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Paying students to out liberal professors

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
What do you think about this? An alumni association from UCLA is paying students $100 to supply tapes and notes taken during classes taught by professors they think are extreme liberals. The alumni group has set up a web page listing the professors on their hit list.


http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/01....ap/index.html
post #2 of 23
I don't care what their politcal views are, UNLESS it affects their ability to grade students with different views or interpret their subject matter in a manner that is contrary to the curriculum. Then it makes a difference, and should be brought to the school's attention and dealt with. But that's not a liberal/conservative issue - that's a poor teacher issue.
post #3 of 23
I agree with valanhb. If students feel that a professor is unfairly grading them or is otherwise behaving in an inappropriate manner for a professor, they should complain to the Dean or take other such steps. Having a "hit list" and paying students to tape record conversations, etc sounds very Big Brother to me, and will itself generate an atmosphere not conducive to open discussion and learning.
post #4 of 23
Have these professors purposly failed students? have they attacked students? Are they masters of their fields? Bottom line is Who cares who they vote for. Leave these professors alone, let them work on whatever project they are working on and teach students about their fields.
post #5 of 23
And in the same vein: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATIO....ap/index.html
Big Brother, indeed.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Makes me think of McCarthy who basically believed that if you don't think the way I do, you shouldn't have a job (or you should be in jail).

As a professor, this is all very scary. If I always have to monitor everything that comes out of my mouth, how in the world can I be an effective teacher? And, if I can't share my thinking with students how can we have healthy debates that stimulate thought? If we all parrot the party line, how can our students learn how to explore and understand the various sides of the complex issues we face in the world today? grrrrrr......
post #7 of 23
Why do conservatives care so much about liberal schools? They DO, after all, control all 3 branches of the government...

I guess some people will stop at nothing.
post #8 of 23
It's not so much that conservatives think they have to have control over everything. OK, some do. I think this stems from professors like Ward Churchill. Since he is in Colorado there was a lot of discussion of him and liberal professors on the radio. I realize this is just anecdotal evidence, but there were quite a few people who called in who said that they or their children were not necessarily graded for their work in class, but for their agreement with the professor/teacher (this went into lower levels of school, too). If they dared to disagree with any statement, no matter how outrageous (i.e. Churchill's notorious statement about the "little Eichmanns" on 9/11), they were either failed or their grade substantially lowered. These "teachers" were not encouraging open debate, because anyone who didn't share their view was wrong. That is not teaching young adults to critically think for themselves.

If the shoe were on the other foot, and there were a rash of University Professors who wouldn't accept any student who said that Bush and his policies were wrong, would that be a problem? If they berated and belittled anyone who didn't agree with the war in Iraq? If they preached daily about how gay marriage is going to pervert society and lead to bestiality, or how abortion is murder? Would any of that be acceptable in a place where you are supposed to be trained for the future?
post #9 of 23
teachers need to "teach", not indoctrinate a captive audience. I don't see a thing wrong with this, especially since complaining to school administrators has usually yielded nothing by way of results. What are the teachers worried about??????? If they are sticking to the curriculum, or encouraging BOTH sides of a debate, then who cares? It is called accountability and I don't mind it one bit. If I am paying expensive tuition for my child, I want them taught the subject, and not being captive to an ideologue that wants to spout, uninvited, his or her point of view on political issues. And they can do it for so called conservative teachers as well, for the relatively few of them out there.
post #10 of 23
I think that profs should always be open to students discussing both sides of issues. But the profs should not have to fear giving their own opinions! Teaching is not about giving students a list of "objective facts" (whatever those would be) but to challenge the way they think and foster discussion. How would that happen if they have to fear repercussion for giving their own opinions?

And why are they targetting just liberals? Why not conservatives too? Or anyone with an opinion for that matter? Then you'd be sure to have no one complaining cause there would be no one left to teach (or the ones left would be so boring no one would listen anyways )
post #11 of 23
I don't feel professors should be targeted just for giving their opinions on certain topics. I also don't think a professor has the right to grade a student based on the opinion the student holds.

I don't think a professor should be recorded. If the student has a problem, again, the issue should go to the dean and a board should be called to review the "evidence". If a professor is found to be systemmatically grading students based on the opinons they hold (or even the attitude of the student) that turns out to be negative, then the professor deserves to be repremanded.

The danger here is that while the professor may be stating his or her opinion in conjunction with topics such as politics, there seems to be no assurance made by the school that a lecture or conversation will not be taken out of context or that the professor will be allowed to fairly defend himself or herself. (Something that a professor really shouldn't have to be doing, anyway, unless it is a very serious offense.)
post #12 of 23
It all seems so Hitler-youth like to me.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
It all seems so Hitler-youth like to me.
Reductio ad Hitlerum?
post #14 of 23
If these alumni don't like liberal professors, then why did they enroll at UCLA in the first place, instead of Hillsdale?
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
It's not so much that conservatives think they have to have control over everything. OK, some do. I think this stems from professors like Ward Churchill. Since he is in Colorado there was a lot of discussion of him and liberal professors on the radio. I realize this is just anecdotal evidence, but there were quite a few people who called in who said that they or their children were not necessarily graded for their work in class, but for their agreement with the professor/teacher (this went into lower levels of school, too). If they dared to disagree with any statement, no matter how outrageous (i.e. Churchill's notorious statement about the "little Eichmanns" on 9/11), they were either failed or their grade substantially lowered. These "teachers" were not encouraging open debate, because anyone who didn't share their view was wrong. That is not teaching young adults to critically think for themselves.

If the shoe were on the other foot, and there were a rash of University Professors who wouldn't accept any student who said that Bush and his policies were wrong, would that be a problem? If they berated and belittled anyone who didn't agree with the war in Iraq? If they preached daily about how gay marriage is going to pervert society and lead to bestiality, or how abortion is murder? Would any of that be acceptable in a place where you are supposed to be trained for the future?
Except this doesn't seem to be about the professors accepting the students. If a professor of any stripe bases a student's grade on that student's acceptance (or not) of the teacher's political beliefs, then that's wrong, and that's what appeals are for. This is about trying to scare professors—liberal professors, in this case—into silence.

Also, when a student says his or her grades or children's grades were lowered because they disagreed with a teacher's ideology—well, though I'm sure that does happen sometimes, it's entirely possible that the student perceived something that wasn't true or that the student was looking for a reason to blame someone else. People often look for someone else to blame for their own mistakes, and students are among the worst offenders. I can't tell you how many times I sat in class and listened to students go on about how they were being treated unfairly when in fact they were simply being expected to work.
post #16 of 23
Why just liberals if there is such a concern? this is out of line..IMO
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScamperFarms
Why just liberals if there is such a concern? this is out of line..IMO
Because there are certain professions that are traditionally dominated by a certain political mindset. Education and journalism tend to attract those with a more liberal set of beliefs. That's not just me saying it, there have been studies/surveys conducted that concur. With the more divisive political climate, it is not surprising that people who have those beliefs and a captive audience are using their positions to discuss and influence the future.

Case in point: Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Reagan taking office, and thus of his fiscal policies as well. In one forum, Earl saw kids who were not even a twinkle in their Daddy's eyes when Reagan was in office bashing on Reagan, saying that they had "been taught in school that Reagan just made the rich richer and the poor poorer." He did a lot more than that - he got the US out of the fiscal mess/recession that Carter created. He scared the heck out of the Russians just by taking office. But these kids are not being taught about anything positive that Reagan did. Just that "he made the rich richer and the poor poorer".

I do notice that no one has answered the question I posed earlier:

Quote:
If the shoe were on the other foot, and there were a rash of University Professors who wouldn't accept any student who said that Bush and his policies were wrong, would that be a problem? If they berated and belittled anyone who didn't agree with the war in Iraq? If they preached daily about how gay marriage is going to pervert society and lead to bestiality, or how abortion is murder? Would any of that be acceptable in a place where you are supposed to be trained for the future?
How do you think the liberals would react to that?
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Because there are certain professions that are traditionally dominated by a certain political mindset. Education and journalism tend to attract those with a more liberal set of beliefs. That's not just me saying it, there have been studies/surveys conducted that concur. With the more divisive political climate, it is not surprising that people who have those beliefs and a captive audience are using their positions to discuss and influence the future.

Case in point: Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Reagan taking office, and thus of his fiscal policies as well. In one forum, Earl saw kids who were not even a twinkle in their Daddy's eyes when Reagan was in office bashing on Reagan, saying that they had "been taught in school that Reagan just made the rich richer and the poor poorer." He did a lot more than that - he got the US out of the fiscal mess/recession that Carter created. He scared the heck out of the Russians just by taking office. But these kids are not being taught about anything positive that Reagan did. Just that "he made the rich richer and the poor poorer".
___________________________________________________________________________
I agree with your post. There are too many professors using these classes for indocrination, not teaching. The example you gave about Ronald Reagan is precisely the reason for this type of monitoring. RR ended the Cold War without firing a shot, and at the time (I was there, Im 46) he was being crucified by those that called him a war mongerer. He also did his best to contain the spread of communism. The fact that students are being taught socialist and class-warfare platitudes about what he did is sad and wrong. If I were teaching a class about RR I would include enough facts from both sides of the issue for them to make their own minds up. RR is widely regarded by people on both sides of the aisle as a highly effective leader, communicator, a man who held onto his firm beliefs. Certainly more than just "he helped the rich, not the poor".
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Because there are certain professions that are traditionally dominated by a certain political mindset. Education and journalism tend to attract those with a more liberal set of beliefs. That's not just me saying it, there have been studies/surveys conducted that concur. With the more divisive political climate, it is not surprising that people who have those beliefs and a captive audience are using their positions to discuss and influence the future.

Case in point: Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Reagan taking office, and thus of his fiscal policies as well. In one forum, Earl saw kids who were not even a twinkle in their Daddy's eyes when Reagan was in office bashing on Reagan, saying that they had "been taught in school that Reagan just made the rich richer and the poor poorer." He did a lot more than that - he got the US out of the fiscal mess/recession that Carter created. He scared the heck out of the Russians just by taking office. But these kids are not being taught about anything positive that Reagan did. Just that "he made the rich richer and the poor poorer".

I do notice that no one has answered the question I posed earlier:


How do you think the liberals would react to that?
The issue is the same, liberal or conservative. You go to the Dean, then to the President and then get legal counsel until one of them works. It doesn't matter if the teacher in question is saying "everyone should bash Bush and I'll fail you if you don't" or "all hail Bush, and I'll fail you if you don't", the solution should be the same. In NO case do I support paying students to participate in some kind of Orwellian escapade where they are offered money (!!!) to try and record their professors saying something compromising. If this is such an issue of integrity, then why do the students need to be PAID to do this? All this will do is make everyone jumpy and create an atmosphere of distrust totally unconducive to open discourse. Think about it, if you knew students were being paid $100 bucks if they could catch you saying something damning, you'd be afraid to open your mouth at all! Might they not try splicing the tape to make it sound like you said something you didn't? Might they take something totally out of context? Might they deliberatly try and lead you into saying something? Blech!
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
The issue is the same, liberal or conservative. You go to the Dean, then to the President and then get legal counsel until one of them works. It doesn't matter if the teacher in question is saying "everyone should bash Bush and I'll fail you if you don't" or "all hail Bush, and I'll fail you if you don't", the solution should be the same. In NO case do I support paying students to participate in some kind of Orwellian escapade where they are offered money (!!!) to try and record their professors saying something compromising. If this is such an issue of integrity, then why do the students need to be PAID to do this? All this will do is make everyone jumpy and create an atmosphere of distrust totally unconducive to open discourse. Think about it, if you knew students were being paid $100 bucks if they could catch you saying something damning, you'd be afraid to open your mouth at all! Might they not try splicing the tape to make it sound like you said something you didn't? Might they take something totally out of context? Might they deliberatly try and lead you into saying something? Blech!
Sounds like some members of Congress and Abramoff, et.al.
post #21 of 23
* shakes head* what is this world coming too.... no wonder only half of these kids have basic skills they arent focused on learning but how to get rid of those they dont like or hacve the same veiwpts..
post #22 of 23
Just to clarify my position...

I don't think that paying students to "out" their liberal profs is right. I said in my first post that I don't care what their personal beliefs are as long as they actually teach the curriculum. However, I do understand why the concern is there. And I do think that it is unrealistic to think that the concern wouldn't be there if it were conservatives indoctrinating students in their political views instead of teaching the subject matter. While I don't think that is happening in a widespread fashion, I do think it is happening in some places.

When the Ward Churchill thing was big news here and getting a lot of talk radio time, the people who called in complaining about this happening were asked if they reported it. Many did, and the school (University of Colorado, which is a notoriously liberally minded school in a very liberal town) pretty much always backed the professor. It is a "he said-she said" situation most of the time, and who will they believe?
post #23 of 23
I am a student. Personally, I prefer that my professor have an opinion. I want the chance to hear what he has to say and why he believes that. We can either have a healthy debate about why he feels the way he does or discuss the viewpoints that led us to the same conclusion.

My feeling is students would use this opportunity as a way to get revenge on professors they don't like. I agree, it is very Orwellian.
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