Katherine Kersten wonders when dissent became so unpatriotic — and when universities began demanding ideological purity as a prerequisite to attaining a degree. The University of Minnesota will apparently demand that its education graduates, the future teachers of Minnesota, confess to their own bigotry if they believe in the American dream of equal opportunity as a means to cleanse the Minnesota education system of cultural biases. It sounds like a page out of communist show trials:
The task group is part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative, a multiyear project to change the way future teachers are trained at the U’s flagship campus. The initiative is premised, in part, on the conviction that Minnesota teachers’ lack of “cultural competence” contributes to the poor academic performance of the state’s minority students. Last spring, it charged the task group with coming up with recommendations to change this. In January, planners will review the recommendations and decide how to proceed.
The report advocates making race, class and gender politics the “overarching framework” for all teaching courses at the U. It calls for evaluating future teachers in both coursework and practice teaching based on their willingness to fall into ideological lockstep.
The first step toward “cultural competence,” says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize — and confess — their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the reeducation camps of China’s Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.
The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an “autoethnography” report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their “cultural” motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a “cultural intelligence” assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other “isms.” They “earn points” for “demonstrating the ability to be self-critical.”
It sounds as though they “earn points” for obsequiously affirming the political biases of the university’s education professors. What’s the point of all these confessions?