Yesterday I got into an argument with a Science teacher during one of our professional development sessions. I don’t like to get into arguments with colleagues but sometimes I get so fired up about trivial academic questions that I can’t stop myself. Criticisms become feuds, feuds become wars–and now I have many people at school who won’t talk to me. But that is the price you pay for being a truth teller.
Yesterday, Mr. Science asked for feedback on a lesson where he had kids debate the safety of GMOs using research that he had gathered from both sides of the argument. I interrupted: “Since the days of Prometheus mankind has meddled and tinkered with Nature and no good has ever come of it! We now stand on the brink of apocalypse because we have lost control of Technology and the machines are enslaving us. It’s all Sciences fault!”
He countered that the students were merely learning how to formulate and present arguments from a set of facts and that incidentally he could point to numerous scientific developments that improved life on the planet. I challenged him to name one. He said synthetic fertilizers developed in the 1940s allow us to feed billions of people. I said sure, but thanks to synthetic fertilizers we have overrun the earth, destroyed the ecology, polluted the atmosphere. “Science is like the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that we should never have eaten!” I said.
He asked if we could simply focus on his lesson, but I told him that his lesson was poisoning kids with false knowledge. Then he asked if I would leave the room so that he could continue his demo. I refused.
Being an Educator means sticking up for kids twenty-four hours a day at any cost. Sometimes we risk our professional relationships but as I mentioned before that is the price we pay for keeping our school’s safe from bad ideas.
Agree to Disagree