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    A blog by John Warner, author of The Funny Man, on teaching, writing and never knowing when you're going to be asked to leave.

Welcome Indoctrination Monitors!
August 29, 2012 - 9:20pm

Despite a previous career as an occasional political satirist and commentator, this year, I’ve pretty much decided to purposefully ignore as much campaign coverage and reporting as possible.

My vote is decided, and the volume (both in terms of amount and loudness) of commentary available leaves me somewhere between depressed and rage-filled. We have reached a truly post-modern age of political campaigns, where everyone seems to feel entitled to their own truths. I care deeply about the direction of the country, but I’m not interested in pundits and talking heads describing the entrails as our political sausage gets made.

Some news from the first night of the Republican Convention has leaked past my personal brownout in the form of this Inside Higher Ed report on the education-specific planks in this year’s party platform.

One of those planks reads as follows:

“Ideological bias is deeply entrenched within the current university system. Whatever the solution in private institutions may be, in state institutions the trustees have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination. We call on state officials to ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the left.”
 

To this I can only say, “Welcome official state overseers. Grab a seat wherever you can.”

This may sound strange coming from someone who has previously admitted to his “liberal values” and believes in brainwashing his students “liberally,” but I have to believe that one of the things our public universities need is significantly more attention from our state officials.

I think what they’ll see is colleges and universities, that by and large do a pretty credible job, even as they’ve received less and less support from states. I think they’ll see a lot of hardworking people who haven’t received raises for five years or more. I think they’ll see evidence of a hideously exploited class of laborers. I think they’ll see some amazing work being done to ameliorate the effects of declining state support.

Yes, the monitors will be exposed to so-called liberal bias. For example, if you are in a science classroom, it will be a given that evolution, is, in the words of Bill Nye the Science Guy, “the fundamental idea of all life science.”

It’s also likely that they would discover that if universities are in the liberal indoctrination business, they’re doing a horrible job of it, given that there is no evidence that college makes people more liberal.

I, for one, welcome the attention. There’s a lot of ego wrapped up in teaching, and everyone with an ego loves an audience.

I can say this, though, if State Indoctrination Prevention Officer pays better than Visiting Instructor, I’m going to be pissed.

 

 

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