Do public school teachers ever state their political views in the classroom?
Some teachers do. There are different schools of thought on this subject.
Some believe that there is an expectation that because teachers are an intellectual group, there is an expectation that we impart our views. Our views are somehow superior because they come from an intellectual background. This assumes that we're all as smart as we think we are and that intellectualism is a good thing (which it is, but it isn't the only thing). Unfortunately, not every teacher is all that intelligent. We've all had bad teachers, but some are spectacularly foolish. As an example, we have one very passionate teacher who... well... Texas teacher suspended over anti-Trump stunt. Enjoy that. I don't care how you feel about Trump (I mean I do, but...), this is just stupid and worthy of a suspension unless there are more facts than those of which we've been made aware (always a possibility).
On the other hand, we have teachers who don't state their political views in the classroom or at least strive not to. I am in that camp, though I do understand arguments to the contrary. I believe that my job is not to make ideological carbon copies of myself. It would be easy to do that, since I have a captive audience, but my job is not to teach specific political views. I believe that my duty is to teach my students how to think, not what to think. Therefore, I teach them critical thinking, ethics and morality, research skills, etc. I try to teach them to be doubtful but not cynical. I teach them that to be intelligent is to be reserved in accepting new beliefs, reserved in deciding to take action, and reserved in deciding the direction and degree of that action.
I am willing to explain my political views outside of the classroom. If a student visits me after graduation, I'll lay all my cards on the table.
The most I will tell my students is that politicians are people, people are typically neither good nor evil but rather some gray area in between, that they are typically doing what they believe is right but that they often have differing ideas of right versus wrong or different information than what we have.
If a student asks me about Trump's executive order regarding immigration, I will first explain that we're in an English class and are discussing the morality in "The Wife of Bath's Tale." If pressed, I will tell students that they should consider what they know about national security on one side and the value of diversity on the other, then research, come to a decision, and discuss it among their peers or with their parents, remembering that the future will be the real judge of whether the order was right or wrong.
For the record, I am adamantly opposed to the order, finding it both clumsy and not in keeping with the values which America holds dear. I can only hope that my students come to that conclusion on their own.
In my math classes, we stay out of the political arena entirely. No reason to talk about it in there. When my students asked who I voted for in the most recent election, I said "Taft."
In my Economics class, we get our hands messy with current events. I'm willing to be opinionated on issues where I have the backing of my textbook. For example, I have no issue being explicitly against protectionist policy, since there's probably less than 5% of economists who support it. Even then, I try to get my kids to get there on their own, rather than browbeat them into accepting pervasive economic thought.
I joke that economists beat up on Democrats and Republicans alike. I praised Donald Trump for his promises of infrastructure spending and beat him up for his promise of Mexican tariffs. I do the same thing for former presidents Obama and Bush. I try to find one positive thing to say about each president for each negative thing I say.
On issues where my textbook is less vocal I try to offer differing opinions. Sometimes in class I wind up spend more time explaining left-leaning arguments because I live in a very right-leaning area and I like to expose them to different ideas. Usually during discussions they hit most of the right side arguments on their own, so I just balance the discussion. I did an activity where the class splits by their opinion on a certain question. Both times I did this activity the group was monolithic, save one, so both times I joined her to offer counter-arguments.
My job isn't to preach one way of thinking, but to open my students up to several new ways of looking at things. I very rarely just come out and state my beliefs. Usually when it's happened it's been a lapse of judgement rather than an intentional action, and it strips you of some credibility when you do. Even though students know you're not neutral, the illusion of neutrality is a helpful one and it's hard to get it back once it's shattered.
State them? Like explicitly?
I don't. Those are some deep waters to tread and I'm not the best swimmer.
What I really like doing is helping kids shape their own views by offering alternative arguments. I've left kids mentally twisted and confused by offering counter arguments to their counter arguments to their counter arguments.
One kid flip-flopped over and over as I fed him valid reasoning for both sides of a particular issue.
In the end, I sat down my bottle of water and asked him to read the label to me. Then, I read my side and asked, "so, does this say [what he said] or [what I said]?"
Sometimes, both perspectives are correct in their own ways. It depends on which side you see.
Yes they do. I just read an artical that stated that a Texas teacher was placed on leave for shooting Trump with a water gun while watching the inauguration on TV with her class. Her political view is that she dislikes Trump as does so many other women. But just because that is her view maybe some of her students dont share that same view. This could create problems among the class. In my opinion I dont think politics belong in school. There are to many veiw and opinion and again this could create fighting and chaos among students. Let the parents choose what they want their kids to know about politics. If the kids are super curious then they could find artical and videos on the internet. Teachers need to stick to the given subjects that they are paid to teach. No art teacher should be expressing her political view with a gun even if it was just a water gun in front of a class. She looks like she is promoting violence. Thats just my opinion. I dont care for Trump but I would not show my anger in front of bunch of kids. Bad move on her part. Now she is paying for it. Hope she learns from her mistakes and goes back to just teaching art.
I'm sure many do. My personal experience as a teacher was to try very hard not to. Since I taught Journalism and British Literature, there were elements of both in the subject matter. It was my job, particularly in the Journalism class, to have my students research the subjects on their own and report on them. It was also my job to teach how bias takes many forms, and how they must discern the ways and how it affects the material being presented. Not an easy task. Teachers can hold a lot of sway over their students, especially if the students like their teacher. It's a daunting responsibility and one that many teachers could easily abuse if they are not watchful of how they present information.
I make an active effort to not. I will engage in discussion, and I frequently find myself having to call out false statements made by politicians, but that isn't so much a matter of politics as a value on truth, which is what I try to instill in my students in their own work. Typically, it's not an issue, as when a student asks my opinion, I just say "I'm more interested in what you think".
I'm sure at times I have expressed my political views indirectly, but never intentionally.