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First They Came For The Science Books....

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Anyone who thought the far right's agenda in grade school and high school began and ended with evolution simply wasn't thinking.

USA Today has a very good story about the conservative agenda to infiltrate that liberal bastion the schoolroom and make sure no one ever says or does anything they don't approve of.

A high school senior who puts up posters touting a website that links to video footage of beheadings and attacks the religion of others (Islam of course)? Just a fine upstanding kid. The story is filled with ideological watchdogs looking to slap down any teacher that dares to offer up an opinion on any issue that doesn't jibe with their beliefs. And all teachers are liberal because so many of them belong to a union and therefore can't be trusted...

Now seriously, I had a teacher in high school who expressed his liberal views and -- being then a good little disciple of William F. Buckley Jr. -- I argued with him. (He said the US suceeded because of all our natural resources; I said the USSR was similarly blessed so why didn't they flourish?) Would I see anything wrong with a teacher expressing, say, their support for the invasion of Iraq in a current events discussion? Not if they allowed students who disagreed to speak up as well. Besides, he was the teacher. I didn't agree with every opinion of my English teacher (she didn't like "Billy Budd" and I did). So what? Since when were teachers expected to say things every student could agree with? As long as they're not advocating hate against, say, blacks or gays or fundamentalist Christians, what's the problem?

These groups claim to be for academic freedom, but what they really want is to be free of any knowledge or opinion that contradicts what they already believe. My favorite quote from them sounds like the sort of touchy-feely liberal concern one used to hear from the left.

Students in primary and secondary schools tend to feel "intimidated," due to the "imbalance of power" in the classroom, says Gerard Balan, managing editor of
"Imbalance of power?" Um, there's SUPPOSED to be an imbalance of power. These are little kids and the teacher is supposed to be in charge, right? You know they're on shaky ground when they start offering babbling points like an imbalance of power between 12 year olds and the adult teacher sent to educate them. But their agenda is broad and scary and it's not going to go away. And just like the fights over teaching religion in science class, it's going to have to be fought on local levels all over the country again and again and again.

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