Thursday, March 12, 2009

Re Public School Curriculum/Political Agenda

In my ten years or so of observing local news, I don't ever recall hearing of a public school teacher being fired for anything other than criminal conduct. So I am rather intrigued by the recent firing of a World History teacher at Park being fired for departing from the curriculum. The full story can be found at

From the article:

After a meeting with Park and Unified officials Nov. 18, Pinter was given a formal reprimand. According to the written reprimand, the meeting was held “to discuss concerns over the appropriateness of teaching religious concepts and topics” in the class.

“The information that you have presented to your students crosses the line in terms of what should be taught in this course and goes way beyond the level of interest for this topic,” Park’s directing principal, Dan Thielen, wrote in the letter.

Pinter said worksheets he prepared that included scriptural verses were based on the district-sanctioned textbook, and he has used them before. It wasn’t an attempt to sway students’ beliefs, he said.

“I would never say this is the way it is,” Pinter said. “I say Muslims believe this. Christians believe this. I never say I believe this.”

He said he didn’t touch on Christianity again and thought the episode was over. Then in January the district alerted him that Thielen recommended he not be renewed “based on poor classroom management, failure to follow the District’s curriculum and ineffective teaching.”

A bit later in the article, a school board member who voted for Pinter's dismissal said that the case "focused on the teacher’s failure to follow the curriculum."

Now it may well be that Pinter is a lousy teacher. But I can't help but notice the double standard here. If a teacher teaches about world religion in a world history class, he gets fired for departing from the curriculum. But if a history teacher at, say, Horlick High School manages to get his student riled up enough to fight for the "rights" of illegal immigrants and to pester locals into passing another school referendum, then that teacher is following the curriculum?

Well at least we are getting some insight into the curriculum at our public schools, namely, left wing political movements.


George said...

It would be nice to see RUSD make headlines for achievements, instead of things like this...

Rich Preston said...

"Well at least we are getting some insight into the curriculum at our public schools, namely, left wing political movements."

Are you implying that the non-renewal was politically motivated? Or that there's an underlying political agenda?

Denis Navratil said...

Hey RP! It would be unwise to read too much into this particular firing. Perhaps this teacher really does need to go, whether for preaching in school or for just being a lousy teacher. I really don't know.

But what I find interesting is that no teachers, to the best of my knowledge, have been fired for proseltyzing about school referenda, illegal immigrant rights, or any other left wing cause. So I am implying that departing from the RUSD curriculum won't get you fired unless you depart in such a way (conservatively, religiously) that RUSD doesn't favor.

Anonymous said...

And then encouraging high school students to skip school to promote a liberal agenda by knocking on doors.

Anonymous said...

There have been teachers 'fired' for many reasons in RUSD. The fact is that, as was the case with Mr. Pinter, if they don't have tenure (their first 3 years) they can be let go for any reason. Most just accept the decision of the district and go quietly (with a letter of recommendation). Mr. Pinter chose to fight his dismissal. Most of these circumstances go unknown to anyone except the district and the individual as usually no one contacts the media.

There is also much more to this was a long running situation.