Grad Student Expelled for Bureaucrats' Confusion

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One of my employers, Le Moyne College, expelled a graduate student in education for writing an opinion paper for his class. He had argued that corporal punishment could be a morally legitimate part of the education process. It's against New York law for schools to use corporal punishment, so his paper was in effect arguing that legislators change the law. Apparently the individual or committee making this decision can't tell the difference between seeking to get a law changed and breaking a law that's currently in effect. Should the DOT fire an employee for suggesting that the speed limit should be raised to 70?

I can't believe how they're justifying this. They said: "If we believe a student is not suitable for classroom instruction based on his or her educational philosophy we have an obligation that is consistent with the College's mission and that upholds New York State law and education regulations." Well, I guess I need to be careful what I teach now. If I teach Plato and in the process present an argument for corporal punishment in education, they're likely to think I'm beating my students.

It remains to be seen what the Syracuse school system will do. They've been known for stupid behavior in the past. Nottingham High School's college placement adviser regularly tells black students who earn A grades not to apply to top schools because they belong at community colleges, according to one of my former students whose daughter had been a recipient of this advice. Then when the adviser found out that the student in question was from Africa and not American by birth, she decided it was ok for her to apply to a top school. It's also the same school system that, according to someone who took a class with me who assistant taught in the city district, has color-coded name tags for the students, with the colors based on racial classifications. I have other stories too, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised if a school system with plenty of complete idiots would go along with this.

Thanks to Chuck at OrangePhilosophy for pointing this out.

4 Comments

I have to say, I mean I am forced against my will, to say, what are they thinking! Racial classifications? How about one race, the race of Adam and Eve.

Well, I think we do need to be able to talk about our culture's racial categories if for no other reason than to be able to address injustice. I do think too many assumptions behind the categories are evil enough (and arbitrary enough) that we shouldn't be pounding it into children this way. They're going to get enough of that from people who aren't well-intentioned that the well-intentioned people would better be spending their time fighting the harmful and demeaning elements of our racial narratives.

I'd love to see the look on an employers face when this guy hands them his essay promoting the idea of corp. punishment in 2005!?!?! What the heck?!

Who DOESN'T believe in multicultural education?

What scares me even more, quite frankly, is that teachers like him actually EXIST all over America.

I was hired to TEACH, not to physically smackdown someone else's child.

Lindsay
Buffalo City School Substitute and graduate student in ad. education

If the employer treats him any differently for a view that he agrees not to enact while the law is as it stands, then they're pretty evil. Whatever you think of the guy or his views, that doesn't change the fact that the college was acting immorally when they wouldn't allow him to continue in the program on these grounds. Arguing for a view in a paper for a course that's supposed to argue for a philosophical view does not amount to advocating anything illegal and should not cause anyone to worry about what he will do as a teacher given the law as it stands.

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