by David Safier
Maybe a real teacher might recommend doing this, I don't know. But I can't think of one who would.
Ed Supe Tom Horne, in his never-ending crusade against Raza Studies classes at TUSD, wants the district to videotape every minute of every ethnic studies class, every single day.
In other words, he wants to turn the classes into a daily media circus.
As a 30 year veteran of the classroom, I can think of few things more destructive to the atmosphere of my classes than having the students turned into performing seals or the teacher turned into a ringmaster.
It's unimaginable. There is little chance the intimacy which occurs in good classrooms would have a chance to develop. Neither students nor teachers would dare take risks. They wouldn't dare say anything that might seem controversial or make fools of themselves, both of which are necessary components of a vibrant classroom, especially one dealing with history — or with literature, which was my field.
It's possible some students might relish the idea of becoming outspoken fools. They might see themselves as part of a local reality show. It's possible. But it wouldn't have anything to do with learning.
The classes would become educational dead zones.
Only someone who doesn't understand education . . . or who wants to kill the ethnic studies program regardless of the consequences to the students . . . or who wants to get as much political mileage from the issues as possible . . . would make such a ridiculous demand.
Yet Horne wants to make TUSD look like it won't videotape the classes because it has something to hide.
The state schools chief said in his letter that if the district refuses to videotape the ethnic studies classes, he will offer that stance as evidence that the district “has deliberately hidden facts” that would show it to be in violation of the new law.
TUSD is right. Tom Horne is wrong.
Tom Horne is a scoundrel who knows little about education and appears to care far less about the students or the schools than he does about his political future.