Mitch Daniels - former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue University - is an anti-intellectual, book-banning little twerp:
You catch that? It's not that the book was even being taught in K-12 schools; it's that it was being used in college courses taken by prospective teachers. Daniels was telling adult college students what they should and shouldn't read.
See, if some smart 17-year-old brings up something sympathetic to the point of view of this very popular book in an AP US History course, the teacher shouldn't try to engage that student from a position of understanding the debate. The appropriate response, of course, is to tell him to sit down, shut up, and fill in the correct bubble. "Critical thinking," after all, is only important to a fascist like Daniels if it leads to conclusions of which he and he alone approves.
It almost goes without saying that this is yet another example of why this country needs teacher tenure. There are millions of petty little despots like Daniels serving on school boards and in district offices who would love to impose punishments on teachers who dare to challenge their orthodoxies. These people are a threat even to elementary educators' ability to teach basic truths in science and history without interference. The best way by far to protect teachers' academic freedom is through the right to due process, which is all that tenure really is.
There's another angle to this, however: don't think for a minute that the recent, foolish criticism of teacher preparation programs isn't tinged with the conservative movement's contempt for scholarship and academic freedom.
You can be sure that the unqualified faculty at Relay GSE will not be assigning A People's History of the United States, or any other books that are remotely considered controversial, to its graduate students. Deep content knowledge and scholarship is not what these programs are about, because those are not qualities conservatives want in America's teaching corps. Corporate flacks like Daniels want schools to produce compliant workers, not critically-thinking citizens; teachers who encourage divergent thinking are antithetical to that goal. It simply makes sense: teachers who march to Daniels's drum will produce students who do the same.
And that greatly lessens the chance that the good people of Indiana will apply their ability to think critically on massive hypocrites like Daniels:
First of all, I didn't realize we had decided that American schools are now the equivalent of Chinese computer factories. I guess it's absolutely imperative that Big Brother keep constant surveillance on Miss Crabtree just in case she sends something out by email that hasn't been approved by the Ministry of Truth.This jerk has no business being anywhere near a university, much less running one. How in the world did he ever get his position?
And heaven forbid any minute a teacher is in school is not used to teach. Lord help us if a teacher takes part of her prep period or lunch break to engage in her life outside of work. Because I'm sure Mitch Daniels never used state property as governor to conduct personal business. That, would, after all, make him a massive, unbelievably shameless hypocrite:
Oh, no, no, no! See, this is totally, completely different!A Democratic lawmaker filed a complaint Wednesday seeking an ethics investigation into whether Gov. Mitch Daniels overstepped his role when his office sent out a statement about renovations to Purdue University’s president’s office — the post Daniels will assume in January.State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said in his request to state Inspector General David Thomas that “Daniels clearly misused state property for personal reasons” when he asked his staff to send out a statement last week to respond to stories about $380,000 in renovations being done on the Purdue president’s office. [emphasis mine]
Well, if the presidential thing doesn't work out, Chris Christie's got it set up to pull the same trick at Rutgers. Both schools are now in the Big Ten; maybe he and Daniels can set up a joint school book burning before the big game in 2017...
Skip to 2:35: "It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them."