Monday, February 27, 2006

Questioning Authority

Andrew Saraf, a 17 year-old student at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, is wondering why Colman McCarthy's political agenda is being taught at his school. From the Washington Post:
"I know I'm not the first to bring this up but why has there been no concerted effort to remove Peace Studies from among the B-CC courses?" he wrote in his post to the school's group e-mail list. "The 'class' is headed by an individual with a political agenda, who wants to teach students the 'right' way of thinking by giving them facts that are skewed in one direction."
Colman McCarthy is a former Washington Post reporter whose course, heavy on animal rights and anti-military demagoguery, is taught at eight Montgomery County high schools.

Saraf and another 17 year-old, Avishek Panth, took the initiative to investigate McCarthy's class and his background:
Saraf and Avishek Panth, also 17, acknowledge that with the exception of one lecture they sat in on this month, most of what they know about the course has come from friends and acquaintances who have taken the class. But, they said, those discussions, coupled with research they have done on McCarthy's background, have convinced them that their school should not continue to offer Peace Studies unless significant changes are made. This is not an ideological debate, they said. Rather, what bothers them the most is that McCarthy offers students only one perspective.
And you thought the indoctrination didn't begin until college.

Via Michelle Malkin.

Update: Student responds to WaPo article
Alex Bannon, who says he is a student in one of McCarthy's classes (while I can't confirm this, the comment was posted from a computer at Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools), left this comment:
Andrew Saraf did not make any serious attempt at trying to understand the course before dismissing it. While I do believe that he did in fact hear about the course from friends, I would say that hearsay should not be the source behind a washington Post article. The class is fine and I can assure you that, my class at least, is not one sided. Several of the students have argued against McCarthy's views, including myself. However, there are several topics that he brings up and I agree with. 18 year olds who take the class have some control over what they agree with. As any parent would know, we are more likely to dismiss an opinion from a parent-like figure just because they feel like it. I really wish that this debate hadn't gotten so much coverage, because it is Saraf's attempt at destroying something he knows very little about.

A class for seniors that is being hated by two juniors is not a correct description of the events at BCC. Many students enjoy the class deeply, and all actions that are taken in the class are decided by those in it. No one is forced to do anything they do not feel like doing. It is the choice of anyone to go to the library, talk up, or do homework. It is McCarthy's attempt at trying to liven up discussion about topics. The class IS a two sided discussion. While McCarthy has his views, we the students can easily dismiss or support them. I would say on the topic of Animal Rights thus far, about 50% of the students disagreed with what he had to say passionately. And it is this 50% that are currently defending the course against these two juniors who have very little information about the course on their side.

So let them have a Washington Post article, and let them be heard on WTOP, but I hope that sooner or later someone realizes that his opinions are seriously void of fact.
Alex Bannon