Idaho Science Teacher Investigated For Teaching Science
posted at 3/28/2013 11:22 AM EDT
On the heels of the 'paper of god' kerfuffle in another thread, comes this example from the another sphere of seemingly holding teachers accountable for trying to teach:
A 10th grade science teacher in Idaho is being investigated by his school after parents complained that he included the word “vagina” in his lessons, taught the class about the female orga*m, and showed Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Some of the allegations are more serious, including that “he shared confidential student files with an individual other than their parents,” and “told inappropriate jokes in class,” but science teacher Tim McDaniel suspects that the complaints originated because of his discussions about issues considered controversial in the largely Mormon community where he teaches:
“I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” McDaniel said. “But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”
The science teacher said he has taught Dietrich’s science classes for the past 18 years without receiving a complaint from parents or students.
According to McDaniel, the commission is also investigating a complaint that accuses him of using school property to promote a political candidate. The complaint was because he showed the climate change film “An Inconvenient Truth,” also in his science class.
McDaniel said he includes the film to spark a discussion on climate change among the students. After watching the film, he asks students to write a response paper explaining their thoughts on climate change.
Idaho is a state that has no requirement for sex education and no mandated HIV education. It does have a requirement that students be allowed to opt out of sex ed classes, to which McDaniel says he adhered.
Obviously, these are very different scenarios. But both show examples of trying to micro-manage teachers to the point of ineffectiveness when the tender sensibilities of some feel threatened.
There's nothing wrong with grading teachers on performance, but most people are not teachers or education experts and thus should not presumptive toward how they conduct their lessons.
But there's also absolutely, uneqivocally NOTHING wrong with the words "vagina" or "orga(s)m" in the context of health or science...much less in the 10th grade. (Why it's absurdly banned here is anyone's guess.)