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R. D. Skidmore

A New Teacher Rating System
By R.D. Skidmore, Prof.
Nov 18, 2003 - 3:11:00 PM

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Students everywhere rate their teachers. Who is the best? Who grades the easiest? Who gives the most homework?
Richard Skidmore is a professor at Los Angeles Pierce College, Woodland Hills, California.

We often hear the taxpayers concerned with education being “dumbed” down or that our students are being indoctrinated with anti-American liberal biased twaddle.

With Internet access a new twist to the teacher evaluation has surfaced — who indoctrinates!

At the University of Texas a group of conservative students, disgruntled with what it views as “an overwhelming liberal bias in higher education” has begun identifying professors who allegedly use their classes for liberal indoctrination of students.

Their concern is that instructors structure a class in an attempt to produce a certain mindset and worldview (indoctrination) verses teaching the facts and content of a course.

In an effort at full disclosure the Young Conservatives of Texas have developed the “Professor Watch List” which they publish for students to review prior to registering for classes. They also maintain a website of information on professors at http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/yct/watchlist.html.

Their instructor list is available for students before they sign up for a class and is made by students who have actually attended the class listed.

As noted, students have always been able to access information about the level of difficulty in which a particular professor teaches their class. However, at the University of Texas, the Young Conservatives of Texas (UTYCT) have added the “indoctrination bias” element to the mix.

From the UTYCT website, they state: “The Professor Watch List is designed to be a resource to the student body of the University of Texas. This report includes professors who push an ideological viewpoint on their students through oftentimes subtle but sometimes abrasive methods of indoctrination.”

Robert Jensen, from the Journalism Department, teaching “Critical Issues In Journalism” made the list. The Professor Watch List states that Jensen introduces the "unsuspecting" student to a crash course in "socialism, white privilege, the ‘truth’; about the Persian Gulf War and the role of America as the world's prominent sponsor of terrorism.”

“Jensen half-heartedly attempts to tie his rants to 'critical issues' in journalism, insisting his lessons are valid under the guise of teaching potential journalists to 'think' about the world around them.”

In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Jensen described himself as "left-progressive" and said he wasn't surprised to be on the list. Edmund T. Gordon, another professor who made the UTYCT  Professor Watch List, teaches African-American Culture. The list comments that a black student once asked Gordon in class “what was wrong with being black and conservative?”

"Gordon implied that if you're black and conservative, you're not black enough, and you're not doing what's in the best interest of the black community," the watch list states.

The UTYCT professor watch list also includes instructors that promote Marxist economic ideology, gay rights and civil rights as being comparable movements, critical of U.S. and Israel policies favoring a pro-Palestinian bias.

Before you think that UTYCT does not have a balanced approach to their method and think that only far-left professors make their list; they also have an Honor Roll.

Sample entries from the Honor Roll include J. Budziszewksi (pronounced "BOO-jee-shef-ski"), a prominent voice on Natural Law Theory, is described as “[a] nihilist turned Christian, Budziszewski eloquently defends the natural law through foundational thinkers of Western culture including Aristotle, John Locke and St. Thomas Aquinas. He runs an intellectually challenging yet fair classroom to students of all ideologies.”

In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman Larry Faulkner, president of the University of Texas, said the UTYCT members "have the right to make the list," and the school's 30-year-old academic freedom policy allows professors "freedom to explore ideas on their own merits," so long as they do not "give undue weight" to their own political or moral judgments.

"The magic word there is 'undue,'" Faulkner told the Statesman. "That's going to be, to some extent, in the eye of the beholder."

While UTYCT’s list may be unique to the University of Texas, NoIndoctrination.org is a site providing ratings on professors at campuses across the nation.

A sampling from NoIndoctrination.org includes:  UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Central Oklahoma, Brooklyn College - The City University of New York, California Polytechnic State University - Pomona, Cornell University, Florida State University, Glendale Community College and Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).

Some professor’s take these watch lists seriously enough to dedicate time in their classes to discuss them. Nothing like Academic Freedom.

Skidmore is a professor at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Ca. He may be contacted at rskidmor49@excite.com.


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