Howard - your claim that you have to defend teachers and education implies that
conservatives are anti-teacher and anti-education, which is so very far from the
truth. I am very anti-poor teacher and anti-poor education, and I think
I'm a pretty typical conservative. The U.S. education system ranks 17th
among developed countries. I've had personal experience with too many
teachers who are abysmal at their jobs, yet the schools can't or won't
get rid of them. I've found that people who defend the public
education system and teachers so fiercely tend to make the claim that people
like me think all teachers are terrible. That's ridiculous. There are
probably about as many truly great teachers as truly terrible ones. Most are
just average. The small percentage of great ones is too small, and retaining
even one terrible one is too much, and our public system overall does a very
poor job at weeding out the bad ones. Hence a 17th place ranking, which is
LetsDebate:I've been on this blog for many years I'm
afraid. Those who have read my posts know better. But I'm also a defender
of teachers and education, that much I will say and that proves out in the posts
I've written on that subject. That's my rub. Perhaps my
"bias" came through but there is the regular D-News anti-education
pieces along with the regular chorus of those who will bash education nonstop,
and I would bet that if this actually did happen at a public school we would
hear from our "regulars" on the extreme right side of things in a
To Howard Beal - and yet, no such comments appeared from the
"ultraconservatives," therefore making your warning a far greater
indicator of your own political motivations than a reflection of the
conservative irrationality you clearly intended to convey (despite your implied
claim of impartiality).
@Howie B - anyone who starts his argument with "before the
ultraconservatives come out..." can say he's not ultraliberal, but
everyone with a brain understands the meaning behind the language. A sincere
lack of recognition is a common self delusion that accompanies the
"ultra" of either side.By the way, conservatives tend to
blame stupid schools and stupid teachers all the time, public or private. On
the whole, however, the private schools are light years ahead of the public
schools in terms of educating our young'uns.
DSB:Not a liberal my blogger friend, just calling it like I see it
and it's the ultraconservatives that love to jump on this to blame public
schools and teachers...
Looks like they were running out of good essay topics.
Excellent suggestion, KWL!
I did not say what I intended to say. I meant to say that anything that
encourages students to delve into the dark side of life is not helpful.
Teenagers have enough challenges without this type of assignment.
As a former teacher, I think anything that encourages students to look on the
dark side of life is helpful. Certainly bad things happen in life, but to
encourage them to happen is poor judgement on the part of anyone who does it,
Before the ultraliberals come out in force politicizing a tragic subject...wait,
Howard Beal has already posted. Never mind.This is a terrible idea
that could be attempted by crazy public or private school teachers, approved by
crazy public or private administrators.Let's leave the politics
out of this one.
Just because there are thousands of topics to think about doesn't mean that
it is wise to do so! Just like a host of other 'topics' to discuss,
such as drugs, sex, and suicide, the best way to reach kids is to tell them the
truth, which means don't do drugs, remain chaste, and live your life! It is
ridiculous to include topics in a curriculum that only foster more doubts and
'educational' ideas that justify actions and thoughts that lead to
despair! Just because depression happens doesn't mean that we should give
people 'hope' by discussing suicide as an option of any sort!
Why not give the students an assignment where they write the arguments they
would make to the character against her committing suicide, if given the chance?
Or have them describe what they could do if they were afraid someone was
Before the ultraconservatives come out in force blaming the ills of public
education, teachers and the unions, this happened at a PRIVATE school.
If any of the students actually are influenced to commit suicide, the teacher
should be held responsible.I don't know if I could fulfill such
an assignment. A particular quote from the Anne of Green Gables movie comes to
mind as to why: "To despair is to turn one's back on God." -Murilla
Ideally, children should be encouraged to be open with their parents and
teachers. Ideally, parents and teachers should foster that openness and
recognize signs of deeply troubled youth. Of course, most people don't
live in an ideal world, but we don't show children pornography in order to
broach the subject of pornography, and we don't give them drugs to foster a
discussion about drugs. Youth who commit suicide are generally those
who think a lot about it, and then find the rationalization and build up the
determination to do it. Why encourage them to think a lot about it, and then
find the best possible rationalization to do it? Two of three steps down, and
then just hope they don't build up the determination outside of the
assignment.This assignment is a disaster waiting to happen.
On the other hand, Lets and Livin, since suicide is taboo to speak of in
anything more than a whisper, might this exercise open a door to discussion and
thought that might help prevent it?I don't know -- I'm
just thinking out loud.
I wonder if the school is ready for the financial and emotional liability after
a student commits suicide but leaves behind a note that says "I never really
considered suicide before, but thanks to my assignment, I found many logical
reasons to end my life right away. Also, with prolonged thought on the subject,
I've found the personal courage to follow through."I can
hardly think of a more dangerous activity than to require undeveloped teenage
minds to spend significant time considering the rational justifications of
suicide. The teacher and supportive school officials should be arrested for
One can only imagine what the teacher's assignment would be for the
students after reading a book about Nazism or Charles Manson...