Twelve year old Jordan Wooley was under the impression her teacher wanted her to label God as a myth. The evidence indicates her impression was most reasonable. First, let’s recall the uncontested evidence I have provided thus far:
- An internet search shows that the lesson Jordan had popularly defines “commonplace assertion” as unfounded belief. An unfounded belief is a belief having no foundation or basis in fact. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a 12 year old to thus interpret “commonplace assertion” as myth if the common interpretation was applied.
2. Pay attention to claim #8 on the assignment – “People with glasses are smart.” Keep in mind Jordan had to answer that one too. Now, I think all intelligent, honest people will recognize the intended answer for #8 was supposed to be “commonplace assertion.” Yet we also know that as a common myth. In fact, this page calls it a “crazy myth.” Since everyone agrees the teacher insisted Jordan categorize “There is a God” as a “commonplace assertion,” the teacher was trying to force Jordan to group “There is a God” with another claim that is a crazy myth. Once again, it is perfectly reasonable to expect a 12 year old to thus interpret “commonplace assertion” as myth.
Deanna says her son had the same controversial assignment on the same day, just in an earlier class.
“I asked him what were the instructions for the assignment? He said, ‘well we had to look at these statements and decide if it was fact, opinion, or myth.”
But, the school district claims the word myth was never used by the teacher. As seen on the paper itself, the assignment was to distinguish between fact, opinion, and commonplace assertion. So Deanna asked her son to clarify.
“How did the word myth come into it?” She says she asked her son. “He said we didn’t know what commonplace assertion meant so we asked the teacher. She said the definition of commonplace assertion is myth. So, we referred to it as myth in the class after that.”
That story has the ring of truth to it. If you think about it, any 12 year old is going to wonder how you define “commonplace assertion.” In fact, many of us scratched our heads about that category. And given that examples of commonplace assertions are things like “smart people wear glasses,” I can easily envision the teacher as defining them as myths given the assignment contains the common myth about people wearing glasses.
Anyway, the account continues:
The big difference between her son’s class and Jordan’s class, was that no one challenged the teacher about whether God was a fact or a myth.
“My son said it was not argumentative in their class. He says no one pressed her or argued with her.” But, Deanna said she wanted an explanation on that, too. “I said why not? Why didn’t anyone say anything? And he said, ‘well, I guess because at the beginning of the year she told her class that she has a dark side, and they don’t want to see that side come out.'”
Two other parents told FOX 26 their children also heard the teacher say the same thing at the beginning of the year, intimidating them into not challenging her.
FOX 26 spoke with another parent who said their child was in Jordan’s class that day. That student also told her parents what happened in class was disturbing.
“She was very upset, almost in tears because of the argument with the teacher,” the mother said during an Internet talk show hosted by the Republic Broadcasting Network. “The teacher told all of them it was going to be graded, and if you don’t put what she tells them, then you’re going to get it wrong.”
FOX 26 spoke with both the mother and the father of this child, via phone, but they did not want to be interviewed on camera. FOX 26 knows their identity, but the parents did not want to have their names made public, worried about backlash against their child.
In the end, we’ll probably never know what happened in that classroom. I strongly suspect it went like this:
The teacher did not try to get the class to deny the existence of God, but did create a climate of confusion where it would be quite reasonable for students to be under that impression. I think what we have here is a teacher who doesn’t understand critical thinking herself trying to teach critical thinking to others. She probably found this assignment on the internet and decided to use it for her class. In teaching it, she confused “fact” for “factual claim” and defined “commonplace assertion” as myth given that claim #8 is a common myth. When this confusing lesson led to Jordan’s objections, the teacher became defensive and dug in her heels.