One of my greatest pet peeves is politics in the classroom. If you ask me, it has absolutely no business being there. It wasn’t a problem in my high school because teachers were forbidden from discussing their beliefs. It was a complete culture shock when I came to college and about 70% of my teachers outwardly expressed their political views. In fact, during the election one of my teachers endorsed President Obama nearly every class. Last year I had a professor express that President Obama was a god and President Bush was the devil. I almost walked out of class that day because I was so disgusted! Hairston’s reminded me of this professor because she used her educational power to push her own agenda –including racism, sexism, feminism, and liberalism- onto her students. If you ask me, any teacher who outwardly shows or teaches about his or her political views deserves to be fired.
That being said, I do not have a problem if teacher want to discuss politics as long as all viewpoints are looked at and analyzed equally. Although, I think a freshmen writing, or English Comp, class should be focused on writing. As Hairston states, “Writing courses, especially required freshman courses, should not be for anything or about anything other than writing itself, and how one uses it to learn and think and communicate.” These basic English classes should not focus on literature or analytical practice, it should be focused on teaching the basics of writing. Later Hairston states, “They do not need to be assigned essays to read so they will have something to write about-they bring their subjects with them: the writing of others, except for that of their fellow students, should be supplementary, used to illustrate or reinforce.” I had a wonderful teacher for my English comp 1 classes who practiced this, and I appreciated it greatly. I learned so much about my writing from her because we focused on writing and critical thinking without using politics.
Politics in freshmen writing courses, as Hairston explains, is detrimental because freshmen minds are so easily molded. They are typically fresh out of high school and possibly living on their own for the first time. And, if done correctly, they are easily persuaded or manipulated. These teachers are basically requiting students to their own political agenda, and it needs to end immediately. I think one way to do this is to center a writing course around its primary objective, writing. I think readings are important, but in a freshmen course they need to exclude politics. If politics for some reason needs to be discussed, then teachers should to examine all sides of the argument without bias. Let the students make their own decisions. College should be about learning, not a professor’s political agenda.