Monday, January 31, 2005

College Expels Education Student For Advocating Corporal Punishment In Schools

Scott McConnell, a student that attends LeMoyne College of Syracuse, New York is charging that he was dropped from the Masters of Education program because he advocated the use of corporal punishment in schools. The Daily Orange reports:

The paper, written for a class on classroom management, originally earned McConnell an A-. However, when he attempted to enroll in classes for the spring semester, he found he couldn't.

The issues that this case raises are very complicated, said Joseph Shedd, chair of the teaching and leadership programs in Syracuse University's School of Education. It is about more than just a student's right to express their own opinions, he said. "There is no clean dividing line between a person's opinions and his or her ability to make responsible professional judgments," Shedd said in an e-mail.He pointed to change in socially acceptable behavior over time to illustrate that standards change. America has evolved from a society in which different genders and different races have been viewed as having different academic ability, Shedd said.
If the facts are as stated, it's a sad commentary on our times. There have been a variety of well-publicized incidents similar to this one where students and teachers are excoriated for expressing unpopular viewpoints. Many believe that the cherished notion of academic freedom in many institutions is either dead or on life-support.

Or maybe Academic Freedom is alive and well as long as the opinions expressed are politically correct.

Update:(PM) Number 2 Pencil has exhaustive coverage of this incident. Be sure to check-out the thoughts of Precinct 333, which can be seen here. Captain's Quarters also has an insightful viewpoint into this whole sorry episode. Critical Mass also chimes in. The Foundation For Individual Rights in Education, (F.I.R.E.) has some additional information (including the notification of dismissal to McConnell) and letters.

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