The power of policy is enormous; education is one of the spheres where this power expands. The Supreme Court case we will discuss below serves as a bright example of the policy intervention into the educational system of the USA and the negative outcomes this intervention may have.
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The case under consideration is Mayer vs. Monroe County Community School Corp., 06-1657.
The event occurred in January, 2003 at a Bloomington, Indiana, in the elementary-school where Deborah Mayer taught. The fourth-through sixth-graders students were debating about the article which was a part of the curriculum approved by the school. The article was extracted from the children’s edition of Time magazine and contained protests against the preparations of the USA for Iraq invasion. While discussing the problems of the article a student asked Mayer about her participation in demonstration. The teacher answered that “she blew her horn whenever she saw a “Honk for Peace” sign” (Egelko, 2007) Mayer highlighted that any problem, war including, may be solved peacefully. The first politicians’ concern should be to find peaceful solutions before starting the war.
As it is seen, the importance of the human values was admitted by the teacher in her reply to the student’s question. But after the lesson the student’s parents’ complains came. Mayer was forbidden to discuss political issues and her perception of them with the students. At the end of the school year, in June 2003, her contract with the school was not renewed.
The following reasons for her dismissal were presented by the district: poor performance and complaints by parents. But Mayer states that her previous evaluations are good, moreover, the complaints were solicited by the district after the event happened.
The appeals court Mayer has appealed to assumed that the teacher was fired because of her political comments. It turned out that the school had the right to penalize teachers for defying its policy. Mayor declared that this policy never existed before, but the court refused her appeal.
In the Supreme Court papers Mayor was called a “failing teacher” whose speech was a reaction to her salary. “The Constitution does not enable teachers to present personal views to captive audiences against the instructions of elected officials.” (Egelko, 2007) stated the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Fortunately, Mayor has continued her teaching practice, now she teaches sixth grade in Florida, but the impact the case had on teacher is obvious. Not only particular people suffer from the cases of the type but the educational system of the USA as a whole.
“I don’t know why anybody would want to be a teacher if you can be fired for saying four little words,” (Egelko, 2007) said Mayor. “I’m supposed to teach the Constitution to my students. I’m supposed to tell them that the Constitution guarantees free speech. How am I going to justify that?”(Egelko, 2007).
The cases where politics penetrates into education are not rare in the USA. California wins by the rate of similar cases. The question remains unsolved: how should the politics be treated at schools and to what extent the teachers are competent to share their politics knowledge with the students.
While these issues remain hot-debatable ones in the American society teachers continue to lose their jobs and, what is more important, faith in their importance in the students’ upbringing and development.
Byline (2005). Politics and public education. The Washington Times, 16.
D’Oroio, W. (2000). When education and politics meet. Curriculum Administrator, 36, 7.
Dahlberg, G.(2005). Ethics and Politics in Early Childhood Education. RoutledgeFalmer.
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Egelko, B. (2007). Supreme Court denies hearing for fired “honk for peace” teacher. Web.
George, Z & Pennar J. (1960).The politics of Soviet education. Praeger.
Gless, J. D. & Smith B. H. (1992).The politics of liberal education. Duke University Press.
Halpin, T. (1996), Politics is poisoning education. The Daily Mail, 33.
Lawton, D. (1992). Education and politics in the 1990s: conflict or consensus? Falmer Press.