Saturday, March 24, 2007

No Wonder! Patriotic Correctness Censorship in High Schools

After reading this NYT article on a Wilton, Conn High School principal canceling a drama production about the war in Iraq, my reaction was: "no wonder!" So many of my students hail from CT and similar school districts. I had surmised that many of them came from very affluent and homogeneous neighborhoods, but I was naive enough to think that their high school teachers and administrators were interested in giving them a good education. Not so, at least, not in Wilton, CT.

Principal Timothy H. Canty canceled the production of a play entitled "Voices of Conflict," written by and to be performed by Wilton students. The play was comprised of a series of monologues of soldiers, near in age to these H.S. students, sharing their perspectives on the war. The play would've connected these students to the reality of the world and the war. But, the principal pulled the plug.

He cites all sorts of reasons to the press and a free speech lawyer partially defends him. But, at bottom, if this is what principals do in high schools, then no wonder our students show up at college with deplorable ignorance about the world.

I thought the days of Patriotic Correctness were over. With the Dems taking over congress during the last midterm election, I thought it was clear that the nation no longer supported Bush's war. Not so in Wilton.

One of the most annoying criticisms launched at this production was that the students were not sophisticated or mature enough to be illuminating the rest of the student body about this issue. And yet, teenagers their age are fighting in this war.

Perhaps what this article has done for me is to question the wisdom that the best schools are to be found in affluent neighborhoods.