In his most recent article for The Huffington Post, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff discusses the shocking treatment of student blogger Michele Kerr by the Stanford University Teacher Education Program (STEP). The controversy, which was recently featured in The Washington Post, stemmed both from Kerr’s dissenting pedagogical views and from the fact that she operated a blog documenting her experiences as a future certified teacher in California. Despite Stanford’s repeated attempts to derail her career, she was able to graduate in June with help from FIRE. Greg writes:
Despite the fact that my chosen career path is as a watchdog against collegiate abuses of student and faculty rights, I have an undeniable soft spot for Stanford, my law school alma mater. I am therefore deeply disappointed and embarrassed by the education school’s behavior. I am, however, pleased that higher-up administrators at Stanford intervened and brought some fairness and common sense to STEP’s treatment of Kerr. Administrators at Brandeis, Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, Columbia University’s Teachers College, and Colorado College could learn a lesson from Stanford. Still, nothing about this case makes me want to shout "Go Cardinal!" Let’s hope Stanford takes a serious look at its education school and that other colleges around the country get the message that debate, dissent, disagreement, and even unflattering blog posts are signs of a healthy educational landscape, not an infirm one.