Paying an ideological ransom for the right to teach

June 7, 2006

Our education establishment is a minefield of attempts to control what students think and say. Take the harmless-sounding "dispositions theory," for example.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) says ed schools and programs must require teachers in training to demonstrate the "dispositions necessary to help all students learn," such as a commitment to social justice. Everyone is for social justice, but it's odd that would-be teachers would have to convince their professors of such commitment before getting to teach. Since ed schools are essentially a liberal monoculture, conservative and moderate students concluded that their political opinions were being probed and that they were being asked to endorse the belief systems of their programs as the price of being allowed to teach. The Fordham Foundation posted an article by William Damon opposing the dispositions requirement, saying that his article gave credence to charges of ideological arm-twisting and Orwellian mind control...

Cases: NCATE: Encouragement of Political Litmus Tests in Higher Education