sophomore at Taft High School, said as long as teachers are showing all the facts, she doesn't have a problem with them sharing their opinions with students.

"There are teachers who are human rights activists or very religious and they're saying things in class that definitely express who they're associated with, and they can't help but do that," Leshaw said.

"They're old enough at that point to know if they like what they hear or not and they should start thinking about forming their own opinions. Kids are like sponges, but they're smarter than you think at this stage."

Though Keshishian was disappointed by the parent's complaint, he can't object to the fact that it showed she was involved in her child's studies.

"I wasn't willing to go to war over it because there are plenty of ways to teach bias in the media. I don't need 'Outfoxed,"' Keshishian said.

"In some respects, it's refreshing that a parent knows what is going on in the classroom and is paying attention. I respect that, and I'd rather have that than a parent who's oblivious or indifferent."

-- Naush Boghossian, (818) 713-3722

naush.boghossian@dailynews.com


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; US: California
KEYWORDS: bias; ca; censorship; culturewars; education; educrats; fourthanniversary; foxnews; hseducation; leftismoncampus; outfoxed; schoolbias; schools; socialstudies; teachers
"When they come up with a documentary showing the bias in CNN, I will happily air it.

Oh yes, a LOT of trouble finding that?

1 posted on 09/11/2005 3:35:46 PM PDT by Mark
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To: Mark
Yet another example of our "highly esteemed educational establishment" concerning itself not with teaching our children how to think, but rather telling them what to think.

K-12 nowadays is nothing more that 12 years of being told to feel good about being ignorant.
2 posted on 09/11/2005 3:42:26 PM PDT by MCCRon58 (Loose slips sink hips)
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To: MCCRon58

My daughter is dealing with this right now in AP Civics. The teacher is a left-wing liberal. She said if she rolls her eyes anymore than she has the first two days of class, her eyes will be permanently stuck in the rolled position (grin). The textbooks include the 9/11 Commission Report. (?!) Somehow I doubt this guy will be going into Jamie Gorelick, the "Wall," or the Able Danger intelligence issues.


3 posted on 09/11/2005 3:43:31 PM PDT by GOPrincess
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To: Mark

Way to go, educators! Fill your students up with left wing junk.


4 posted on 09/11/2005 3:44:22 PM PDT by popdonnelly
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To: MCCRon58; Mark
"O’Sullivan’s First Law" states that
"All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing."
Which is just another way of stating the fact that people with the courage and principle to resist the bullying of "objective" journalism will be labeled "right-wing."

Nobody is objective - least of all people who actually think that they are objective. Journalists are negative, superficial, arrogant and timid. IOW, journalists are left-wing bullies.

Government schools do not define themselves as conservative - therefore they will become liberal.

"Why Broadcast Journalism is
Unnecessary and Illegitimate

Cindy Sheehan, Rush Limbaugh, and CBS
August 22, 2005 | conservatism_IS_compassion


5 posted on 09/11/2005 4:16:22 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Mark
We should look at how words are defined and used," she said.

Like the meaning of the word is? Making our children into little Clintons who can twist words to mean whatever they choose.

6 posted on 09/11/2005 4:23:00 PM PDT by eggman (Democrat party - The black hole of liberalism from which no rational thought can escape.)
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To: eggman
Like the meaning of the word is? Making our children into little Clintons who can twist words to mean whatever they choose.

Then in the future they sit on the Supreme Court and then the twisting continues.

7 posted on 09/11/2005 4:28:31 PM PDT by Mark (Proven scientific experiment: The NY Times flushes easily down the standard toilet.)
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To: Mark

"Already, some textbooks refer to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, without using the word 'terrorist.'...Is terrorism something that occurs only by someone from a foreign country? Or were there acts of terrorism committed before 9-11? They have to understand the definition of the word and how it's being used."


I believe it was Andrew McCarthy, in a recent National Review piece, who quoted Justice Jackson in stating that rights granted in the United States Constitution do not amount to a suicide pact.

Liberals must somehow disagree, though, because they pursue political correctness above all else, even their own safety and that of their children. Yes, don't 'offend' or 'violate' anyone's rights, even if we must slit our own throats to prevent it.

Do these people really hate themselves, their lives, their country and their neighbors so much? Or is it some white liberal guilt trip? I really don't care...I'm just sick of it, especially when it is forcefed to children.

Sorry I'm cranky. I just read that Cindy Sheehan's bunch of drooling moonbats is coming up here this week. On the brighter side, they are forecasting pouring rain (Ophelia) that day. Thank you, God.


8 posted on 09/11/2005 4:29:09 PM PDT by LostInBayport (Massachusetts liberals refuse to admit we exist...we are the 37% who voted for GWB)
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To: Mark

January 10, 1963

Current Communist Goals

EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Thursday, January 10, 1963

Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.

At Mrs. Nordman's request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following "Current Communist Goals," which she identifies as an excerpt from "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen:

[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]

CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand.

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

[emphaisis added]

Source:

Microfilm: California State University at San Jose Clark Library, Government Floor Phone (408)924-2770 Microfilm Call Number: J 11 .R5 Congressional Record, Vol. 109 88th Congress, 1st Session Appendix Pages A1-A2842 Jan. 9-May 7, 1963 Reel 12

The quote starts on page 259. Skousen, W. Cleon. Naked Communist, Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Co. C. 1961 , 9th edition July 1961.


9 posted on 09/11/2005 4:29:22 PM PDT by Abogado (Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt)
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To: GOPrincess
The textbooks include the 9/11 Commission Report.

Right. Not the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or anything weird like that, of course.

10 posted on 09/11/2005 4:45:39 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Start the revolution - I'll bring the tea and muffins!)
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To: MCCRon58
K-12 nowadays is nothing more that 12 years of being told to feel good about being ignorant.

13 years. otherwise: exceedingly well put.

11 posted on 09/11/2005 4:54:32 PM PDT by King Prout (and the Clinton Legacy continues: like Herpes, it is a gift that keeps on giving.)
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To: Abogado

The W.O.T. is merely a sideshow of the War on Political Correctness.


12 posted on 09/11/2005 5:06:20 PM PDT by Sans-Culotte ("...on Earth, as it is in TEXAS")
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To: popdonnelly
Way to go, educators! Fill your students up with left wing junk. The junkyard was just around the corner so I put that stuff there. Yes, SS can be controversial. In high school I had one teacher who had cantidates from both parties come to prsent their election platforms. I learned quite a bit and appreciated the teacher for going to such efforts. Then we were to represent one cantidate and debate the other person. I represented our Republican Congressman and smoked the other person.

I try to be careful in my own teaching not to let my own strong opinions about having and respecting strong families show through--not.

13 posted on 09/11/2005 5:06:34 PM PDT by moog
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To: Mark

I can sympathize with this guy. I had the same problem during my student teaching internship. I think my teacher supervisor missed part of my lecture on bias, though.

I told the kids that I had opinons, too, just like they did. I also told them to remember the old saying about opinions. They're like rectums. Everyone's got one, and most of them stink. (got a laugh with that paraphrase, too.) I also told them to check out the facts, and to keep checking them, because anyone with any sense will change his or her opinions given enough facts. I was also careful to preface any prounoucement of mine with "this is my personal opinion" and usually told them something of how I'd come to have that opinion.

First lesson I taught, I was teaching about the meaning of the Constitution. I got them their own copies, and told them not to take my word for what it said, but to read it themselves, and make up their own minds. Same advice my stepfather gave me about religion, that was.


14 posted on 09/11/2005 5:08:00 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: eggman

Making our children into little Clintons

I wonder if they will look like Paula or Barbara or Sally or Jill or Lisa or Bertha or ...


15 posted on 09/11/2005 5:09:17 PM PDT by moog
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To: Mark

The College Board, who creates the AP courses, is starting to audit them to assure consistent quality.

http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/article/0,3045,151-165-0-46361,00.html

Some colleges that used to, no longer regard AP courses as indicators of success or college-level achievement, and don't grant college credit for them anymore.

Here's the outline and sample exam questions for the AP Government course:

http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/repository/05828apcoursdescgopo0_4321.pdf


16 posted on 09/11/2005 5:15:58 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (L'chaim!)
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To: Tax-chick

"Right. Not the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or anything weird like that, of course."

My thoughts exactly!

Fortunately she is well-educated at home. We have been joking about some of the books she could carry into class to shock the teacher, such as HOW RONALD REAGAN CHANGED MY LIFE or BLACK REDNECKS AND WHITE LIBERALS :).


17 posted on 09/11/2005 8:44:47 PM PDT by GOPrincess
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To: Mark
But, aside from being careful about presenting all sides of broad topics like religion, foreign policy and impacts on the economy, teachers should become sensitive about seemingly obvious "facts" like calling the people who perpetrated the attacks terrorists, said Etta Hollins, professor of teacher education at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

Already, some textbooks refer to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, without using the word "terrorist."

I never curse in public, but sometimes do when I am alone, under my breath. I'm trying to stop.

This is not helping.

18 posted on 09/11/2005 9:07:22 PM PDT by L.N. Smithee (http://lnsmitheeblog.blogspot.com)
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To: L.N. Smithee
Already, some textbooks refer to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, without using the word "terrorist."

You may or may not laugh, but you know the law of unintended consequences?

By referring to terrorists as "militants", folks haven't decided that these guys aren't terrorists, they just made the world militant a synonym for terrorist.

I didn't hear about this till today, when a couple of friends, including one who is a grade school teacher was saying its a problem, since almost all of the 1960's guys (i.e. Malcom X, etc) were defined as, and defined themselves...as militants.

Its going to be interesting this school year seeing how to explain to kids that there are different type of militants, without saying one is good or bad, while hoping they don't link all militants including african american civil rights leaders as terrorists.

19 posted on 09/11/2005 10:31:17 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Sonny M
By referring to terrorists as "militants", folks haven't decided that these guys aren't terrorists, they just made the world militant a synonym for terrorist.

I didn't hear about this till today, when a couple of friends, including one who is a grade school teacher was saying its a problem, since almost all of the 1960's guys (i.e. Malcom X, etc) were defined as, and defined themselves...as militants.

Precisely. It is unfair to lump a militant like Malcolm X in among the likes of the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army, which were domestic terror groups that actually killed people in cold blood.

I don't believe for a second that people such as Hollins and Keshishian truly believe there is any imbiguity about the word "terrorist." The term simply describes a particular type of combatant, similar to the terms "guerilla" or "mercenary". The etymology is so simple a grade school kid could get it.

What the lefties like them don't want is the built-in prejudice that the word "terrorist" invokes. They either don't have the courage, the intelligence, or the honesty to make a comprehensive case that actions by Western nations may be just as "evil," so they just crank up the political correctness machine and try to equalize the indefensible.

20 posted on 09/11/2005 11:22:22 PM PDT by L.N. Smithee (http://lnsmitheeblog.blogspot.com)
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To: GOPrincess

"How to Talk to a Liberal" :-).


21 posted on 09/12/2005 4:35:40 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Start the revolution - I'll bring the tea and muffins!)
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To: L.N. Smithee
Precisely. It is unfair to lump a militant like Malcolm X in among the likes of the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army, which were domestic terror groups that actually killed people in cold blood.

Its not necessarily right, but Malcolm X always referred to himself as a militant, and he was proud to be called a militant.

Back then, everybody used the term.

What is going to be a hassle now, is that MSM is an attempt to stop the built in bias of the word terrorist, is that they not only failed, but not have transferred that bias over to other words like militant.

In the MSMs zeal to morally relavatize, they may have done more harm to themselves as good.

My friend who is a teacher is pulling his hair out, since he, has always referred to certain groups (i.e. Klan, neo-nazis, etc) groups as terrorists.......ironically last year some student asked him if it was true that one mans terrorists is another mans freedom fighter because he brought up the kkk and lynching.

He is already dreading those moments this year when he starts using PC words for all groups.

22 posted on 09/12/2005 12:36:05 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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