The Miseducation of Florida No. 3: Psych Students Shouldn't Think About Sex
Oh my, how depressing is today's Palm Beach Post. A dead shuttle worker, a dead spring breaker, an old lady beaten at a bakery -- and a Palm Beach Gardens psych teacher disciplined for talking sex with his students.
The crime: Veteran educator Frank Rozanski presented his advanced psychology students with a ten-question test full of what might be considered sexual innuendo. The ambiguity was the point. The students were studying "social psychology and perceptions," and the test was designed to demonstrate how certain combinations of words, which young children would consider innocent, can become sexually charged when used by adults.
Never mind that the point was a good one -- the kind of subtle and important lesson that no teach-to-the-test automaton would ever invent on his own. Never mind that the exercise might have encouraged critical thought or inspired students to actually think independently for a moment about the relationship between language and meaning. Never mind that psychology is a discipline fundamentally tied to human sex drives and that even a beginning psych student ought to give our gonadal imperatives some
long, hard thought. Forget all of that. Apparently, the individuals in charge of educating our children are more concerned with reviving quaint notions re: the sinfulness of sex and the dirtiness of the human anatomy.
Granted, I haven't seen the test -- but how dirty is too dirty for advanced psych? High school biology students dismember mammalian cadavers to learn about the body -- how is that less offensive than studying human mating behavior to learn about the mind?
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Oh, right. Because death, while bad, isn't nearly as bad as sex, because God causes the former and abhors the latter. That's it, isn't it? Is there any question that those offended by their high school seniors' being exposed to Frank's frank sex talk are motivated primarily by some kind of religious fuckaphobia? Sorry, folks: Sex is real, sex talk is real, sexual psychology is real, and all have a proper, shameless place in our pedagogy. Ill-considered bronze-age morality? Not so much.
The hero of this story is the Classroom Teachers' Association -- one of those dratted unions we're all supposed to hate so much and whose wild devotion to its members prevents Rozanski from being easily fired. Let's remember: Though they do sometimes protect bad teachers from good administrators, they also occasionally protect good teachers from bad ideas.
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