Another one bites the dust.
A teacher, that is.
It’s doubtlessly discombobulating for many well-tenured college professors — those befitting that description will have seen the entire concept of American schooling transform.
And to many, it may not have been for the better.
I suspect many students at present couldn’t conceive of the arrangement of old.
Previously, public education was a very dry distributor of objective fact.
Beyond that, it was a training ground for the mind.
There were no condoms in junior high, there was no identity in elementary.
Nebraska Eyes Teaching Kindergarteners Gender Identity While Eleven-Year-Olds Study Pansexuality and Demigenderism https://t.co/G4oPAuDZlF
— RedState (@RedState) March 24, 2021
There was no sociopolitical perspective to give kids direction.
Whatever viewpoints a pupil possessed emanated from within or from family or community.
Contemporarily, lines are comparatively blurred.
And at the university level, politics looks to be leaning one way.
Cases in point:
To Peter Boghossian, the change is less than laudable.
Hence, the professor is parting ways with Portland State University.
For the past decade, he’s served as an instructor of philosophy.
But via a resignation announcement — published by the Bari Weiss substack “Common Sense” — he’s raised his reasons for calling it quits.
In Wednesday’s open letter, Professor Peter laments the decline of thought-provoking pedagogy:
“Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues.”
It’s an issue of academic abandonment:
“[B]rick by brick, the university has made…intellectual exploration impossible. … Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.”
It’s antithetical to teaching:
“I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.”
And it’s been going on for quite a while:
“I noticed signs of the illiberalism that has now fully swallowed the academy quite early during my time at Portland State. I witnessed students refusing to engage with different points of view. Questions from faculty at diversity trainings that challenged approved narratives were instantly dismissed. Those who asked for evidence to justify new institutional policies were accused of microaggressions. And professors were accused of bigotry for assigning canonical texts written by philosophers who happened to have been European and male.”
He’s attempted advocacy, but “the more [he] spoke out about these issues, the more retaliation [he] faced.”
He even once contrived a scheme to highlight absurdity.
It didn’t work:
“[I]n 2017, I co-published an intentionally garbled peer-reviewed paper that took aim at the new orthodoxy. Its title: “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” This example of pseudo-scholarship, which was published in Cogent Social Sciences, argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. Immediately thereafter, I revealed the article as a hoax designed to shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing systems.
Shortly thereafter, swastikas in the bathroom with my name under them began appearing in two bathrooms near the philosophy department. They also occasionally showed up on my office door, in one instance accompanied by bags of feces. Our university remained silent. When it acted, it was against me, not the perpetrators.”
Peter titled his letter “My University Sacrificed Ideas for Ideology. So Today I Quit.”
Are many set to follow?
If I had to guess, I’d say going forward, teachers will mostly fall into two camps: those who quit and those who acquiesce.
But perhaps I’m wrong.
Whatever the case, to hear Peter tell it, the situation is severe:
“It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.”
It’s a different take on education, indeed.
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