Part of the great thing about being an American citizen is that we get to ask questions without fear of retribution, or do we?
I have often wondered why some administrators get so upset with student questions in newspapers or teacher questions in faculty meetings or parents questions at school board meetings.
As a newly seated school board member, I am learning that sometimes, people who get upset with questions (be they from the public, or students or teachers or anyone for that matter) are usually not willing to come to the table to discuss issues. Perhaps this is a fight or flight response.
As we think about the recent censorship issues that have plagued students and our colleagues around the country, we need to think about how we can facilitate coming to the table so that people can ask questions without fear of retribution.
How can I as an American citizen ( school board member, former teacher and publications adviser, K-12 principal, college professor) promote listening to facilitate conversation that solves problems at the lowest level? I think it starts by asking questions myself and not allowing people to push my questions aside or allowing people to push questions aside questions that people are asking just because the questions seem uncomfortable. We only grow by asking the uncomfortable questions and looking for the answers. When we find answers we do not like, we cannot just whisk them away and make the problems disappear. The problems do not disappear, they just fester and explode at a later date.
Fear of truth is the real root of censorship. When something uncomfortable is asked by a teen, one who has no power in a school setting, those in power explode with unreasonable restrictions instead of guiding the students to find the truth. We cannot be afraid of truth. We must embrace truth.
I would challenge administrators and teachers and school board members and parents not to be afraid of teens who ask questions. Take the risk of thinking about the questions and really working with teens to find truthful answers. That is education.read more