Jay Mathews writes-up some blogging censorship of a California teacher blogger as a case of heavy-handed administrators and political correctness run amok. But I think the episode actually points to a deeper problem. Despite all the talk about professionalizing teachers, they’re mostly still infantilized by those in authority. For instance, from the story:
…after the program’s director, Rachel Lotan, said some of her fellow teacher trainees found her “domineering and intimidating” and didn’t want to sit next to her in class.
Seriously? Leave aside the academic freedom issues, isn’t the thing to do here to gently explain to them that part of being a professional is successfully working with people you may not like or even find domineering and intimidating?
This is not a trivial issue. This undercurrent is essentially often offered up as to why more rigorous evaluations or use of data isn’t a good idea. It might not always be fair! Or why we can’t differentiate pay for teachers. They won’t understand if some people are paid more or less for teaching some subjects! It’ll make the workplace tense! Or why only teachers’ union officials can speak for teachers, etc…