Mona Charen

You know, I actually agree that some of our school systems limit social mobility by failing to provide a quality education to poor and minority students. But I think the teachers unions and resistance to school choice are a big part of the problem. Somehow, I don't think that point of view is considered legitimate at TC. Isn't it shameful to heap scorn on teachers because they are "European American" and "middle class"? What if someone pointed out that most inner city teachers are African American and Hispanic? Is that legitimate criticism according to Teachers College?

Further, Columbia now maintains that "merit, social mobility, and individual responsibility" are mere "ideologies" used to justify discrimination. On the contrary, these are the steps on the ladder for those at the bottom. A kid who excels in school, no matter what his background, can expect to thrive in America. All too often it is the PC crowd who eschew high standards for kids from poor neighborhoods. It is they, not "the system," who constrict the life prospects for those kids.

Students at TC, according to the Conceptual Framework, are required to endorse the view that "To change the system and make schools and societies more equitable, educators must recognize ways in which taken-for-granted notions regarding the legitimacy of the social order are flawed, see change agency as a moral imperative, and have skills to act as agents of change."

The president of Teachers College penned a platitudinous response to FIRE, arguing that they really, truly are committed to academic freedom, and that quotes had been taken out of context. I've read the context -- they weren't.

Elsewhere on the Columbia campus last week, a screaming mob of students rushed the stage and shouted down a speaker invited by the College Republicans (a representative of the Minutemen). Video of the melee is available on the Columbia Spectator website. Columbia's President Lee Bollinger has sent letters to some of the students involved suggesting they might have violated the university's rules and might have to meet with the senior vice provost.

And so the commitment to free inquiry slides downhill.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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