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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

June 4, 2013 at 6:57 AM

Seattle Public School students protest teacher transfer

Seattle Public School leaders are taking transparency to a new high, or low, if they carry out plans to transfer a popular teacher only months after he came under district scrutiny for teaching a class about race and social justice.

Reports that Jon Greenberg, who teaches Citizenship and Social Justice at the Center School, was being transferred to Hamilton Middle School first appeared on a Seattle PI blog.

Greenberg’s class explored sexism, racism and privilege. Tough subjects, to be sure, but I was surprised earlier this year when district officials convened a committee to examine the course’s content.

“America was built on a system of racial preferences. Surely this progressive city can talk about that,” I wrote in a Times column.

Maybe the timing is coincidental. Maybe Greenberg’s transfer is about numbers. Perhaps he is not being punished for his provocative class that made some supposedly liberal Seattleites uncomfortable. But if that is the case, he is also not being rewarded for teaching the kind of rigor and critical thinking Seattle school officials say they want for their students, and which by all accounts, Greenberg inspires. That latter transgression may be worse than the former.

Comments | Topics: children, Education, k12

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