Pennsylvania Legislator Thinks He Can Ban Teachers From Talking About Politics In The Classroom

from the there's-a-sucker-leaving-office-every-minute dept

A Pennsylvania legislator with little to lose but his remaining reputation has decided to burn that down on his way out of office. State rep Will Tallman wants to exit in a blazing cloud of idiocy and is asking his fellow reps to be as stupid as he is. (h/t Max Kennerly)

On Friday, Tallman sent a memo to the 203-member state House seeking support for a bill he dubbed the “Teacher Code of Ethics,” which legal experts questioned as unconstitutional overreach.

In the memo, Tallman said his bill would forbid public school teachers from endorsing, supporting or opposing candidates or incumbents for local, state and federal offices while in the classroom. On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation, regulations, executive orders or court cases involving any level or branch of government. They could not talk about activities “that hamper or impede” law enforcement actions or military recruiters on campus.

Tallman actually believes children as young as the age of 5 are being "indoctrinated" by teachers with ideological axes to grind. His conclusion appears to be based on things people like him have said in the recent past without offering citations or evidence.

As a member of the House Education Committee, he said, he has received “half a dozen to a dozen” complaints about teachers inserting their political beliefs into non-germane topics. His adult children and grandchildren also complained to him about the same issue, he said.

So, the braintrust behind this assertion includes three missionaries and their children and 6-12 complaints over the past decade. Obviously, the only conclusion to draw is that indoctrination is out of hand and only the powerful velvet fist of government regulation can stop it. If the First Amendment must be destroyed to save the children, it's a sacrifice Tallman is willing to make on behalf of the few that agree with him and the large majority of non-idiots who don't.

Everyone who isn't Tallman has already greeted his proposed legislation with Constitution-based ridicule. The law will never pass. If something goes horribly wrong and the bill does pass, the courts will strike it down immediately.

Tallman believes it won't. Tallman -- again without offering supporting evidence -- firmly believes this same sort of unconstitutional garbage is already law elsewhere in the country.

Tallman stood by his bill, saying four other states, which he could not name, have enacted similar legislation, and that it would be up to the courts to determine if the enacted laws and his bill are legal.

Follow-up?

"This will have to play out in court," he said.

Sorry, but the game goes to The Morning Call.

It already has.

The Morning Call offers far more than cases it can't name in support of its statement. Readers are given a list of precedential Supreme Court decisions striking down similar unconstitutional restrictions on speech.

The bill has zero chance to survive a Constitutional challenge should it somehow make its way from half-formed brain fart to actual law. No one else in the legislature appears willing to push Tallman's Folly along, meaning the legislator will have to handle all of his own agitating while short-timing his way through his last few months in office.

Tallman could have exited office gracefully -- remembered vaguely as that one guy who did the government thing for nine years. Instead, he chose to be remembered for the hill he chose to retire on -- a stupid law so facially unconstitutional it could only have been dreamed up by someone who uses family members as focus groups.


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    identicon
    D Fine, 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:32pm

    Need YOU to first define "politics", 'cause what "the left" means is...

    ONLY their side.

    For instance, some woman making VAGUE accusations of an attack 35 years ago is to be absolutely believed. That's what "the left" means by "politics".

    Therefore, if has some "balance" provisions this might be not only legal but workable.

    (Yes, I know that "the left" is slippery and vague. You know who you are, and so do I.)

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:45pm

      Re: Need YOU to first define "politics", 'cause what "the left" means is...

      How about we simply allow the duly elected school board members perform their duties?

      Why do we need some, most likely, lawyer telling teachers how to do their jobs - because someone has thin skin or wants to legislate in a back room?

      It is not legal nor is it sane, but what should one expect in these times?

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 2:21pm

        School Board

        Don't know about other States, but in NY the "local" School Board does little more than decide what minuscule percentage of the yearly budget will be spent on classes rather than Sports.

        You have to go up to the State level if you want to know what classes are selected to be taught, what texts will be used, etc.

        Which, if you think about it, is something that probably isn't being watched carefully enough, no matter which side of the aisle you prefer.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:58pm

      Weren’t you supposed to leave and never come back?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 2:14pm

      Re: Need YOU to first define "politics", 'cause what "the left" means is...

      If by "some woman" you mean multiple women, plus Yale classmates, plus other corroborating evidence, then yes, you should probably believe those accusations.

      Of course, one alternative is to learn about impending accusations a week ago then try to speed through the confirmation process before the (additional) allegations are made public.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 11:31am

      Re: Need YOU to first define "politics", 'cause what "the left" means is...

      For instance, some woman making VAGUE accusations of an attack 35 years ago is to be absolutely believed.

      Actually, what I think is less believable is a man going on television and saying he was a virgin during high school and for "many years" after.

      Would we want some dipstick who seems like he couldn't get laid in a whorehouse on the supreme court?

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 4:49pm

        what I think is less believable is a man going on television and saying he was a virgin during high school and for "many years" after

        Well, I’m not on TV, but hey: Late-30s virgin here—what is so unbelievable about that?

        Would we want some dipstick who seems like he couldn't get laid in a whorehouse on the supreme court?

        Assuming you have never committed an act of sexual assault in your life: Would you want your sexual background becoming a part of why you deserve any kind of job, much less a spot on the bench of the highest court in the country? Kavanaugh’s history is relevant only because it may (or may not) undermine the testimony he put forth to Congress and his suitability as someone who will decide on laws that govern women’s bodies (e.g., Roe v Wade). The better question, then, is this: Would you want someone who has a history of abusing women (however brief) and no history of repentance for that abuse to decide whether the government should control a woman’s reproductive rights?

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 6:44pm

        Late-blooming virgins.

        I was twenty six when I first became sexually active (and about Kavanaugh's age), but then again I was antisocial and a tech nerd. Our good judge was on the football team, a true acolyte of the kegger sector, and a Renate alumnus meaning he implies to have had relations with Renate Dolphin (one of the 65 women who wrote a letter approving of Kavanaugh). This fits a narrative that he was sexually active, or determined to become so while in high school. And it's hard to be a partier on the football team in 1982 and not have opportunities, even at a Catholic prep.

        But what's notable is his claim that I had never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever. Even if we decided that it was not too inappropriate to sexually assault someone in the 80s to be a justice today, we know he's lying about it now. He's not at all regretful or remorseful for being an asshole in highschool, but believes this is something one sweeps under the rug.

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      • identicon
        bob, 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:30pm

        Re: Re: Need YOU to first define "politics", 'cause what "the left" means is...

        Virgin till I was 24 and married. Keeping virginity till later in life is more common than you think.

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 4 Oct 2018 @ 4:01pm

      Re: Need YOU to first define "politics", 'cause what "the left" means is...

      > Tallman actually believes children as young as the age of
      > 5 are being "indoctrinated" by teachers with ideological
      > axes to grind.

      This guy may be overreaching, but political proselytizing is certainly not unheard of in the classroom.

      After the Stoneman-Douglas shooting, there was a coordinated walk-out/protest in high schools across the country in support of tougher gun control laws.

      My niece declined to participate because she didn't agree with the message and was told she had to leave her classroom with everyone else and march down the street whether she wanted to or not under threat of disciplinary action (detention, etc.).

      That seems like indoctrinatory behavior on the part of the school administration to me.

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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:35pm

    Indoctrination

    Last I checked teachers all across the country were trying their damn hardest to tell kids about a magic boat filled with animals in lieu of evolution.
    Political speech - protected.
    Religious Dogma - prohibited.

    Seems pretty simple to keep straight, eh?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:46pm

    I take it he would have problems with any civics class, as discussing laws and court cases are outright part of curriculum for them.

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      I take it he would have problems with any civics class, as discussing laws and court cases are outright part of curriculum for them.

      Apparently this (alleged) legislator has a very weak grasp of education.

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    • identicon
      Shufflepants, 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      Indeed.

      On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation, regulations, executive orders or court cases involving any level or branch of government.

      Since basically everything about what the government is or does is enshrined in some piece of enacted legislation. I would read this law to effectively ban talking about the government at all. Since, public schools are set up through legislation, at school, you couldn't talk about school.

      The first rule of school club is, you don't talk about school club.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Since basically everything about what the government is or does is enshrined in some piece of enacted legislation. I would read this law to effectively ban talking about the government at all. Since, public schools are set up through legislation, at school, you couldn't talk about school.

        Which ironically is probably what this buffoon of a legislator wants. Everyone being taught only the views he wants them to have / know about. Any objectors go to prison where they won't be a danger to his "perfect" society.

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    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 6:04am

      Re:

      Yes, it seems one of the goals here is to keep children, and therefore young adults, ignorant on the persons and policies which govern their lives.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:07am

        Re: Re:

        Their theory has been for some time that private business can do things more efficiently than government, but I have not seen any evidence in support of this claim.

        The wealthy are actively destroying the public education system in preparation for the corporate take over of educating our children. Make no mistake, this is a horrible idea and will not produce the results they are predicting. When has anything they predicted ever actually happened? They claim they are doing one thing while busily doing the complete opposite - in the dark and lying to us about it all the time.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 4:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Their theory has been for some time that private business can do things more efficiently than government, but I have not seen any evidence in support of this claim.

          To wit: the Trump administration.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:38pm

          The alleged superior efficiency of privatization

          This as been a pro-capitalism argument for some time, that private companies are motivated by profit to innovate more efficient ways to do things or make things, and this logically follows.

          What doesn't follow is that these efficiency trims are necessarily good.

          For instance private prisons have been able to shave expenses by providing circa-1900 medicine (such as sugar, rather than alcohol or antibiotics as an anti-germ agent) As such the death rate in private prisons is notoriously higher than it is in county or federal ones.

          In the aughts, famously, the US hired private military companies like Blackwater to do work that would be too tedious for the US military following rules of engagement. (e.g. we'd send them in to clear an area -- that is, annihilate everyone there, civilians or otherwise) Mercenaries are illegal according to international rules of warfare, but we still hire them.

          Then there's charter schools that have to conform to a lower set of standards than public schools, and as such are an inadequate replacement for public schools, though DeVoss thinks otherwise.

          Maybe if we held private companies to the same standards we apply to government industry, and enforced those standards, our efforts to privatize public works would have a better track record.

          But then given one of the greatest innovations companies have developed to maximize profits is to lobby the government to stop nonsense like regulation and standards. The best gig is to simply get a government subsidy. That's all pure profit!

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:12pm

            Re: The alleged superior efficiency of privatization

            Mercenaries are illegal according to international rules of warfare, but we still hire them.

            Mercenaries, as defined by the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Mercenary Convention (the latter of which the US has not signed), are hired from a third nation not a party to the conflict. US citizens hired to fight on behalf of the US are legal.

            https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/ihl/WebART/470-750057

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:47pm

    If he were to make all public schools private I suppose he might have a leg to stand upon, but that is not going to happen.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:47pm

    I was indocrinated by teachers with ideological axes to grind.

    Our defense for it was a robust syllabus of logic and critical thought, which was our main bulwark when the various activist fronts, the local politicians, the commies and nazis and the US Army would send represents over to recruit.

    Granted, some teachers did push their favored positions and wouldn't accept opposition, but some would, and graded on the quality of the argument and presentation rather than the merit of the position. Overly ideological teachers developed reputations for being so.

    These days, critical thinking skills are sometimes regarded as a liability than an asset, for encouraging students to challenge authority. When you raise good obedient soldiers, you risk them becoming soldiers for anyone.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:11am

      Re: I was indocrinated by teachers with ideological axes to grind.

      "These days, critical thinking skills are sometimes regarded as a liability than an asset,"

      This is true, thinking outside the box is not acceptable behavior when it embarrasses the higher up mucky mucks.

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  • identicon
    upstageleft, 24 Sep 2018 @ 2:00pm

    Phrasing issue

    I take issue with your phrasing in the following phrase: "half-formed brain fart".

    The correct form would be: "fart of a half-formed brain".

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  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 2:12pm

    At first I thought it didn't seem too horrible, then I read this line:

    On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation, regulations, executive orders or court cases involving any level or branch of government. They could not talk about activities “that hamper or impede” law enforcement actions or military recruiters on campus.

    Like... WTF? That essentially outlaws US History courses.

    It outlaws talking about even non-controversial things like talking about Brown vs Board of Education.

    Oh and it tries to enshrine hero warship of cops and the military into law.

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 5:27pm

      Re:

      Is it just me or is it weird that worship is just a single letter different from warship.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 8:01pm

        Re: Re:

        it's not just you...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 8:02pm

        Re: Re:

        and given how many people try to use religion to justify their hate... it kinda works

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        • identicon
          Zippy, 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          People also use their hate of religion to justify their own hate, so it goes both ways.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 4:43pm

            Atheists in general do not hate religion, so much as they despise people using religion as a justification/excuse/“get out of accountability free” card for doing awful things. As an agnostic atheist, I do not hate organized religion or the religious in general. (I have issues with it, yes, but that does not mean I want forced atheism or something stupid like that.) What I despise are religious people who do things like, say, espouse anti-LGBT views that anti-LGBT activists use to justify anti-LGBT discrimination(/violence).

            The Bible is an inert codex full of centuries-old stories; it cannot, on its own, hurt someone. What people do with their interpretation of those stories is far more important than the existence of the book itself.

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            • icon
              nasch (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:06pm

              Re:

              Atheists in general do not hate religion

              Perhaps not in general, but some do hate not only religion but religious people. Hang around places like slashdot long enough and you'll see it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:17am

      Re:

      "Like... WTF? That essentially outlaws US History courses"

      The wealthy bigots have expressed their outrage at several school districts that dared to teach real history. They want to remove references to their past bad behavior, for example they want to teach that the slaves were not slaves at all as they came here seeking employment - LOL, even a fifth grader would laugh at this.

      The local school board here was replaced last election mainly due to this issue.

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  • icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 2:16pm

    >In the memo, Tallman said his bill would forbid public school teachers from endorsing, supporting or opposing candidates or incumbents for local, state and federal offices while in the classroom.

    I can see this being drafted as a reasonable policy for similar reasons to the Hatch act or Johnson amendment.

    >On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation,

    What?

    >regulations,

    Wait!

    >executive orders

    Back up!

    >or court cases

    WTF?

    >involving any level or branch of government.

    Huh. Ok, so you just bulldozed past reasonable into crazy here, huh? All teachers? Because that means banning the discussion of history, Social Studies (Civics), or current events. You know, their job.

    >They could not talk about activities “that hamper or impede” law enforcement actions or military recruiters on campus.

    So they couldn't talk about the student protest in the quad, Address the students in protest in the quad, or ask that the students not participating in the protest make efforts to not create further disruptions? We are literally talking about banning requests for calm?


    The issue is that the language of the memo talks about outright bans, instead of addressing the question of "Germaine issues" which is a thorny minefield. Every issue here can have Germaine application. Even 'endorsing, supporting or opposing a candidate', in the context of student questions about the teacher's opinions in relation to active discussions about government. As I noted, I might support an effort to prevent teachers from expressing opposition or support. But this goes far beyond that, effectively banning American History.

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    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      When I was in eighth grade, there were a number of propositions on the ballot in my state and in our US History class we each got assigned one of them to argue either for or against. With a law like this that type of class assignment wouldn't be legal.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:09am

        Re: Re:

        The first time my school really went into the nuts and bolts of how the US government works -- the Constitution, three branches, bicameral legislature, elections, etc. -- was fourth grade. I was a fourth grader in 1992.

        It seems like we really would have missed out on a lot of useful information if we'd just ignored the election that was going on at the time.

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  • identicon
    Chip, 24 Sep 2018 @ 2:35pm

    Great Idea! That's how we did it at Smilin' Jim's Unaccredited Forth Grade Academy! We did not "Discuss" ANY regulations, because All regulaions "are" BAD!

    We studied the Important stuff: out-of-"context" Quotes by Famous "historical" FIGURES, like George Washington and Ben Franklin. and Ayn Rand!

    And look how "great" I Turned out!

    Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deseves!

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:04pm

    Sounds Semi good to me. I'm all for free Speech, but I'm tired of teachers teaching all their radical leftest ideologies to the students. They get brainwashed all through school. You can't talk about the other side without being negatively impacted.

    Their VIEWS should be left outside of the classroom. Ther should be NO SIDES taken. Instead of spending time teaching kids real-world things they need to know, lots of time is just wasted on crap.

    So long as you're on the left, there's nothing wrong. Most schools are left-leaning. Just like most of mainstream media is way to the left. They're at the point of really not caring that they have no facts. It's a lie with nothing to back it up. So long as it bashes the right, it's OK. If it's the left, there's nothing wrong, cover it up. It's joke at this point.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      If you can't communicate with the other side without being infected with their ideas, have you considered the possibilities that:

      -they're a highly advanced meme-virus that suborns the nervous system of all in contact with them?
      -They have logical stances supported by reasoning and evidence, and people exposed to it conclude that they're right?

      Personally, I think it's remarkably telling who *doesn't* want critical thinking effectively taught in schools.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 12:29am

        Re: Re:

        they're a highly advanced meme-virus that suborns the nervous system of all in contact with them?

        NANOMACHINES, SON.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 5:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          they're a highly advanced meme-virus that suborns the nervous system of all in contact with them?

          NANOMACHINES, SON

          Or this, because it had to exist.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:32pm

      Re:

      I’m sorry that you got ripped off in the marketplace of ideas.
      I though you right-wing nut jobs were all about Cavet Emptor.
      It’s too bad that you don’t know what that means since you refuse to learn from people who’s profession it is to impart knowledge.

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    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      >>Their VIEWS should be left outside of the classroom. Ther should be NO SIDES taken. Instead of spending time teaching kids real-world things they need to know, lots of time is just wasted on crap.

      So, as noted in many comments and the original article, the subjects here are far more broad than 'opinion'. These subjects are often things teachers need to teach. Under the proposed ban, it would be illegal to tell a child that it is illegal to answer a question about the teacher's opinion.

      You make the assumption that the ban would be about non-germane discussions, without taking time to question how we would determine how germane a particular commentary is. Moreover, if "views" are left out of the classroom, what does that mean? When does subjective analysis of a historical situation with no real definitive answers become allowable (context: One history teacher suggested it was his belief that the US entering the league of nations after WWI could have developed a political landscape which could have warded off or blunted WWII, others have disagreed)? Do we now need a fairness doctrine for history classes? Statistics can be read different ways - if the textbook reads data one way, but the teacher believes that data shows something else, is that a banned 'view' (see Youtube channel Knowing Better on the republican/democrat switch - specifically the vote on one of the civil rights acts. One person suggests a conflicted party line vote, but the channel notes it was actually a overwhelmingly 'partisan' North/South vote

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:39pm

      Re:

      Which facts do you imagine you have?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      "radical leftest ideologies"
      What might that be, things like - treat others like you would want to be treated?


      "Brainwashed"
      What, like from repeating the pledge every morning?


      "Their VIEWS should be left outside of the classroom."
      I doubt that is even possible, but why should they?
      If the math teacher decides they will teach civics rather than math then I suppose the principal might have a chat but what is the civics, history, social studies, whatever teacher supposed to do - find a better career?

      I wonder why some folk think everyone is out to get them, perhaps it is their opinions and actions that are off putting to most and they see that as rejection?

      Funny how some who lack integrity also lack facts to support their accusations of others not having any facts.

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    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 24 Sep 2018 @ 11:41pm

      Re: Ther[e] should be NO SIDES taken

      But that’s just your side.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      So long as you're on the left, there's nothing wrong.

      Oh, I beg to differ, and speaking of "crap..."

      When I hear people advocating for "creationism," "intelligent design," or whatever other euphemism for "my invisible man in the sky made all this shit," being taught in school, I think things are very, very wrong. Those aren't problems injected by the left. That's the morally superior right farting out that kind of stupid.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re:

        In fairness, religious bullshit can come from both “sides” of the political aisle. That it comes more from the “right” than the “left”, however, says a lot.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:04pm

    Pennsylvania

    To put this in context, my nieces were in middle school in Pennsylvania in 2008. More than one of their teachers stated voting for Obama was a sin and anyone who voted for him would go to hell. So muzzling teachers in Pennsylvania may not be such a bar Ides.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:33pm

      Re: Pennsylvania

      To be fair the “going to hell” bit does seem to violate the principle of seperation of church and state.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 6:34pm

      Re: Pennsylvania

      Well - it is Pennsylvania.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 25 Sep 2018 @ 5:20am

      Re: Pennsylvania

      "More than one of their teachers stated"
      I call bullshit. What school?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re: Pennsylvania

        Why is that so difficult to believe?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          I.T. Guy, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Pennsylvania

          Because I grew up in the Pennsylvania/Phila school district.

          "To put this in context, my nieces were in middle school in Pennsylvania in 2008. More than one of their teachers stated voting for Obama was a sin and anyone who voted for him would go to hell. So muzzling teachers in Pennsylvania may not be such a bar Ides."

          "More than one of their teachers stated voting for Obama was a sin"
          Stated to whom? A middle school student? A class of middle school students? aged 5-10? So a few teachers said this to one student? A few teachers said this to one class? Said it to many classes? And nobody said a word?

          [Sniffs] Smells like bovine fecal matter.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 8:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pennsylvania

            I recall reading several stories back in 2008 and 2012 where a teacher was accused of telling students that voting for Obama was a sin. Do not recall which state, prob texas.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pennsylvania

            Because I grew up in the Pennsylvania/Phila school district.

            Aren't Philly and Pittsburg the only blue parts of Pennsylvania, and the rest is very conservative? If I have that right, then your experience would not be representative of large parts of the state.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 4:53pm

    Perhaps as society we need to stop cheering when these morons do something for "our side" & pay more attention to the fact they wasted time, money, resources on pushing this forward knowing it had no chance.

    We need to vote them out & demand politicians who focus on actual issues & not just jump on the conspiracy train to get great soundbites but accomplish nothing.

    Is everything in Pennsylvania so awesome that barring teachers from discussing current events or having their own opinions is a huge issue needing to be addressed? Perhaps elect people who want to fix the hard things & not just take victory laps with their soundbites to carry them back into office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Cressman, 25 Sep 2018 @ 4:50am

    DO IT!

    If they REALLY wanted to make something like that stick, they should follow the Common Core route... make a standard and say "You do these things or you get no State money."

    It's up to the individual schools at that point, but of course they all will because they need the State money.

    And in the end... it's all B.S.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:22am

      Re: DO IT!

      Extortion of the states by the federal government is not something that should be promoted as a good way of governing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:52pm

      Re: DO IT!

      It's up to the individual schools at that point, but of course they all will because they need the State money.

      The question is then how do you determine who is worthy of the money? That's the problem with the whole "stick and carrot" idea here. Real education is messy. There's not a clean one-size-fits-all way to teach nor to evaluate academic performance. Further any comprehensive evaluation method deployed nationwide will be prohibitively expensive. The easiest way would be to allow the teachers to evaluate the students' needs, have independent reviews of their plans, and get rid of the political threats that are nothing more but a distraction and hindrance. That way the education more or less is tailored to the student's needs instead of a politician's desires like it is now.

      You'll need to get rid of Multiple Guess before that though. Otherwise, no matter what the "standard" is you'll never achieve it as you have no real way to measure progress. Hint: If it can be aced without any skill you're doing it wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 25 Sep 2018 @ 5:19am

    Sadly, it's mine and our resident troll's home state.

    Im sorry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zof (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 6:27am

    Point/Counterpoint

    Point:

    The free exchange of ideas is crucial to formulating opinions and developing logic. It's ridiculous to censor learning.


    Counterpoint:

    Yet we do it. A lot. I'll let the schools know they can now start talking about religion openly. And firearms and explosives manufacture. And BSDM. Oh, that's right. We ban certain topics from schools because they cause serious problems in a learning environment. It's like how schools ban cell phone usages, and sex on desks for the same reason. So banning political speech in an environment that already bans disruptive activity doesn't seem silly now does it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:26am

      Re: Point/Counterpoint

      They already screw everything up so why not let them screw things up even worse - some people just want to watch the world burn.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:33am

      Re: Point/Counterpoint

      Actually Gof, way back in the day a girl brought a "gun" into school, 10th grade. It was more the frame of a gun. A revolver without the cylinder, or handle. They used it as an opportunity to tell the "evils" of guns.

      "And BSDM."
      Been to college? That is usually a topic reserved for those over 18 and isn't a normal topic in any social situation.

      "It's like how schools ban cell phone usages, and sex on desks for the same reason." (Oh, the dramatics)
      Huh?
      Yes, because talking/texting is just like pulling out my genitals and performing a sex act with another student on the desk. Sorry, but one can be done discretely and the other, well...

      "So banning political speech in an environment that already bans disruptive activity doesn't seem silly now does it?"
      Yes, it does. Apples, Oranges. Unless you are going to argue that discussing politics is a disruptive activity.


      "We ban certain topics from schools because they cause serious problems in a learning environment."
      So... besides cell phones and gratuitous bondage sex on the desk; what topics are banned from schools?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 8:16am

      As others have pointed out in the comments above, this is about banning more than just expressed political opinions spoken aloud by teachers. The bill, in its current language, looks to prevent teachers from holding a regular civics course. Consider this irony: As it reads now, this bill—if it were passed into law and were to survive a court challenge—would legally prevent a teacher from discussing the court rulings that gave children First Amendment rights in school.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 6:41am

    Right after he's done banning teachers from talking about politics in the classroom, it would be great if he bans politicians from talking politics.. then maybe something would get done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:28am

    If teachers are not supposed to discuss politics then it follows that politicians are supposed to discuss teaching?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 7:46am

    Shut up and teach

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 8:37am

      Re: Shut up and teach

      Wait, do you want them to teach, or do you want them to shut up? Teaching generally involves speaking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Digitari, 25 Sep 2018 @ 8:48am

        Re: Re: Shut up and teach

        Your obtuse response is the core of the problem. Yes, I get you were trying for a "cute" response, but some segments of the US population actually think this way.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

          Your obtuse response is the core of the problem.

          What problem?

          Yes, I get you were trying for a "cute" response, but some segments of the US population actually think this way.

          What way?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Digitari, 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

            lets see "what problem" anti-fa, President Trump, the Kavanaugh farce. how are you so isolated?

            "what way?" that words online have exact meaning when read. whithout inflection and body language or other disciptors, online communication is not always cogent

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

              lets see "what problem" anti-fa, President Trump, the Kavanaugh farce.

              What about them? How are those things relevant to the conversation we're having?

              "what way?" that words online have exact meaning when read. whithout inflection and body language or other disciptors, online communication is not always cogent

              Now I'm even more confused. What does that have to do with Antifa, Trump, or Kavanaugh?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        NeghVar (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re: Shut up and teach

        The point is stick to the topic you are being paid to teach your students. In biology, we don't need to be hearing about politicians whose policies increase global warming, will melt ice caps, and flood our coastal cities. And how other politicians seek to heal the land and save our planet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          NeghVar (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

          Don't put political twists into the subject.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:26am

          Maybe our children should learn about those things. They deserve to know who is helping to ruin the planet they stand to inherit and eventually give to their own children.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Digitari, 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:40am

            Re:

            you can teach your "beliefs" at home, just like you want the religious too.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 11:56am

              Re: Re:

              you can teach your "beliefs" at home

              Are you suggesting that the world now is the same as it was over the course of millions of years?

              If not, then you "believe" in climate change.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

          Sure, why would you teach about a major threat to the ecosystem in a class that's about the science of life on earth? I mean that would be like teaching about black holes in astronomy class, or Shakespeare in English. Makes no sense.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

          If you don't think climate change is a relevant topic in biology, then I'm not sure you've thought the subject through.

          I would agree that endorsing specific politicians, parties, or platforms begins to run pretty far afield for a bio class. But the effects of climate change are absolutely relevant to a conversation about biodiversity, environmental adaptations, and any number of other topics within the field.

          Climate change is an awfully strange example. There certainly is one politically-charged topic covered in biology class that frequently attracts criticism from outside the classroom -- but that topic isn't climate change, it's evolution, and it's an absolutely essential component of biological science. Some politicians have a problem with this. It seems to me that it's the politicians who should shut up and let the teachers teach.

          Moving away from bio class: there are other classes where discussing different political philosophies, including current or recent politicians, parties, and movements, would absolutely be on-topic. History, civics, journalism, and humanities, to name a few examples off the top of my head.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            NeghVar (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

            That is what I mean. Pros and cons of each. What ifs... Learning of the effects on the environment is all important info. But to be attaching names of supporters or dissenters to promote the election of politicians does not belong

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shut up and teach

              First of all, I'm skeptical that this is a serious issue.

              Second, even if it were, it sounds like a matter for HR, not for the legislature.

              Third, even if it were something that warranted a legislative fix, Tallman's proposal is certainly not the least-restrictive means of handling it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 4:32pm

              Would you prefer they name the top polluters in the world, then? Like, seriously, we know who they are and where they operate. If teachers cannot tell students who is voting for the right to let those companies keep polluting, they should at least be able to say which companies are polluting and who should be contacted about the issue at any and every level of government. That way, the students can independently figure out which politicians have chosen to fight for both the specific interests of the students and the broader interests of all humanity.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 6:22pm

                Looking at unelected parties to civil problems

                When I took Poli-Sci (the 101 course) in 1992, this kind of research was exactly what my instructor encouraged. The follow the money school of thought. And now we have the internet.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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