More Lousy Arguments for Abortion

 

Kant, via Wikimedia Commons

I see in student papers and reflection assignments a lot of weird and lousy thinking about abortion. Sometimes they give lousy pro-life arguments, like this one (paraphrasing with my own words):

Kant says actions should be universalizable, and if abortion were universalized the human race would become extinct.

In Kantian ethics, you’re supposed to test the justification or reason for an action–the principle behind the action– to see if it can be universalized. In other words, would it make sense if everyone lived by that principle?

But few people (if any) choose abortion simply on the principle “I should abort this pregnancy” or “Abortion is good.”  The principle behind the action is more detailed: “In such-and-such circumstances, a person should abort” or “In such-and-such circumstances, a person can abort if she wants” or “In such-and-such circumstances, abortion is a good thing / a lesser evil.”

My students who wrote this were looking at the wrong justification for abortion.

More often, though, I see bad defenses of abortion from my students. Let’s look over a few gems.

“Rape Makes Everything Ok!”

Here’s a wild one:

Abortion in the case of rape is ok–even if the fetus is a human being with rights–because the woman is just trying to deal with the consequences of her trauma.

After dealing with this argument a number of times, a clear and direct response finally formed in my head: She does not have the right to kill the rapist if that would help to deal with the consequences. Why would she have the right to kill her baby instead?

More formally, “I was victimized” is just not a good premise for the conclusion “I can victimize someone else now.” If the fetus is a human being with rights, then someone else being a rape victim does not make an exception to those rights.

Anyway, can trauma be erased like that?  Is that how life works?  Of course, trauma can be redeemed by bringing good out of evil; but that’s an insight pointing in a pro-life direction.

Plain Old Science Denial

These are weird. I see arguments like this:

The fetus is not a human being. Therefore, it doesn’t have rights.

Or:

There is debate about whether the fetus is a human being. Therefore, it is unclear as to whether it has any rights.


As I explain to my students, a human fetus is unambiguously a human being, from the moment of conception. It is
a human organism.  There is no proper debate on this; there is only ignorance.

What there is debate on is whether all human beings have rights, or whether all human beings are persons.  I suspect most students want to play it easy and not take on that debate.  But I wish they would. I’d prefer a straight disagreement to all this sneaky sophistry.

The Speculative Utilitarian Argument: Botching Utilitarianism

Students sometimes write up an argument along these lines:

Utilitarianism means we shouldn’t decide based on absolute moral rules and instead think about the pain that might be experienced by a pregnant woman who is poor, or a rape victim, etc. Therefore, we cannot say unequivocally that abortion is wrong, etc., etc.

This argument is a remarkable failure to think like a utilitarian. Utilitarianism, by definition, must consider long-term consequences, and it cannot leave out of its consideration all the happiness experienced in an entire lifetime by the life that abortion cancels.

The only thing we know for sure about abortion is that–whatever suffering the baby or his mother might possibly experience otherwise–it cancels out all the future happiness of that one human life.

The Speculative Utilitarian Argument: Ridiculously Selective Speculation

There’s another problem with that last argument.  The argument depends on sheer selective speculation–“Here is a person who might suffer in some way; therefore, let’s do whatever it takes to prevent that suffering.”

What about other speculations? What about the healing that might come from a good (specifically a baby) coming out of suffering (as a rape victim)? Or the suffering a woman might experience from feeling guilty for killing her baby? What about the people who suffer because the baby didn’t grow up to invent a better treatment for cancer?  If we’re building arguments on speculative stories about how sad or happy people might be, then pro-life arguments are at least as strong as pro-choice arguments.

A Textbook False Dilemma Fallacy

I’ve seen variations of the argument below several times. Hopefully the screenshotted student comment and my response will speak for themselves.

Published in Domestic Policy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 54 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Sequel of sorts to “Lousy Arguments for Abortion.”

    • #1
  2. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    The best counter to the rape/incest argument is to ask them whether they will accept the compromise that abortion be allowed for rape/incest, but outlawed for any other reason.  When they refuse, ask why they brought up rape and incest, given that they clearly don’t consider it an important factor.

    • #2
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    My answer to the “better off dead” arguments, like poverty or an unloving mother or whatever, is that the baby should make the choice.  Since we agree as a society that people can vote etc at age 18, then we wait until the baby is 18, lend them a gun (the state pays for the bullet), and offer them suicide.  If they decline, then that’s their prerogative.

    But having somebody else decide if I live or die seems ethically questionable…

    • #3
  4. Not a Banana Republican Coolidge
    Not a Banana Republican
    @Dbroussa

    In Re rape, I usually ask, with what other crime do we punish the children of the perpetrator?

    If a person assaults someone, do we execute their offspring?  

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I doubt that very many people form their position on abortion on the basis of a rational argument.

    I think that most people do have rationalizations for their position, on this and many other issues.  Such rationalizations don’t hold up under scrutiny, but it doesn’t really matter.  Even if their rationalization is undermined, people rarely change their minds.

    As a practical matter, indoctrination is probably much more effective than rational argument.

    I think that most people on both sides of the abortion issue are motivated by sympathy.  For those who favor abortion, it is sympathy with a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy.  For those who oppose abortion, it is sympathy for the unborn . . . well, those who oppose abortion would say “child.”  Those who support abortion would say “fetus” or “POC” (product of conception this time, not person of color).

    Both sides focus on “rights.”  Those who favor abortion talk about the rights of the mother, and those who oppose abortion talk about the rights of the child.

    • #5
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism.  There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally.  I’m staunchly opposed to abortion.  I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument.  For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    These are the people who will be leading our country. Heaven help us.

    • #7
  8. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    The best counter to the rape/incest argument is to ask them whether they will accept the compromise that abortion be allowed for rape/incest, but outlawed for any other reason. When they refuse, ask why they brought up rape and incest, given that they clearly don’t consider it an important factor.

    Specious.

    The key word in your premise is compromise. This takes the discussion into the pragmatic arena.

    In the area of pragmatic politics, it makes perfect sense for reproductive rights advocates to remind the public that some pregnancies are not willful. They might next consider pregnancies due to failed birth control, forgetfulness, etc. No one of political import is debating abortion philosophically. It’s all down to politics now.

    “Exceptions” — former President Trump’s favorite current buzzword on the topic — presumes the enactment of bans. For all his temporizing, Trump has not yet said anything reassuring to voters who cast angry votes in the “Roevember” of 2022.

    Abortion bans as public policy are not easily compromised. The Roe/Casey precedents were a compromise which to this day the general public prefers over Dobbs, incorporating Casey‘s all-states permission until the 24th week.

    Now we’re back to square one in some states, for a while at least. Stories count in politics, personalizing the law.

    The unlucky, poor, pregnant 12-year old in some states is told she must carry her fetus and give birth to a baby. Nature will determine whether that fetus will survive the journey. Only ~15% of pregnancies make it to week 20. If from the unwanted pregnancy a child is born, perhaps the poor girl will never have another or have one fewer later on, when she is ready to be a loving mother. Whether that hypothetical life deserves any comparative thought, I’ll leave it to the “pro-life” theorists to debate amongst themselves.

    If students are studying law, government, or history their questions may be different from those of theology students. If religions rely on supernatural premises, those arguments should be irrelevant to our laws.

    Within the context of U.S. laws, politics is the art of the possible. The anti-abortion movement has beaten the odds by thwarting the national consensus and undoing a half-century long compromise. The momentum now swings back against them, and if young voters retain their present values, may never swing back the other way.

    I look  forward to the majority of heavily populated states individually restoring, at a minimum, the Casey v. Planned Parenthood viability standard. The two oldest SCOTUS justices are its strongest opponents of abortion rights. The Senate, which will confirm or block their replacements, will be asking less circumspect questions about reproductive freedom from now on.

    The President — like the voters — will have to weigh the issue and pick carefully, because as we’re seeing the Court handles a docket of wide importance. A centrist bloc with an individual liberty preference would be a wise direction. Pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage rulings will help restore acceptance of the present nine justice SCOTUS.

    Immediate, important questions are (1) will elections for the Presidency, the U.S. Senate, and the House be swung by candidates’ abortion promises? 

    and  (2) will state popular votes on abortion rights be allowed and unimpeded? will statewide elections be impacted where there are no public referenda?

    Wisconsin’s recent decision to allow write-in ballot deposit boxes was made by a liberal judge elected almost exclusively on the abortion question.

    So if the election becomes close and Wisconsin tips the balance, it’s possible that the Dobbs case will have handed a Democrat the Presidency. The philosophy students of 2100 can debate that one on their midterms.

    • #8
  9. She Member
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    These are the people who will be leading our country. Heaven help us.

    Wherever they are, they are students.  They’re supposed to be ignorant.  (How ignorant, I know, is arguable, just as I know that today’s students are also driven by rabid and incoherent ideology and the fact that they “know so much that just isn’t so,” to quote Ronald Reagan.)  I commend @staugustine for his commitment in engaging with them, for tackling such subjects with them, and for forcing them to think, and state their thoughts and make their cases, clearly.   

    It’s been a common and rather insulting truism for a while that: “Those who can, do.  Those who can’t do, teach.”

    A dear friend always revised that to: “Those who can, do.  Those who can teach, must.”  I think our fellow member is such a one.

    • #9
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The fundamental argument that wins is that women want it so it must happen.  From what I can tell that is effectively how the West politics runs nowadays.  The West has effectively bases its entire world on what women want, desire and are convinced makes women happy.  Law, logic, morality does not matter,  only women wants are.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    The fundamental argument that wins is that women want it so it must happen. From what I can tell that is effectively how the West politics runs nowadays. The West has effectively bases its entire world on what women want, desire and are convinced makes women happy. Law, logic, morality does not matter, only women wants are.

    And not even what is shown to actually help women BE happy, matters either.

    • #11
  12. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism. There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally. I’m staunchly opposed to abortion. I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument. For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    By definition, a parasite kills its host.  Another type of symbiosis would be a better fit.

    • #12
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism. There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally. I’m staunchly opposed to abortion. I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument. For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    By definition, a parasite kills its host. Another type of symbiosis would be a better fit.

    Doesn’t a parasite have to be another species?

    • #13
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism. There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally. I’m staunchly opposed to abortion. I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument. For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    By definition, a parasite kills its host. Another type of symbiosis would be a better fit.

    Doesn’t a parasite have to be another species?

    Pretty sure a symbiosis does too, at least technically.

    • #14
  15. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    The one I’ve heard is, “Every child has a right to be wanted.”  This is manipulative and chilling at the same time. 

    The presented argument contains two admissions:  1. It is a child. 2. The child has rights. 

    Even if you were to accept the argument that being killed is less of a rights violation than being unwanted, isn’t the pro-abortion argument supposed to be about the woman’s rights?

    They say it’s all about a woman’s right to choose.  Funny how they end on the word “choose” without completing the sentence.  

    • #15
  16. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism. There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally. I’m staunchly opposed to abortion. I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument. For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    By definition, a parasite kills its host. Another type of symbiosis would be a better fit.

    Doesn’t a parasite have to be another species?

    Pretty sure a symbiosis does too, at least technically.

    Yeah, I missed the boat on this one.  All type of symbiosis, including parasitism, are between different species.

    • #16
  17. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism. There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally. I’m staunchly opposed to abortion. I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument. For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    By definition, a parasite kills its host. Another type of symbiosis would be a better fit.

    Doesn’t a parasite have to be another species?

    Not in the case of my nephew…

    • #17
  18. Not a Banana Republican Coolidge
    Not a Banana Republican
    @Dbroussa

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    These are the people who will be leading our country. Heaven help us.

    Wherever they are, they are students. They’re supposed to be ignorant. (How ignorant, I know, is arguable, just as I know that today’s students are also driven by rabid and incoherent ideology and the fact that they “know so much that just isn’t so,” to quote Ronald Reagan.) I commend @ staugustine for his commitment in engaging with them, for tackling such subjects with them, and for forcing them to think, and state their thoughts and make their cases, clearly.

    It’s been a common and rather insulting truism for a while that: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t do, teach.”

    A dear friend always revised that to: “Those who can, do. Those who can teach, must.” I think our fellow member is such a one.

    Having been a teacher, from a family of teachers, and with a teacher as an offspring.  Not everyone can teach.  In fact, bad teachers are extremely bad.  I knew after teaching just one class for a year that I was not cut out for that job.  I have thought about writing online courses for various outlets to make more money and getting a Microsoft Certified Trainer certification, but I am not a good trainer/teacher mostly because of my ADHD.  I cannot lesson plan and prefer to just go seat of my pants every day.  Not conducive to good instruction.

    Can anyone teach a class?  Yes.  Should anyone teach classes?  Definitely not.  The best teachers are those who can engage their students and inspire them to learn about things that they don’t care about.  The science (or art) of pedagogy is one that can be learned, but as with anything…if you don’t want to learn it…it isn’t very much fun.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Not a Banana Republican (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    These are the people who will be leading our country. Heaven help us.

    Wherever they are, they are students. They’re supposed to be ignorant. (How ignorant, I know, is arguable, just as I know that today’s students are also driven by rabid and incoherent ideology and the fact that they “know so much that just isn’t so,” to quote Ronald Reagan.) I commend @ staugustine for his commitment in engaging with them, for tackling such subjects with them, and for forcing them to think, and state their thoughts and make their cases, clearly.

    It’s been a common and rather insulting truism for a while that: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t do, teach.”

    A dear friend always revised that to: “Those who can, do. Those who can teach, must.” I think our fellow member is such a one.

    Having been a teacher, from a family of teachers, and with a teacher as an offspring. Not everyone can teach. In fact, bad teachers are extremely bad. I knew after teaching just one class for a year that I was not cut out for that job. I have thought about writing online courses for various outlets to make more money and getting a Microsoft Certified Trainer certification, but I am not a good trainer/teacher mostly because of my ADHD. I cannot lesson plan and prefer to just go seat of my pants every day. Not conducive to good instruction.

    Can anyone teach a class? Yes. Should anyone teach classes? Definitely not. The best teachers are those who can engage their students and inspire them to learn about things that they don’t care about. The science (or art) of pedagogy is one that can be learned, but as with anything…if you don’t want to learn it…it isn’t very much fun.

    I maintain that too many teachers are needed for it to be limited to only those who are “good at it.”  But that’s why it’s also important to be largely rote.  Even the teachers who think they should be “innovative” etc, mostly shouldn’t be.

    • #19
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Pregnancy is close to being a unique situation, in which one human organism is a parasite on another human organism. There may be rare situations in which Siamese twins have the same characteristic.

    If one wants to argue about “rights,” why should the host have an obligation to continue to serve the parasite?

    I don’t find this argument convincing personally. I’m staunchly opposed to abortion. I don’t think that my position is based on reasoned argument. For me, it’s a theological issue.

    Mark, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the parasite argument.

    That argument sucks. A baby is not a parasite. Do I need to spell out the differences?

    • #20
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    These are the people who will be leading our country. Heaven help us.

    I work in Hong Kong, but I don’t know that the arguments would be any better in the US.

    • #21
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    The one I’ve heard is, “Every child has a right to be wanted.” This is manipulative and chilling at the same time.

    Yes.

    The presented argument contains two admissions: 1. It is a child. 2. The child has rights.

    Even if you were to accept the argument that being killed is less of a rights violation than being unwanted, isn’t the pro-abortion argument supposed to be about the woman’s rights?

    Well said.

    All the other problems aside, it’s a false dilemma fallacy: Either kill them or let them be unwanted. Surely there is a third alternative that involves wanting them.

    They say it’s all about a woman’s right to choose. Funny how they end on the word “choose” without completing the sentence.

    Not counting rape pregnancies, the right to choose was already activated. What these folks apparently want is choice without consequences.

    • #22
  23. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    If religions rely on supernatural premises, those arguments should be irrelevant to our laws.

    I’m having trouble following your remarks. Not sure what you conclusion and premise(s) are.

    Now–is the Declaration of Independence relevant to our laws?

    Is the premise “All human beings matter” supernatural?

    Pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage rulings will help restore acceptance of the present nine justice SCOTUS.

    That’s Roberts thinking–outcomes will restore acceptance.

    The right thinking is: Rightly interpreting the law will restore acceptance. (On a bad day, Thomas agrees. Maybe Alito. On a good day, Gorsuch might join in.)

    • #23
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Abortion is about not having a baby people don’t want. It has always been that. It is the modern version of infanticide that has been practiced by every civilization ever. As a society, we have accepted that, we just lie to ourselves about what we have accepted.

     

    • #24
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Abortion is about not having a baby people don’t want. It has always been that. It is the modern version of infanticide that has been practiced by every civilization ever. As a society, we have accepted that, we just lie to ourselves about what we have accepted.

     

    In the past it wasn’t just about a child not being “wanted.”  Depending on the situation at the time, an additional mouth to feed could doom others in the family.

    • #25
  26. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Abortion is about not having a baby people don’t want. It has always been that. It is the modern version of infanticide that has been practiced by every civilization ever. As a society, we have accepted that, we just lie to ourselves about what we have accepted.

     

    It is child sacrifice – instead of Bael, the new god is narcissism.

    • #26
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Abortion is about not having a baby people don’t want. It has always been that. It is the modern version of infanticide that has been practiced by every civilization ever. As a society, we have accepted that, we just lie to ourselves about what we have accepted.

     

    In the past it wasn’t just about a child not being “wanted.” Depending on the situation at the time, an additional mouth to feed could doom others in the family.

    Oh fair enough. 

    Just makes what we do worse.

    • #27
  28. Not a Banana Republican Coolidge
    Not a Banana Republican
    @Dbroussa

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I maintain that too many teachers are needed for it to be limited to only those who are “good at it.” But that’s why it’s also important to be largely rote. Even the teachers who think they should be “innovative” etc, mostly shouldn’t be.

    As with any profession, there are going to be some % that are Excellent, some % that will be good, some % that are adequate, some that are below average, and some % that are inadequate.  In business we used to talk about A Players, B Players, and C Players.  You promoted the A Players, retained the B Players, and either trained or got rid of the C Players.

    One problem is that few teachers are ever fired.  In Texas, where there isn’t a union, an inadequate teacher will not have their contract renewed…sometimes, but they have to be pretty bad.  At my daughter’s High School where she teaches 10th and 11th grade English, they have a shortage of teachers and renewed everyone.  Supposedly they review things like pass rate and she was scared that she might not get renewed because she had about a half-dozen kids who just never showed up for class all year.  I told her that she should talk to her peers and her department head to get a better feel for how she is doing.  The metrics make sense, usually, but when the school is significantly below average you need to know how you are doing against your peers as opposed to state-wide.

    If you have a teacher that is inadequate, we need to either train them to be better, or move them out of that job and get them to change careers.  We would hope that is happening…but I have my doubts for a lot of reasons.

    • #28
  29. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Abortion is about not having a baby people don’t want. It has always been that. It is the modern version of infanticide that has been practiced by every civilization ever. As a society, we have accepted that, we just lie to ourselves about what we have accepted.

     

    In the past it wasn’t just about a child not being “wanted.” Depending on the situation at the time, an additional mouth to feed could doom others in the family.

    Oh fair enough.

    Just makes what we do worse.

    Not we.  They.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Not a Banana Republican (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I maintain that too many teachers are needed for it to be limited to only those who are “good at it.” But that’s why it’s also important to be largely rote. Even the teachers who think they should be “innovative” etc, mostly shouldn’t be.

    As with any profession, there are going to be some % that are Excellent, some % that will be good, some % that are adequate, some that are below average, and some % that are inadequate. In business we used to talk about A Players, B Players, and C Players. You promoted the A Players, retained the B Players, and either trained or got rid of the C Players.

    One problem is that few teachers are ever fired. In Texas, where there isn’t a union, an inadequate teacher will not have their contract renewed…sometimes, but they have to be pretty bad. At my daughter’s High School where she teaches 10th and 11th grade English, they have a shortage of teachers and renewed everyone. Supposedly they review things like pass rate and she was scared that she might not get renewed because she had about a half-dozen kids who just never showed up for class all year. I told her that she should talk to her peers and her department head to get a better feel for how she is doing. The metrics make sense, usually, but when the school is significantly below average you need to know how you are doing against your peers as opposed to state-wide.

    If you have a teacher that is inadequate, we need to either train them to be better, or move them out of that job and get them to change careers. We would hope that is happening…but I have my doubts for a lot of reasons.

    Or, move the “inadequate” teachers to teaching positions where “innovation” is irrelevant.  Perhaps even undesirable.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.