More on Politics in the Workplace

Stanley Fish, the author of the blogpost I cited in last week’s post, has written a response to the some 300 comments he received on his New York Times blog following his post on whether teachers should be allowed to express their partisan preferences in the classroom.

You can read his full response here, and here is a sampling of his thoughts:

H.J. Boitel complains that “Fish never gets around to explaining why there is something wrong or unprofessional about a teacher passively communicating his or her political preferences.” It’s unprofessional because it’s not part of the job; it’s an extra that is not a plus, but a minus.

Academic freedom, as I have said many (perhaps too many) times is the freedom to do your job, the job of introducing students to materials and traditions with which they were unfamiliar and equipping them with the appropriate analytical skills. It is not the freedom to say anything you like on the reasoning that you are a person with constitutional rights. Sure you are, but your rights are not infringed because your full exercise of them is curtailed for those few hours when you discharge your professional responsibilities.

Are certain things taboo to discuss in the workplace? What things? Should there be a line between the personal and the professional?

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3 responses »

  1. I have written before about things that should not be discussed at work and religion and politics were at the top of my list.
    http://www.everydaypublicrelations.com/2008/07/top-five-things-you-should-never.html

    However, I reiterate that I am all for the freedom of expression and I beleive that teachers play a critical role in the development of youth. The only thing I would say is that they present a balanced view of the issues, in order to allow for the students to make up their own minds.

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