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Political debates at this Forum


Dalibor Svoboda
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The problem this forum do face is that it doesn’t allows attacks against the opinions which represent the political correct and also today’s accepted views. If you think that high taxation is good or that the Palestinians are treated very very badly or that Kelly is the absolutely best candidate in the approaching election or that the Madrid bombing is a reminder for all of us that the Iraq war is very very bad for the future of the mankind you are the accepted member of this forum.

But if you fight at this Education Forum for a quite different view, a view which is uncommon to the large constituency of this forum you have to be prepared to receive the answers like this:

"What a caricature you are. You must be in a museum... " , JP Raud Dugal, Mar 14, 2004

or

“Are you sure that your presence on the list is necesseray and brings something to the debate?

The thing you are saying are so miserable that if it’s not you, I will leave the list soon. Hope to never hear from you.” , JP Raud Dugal, Mar 15, 2004

I´m very dissatisfied by these facts. I personally received much more intellectual stimulation and a greater enjoyment when reading Alma’s contributions than when reading the dominating debaters who seems to go straight from morning newspapers to the debate on this forum carrying with them the “thoughts of the day”.

Are we keen on understanding the complicated situation of world politics with the help of open minded debates or are we only striving for consensus of a “happy socialist (or liberal) brothers”? Is this a society of self admiring participants or is this a debate forum of fiercely debating combatants trying to find the truths?

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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As you know very well Dalibor the point is that recently a number of extreme right views, including racist slurs, and expressions of support for neo-Nazi organisations have been expressed on this forum.

You will also remember that this forum was also targeted last month by a group of far right extremists sharing accounts and passwords under a series of anonymous accounts. At the time you took it upon yourself rather perversely to defend their "right" to do so. However I believe that really you were just making mischief.

I agree that it is very important to challenge such misguided people in debate and a number of "regular contributors" always do this before more drastic action is taken.

There are plenty of unmoderated forums and weblogs on the internet where all measure of extremist and often unpleasant material is presented. The quality of debate on them all however is low and this is not what we are trying to achieve here.

The only posts ever deleted here have been from those who have either used the forum to incite racial hatred or from people who have repeatedly refused to follow our very moderate "Board Guidelines". This is neither censorship nor unreasonable.

Your final comments about "happy socialists/liberals" is ridiculous and frankly beneath you.

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Guest Adrian Dingle

Andy and I have communicated about this privately, we largely disagree, but for the record here is my view.

I find no reason to have such obviously "politics for politics sake" debates on the EDUCATION forum. If people want to talk politics AT ALL on THIS forum it should be restricted (moderated) to;

1. Politics that are relevant to Education, e.g. Government initiatives, teachers pay, public policy on education etc. , or

2. In the Government & Politics section, debates that are relevant to TEACHING Government & Politics.

I see NO merit in political debates that are not relevant to education ON THIS FORUM. Way, way too many recent posts in the Government & Politics section have been Politics for Politics sake and, in my view, have no place on a Education forum.

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As you know very well Dalibor ......

I’m sorry but I do not know very well …. about anything. As far as I know nobody informed anybody about “a number of extreme right views, including racist slurs ..."

As far as Alma is concerned I was really stimulated by his different and unusual way of looking at the controversial issues of today’s politics. If that didn’t fit into the pattern of the debate at this Forum I rather feel pity for this Forum that to feel pity for Alma.

Wasn’t it Ulrike who quoted Voltaire in the debate on Middle East ……. “I disagree with you but nevertheless I will fight for your right to express your opinion freely”?

Doesn’t it apply for conservative, well rightist arguments as well?

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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As far as I know no one has restricted alma from posting her opion freely.

I strongly disgagree with JP Raud Dugal and think verbally abusing one of the debaters is bringing a forum like this down, but if you look at some of alma's postings she also is using fairly strong words to disparage others.

I think we all should follow the standards we expect our students to learn and if I look at the student's debate they mainly follow the established standards of a civilised debate.

By the way, I do not mind being called a "happy socialist and liberal" sister.

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I’m sorry but I do not know very well  …. about anything. As far as I know nobody informed anybody about “a number of extreme right views, including racist slurs ..."

It is a problem of being an administrator that not everyone sees what you don't let appear on a forum. However I am sure that I let you know Dalibor what was going on the last time we were targeted by extreme right wing pressure groups under the pseudonyms of "Austen" "Dolly" "Pitiricus" et al.

My bottom line is that anything which is racist or deliberatley offensive shouldn't appear here. I also think that it is not unreasonable to insist that we should know who a poster is and where they work in education, ( which is why these clauses appear in our board guidelines). It is after all a forum for teachers and educators.

If anyone disagrees with either of these points please let any of the administrators know with an explanation why they disagree with them and your opinions will be taken into account. There is substantial freedom of expression on this forum but it is lightly moderated hence the board guidelines.

Finally I must take issue with Adrian Dingle. Posters who for instance do such unfathomable things as cite their support for French fascism or blame terrorism on "immigration" are clearly in desperate need of a political education. I am therefore more than happy for political debates to take place. If teachers don't talk about such issues how are they supposed to talk to their pupils about them?

It is a very extensive forum with lots of categories and any member can start a thread on any topic they like. My view on discussions I don't find interesting is that I don't get involved in them.

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Guest Adrian Dingle

I suppose I have misunderstood the purpose of this Forum.

It thought it was a forum "about" Education and Educational issues, rather than a forum that was attempting to "Educate". As you will appreciate there is a subtle yet profound difference between the two.

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I suppose I have misunderstood the purpose of this Forum.

It thought it was a forum "about" Education and Educational issues, rather than a forum that was attempting to "Educate". As you will appreciate there is a subtle yet profound difference between the two.

I am not sure whether you have or not.

These are its aims.

Within this is the sharing of resources and strategies I infer from your mails and messages you would like to see more of, but also the discussion of broader issues amongst teachers and educators relevent to their jobs and lives. If you favour one over the other then get posting, there is plenty of room :D;)

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I find no reason to have such obviously "politics for politics sake" debates on the EDUCATION forum. If people want to talk politics AT ALL on THIS forum it should be restricted (moderated) to;

1. Politics that are relevant to Education, e.g. Government initiatives, teachers pay, public policy on education etc. , or

2. In the Government & Politics section, debates that are relevant to TEACHING Government & Politics.

I see NO merit in political debates that are not relevant to education ON THIS FORUM. Way, way too many recent posts in the Government & Politics section have been Politics for Politics sake and, in my view, have no place on a Education forum.

I find Adrian’s comments very disturbing. As an administrator and co-founder of the Forum I would like to make it very clear that members are free to express opinions on whatever topics they like (as long as it is not racist). This is a democratic forum that is shaped by members own areas of interest. I would hate to think members might impose self-censorship in an effort not to upset Adrian.

Adrian, if you don’t like the discussions in the political sections, I suggest you don’t read them. That should stop you getting upset about people expressing opinions that you disagree with.

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Guest Adrian Dingle

John

You utterly miss the point. I am not upset, nor I have I EVER said that I disagree with any one particular persons opinions about ANY matter whether they be on the extreme left or extreme right. I have simply stated that I was under the impression that the thrust of this forum would be about education and not personal politics rather than the other way around.

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Adrian, the forum is about education. Being a history and politics teacher it is important for me to exchange/debate my views with colleagues. Topics like the one in this section are those I have to deal with in my classroom and debating them with colleagues from different countries and of different opinions helps me to get a better perspective and sharpen my own understanding.

Maybe we sometimes get carried away a bit but every member has the option to start a new topic which for example might concentrate on how to teach certain subjects, how to improve our lessons (there was a thread about using simulations in history lessons last year), sharing resources etc.

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Dalibor:

Well, the politically correct crowd has a lot of problems accepting that they don't detain THE truth... I see them not as scientists or educators but really as preachers trying to spread their version of THE truth... Given that you come from a communist dictatorship, you know how dangerous this is... But they don't...

I see it as a real problem in the education industry... A lot of the teachers are still "radicals" from the 60s who, protected by the tenure system never had to confront reality. Or as they quip here, the only communists left are the ones with tenure at Harvard or in other universities in the Western world...

But where it is much worse is in the schools, where they go and preach their gospels... As a parent I had to confront it, and confront it I did... But I had a Ph. D, so had my husband and when the teachers tried to bleat about "what is known in economics" for instance, we could react. Not all parents have this kind of background!

This is why I ask what gives teachers the right to preach things on which there is absolutely no concensus in the scientific world: for instance, about poverty, how to remedy it etc... Part of the problem, I know, is with the educational book industry and who write these books.

Edited by Alma
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If, as I understand the "neo-nazi" organization id the Front National, a party which draws up to a fifth of electors in France, not discussing it is the politics of the ostrich. It won't disappear because you don't like it, and the real problems that exist and gave rise to the Front national (I don't know if you have the same in the UK) will increase until there is an explosion. demonizing a fifth of the population of a country because you don't like them, and not discussing them is living somewhere in a parallel universe, and reality will intrude, with a bang if you go on like that!

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Guest Adrian Dingle

UlrikeSchuhFricke, your point is a good one and well made, but I am afraid (at least for my liking) the pendulum has swung way too far away from those valid reasons for such debate and into personal politics.

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Before leaving, and I don't think I want to come back given the kind of remarks that real debating (as opposed to a mutual admiration society that doesn't want to look at facts) I will add the following...

You have shown me a lot, and I will start to lobby here against the preaching of the "party line" in schools and for the teaching of facts and skills as opposed to a political party line in schools... This would probably increase the success of students in colleges, although probably decrease the comfort level of the teachers!

But I let you at your mutual admiration society... I am sure it is comforting to you... But it doesn't teach anything to people with open minds.

Bye Dalibor... A pleasure reading your contributions... From them, I would say the Czech Republic is engaged on the right path...

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