Sensitive speech inoculates high-schoolers

High school is supposed to prepare students for the world beyond graduation.  Yet in avoiding controversial topics, schools are doing just the opposite (“Stop shielding high-schoolers from sensitive speech,” New York Post, Jun. 26).

There are always several sides to any issue.  The sooner young people learn that reality the better able they will be to handle diverse opinions.  Unfortunately, some parents and some special interest groups believe that only their views on a given issue should be allowed.  They are unwittingly doing a disservice to students.

Today’s young people have been regularly exposed to images and words that previous generations lacked.  As a result, they are not naïve children.  They also physically mature earlier than ever before.  It’s one reason that so many high school students are bored to death by the curriculum and instruction.

I realize that public schools don’t have the same freedom to teach as private and religious schools.  But they need to be given greater latitude if they are expected to engage students and provide them with the wherewithal to handle life after graduation.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

 

2 Replies to “Sensitive speech inoculates high-schoolers”

  1. Agree that high schools should give much greater emphasis to teaching controversial issues. Not sure how responsibility the teach-only-my-view crowd has for the current avoidance of controversial issues.

    Seems that the main causes of the current avoidance of controversial issues are: 1) tradition — that is, just teach this year what we taught last year; and 2) avoid upsetting anyone — that is, by definition, teaching a controversial issue will necessarily trigger opposition from at least one set of opinion-holders (if the teaching is one-sided) or from two sets of opinion-holders (if the teaching presents both sides of an issue).

    In other words, high school civics courses do not discuss Obamacare because: 1) Obamacare was not part of the curriculum in 2006 and the curriculum has not been updated since 2006; and 2) if the high school civics course discusses Obamacare, the Republican parents, the Dem parents or both Republican and Dem parents will be upset by what is taught. The problem is not simply Republican parents insisting that the Republican view of Obamacare must be taught.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: Certain issues are bound to upset some parents. That’s why principals advise teachers to tread carefully. These usually involve sex, politics and religion. Tradition dies hard in K-12 education, which is why teachers who go beyond what is contained in district curriculum guidelines do so at their peril.

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