(Those of you who are still forming opinions of me should probably skip this post)
Over breakfast this morning, my eldest daughter and I were speaking about her recent biography presentation on Beethoven for school. In passing, she said that her teacher had stated unequivocally that Wikipedia was an unacceptable source "because anyone can get on to Wikipedia and just make stuff up." I talked myself into a knot trying to explain the difference between learning and formal education, and the difference between doing an assignment for school to learn the material, versus pandering to the instructors biases/beliefs for a grade objective.
Never mind the countless studies that prove the increasing viability and equivalency of Wikipedia as a source, or (more often) a source of sources. The teacher was saying that his opinion was fact, and that Wikipedia should be (wholesale) disregarded as a source. I am not a Wikipedia-lover, nor hater, but the bias-as-fact statement was what I took issue with.
I would have let it go, and just deprogrammed her at breakfast and thought no more of it, but I made the mistake of asking her what site he recommended she use instead of Wikipedia as a source.
It is an individual, faith-based, learning site that also had a small area for biographies of some famous people. The biography was sandwiched in-between all sorts of rhetoric about the religious beliefs of the site author.
For the record, I have no problem with people of faith, or people being proud of their faith in public. I do take issue with the not-even-remotely-subtle direction of my children to a particular faith-based site by their schoolteacher in a secular setting. My children could be of a different faith, or no faith, and this could confuse them at this early age.
Given the nearly-infinite quantity of primary sources other than Wikipedia, why choose this one above all others?
I am now presented with two choices:
1) Discuss my issues with the teacher, potentially raise their ire and defense mechanisms, and potentially see my child suffer indirectly as a result, or
2) Make sure that my eldest, now that she is learning Algebra, comes in with some equally faith-based sites from the Middle East (the birthplace of Algebra, ancient Babylon) to support her homework. This will point out by demonstration the bias inherent in their Beethoven-biography reference-site selection.
Or am I overreacting?