As we discussed here back in April, the CEO of a credit card processing company in Seattle, Dan Price, decided to lower his pay to $70K a year and give all of his employees a raise. Which of course had the yappers over on Faux "news" going nuts, and attacking Price as a socialist who is just out to get attention.
Their little tirade drew this response from Russell Brand, who called took apart the Cashin' In crew apart for their callousness and utter disregard those struggling to get by in America:
On this Saturday's Cashin' In, the talking heads were outraged!!!... outraged I tell you that a high school sociology teacher would dare to use Russell Brand's video as part of a class on poverty in America and how it's treated in the media. Jonathan Hoenig was particularly upset that Brand compared him to a rat. That's probably one of the nicer things you could say about him.
Here's the statement given to Fox by the school. It looks pretty reasonable to me, but I'm sure Fox won't be happy until they've got a bunch of idiots out marching in front of the school, or they get a scalp and one of them gets fired.
After speaking with the teacher of record, reviewing the lesson plan and the content of the video, as a high school and as a district we are very comfortable with the multimedia supplemental resource used. We allow our teachers the flexibility and freedom to use public domain materials (within reason) that align to the core content of a course, provided they meet specific criteria.
The Sociology lesson that you are referring to was focused on the definition and social conception of poverty in America as a part of the unit on Social Class Stratification. The two videos used in class were included to engage students in the use of the Sociological Imagination, which is primary standard and critical in the study of sociology and its very definition explains the nature of sociology and its relevance in everyday life.
The clips that have apparently raised concern were selected to illustrate cultural notions and stigmatized portrayals of poverty. Below, I have provided insight into both clips you referenced.
The Daily Show segment includes video from Fox News and MSNBC programs that describe the poor as unworthy takers of support from the government. The program employs satire (appropriate for juniors and seniors in high school) to criticize social issues and the implication of the poor in our current society .... Within the 4:48 minute clip four curse words bleeped out. The video was followed by a class discussion and the review of an article on exploitative costs that impact the poor (such as check-cashing stores that charge percentage based fees).
The Russel Brand segment that you referenced focused on negative media reactions to an employer who lowered his own salary and increased that of his employees. The clip was used to further demonstrate social perceptions about the distributions of resources in our society. There is no profanity in the 9:17 video clip. The clip was followed by a discussion on current American values regarding wealth and status, namely that we believe corporate leaders should take high profits as compensation but that middle class workers and the working poor earn their relatively low incomes based on merit.
Our Sociology class is a fluid, discussion based course where we encourage dialogue on relevant issues and their impact in the lives of our current students and beyond. This is no different than in covering a Sociology unit on Race & Ethnicity in America, we discuss current perspectives and media coverage on the implications of Baltimore related to the riots and death of Freddie Gray.
In summary, based on the abovementioned, as a district we are quite comfortable with the way that the information was presented and the resources used. I believe in our teachers delivering RIGOROUS and RELEVANT content. We will continue to engage students in appropriate content through supplemental resources (electronic or print) that align content to current issues.