Minnesotans for Better Education, Standards and Testing

Minnbest is a non-partisan, broad based coalition of parents, educators and school advocacy groups who believe excellent public education is a foundation of democracy in America.

5/13/2005

One last Post

From: Joel (last name withheld)
To: Michael Boucher
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 11:37 AM
Subject: Bachmann Smear Article

Mr. Boucher,

I’m one of the few conservatives that currently reside in Minneapolis. First of all…I’m not surprised that the Star Tribune (aka the Red Press) jumped on putting your commentary as the top article on page A17.

First off, have you ever met or spoken to Michele Bachman? I’m guessing you haven’t. Instead of taking pot shots at her in a clearly left leaning news paper, why not opt for a civil discussion of your concerns. The problem here is that she is calling all the clearly left biased members of today’s educational institutions to the fairness table.

I’m a taxpayer whose hard earned dollars go toward Minneapolis schools. Teachers are paid to teach…not to sculpt their lessons around their social bias. If you’re a privately funded school or college then you have the right to teach whatever curriculum you see fit.

as one family who helps fund our public schools, I simply would like to see equal time given to both points of view. I’m not pushing for my views over your views…just equal amounts of information given on both. ; then let the students think for themselves.

80% of academia voted Kerry last fall nationwide…why shouldn’t those with more conservative concerns about how our children are being taught ask for fairness in what they’re learning? Our children are being taught how to slip a condom on a cucumber instead of abstinence being the best source of birth control. We are more concerned in what’s in their school lunches than what’s coming out of their mouths.

Perhaps your blood is running cold because finally the academic microscope is becoming more focused on the liberal bias of our teaching institutions and senator Bachman’s scrape book may include the name of: Michael L. Boucher Jr. when it is published.

Teaching skills differ greatly from teaching agenda or ideology. I have no doubt your teaching skills are up to par with those of your academic peers, I am simply challenging you and your teaching counterparts to prepare your lessons with equal points of view and let your students decide where the truth lies.

Sincerely,

Joel (last name withheld to protect Privacy)


Hi Joel. Nice to hear from you.

I want to put your mind at ease that I am not a bad person or an America Hater.

It is important that in your interactions with people that if you are not sure about something that you simply ask. If you get no answer, then guess.

I have talked with Senator Bachmann a few times. We agree on a few things, like NCLB, but disagree on most. I find her to be a mostly pleasant person and a moral person.

A "scrapbook" by a public official is not an appropriate use of her office. To take innuendo and hearsay and use that as evidence in whatever manner is simply unethical behavior. There are private individuals doing this work already like Horowitz. I find that reprehensible, but not unethical.

As far as the fairness table goes. Lets pretend that the roles were reversed and some teachers had your level of conviction on your issues. Would you automatically assume that they were so unprofessional as to demand lockstep conformity to those values in a public arena? Of course not.

I am sure you have a job and do not spend your days trying to convince your coworkers of your points of view. You have a job to do, so do teachers. The evidence states clearly that we do a very good job.

As far as teaching ideology, good teachers in Social Studies teach all kinds of ideologies. Everything from the Book of the Dead to the Code of Hamurabi to Pericles' funeral oration to the Bagavad Gita to John C. Calhoun to Martin Luther King. Democracy is an ideology. We carry the republic as a concept in our heads and we have written some words on paper. All we have between us and anarchy is our ideas, those words, and our reason.

Teachers, like every profession, are humans. Some are more talented than others but even the most minimally talented teacher is there to make life better for kids. The truth is, if there is a lot of sculpting going on in schools, we are not doing a very good job of it. If everyone who went to a public school was so indoctrinated to vote for Kerry, why isn't he the President? The answer is simple. Indoctrination is not a problem in Public Schools or Universities.

Yes there are incidents. There have always been incidents. Perhaps you are old enough to remember the Vietnam war. I don't remember much of what was going on as I was pretty young. But I have read there were plenty of incidents of conservative bias in schools. How well did that work? Not very well. Students rose up against that and demanded an end to the war. Many times it was the students who changed the minds of their teachers. Incidents are just that. They should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, not smearing an entire profession of hardworking and selfless individuals who spend their professional lives improving the lives of other people's children.

I have no doubt my name will be in big red letters in Sen. Bachmann's book. But no, I am not afraid. We live in a great country and the Constitution and laws are there to protect me from the government. I have faith they will do that. I also have faith in the people of Minnesota. We will survive this crucible and in the end we will reject extremism, vile hatred and invective.

I understand that you care about your children and want what is best for them. You want them to have your values and strengths. The best way to make sure that happens is to continue to provide them with a loving home, a quiet place to do their homework and continue to support and encourage them in all their safe endeavors, even if you are dubious about them. Encourage them to expand their horizons safely and guide them on the right path. If everyone did that, we would live in an even greater state.

Thanks for writing. Have a great day.
Michael