If you haven't heard about it yet, an audio recording by a North Carolina high school student has gone viral on YouTube. He recorded an exchange (that's misleading--it wasn't nearly that civil) with his Social Studies teacher, in which she tells him that he could be arrested for criticizing the president. Apparently, she was suspended once the furor escalated, but for what hasn't been made clear. For 'teaching while stupid'? I don't know.
The focus has been on her obvious ignorance; the student pointed out to her that he had in no way threatened the president, he had simply countered her 'fact of the day' (that Romney bullied someone in high school) with a question--namely, hadn't Obama also admitted to bullying someone--and that he was only exercising his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
There are many disturbing things about this episode. For starters, this was the teacher's 'fact' of the day?? From my reading of it, it's not undoubtedly a fact. Romney may indeed have been a high school bully, but was this teacher going to start a discussion about the Washington Post's incredible lack of journalistic ethics (putting words into the mouth of a supposed witness to the effect that he had 'long been bothered' about the incident, then simply altering the story rather than issuing a retraction when this man made it known he hadn't even been aware of the incident until the Post contacted him a few weeks earlier), or mention the fact that the 'victim's own family disavowed the Post's portrayal of him and the incident?
Something tells me...no. And then there is the atmosphere in the classroom and the way this woman interacts with her students. I taught high school for many years, and while there often were laughs and spirited discussion, at no time--ever--was I trying to teach or conduct a debate while shrieking, laughing, unrelated conversation, and general 'carrying on' reigned while I simply tried to shout over it. These kids clearly had no respect for this woman--but why should they? She had no control over her classroom because she had no control over herself. She screamed like a fishwife, cut students off and shut them up because she wouldn't tolerate being disagreed with.
And quite frankly, she was an ideology-driven dummy. What a waste of time for all involved with her. If you can stand her loud, grating voice, you can find the clip and listen, but towards the end, she smugly tells the students that, 'as a Social Studies teacher,' she can't 'allow' them to disrespect any president--past or current--only _moments_ after she has responded to the student's comment that people 'talked shit' about Bush all the time with the shrieking rejoinder that he (Bush) "was shitty!"
I'm sorry to say that, based on my own observations over a long period of time, very few teachers maintain the objectivity they should when it comes to politics and their students. Their job is to challenge students' assumptions and reasoning (whatever their opinions) so they can make them better thinkers. But, by and large, they don't. They freely try to influence, and it's safe to say that most of them don't have a sufficient level of self-awareness to realize they are profoundly wrong--even immoral--to do so.
This woman is a temporary embarrassment to the education establishment in Rowan County, NC, but she is a great illustration of why we are pouring tax dollars down a hole, shortchanging our young people, and falling ever farther behind the countries who demand the very best of their students and teachers.