Skip to main content

Stop Bias: Political Bias Can Lead to Misunderstanding

Political bias can lead to misunderstanding

Recently, a parent sent a politically oriented vitriolic email to one of my novice teachers regarding a field trip to "Conversations with Anne" at the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. I attended the field trip and did notice that during the field trip presentation, Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, brought political rhetoric into the presentation. One of our students misunderstood comments made by Goldstein. Goldstein mentioned that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made decisions that adversely impacted the fate of Jews trying to escape the Nazi regime. Goldstein also related current political events and decisions that could change the fate of the world. The student reported to his parents that the field trip involved "making a murderous b... look like a saint." (Parent sent a less vitriolic email less than a minute later)

My first reaction was dismay. My novice teacher appropriately responded to the parent, and I had the opportunity to speak with the mother to explain that her son had misunderstood Mr. Goldstein's words. The mother appeared mollified. After roughly 24 hours and a nice long walk in nature, I realized that I needed to reflect on the experience. My recent blogs have discussed a wide variety of bias. Age bias was to be my next topic. This morning, though,  I decided to take the Political Identity Implicit Bias Test.  Marvin Gaye's song "What's Going On" reverberated. We need to talk to each other to understand each other. Adults need to begin to communicate to stop bias; we need to spot it and talk about it to prevent it. I do believe Elie Wiesel's sage words regarding the need to "never forget." I also believe in the life, hope, and unity inherent in these words from Anne Frank's diary.

     "It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I              still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. 
       It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly        transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of          millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty            too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more"
       - July 15, 1944It is not pollyannic to believe as Anne did. Her words stand as a symbol of hope and faith in our world. Anne had no idea that her diary would one day be a source of comfort and inspiration to others. Anne's father, Otto Frank, in 1959 founded the  Anne Frank Foundation, the American partner of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel. In 2016, the organization expanded its name to reflect better its focus on "exposing and fighting hate in the world today."  Mr. Goldstein ended the presentation by empowering the audience of students to recognize and stop prejudice in the classroom.  If fighting hate and prejudice is a partisan issue, we have far greater issues to discuss this presidential season. We all need to stop, talk, and prevent bias.  "Don't Give Hate a Chance" by Jamiroquai echoes Anne's words in a modern sense. "That this dream's alive, will still surviveUntil no more people have to cry."

Suzanne M. Rogers, M.Ed.
District Director of Professional development, AP English Teacher, ELA Coach, and cradle United Methodist.


Popular posts from this blog

#Edtech tools of summer

Summer is a great time for teachers to work with #edtech tools. Two free Edtech tools that I'm working with this summer include TED-Ed and RECAP. Both of these tools can help a teacher flip his or her classroom. I've found that videos and screencasts are helpful to my students. Why?

1. Visual learners benefit from a visual explanation in addition to a handout

2. Students who have been absent can more easily regain what they missed

3. Students can replay the video and not be embarrassed

So, what is TED-Ed?
"TED-Ed is also a platform for teachers. They can adapt TED-Ed Original Lesson content to create customized lessons to use in their classrooms or use our Create a Lesson tool to build their own new lessons with any YouTube video."


My students have also used TED-Ed to create memorable lessons. I'm using it this summer to quickly create video lessons from videos that I have used in the classroom previously. I will be able to…

Inaugural Poetry Night

Inaugural Poetry Night at LISA North
April 5, 2016

As we approach our first Poetry Night, hearts are fluttering.   Our students are nervous to present their poetry, and out teachers are nervous about attendance. Since it is our first attempt to showcase our student's work, we  have also set up a LISA North Poetry Channel on Youtube so that the students and parents and view our students' efforts.

We will continue to add to our poetry channel each year.
LISA North Poetry Channel

Google Summit in Arkansas-I am Thankful!

I AM Thankful for

     The Google in Education Arkansas Summit took place this weekend on the Conway High School campus. Wow! Just Wow! The pure joy of being part of a PLN is in the connection. This weekend, I saw just a couple of Tweets talking about #GIESummit in Arkansas. I literally said "OH MY Goodness! How could I have missed this amazing opportunity?"  So, I quickly responded to a Tweeter @davidjhinson from Hendrix College,  +Hendrix College to ask if I could register late and still attend. David was kind enough to ask the Google staff, if it was even doable. The answer was yes!

     Thankful to be allowed to attend a Google Summit, I thought nothing of ponying up the money for such an  amazing opportunity in our state. (Thanks to Dan Taylor for helping with the registration process.) This morning, I drove up to Conway and sat in on the lovely Keynote, "What's on the Horizon" by +Lisa Thumann, @lthumann.  Each session I attended bu…