There’s nothing wrong with N.Y. students grading their mayor’s performance

Oct 5, 2013 by

NEW YORK – Something positive is happening in New York City classrooms, yet some parents and teachers are complaining about it.

An essay question on a new city-created exam asks seventh-graders to read a speech given by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and write whether they think his career has been a success, failure or something in between, according to the New York Daily News.

“When alerted to the question by the Daily News, some teachers and parents were outraged and criticized the wisdom of having students grade the accomplishments of the very figure who calls the shots in city schools,” the news report said.

What exactly are they afraid of? That Bloomberg will pull funding from schools where students are critical of his performance? Get real.

If anything, this essay question is a desperately needed breath of fresh air.

That’s because it asks students to grade a city leader based on their own values and perceptions, and allows them to take any position they choose. Such an exercise in critical thinking and active citizenship is totally positive and appropriate.

In most cases these days, politics are only discussed in classrooms when teachers vent their own liberal views and trash conservative leaders in front of students. This is a form of political indoctrination that’s become all too common in schools across America.

Political discussion has a necessary place in American classrooms. Children need to learn about our political system and their responsibility as citizens to closely consider the arguments on all sides and make their own judgments.

That occurs when teachers lead unbiased, provocative discussions where all points of view are equally welcomed and equally examined.

The test-makers in New York were absolutely right to ask students to think in a politically critical manner. That’s how the kids will learn to become responsible voters. We’re certain Mayor Bloomberg would agree, and would not be offended if some of the students think he’s been a lousy mayor.

Free thought and expression are what make America the greatest nation on earth.

There’s nothing wrong with N.Y. students grading their mayor’s performance – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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