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Jay Bennish
Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, March 11, 2006

I'm sometimes a bit embarrassed when the Right gets excised about the hysterical rhetoric of some obscure teacher and mounts a campaign far outsized to their actual importance. Jay Bennish — "the [Colorado] high school geography teacher who was suspended from his classroom for comparing the policies of President Bush to those of Adolph Hitler" — is the latest example.

Bennish was suspended and ultimately reinstated with no loss of pay for his in-class comments. And that was exactly the right outcome, reactions like this notwithstanding...
This just proves that those educators in the state of Colorado put their politics before the proper education of those in their charge. Last year it was Ward Churchill and now this POS.

It is time that we over whelm the email box of the Principal again. She needs to get the picture that by permitting this ideologue to teach in that school, she is condoning personal politics to trump education.
Look, with Churchill, the proper Righty response was "I don't like a damn thing Ward Churchill said, not one word. But I will defend to the death his right to say them"; Churchill's rhetoric and opinions were not just cause for termination. (his academic offenses are another story)

In the case of Jay Bennish, it might be absolutely proper to lecture, warn or suspend him for teaching outside the scope of his course, for proselytizing, or for teaching unbalanced and un-approved material. But the penalty for expressing an opinion outside of one's academic field ought to be the same whether a teacher expresses an opinion on the President of the United States, William Shakespeare or Alexander the Great.

Mr Bennish has some rather unusual, even juvenile, opinions. The School Administrator ought to instruct him to stick to the material, but that's all. Calls for unpopular opinions to be met with termination are ultimately more destructive than the unpopular opinions of an obscure teacher.
 
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I take it that you don’t have children? He didn’t have "opinions", he was indoctrinating. And when teachers go outside common sense in something this simple, I think termination is in order.

Let’s say he was attempting to convert the children in his charge to Christianity. Would this just be his "opinion"? Would your view change?



 
Written By: whatever
URL: http://
I listened to the audio of TEACHER JAY BENNISH CAUGHT IN ANTI-AMERICAN RANT, with great interest. Also, with sadness.

My name is Michael Class. I live in the Seattle area with my wife and two children. I am a retired "dot-com" executive turned author, photographer, and publisher.

I was appalled at how some teachers presented American history to my children. My son and daughter learned that Thomas Jefferson had slaves—before they learned that he wrote the document articulating our rights and duties as free people. European settlers killed Native Americans with blankets infected with smallpox, they found out. That allegation upstaged the stories of courage, perseverance, and curiosity that defined the pioneers. My children knew that more than a hundred thousand people died when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, but they were not made to understand the moral context and the enormous scale of the conflict called World War II in which the atomic bomb story fit.

With a curriculum seemingly designed to instill guilt and shame, I wondered, how will my kids ever discover the lessons of history that inspire greatness and noble aspirations? Will they ever believe that they can make a difference? Will they have any heroes left at all? Then, I wondered: What would the heroes of America’s past say to the children of today?

I wrote, photographed, and published a book designed to set the record straight, to properly prepare our children for the future. My book is called Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame. 

In the book, my real-life son, twelve-year-old Anthony, time-travels into the great events of the 20th century. Digital photographic “magic” places Anthony in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. It looks as though Anthony really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. And it’s all historically accurate: Even Anthony’s conversations with America’s heroes are based on things they really said. (See the photos: www.MagicPictureFrame.com)

While writing and photographing the book, I spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others who could help me ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid. 

But the book goes beyond a simple recitation of historical facts: the book presents the moral lessons of American history. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is really about choosing one’s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk and the cure for polio is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. When Anthony “meets” his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island in 1907, it’s really a story about what it means to be an American. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

The book is meant to challenge the young reader. Many adults will find the book challenging, too. Anthony COMPARES the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose. Anthony’s observations prompt serious discussion of timeless moral questions. Anthony challenges the reader to think critically - to see the modern world in the light of the lessons of the past. 

We can’t afford to raise a generation of Americans who do not value their country, their heritage, and their place in the world. As Abraham Lincoln said: America is the "last best hope of earth."

Thank you.

Michael S. Class
Author / Photographer / Publisher

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame: An American History Book for Right-Thinking Parents and Their Children

———————————-

E-Mail: class@MagicPictureFrame.com
Web site: www.MagicPictureFrame.com


 
Written By: michael class
URL: http://www.magicpictureframe.com
You have free speech. The children are forced into education. Using your free speech to turn the kids into historically illiterate haters of their own country is, if nothing else, a complete misapplication of the taxes paid to provide your podium. Go speak freely from a park bench.
 
Written By: The Owner’s Manual
URL: http://gcruse.typepad.com
Using your free speech to turn the kids into historically illiterate haters of their own country is, if nothing else, a complete misapplication of the taxes paid to provide your podium. Go speak freely from a park bench.
I don’t think Jon is necessarily disagreeing ... if I’m not mistaken, he’s saying that termination shouldn’t be the knee-jerk reaction for a first offense.

Bennish should be told, in no uncertain terms, that he is not to proselytize in his classroom, that he is to stick to teaching the curriculum and if he feels moved to discuss politics and ideology, it must be outside the classroom.

Any deviation from that would lead to termination.

That’s how most reasonable people handle first offenses by employees.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ has it right. The content of Mr Bennish’s speech is not, in itself, grounds for dismissal. (unless the district has certain limitations spelled out)

Should you fire a history teacher for talking about how much he dislikes Michael Jackson? Should you fie a math teacher for talking about the danger posed by Islamism? Should you fire an english teacher for criticizing Hollywood? No. Should you fire a PE teacher for saying "thank god Kerry lost".

No, the appropriate response to improper, distracting and/or unrelated speech is to require him or her to stick to approved material.

If Mr Bennish is to be fired, it ought to be for unwillingness to abide by clear rules and instructions. The content of his opinions and comments are irrelevant.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m with McQ. By the way, at the request of my son and daughter-in-law, I’m writing my version of American history for the two oldest of my home-schooled grandchildren (and for the rest of the grandchildren as they reach the right age). I believe the kids will have to pass some standard tests that are geared to conventional (i.e., leftist) history. The idea is to inoculate them against the conventional wisdom. My effort to date, still in draft form, is here.
 
Written By: Tom Anger
URL: http://libertycorner.blogspot.com
The problem I have with a nice reasoned approach is that it depends on the existing administrative infrastructure of the school to enforce the warning. Where the hell were those people in the past? This has apparently been going on for a long time, and, until one kid and his parents had balls enough to expose it, nothing was done by the people who were supposed to be monitoring and supervising him. I have to believe this is because they *agreed* with his rant, and were protecting a fellow traveler. Who’s watching the watchers?

If I’m Mr. Bennish, I’m coming away from this with a sense of invincibility.

email is hman readable - aloud.
 
Written By: bud
URL: http://
My problem with Mr. Bennish, more than his verbal assault on President Bush, was his attack on capitalism. Comparisons between Bush and Hitler are childish and probably made little impact with the kids, but an American teacher attacking capitalism troubles me very deeply.

Socialist ideas are insidous, and I believe that a lot of the problems we have with society demanding craddle-to-grave entitlements starts with socialistic ideas being pushed in our schools and colleges.

This anti-capitalism stuff is trouble and should be stopped where it is present.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://sayanythingblog.com
If I’m Mr. Bennish, I’m coming away from this with a sense of invincibility.
I don’t think so. He’ll be watched, I’m sure. If only by the kid who taped him last time. If he’s been warned, he’ll be on notice.

I don’t think the school superindentent wants a replay of this episode.

They likely couldn’t legally fire him on a first offense anyway. And if no one’s complained, then it’s probably considered a first offense - irrespective of how many times he’s actually proselytized.
 
Written By: W
URL: http://
There are two problems:

1) the overblown response to the tape

and

2) the inability to respond from 2000, when he joined the faculty, til 2006.

You did a good job expurgating (1) while completely ignoring (2). When there is zero trust shown towards the teachers’ unions and school boards then it’s impossible to have a happy medium ground. You are either going to have blissful ignorance or full blown indignation. It sucks but I wouldn’t lay the blame at the parents’ or public’s feet by any means.

And I don’t see how anyone can, in this single event, completely exonerate the school board. They set the curriculum guildelines broad enough to allow almost anything in the class then had insufficient oversight(or motivation) to catch the lies and colorings of Bennish. Yet this whole episode is an indictment of the public’s reaction? Excuse me? You say "warn or suspend him for teaching outside the scope of his course" but it’s arguable whether he even did that. Yet inarguable that anyone would even know to take corrective action without the recording. It strains credulity to think that the demagoguery of Bennish stopped at his classroom door. You can’t expect anyone to accept that only his students heard his views on politics and economics. Can you? His coworkers never chatted him up on current affairs? Never overheard his shrill lectures? Never saw notes from his class? Yeah, they did and thought nothing of it. The cloister works. It’s a feature...not a bug.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
The fallacy of reasoning found in every one of these comments so far is very simple: You all believe Mr. Bennish did something wrong. In fact, he did nothing wrong. All your assumptions that he did come from (a) a misunderstanding of the subject matter of advanced geography, (b) a willingness to persecute Bennish’s alleged beliefs while ignoring the countless instances of far-right, uncritical, pro-war patriotism in secondary schools, and (c) a belief that high school students are basically little children who need to be indoctrinated, but only with the "right" lessons (Bush is infallable, capitalism is the best system, etc.). Bennish was teaching students how to think critically, which he should, and was being open about global controversies, which he should. God bless him, and may he return to the classroom more enthusiastic and emboldened than ever.
 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://theunderview.blogspot.com
I fail to see how you got those "fallacies of reasoning" out of either my comment or that of McQ.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
{commenter claims I completely ignnored] 2) the inability to respond from 2000, when he joined the faculty, til 2006.
I see. If I’m to criticize the school board for their failure to act, I need to know what they were to act upon. Please cite previous complaints made against Mr Bennish and the nature of the problem in each instance.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Matt, Bennish made quite a few factual errors and what he did get right was entirely one-sided. I guess one could call that inculcating critical thinking if they enjoy torturing the english language but I doubt many would.

Jon, that is my point. You can decry the recording and overblown reaction all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that Bennish was teaching for nearly 6 years with nary a peep. Warn him. More oversight. The Bobby Knight treatment. All fine and good. But exactly when are you to thrill us with your moderate discipline if no one complains? I didn’t think I was being vague. I commented on the dearth of previous complaints and why that is. You can’t come back at me with "show me the previous complaints!"
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
When I was in school we called teachers like Bennish, "easy marks" and "bullies" because they bullied the students into regurgitating their positions but they were simpletons because if you vomited back their foolishness you garnered an A.

It would be interesting if someone took hold of Bennish on the bully grounds and applied the schools bully rules to his foolishness. I suspect that might cause some concern for Bennish. Those rules are generally harsh and rigid. But no worry, school boards are notoriously dull witted and unlikely to be any more creative than is absolutely necessary.

Mark
 
Written By: Maddog
URL: http://
This has apparently been going on for a long time, and, until one kid and his parents had balls enough to expose it, nothing was done by the people who were supposed to be monitoring and supervising him. I have to believe this is because they *agreed* with his rant, and were protecting a fellow traveler. Who’s watching the watchers?

Bud, I haven’t seen any evidence of that at all. First of all, to assume complicity on the part of the supervisors is to assume that they have been made aware of the situation in the first place. This may be the case, but I haven’t seen any reasonable evidence of it. Without any reasonable effort to bring the issue of bias to the administrators, they cannot be held very responsible.

Second, administrators spend very little time in the classrooms. I speak as a teacher on this. I have never had an unannounced visit of more than 5 minutes. I don’t know what you think the principal does all day, but I can tell you this; they aren’t primarily babysitting the teachers. We are judged by our documented lesson plans, our assignments and assessments, and the performance of students on such.

Third, balls? They pulled an end-around on the administration and the school board in taking the tape to the media. That pretty much guaranteed the result they got - a lot of hype, and in the end the teacher is right back in the classroom. But they don’t seem to have had the balls to follow the channels that could enact change. As soon as the public heat came off the teacher and onto the administrators (like you are trying to do), the school closed ranks. So how much did that help the students in the long run? Balls.


While everybody is making such a big deal over Jay Bennish, most of the country is ignorant to the conversations that are occurring between teachers and students every day in your own communities. That has not been addressed by this little flail, and now it’s all blowing over, and any bias that exists will continue to exist, unbothered, while righty pundits and bloggers get to feel very meaningful for having bashed Bennish from afar. I am tired of hearing people on the right bitch about the indoctrination that goes on in the schools - all levels, including college - but then the right won’t step up and actually take teaching positions. If you leave the teaching to the lefties, you’re going to have lefties doing the teaching.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Frontinus, you refer to it as a problem that there were no complaints about Bennish for six years. Then you ask, but exactly when are you to thrill us with your moderate discipline if no one complains?

I get the impression you would like to see some discipline prior to any complaints. Upon what would you base this? You say that the school board has set too broad a curriculum, but how tight would you have them make it? They haven’t the expertise to do this in every subject, first of all, and secondly, no educator or administrator would want to tie the hands of the teacher like that. Would you afford zero flexibility to the curriculum? I could very easily slip in a few snarky political comments if I wanted to. And frankly, the tighter the school board expected them to keep the script, the more Nazi comments the average polisci teacher would be likely to make.

The public thinks teachers are underqualified today - what qualifications would be needed to read a standard script that spells out each day, each lecture, each comparison of the president or each criticism of our American way of life? How American would that be, anyway?

What exactly is your proposal for the "problem" that nobody complained about this teacher? Maybe I am just confused because Jon never said we should "completely exonerate the school board." Who did? Is this argument of yours a reaction to anything in Jon’s article, or is it popping out of nowhere?
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
So, Wulf, you expect us to believe that zero people above the age of 17 at that school were aware of his teaching methods? Almost 6 years at the school and not one colleague ever talked to the guy about anything beyond "sugar or sweetener?" Not one other crusader for truth eliciting a comment from someone in another class that might raise an eyebrow? Not one notebook left behind another class that a teacher sneak a peak into? Is that really what you’re asking everyone to believe?

And again. You apparently share Jon’s affliction. Nowhere did I come near to stating discipline prior to complaints. I explicitly said in two different posts that your enlightened approach to oversight is hamfisted and one-sided. You cannot prescribe punishments for offenses that are never reported. Capiche? How you got from there to what you thought I posted I’ve no idea. Sad commentary on the state of teaching I’d presume.

How tight would I have them make it? I’d say that depends on the quality of their oversight. If they can vouch for what takes place in the classroom then not very tight. If they can provide moderate oversight then moderately tight. If all they can do is a pat on the ass at interview time then very tight.

School administrators and boards don’t have the expertise or, more importantly, access to to it to adequately construct curriculum? Anything else you’d like to confess while I’m here. I mean I had my suspicions but that blew me away.

If a stricter curriculum leads some juvenile teacher to snark then you have adequate reason to discipline. Unlike, you know, Bennish.

Teachers underqualified? I’m not a betting man but I’d ride that one for all it’s worth. If teachers could compete against retired engineers or bored CPAs or even empty-nester stay-at-home-moms they’d do so. Now I know it’s not nice or gentlemanly to denigrate teachers of children but does anyone honestly think there aren’t (tens of) millions of people who could fulfill easily the demands of imparting information? Most of the people you’re going to be arguing with have actually finished their school life. Teachers aren’t some unicorm or chimera of which we’re all ignorant. We’ve actually had firsthand experiences with them over a period of years. And the fact that I have next to zero respect for the institution of teaching has nothing to do with my opinion of Bennish.

A day by day itenerary? You mean like this one(PDF warning)? No, can’t have that. No free thinkers in grad school. Keep that stuff in the elementaries.

Yes, my post had something to do with Jon’s. If you read it slowly you’ll notice I commended him for covering one of the issues I cited. And then I chided him for laying out the proper way to handle the situation while ignoring that without the tape there is no story. No complaint for him to remedy. Just another little bit of nothing on top of the 6 years of nothing that preceded it. Seriously, was I typing in tongues? What is so hard to understand about that? Now I’ll send the question right back at you—was YOUR post in response to anything I wrote?
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Of course I believe in total freedom to protect unpopular or unsavory speech (or as the PC crowd now labels opinions they disagree with, hate speech).

In this case however, it’s not a matter of supporting his rights or absolutely silencing him. I just don’t care if he gets fired, because he is so incredibly stupid. I would feel exactly the same if klan members were restricted from being hired at any workplace in the country or whatever. It may be cruel or unfair and might set a terrible precident to harm freedom, but I won’t be defending their rights with my life.
 
Written By: Jso
URL: http://
If the ideological situations were reversed,( a history teacher stating , oh that FDR was a comunist dupe or some such) I believe that we would have seen just as prominent a backlash from parents and groups on the left side of the aisle.

And perhaps thats part of whats not working real well in the good old US of A these days. Folks are looking for any excuse to blow a head gasket and declare the other side villianous.

In this case I’m going to agree with his right to hold the opinions and agree that the reaction is a smidge overblown.
 
Written By: Chaosfish
URL: http://
Front, I don’t expect you to believe anything about the guy - I am not familiar with him and I am not making a case that he was somehow acting rogue. You made the assertion that his rants were known, I simply said I have seen no evidence of this. Do you have any? No, you do not.

You cannot prescribe punishments for offenses that are never reported. Capiche?

Um, yeah. That’s exactly what Jon said. That’s also what I said. So if we are all agreeing, why did you write that it was a "problem" that there were no complaints about Bennish for six years? What’s the "problem"? That was my only question, really. All of your spell-it-out-slowly snarkiness never gets around to saying anything that Jon hasn’t, which was that The School Administrator ought to instruct him to stick to the material, but that’s all.


I’ll skip the rest of your comment, because it’s off the topic that I wanted to know about, and because it is only vaguely coherent and incoherently vague after the ad hominem. I just wanted to know about the "problem", and in the end it doesn’t appear there ever was one.

Thanks,
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Calls for unpopular opinions to be met with termination are ultimately more destructive than the unpopular opinions of an obscure teacher

It wasn’t necessarily his opinion, it was that he was expressing them in the first place instead of teaching his assigned topic.

No wonder Johnny can’t read, or pick out our country on a map. If this fool gets made an example of, too damn bad for him. Frankly, I’d love to see "teachers" fired for this sort of thing as a first offense. Maybe our kids could add 2 + 2 in that case.

Bennish was teaching students how to think critically, which he should, and was being open about global controversies, which he should

Too bad what he wasn’t doing was teaching his topic...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I am tired of hearing people on the right bitch about the indoctrination that goes on in the schools - all levels, including college - but then the right won’t step up and actually take teaching positions. If you leave the teaching to the lefties, you’re going to have lefties doing the teaching

Too bad the right CAN’T get those jobs....if they stand up for their beliefs in teacher training schools they get failed, or they generally can’t be openly right and get hired by the (uaually) ultra-lib colleges.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
No no no. I made the assertion that it’s impossible to believe his conduct was hidden up until the tape recorder. I have no idea one way or the other. One would have to suspend disbelief to believe otherwise though.

Again. No no no. That is not what Jon said. He said the actions taken by the kid and his family and all the bandwagoners were inappropriate(and I agree with that assessment). He then said basically "this is how you do it" and proceeded to lay out the rational approach. And...now here’s where I come in...completely ignored the dichotomy. Bennish had been there from 2000 to 2006. Nothing from what I’ve seen points out any history of complaints. So you are left with zero complaints and a rational remedial(call it whatever you want) program or a previously blissfully-ignorant parent going apesh!t and blowing everything out of proportion when they find out what little Johnny has been learning. That was the entire point of my posts. Nothing more.
The School Administrator ought to instruct him to stick to the material, but that’s all.
I said that it was arguable whether or not he went beyond the bounds of the class. I don’t think he did. It isn’t a rote-memorization-regurgitate-the-capitals-of-Africa geography class. Hence my opinion that the school board and administrators aren’t blameless. It’s their fault for setting up the environment where a teacher like Bennish could hold court on practically anything that entered his melon.

This entire argument is utterly asinine. If I took a 17 year old and sat him down to watch JFK* and followed that up with nothing more than "Now, junior, I’m not going to vouche for the infallibility of Oliver Stone so, ya know, be a Cynic! Keep that critical eye opened." In other words in all things scholarly do unlike me! And for that apparently I’m just as qualified to teach a kid as Bennish? Sorry, I have almost no regard for the institution of teaching(always depersonalize!) but even I’m not willing to accept such a low standard.

By the way, if you don’t want a response to a question to border on ad hominem(I depersonalized!) it’s probably wise not to include an unAmerican scale. But we’re on the internet. No one is going to lose an eye.

* - it’s on History Channel again. Imagine that...ahistorical polemics. On the History Channel. Bring back UFOs!
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
shark wrote:
Too bad the right CAN’T get those jobs....if they stand up for their beliefs in teacher training schools they get failed, or they generally can’t be openly right and get hired by the (uaually) ultra-lib colleges.
I considered getting a PhD in US History with the goal of teaching military history at the college level. I was told by more than one professor at more than one school not to bother, for two reasons:

1. Military history is regarded with active disdain in most history departments around the country;

2. I am conservative and would almost certainly never be hired. For example. my faculty advisor asked me what I would wear to a job interview. I said (natch) "coat and tie, if not a suit". He said I’d be DOA. He also told me that I say "sir" too much and wear my hair too short.

I dropped the idea.


Jon Henke wrote:
Look, with Churchill, the proper Righty response was "I don’t like a damn thing Ward Churchill said, not one word. But I will defend to the death his right to say them"; Churchill’s rhetoric and opinions were not just cause for termination. (his academic offenses are another story)
An interesting proposition. I agree that he has the right to say pretty much whatever he wants... BUT we taxpayers don’t have to subsidize him.

In my opinion, his "academic offenses" are closely allied with his insane views: his fellow (liberal) faculty members must lap up his inflammatory, anti-American rhetoric. He’s "courageous" in "speaking truth to power", you see.

Finally, I propose that one of the goals of public education IS a certain amount of indoctrination: indoctrination in American ideals and values.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
Too bad the right CAN’T get those jobs....if they stand up for their beliefs in teacher training schools they get failed, or they generally can’t be openly right and get hired by the (uaually) ultra-lib colleges.

Those are talking points, Shark, and they are not true. One quick anecdotal example would be me - a military vet with a clean cut and a science degree - walks like a conservative, talks like a conservative. They fell over themselves getting me to teach at every level I have attempted. Nobody at the university, the high school, or the children’s museum asked anything political - not one thing. They just wanted me hired, because we are not hired to teach our opinions... and that’s something you agree with, Shark, based on your other comments. So long as I don’t start yapping about creationism or putting campaign signs in my physics classroom the first couple of years (which isn’t appropriate anyway), I’m okay. And everybody on the right knows that it’s nearly impossible to fire a teacher who has tenure, so now that I am in, I am set for life - right?

The teacher training schools are a joke, but if you have a masters, then you don’t go to teacher training school anyway. And if you only have a bachelors, it’s about half a dozen night courses to get certified. It’s not this big weeding-out grounds that conservatives think it is. Hell, at this point they are asking me to teach at the training school - how much of a good-old-boys liberal network does that sound like?
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Thanks, Front. I am now able to discern what the "problem" is.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Those are talking points, Shark, and they are not true. One quick anecdotal example would be me - a military vet with a clean cut and a science degree - walks like a conservative, talks like a conservative.
Ditto for me on all counts. People with a strong knowledge base, a positive attitude, and an obvious passion for teaching will always be hired. The three schools in which I have taught have had a good mix of liberal and conservative people in all the disciplines.
The teacher training schools are a joke
Ditto with a cherry on top. My subject matter courses were rigorous and competitive, but my education foundation courses were a waste of time.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Thanks, Front. I am now able to discern what the "problem" is.
Good to hear. And since nothing in your reply was directed at me I’m inclined to think that you’ve got the right one this time.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
My problem with the whole Bennish situation is not what he said, but the suggestion that the kid who recorded him is somehow to blame for recording what he said and bringing his comments to the light of day.

My libertarian response is that Bennish has the right to be both wrong and as stupid as a sack of f***ing hammers; he has the liberty to speak as he pleases, but not license to speak so - he can be held accountable for his remarks, and if enough parents say "I don’t want that socialist dippy-squat teaching my children, and I am pulling them out of his class" - oh well. Mr. Bennish, sorry, but we have no work for you. Nobody wants to buy the load of road-apples you are selling.

That’s the free market of ideas at work. Once you insert comments beyond the core surriculum, you become responsible for those comnments, and answerable to the people who pay you - the taxpayers.

Bennish may have none nothing wrong by speaking so, but he did nothing inherently laudable. Recording him, though - that kid not only did no wrong, he did right; bringing the truth to light is never wrong. This is a public school. Paid for with our money. These people work for us, and are accountable to us, and have no expectation of privacy. What is taught, what is said, and how our employees represent us is very much our business.

And if Bennish is ashamed of what he said, or thinks it needs to be said under cover of darkness - well, that says a lot about him.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
Why doesn’t anybody ever question the INACCURACY of virtually everything that Bennish said in his classroom? How does that make anybody think or educate kids properly? He was just plain wrong on 99% of what he said and distorted the other 1%, and yet the only thing that officials talked to him about was "balance." The guy is a fraud. He doesn’t know history at all.

 
Written By: RON
URL: http://
Did anyone read the guys’ syllabus?

It was posted on-line. It looked okay to me beyond indymedia being offered as an alternative source.

His rant sounded pretty pop left to me. The kids are already getting that from Clooney and MTV, so why worry about another source?

I also thought high school was for basic general education and then college was where we learned critical thinking. Maybe that was before. Anyways, not to worry, it’s not like kids in other countries are buckling down for math, science, and economics while ours are learning about Chavezism and imperialism.

Ooops.

I wonder what’s going to happen when USA finally climbs down the national rankings...when it’s all about Chinese hegemony or Indian imperialism...will the Bennish of the world slip easily into the new system?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I just don’t care if he gets fired, because he is so incredibly stupid. I would feel exactly the same if klan members were restricted from being hired at any workplace in the country or whatever. It may be cruel or unfair and might set a terrible precident to harm freedom, but I won’t be defending their rights with my life.
First they came for my political opponents, but I didn’t say anything, because, you know, screw them.
Too bad what he wasn’t doing was teaching his topic...
Yes, he was — or, at least, his opinions were related to his curriculum area. He wasn’t teaching remedial, 3rd grade geography. Perhaps you don’t understand the difference?
An interesting proposition. I agree that he has the right to say pretty much whatever he wants... BUT we taxpayers don’t have to subsidize him.
Of course not. Nor do we have to subsidize a math teacher who criticizes Madonna in class. But the proper recourse for a complaint about a teacher espousing opinions in class is to warn them to stick to the curriculum, not to immediately fire them.

If your position is that we ought to fire any teacher who expresses an opinion in class, then you can demand Bennish be fired with intellectual consistency. If, however, you believe that teachers ought not be fired for simply expressing a constitutionally protected opinion but that Bennish should, then you’ve got a problem.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon Jon Jon....
his opinions were related to his curriculum area
and
But the proper recourse for a complaint about a teacher espousing opinions in class is to warn them to stick to the curriculum
Even when you state the problem yourself you still apparently just don’t get it. Oh well.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Jon Henke wrote:
If your position is that we ought to fire any teacher who expresses an opinion in class, then you can demand Bennish be fired with intellectual consistency. If, however, you believe that teachers ought not be fired for simply expressing a constitutionally protected opinion but that Bennish should, then you’ve got a problem
.

I don’t want Bennish to be fired unless he’s stupid enough to keep doing this kind of thing. I also think that the boy and his parents did not take the best route in addressing this problem. I agree that the first step should be to discuss the matter with the teacher. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then other steps can be taken.

However, I think that many people misunderstand or misrepresent the constitutional protections of free speech (I am not implying that you are among them!). There have always been boundaries of what constitutes acceptable free speech such as slander / libel laws; people who violate those boundaries can expect to suffer some kind of consequences. The boundaries don’t necessarily have to be codified into law to be real and binding. For example, there is no law in the United States that prohibits Holocaust denial. However, anybody foolish enough to publicly state that opinion can expect a great deal of criticism. He may even lose his job. Ditto telling off-color or racist jokes in the wrong place / time.

If Bennish’s community determines that his remarks violate there collective agreement of what constitutes acceptable speech, then nobody should be surprised if he gets fired.

Some other hypothetical cases for your consideration:

—— A teacher in So. Carolina ca. 1855 who criticizes slavery in his classroom;

—— A military chaplain who publicly states that people who are not members of his faith / denomination are going to hell;

—— A sports commentator who publicly states that some athletes get preferential treatment because of their skin color;

—— An editorial cartoonist who draws a cartoon deemed offensive by the majority of the readers of his paper

See what I mean?
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
Bennish is a typical far leftwing kook. I noticed he cut his hippy hair off recently , probably to escape the possiblity of hair-follicle drug testing, which he would undoubtedly fail. These are the same scumbags who protested the troops in the 60s-70s and spit on them and called them baby-killers. And now they are indoctrinating their Marxist values on schoolchildren. People like this should all be sent to Cuba...preferably on ships of stone with sails of lead!
 
Written By: joe
URL: http://

 
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