Academic Censorship

I came across this New York Times article about a historian who teaches at the Horace Mann School in New York, an elite independent school that reminds me of Dead Poets Society. This article furthers the cry by many elite teachers who are active scholars at independent schools for a tenure system (I wrote about this on a previous blog piece).

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16 thoughts on “Academic Censorship

  1. I heard about this story. I am not ready to support him seeing that I have not read the book, but I suspect he his a few topics and names too close to home. This is a bit sad.

  2. Jack Keating would understand this. Rivate schools are often dictated by incompetent administrators who are not really academics nor do they understand life in a classroom. The job of a teacher is not to write books, papers, are teach students to think. There job is to keep parents happy. I am buying this book.

  3. I am going to get a copy later in the week. Parents are interesting. They do shape the culture of schools, for both the good and the bad. It is when they prefer to influence grades that bothers me. It is never a students fault when he or she does not do well. I am sure parents and influential school members played a major role in this mess. Politics exist in all areas. Regardless, the work is fiction…why do they care?

  4. I wish you were standing in my shoes or even those of Eddie. it is very different. Kristi, you feel that way even after reading that article? How so?

  5. Here is what I found. Though he has no tenure, looks like there is a due process matter here.

    Tom Kelly, Horace Mann’s Head of School, said, according to the complaint, that Trees was terminated because of the book, not because of job performance—although he had previously told Trees that he “personally enjoyed” the book and that its publication would not interfere with his employment there.

    In the filing, Trees claims that Horace Mann didn’t obey its own due process policies involved in the firing of an employee.

    The document says:

    In an unfortunate example of life imitating art, Defendant Horace Mann embarked on a smear campaign against Plaintiff Trees as punishment for writing Academy X (before firing him), just as the fictional protagonist of Academy X was a teacher persecuted by a corrupt school administration because of his refusal to play along with the school’s kowtowing to wealthy parents and their “by any means necessary” attitude toward college admissions for their progeny.

  6. So I was right. This is about crazy private school parents with too much time. He will easily win this case. This is a sad matter. Oh, and Tom Kelly, the headmaster, he is about to get fired. Well, maybe not seeing that the trustees probably told him to do it.

    No good teacher will want to teach at that school. So much for them being elite.

  7. Kristi,

    I don’t think you can judge the tenure system as a whole, because it all depends on individual situations. I think you should judge individual schools and colleges in how they use it.

  8. You have a point here, Walker. I still do not see how this matter was that big of a deal. What do you think? Oh, thanks for the support; it sounds as though I would need it. I wonder if the rest of the school would protest on my behalf like they did for him?

  9. If you continuously made anti-religious comments, you would get into some major trouble. You’d have Jon, Sam, I there for you at least…

    And about it being that big of a deal, in both cases the school administration most likely already had problems with the teachers and were either waiting for something worthy of a firing to come up, or their actions were simply the last straw.

  10. I would never make such comments. It looks as though his due process was violated and thus they are going to have to pay. Also, good luck to them getting a teacher of quality to work there after this. I would not. Hey, Jon and Sam are okay. They are in my club, as are you.

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