Then there’s the notorious case of Steve Head, a 50-year-old Silicon Valley software engineer who decided to make a career switch a few years ago and obtain a high school math teaching credential. In a rational world, Head would be the poster boy for the federal government’s new initiatives to recruit more math and science teachers for our high schools. Instead, his story sends the message that education professors would rather continue molding future teachers’ attitudes on race and social justice issues than help the U.S. close the math and science achievement gap with other industrialized nations.
Head was smoothly completing all his math-related course work at taxpayer-supported San Jose State University. Then in the fall of 2003, he enrolled in the required “Social, Philosophical, and Multicultural Foundations of Education,” taught by Helen Kress
You can guess the rest. Although quite capable of hiding his real thoughts, Mr. Head refuses to spew back what he considers to be wrong-headed political indoctrination. The educational politburo exercises its muscle:
After turning down Kress’s offer to reeducate him on these issues personally, Head received an F for the class, even though a grade below B for a student who has completed all assignments is almost as rare in ed schools as serious intellectual debate. The school wouldn’t let Head enroll in the student teaching class, and so, for the time being, it has blocked him from getting his teaching certificate. After exhausting his appeals to the university, he filed suit earlier this year, charging that the school was applying a political litmus test to become a teacher and had violated his First Amendment rights.
“I could have lied about my beliefs in class, but what is the point of that in America?” Head told me. “We are not free unless we choose to exercise our freedoms without fear of reprisals. I choose freedom, and I choose to defend my beliefs against state indoctrination.”