The Bruin Voice

Liberal teachers dominate students’ exposure to issues

Sophie Gilliland, Online Editor-in-Chief

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People’s political views can be influenced by anything they encounter in their lives, especially the people they look up to. Teachers can often sway a student’s political beliefs — either consciously or unconsciously — through well-timed remarks or interpretations of controversial events.
Some teachers have no problem voicing their political views, especially if they are extremely passionate, and this can lead students to doubt themselves if their views differ or become more confident in their opinion if the teacher agrees with them.
“I feel like the teacher does use certain infographics, because he does things on slideshows to portray candidates as not as great and some that are better,” junior Marino Dominguez said of his U.S. History teacher. “The fact that he’s portraying some candidates as inadequate for the job may persuade some students.”
While students might struggle with having teachers disagree with them, some teachers try to let the students figure the world out themselves.
“I think that good teachers, and I try to do this, work to present both sides fairly and allow students to come up with their own conclusions regardless of our own views,” AP US History teacher Heather Blount said.
Instead of telling students about politics and social issues, they ask and let the students decide for themselves what they believe to be right or wrong.
“They could have debates about [politics]…,” junior Mikaela Kahler said. “They can bring it up and have, like, a Socratic seminar and let students announce their views and the teachers also state their views and they can collaborate on it.”
Discussing the different views and letting students decide their stance on different political views lessens the effect that teachers’ personal opinions have on their students. Students are more willing to think a different way if some of their peers agree with them and if their teachers don’t have a one-sided view.
“I think that there are a majority of liberal teachers,” Dominguez said. “I don’t think there are that many conservative teachers, but I don’t see their views affecting their class.”
While having all liberal or all conservative teachers might seem like a stretch, in some places it is common. In an article entitled “There are Conservative Professors. Just Not in These States,” Samuel J. Abrams notes the abundance of liberal teachers in the New England states.
Abrams points out that liberals have always outnumbered conservatives in higher education institutions and in western states the ratio of liberals to conservative is three to one. In New England the ratio is 28 to 1.
Teachers unions are mainly liberal and the National Education Association donated $1,780,971 to the Democratic party, $13,813,333 to liberals, and $263,384 to Republicans according to opensecrets.org.
In most classes teachers’ political views are not revealed and students are free to interpret lessons, articles, and discussions however they like, but in classes with vocal teachers some some students may feel reticent to express their views for fear of retribution.
“I think it’s important for students to have the strength of mind to think for themselves, to not be afraid to disagree with their teachers, but to think for themselves and be able to back it up with their own evidence,” Blount said.

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About the Writer
Sophie Gilliland, Online Editor-in-Chief

Even though I started out as a simple opinion editor at the Bruin Voice in my sophomore year, I have now reached my junior year and the almighty positions...

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Liberal teachers dominate students’ exposure to issues