Just before the start of the fall semester, Edward Swan, a student in the College of Education at Washington State University, was informed he was in jeopardy of being removed from his program.Read the whole thing. This is a complicated matter:
The college is bound by state law to evaluate the character of each student at graduation. Since 2001, the college has used a system where each semester, faculty members fill out a “professional disposition evaluation” for each student they have in class. The forms ask for marks on, among other things, students’ commitments to such politically charged concepts as “social justice” and “diversity.”
Mr. Swan, a self-professed conservative with strong opinions on the Bible and the role of men and women in a family, failed four of his evaluations.
According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, one faculty member flunked Mr. Swan for writing “diversity is perversity” on his copy of a textbook, while another claimed that he was a “white supremacist” and that he often sported a camouflage hunting cap and spoke of his love of hunting, both of which alarmed her.
Swan readily admits to being an avid hunter, but rejects the idea that he is a racist.
“I have four biracial children,” he told the Daily News.
The case at Washington State University is only the tip of the iceberg of so-called “dispositions theory.” Colleges and universities across the country have begun changing their admission and evaluation standards to add ideological criteria into the mix. Increasingly, institutions of higher learning are allying themselves with the proponents of social justice, blurring the line between knowledge and belief, education and indoctrination.
[College of Education Dean Judy] Mitchell disputed the idea that Swan's working-class background was one of the elements that led him to fail his PDE evaluations while other more sophisticated or educated conservatives might pass.(Mitchell Pickerill is the author of the message quoted in the previous post. He sent along the links for this story.)
"I think our faculty are fair to people of all backgrounds," she said.
Mitchell emphasized the College of Education is trying to find and train teachers for the public schools who will be committed to be as useful as possible to all students in their classrooms, regardless of varied backgrounds and culture.
That goal is a legitimate one, said two WSU faculty members who teach about constitutional law and civil liberties in the political science department.
"There's no right to a state job, like being a public school teacher," said faculty member Cornell Clayton. "It's a benefit, not a privilege.
"The state can impose a character test - and beliefs can be part of that test. But you can't keep people from state jobs because their beliefs may not be what you'd like," Clayton said.
Mitchell Pickerill thinks the language in the PDE forms may be problematic. "The question on the form is written in such a way that it reflects faculty biases," Pickerill said.
Pickerill sees the PDE's language as one expression of the culture of "political correctness" within the university.
I don't have a opinion to express about this particular incident -- which seems to depend a lot on disputed facts.