Thursday, March 29, 2012

Arizona! Motto: Education Has Been About Learning Stuff For Too Long

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know that hope is the thin paper of dreams wrapped temporarily around the inevitability of entropy...erm...we mean know that we here in the marbled halls of IM Central often discourse on the state of productive efficiency vs-a-vs American educorporate training facilities and their eventual effluvia, namely students. In fact, it is a topic so near and dear to our collective cardiai that we have even been known to engage in the aforementioned pixel torment while sober.

So you can imagine our surprise when, after years of opining on and participating in the warping of young minds to our godless, socialist ways we found out we had it all wrong. And you can imagine the positively logarithmic increase in both our amazement and our chagrin when we were informed it was those educational philosopher kings and queens of the Arizona legislature who explained it to us.

See, all these years we thought education was about student teacher relationships, pedagogy, learning theory, child development, pre-service and in-service training and a host of other issues related to the functional development of human beings, when actually it was just about keeping liberal professors from cursing at conservative professors as they deny them tenure.
Arizona legislators are considering one bill that would punish college instructors whose speech or actions would violate broadcast obscenity standards and another bill designed to protect conservative faculty members from discrimination in getting hired or tenured.
 Introduced by Republican Sen. Lori Klein, the restrictions apply to any “person who provides classroom instruction” in public institutions from preschools to community colleges and four-year universities. "When I was a little girl I used to watch liberal professors chase down conservative professors with dogs, turn fire hoses on them, make them come in the back door and sit in certain areas of the cafeteria and I vowed back then if I ever got in a position of power I would do something about it," Klein said.

Klein, who before her election was employed as Arizona's official state example of the need for better community mental health facilities, told reporters that she was also considering introducing legislation to make pointing and laughing, eye rolling and "twirling one's index finger in either the clockwise or counter clockwise direction while in close proximity to one's temple" a felony. "How you like me now, seventh grade class at St Stephens," she said.

John Curtis, director of research and public policy for the AAUP, said the bill is probably unconstitutional and seems fundamentally inconsistent with the whole idea of higher education and academic freedom. "Does he have a point?" asked a spokesperson from Klein's office.

Timothy Secomb, a University of Arizona physiology professor, wonders what might happen when a medical class discusses the reproductive system or sexual behavior. Those lessons often involve graphic images and discussions that probably wouldn’t be allowed during prime time on CBS, but that Secomb argues are essential in training students. "We're not spending tax dollars to send our children into liberal dens of porn," Klien said. "Medical training is something that should be handled at home by the parents."

In Arizona’s other chamber, legislators are debating a bill that would ban discrimination based on a public college faculty member’s religious or political beliefs, or the amount of time they spend conversing with the voices in their heads. Rep. Tom Forese, the Republican from Paranoia who introduced the measure, told the Verde News the bill is designed to protect conservatives who feel they are discriminated against in the hiring and tenuring process, explaining that such persons fear retribution and must “pretend to think or believe in a different way in order to fit in. Sort of like what I had to do to convince people to vote for me,” he added.

His bill mandates that hiring and tenuring decisions be “on the basis of that faculty member’s competence and appropriate knowledge in the field.” Hey, hiring people based on "competence and appropriate knowledge in the field." Why didn't we think of that? Thanks representative Forese!

The Bill also asks colleges to assemble their staffs “with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives.” Hmmm..."fostering a plurality" huh. So you want us to look for conservatives to hire to offset the commies and atheists we usually hire. OK that sounds...wait a minute. That's AFFIRMATIVE ACTION!! We can't do that. Every conservative we hire will have to live with doubt. Were they hired because of their skills or were they hired because of your Bill. That's not the America we want to live in.

Secomb, the physiology professor, also opposes the bill. He said religious and political discrimination is a “nonissue” in his experience, and that asking for a variety of perspectives among faculty members could be dangerous. “In many fields,” he said, “there may be a consensus that some methodologies and perspectives are unacceptable. For example, in the sciences we often find that hiring creationists, religious fanatics or unmedicated loons is counterproductive.”

Representative Forese admitted that his Bill might need "some tweaks," but  pointed to statistics showing a rising number of students were being home schooled as a defense. "These kids are coming out of a certain kind of educational culture," he said. "We just want teachers they can relate to."

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