When we stop lis­ten­ing, we stop learn­ing

Sunday Star - - OPINION -

I spent 10-plus years teach­ing high school STEM sub­jects af­ter a 25-year ca­reer in in­dus­try. Most of that time was in a very elite, lib­eral prep school in Gates Mills, Ohio. I was un­doubt­edly one of the few con­ser­va­tives on the fac­ulty. The dif­fer­ences of opin­ion be­tween my col­leagues and me were never di­vi­sive. We so­cial­ized as work col­leagues and so­cial­ized af­ter hours with our spouses. Oc­ca­sion­ally, top­ics arose that had a po­lit­i­cal bent to them but we were able to dis­cuss in a civil man­ner, re­spect each other’s opin­ion, and learn from each other. That was all 15 years ago.

To­day, I am dis­tressed by that lack of abil­ity to have a civil dis­course and ac­tively lis­ten to all opin­ions. While the prob­lem seems to be per­va­sive in so­ci­ety, the world of academia gets the most neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity on this mat­ter. I am de­lighted that we on the East­ern Shore are go­ing to be able to hear from a Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia pro­fes­sor who has been be­lit­tled and bul­lied by her own ad­min­is­tra­tion and col­leagues for ex­press­ing views that are not ex­treme and are wor­thy of a ro­bust dis­cus­sion (even if you dis­agree). Amy Wax made na­tional news with the out­rage at her school when she ex­pressed her views on af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion and con­ven­tional so­cial val­ues.

What a treat to be able to have free ex­pres­sion 5 p.m. Oct 19 at Tal­bot County Free Li­brary. I ap­plaud Amer­i­can Con­ver­sa­tions for the courage to bring this con­ver­sa­tion to Eas­ton with Wax. It is a sub­ject that every­one on the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum should care about. JOSEPH DICICCO

Cam­bridge

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