Gosh, you’d have to be Neil deGrasse Tyson to get away with attacking teachers, one would think.
Anyway, Tyson had tweeted,
Students who earn straight “A”s in school do so not because of good Teachers but in spite of bad Teachers.
12:10 PM – 10 Jan 2015
Orzel replies, saying he didn’t mind a bunch of stuff Tyson did that annoyed people but
I have to say, though, that this one kind of crossed a line:
I mean, what the hell is that? I’ve been staring at this for a while, and really can’t find an angle from which it doesn’t look insulting to a whole bunch of people who don’t deserve your scorn. Are you trying to say that bad teachers are so common that every good student has had to work around them? That only bad teachers give A’s? That no student is so good that a good teacher would give them all A’s?
On the student side, I’m now in my 14th year of teaching college, and I’ve seen a few students come through who got all A’s in their time with us. And I have to say, every one of them deserved every A they got– they put in a huge amount of effort. So the idea that nobody could possibly deserve all A’s just doesn’t fly. I suppose all my colleagues could be “bad Teachers,” but that’s a little hard to believe.
Given your stature as a public figure, there’s a lot you could do to help education in America (beyond, you know, making Cosmos…). You could’ve used your public platform to praise some of the teachers out there doing great work finding innovative ways to teach students how to think, and lifting them up toward straight A’s– seriously, check out folks like Frank Noschese, Kelly O’Shea, and Dan Meyer, they’re awesome. You could’ve encouraged students to go into teaching– we could really use more future teachers drawn from students who have a good understanding of math and science, the very population with whom you carry the most weight– or parents to provide more time and resources for their kids’ education. You could even talk up charities like Donors Choose, which helps provide resources to teachers in needy districts.
Instead, you posted a cryptic tweet that’s really difficult to interpret in any way that’s not actively insulting to teachers. And that’s deeply disappointing, especially from someone whose reputation is built around trying to inspire and educate the next generation.
Actually, Tyson can say pretty much whatever he wants about anyone he chooses; that’s what being a science celeb means these days. Suck it up, Orzel. Dawkins is worse.
See also: You have to know the Cosmos remake is in trouble when … (Actually, Orzel had some serious misgivings about it. )
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s real classy Christmas
But what difference, at this point, does it make if Tyson fabricates quotes?
William Lane Craig on Tyson’s dismissal of philosophy
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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose