Monday, December 18, 2006

The Loony Teachers

There are a lot of loony teachers, but perhaps no one is quite so crazy as Kearny High School history teacher David Paszkiewicz, who explained that evolution and the Big Bang are false, and that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark. While it's sad to see how stupid some people are, it raises the question of what should be the limits on teachers. Interestingly, the closest the teacher came to abusing students directly was when he was entirely accurate, declaring that non-Christians would be doomed to hell (if one assumes that his wacko Christian beliefs are right). The idea of academic freedom is to give a wide degree of latitude to teachers to be idiots, not because we like teachers to be so stupid, but because the dangers of trying to restrict such comments are substantial. Of course, the student should be free to criticize the teacher (and the fact that the student received a death threat is appalling), and the teacher's colleagues and administrators should publicly denounce the teacher's stupidity, and urge him to try to stick to a subject where one hopes he is not so much of a moron. But ultimately, trying to restrict asides and odd comments is a dangerously slippery slope.

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