March 3, 2006

I WAS TALKING TO THE KIDS... (via Patrick H):

Diatribe on Bush taped; teacher placed on leave (Valerie Richardson, 3/03/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

By many accounts, teacher Jay Bennish was notorious for veering off topic to blast President Bush, capitalism and U.S. foreign policy during his social-studies classes here at Overland High School.

Then Sean Allen got an MP3 player for Christmas.

This week, Mr. Bennish was placed on administrative leave pending a school-district investigation after 16-year-old Sean recorded a lecture during his sophomore geography class in which the teacher compared Mr. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

During the 20-minute recording, Mr. Bennish said there were "eerie similarities" between "things that Adolf Hitler used to say" and Mr. Bush's statements during his Jan. 31 State of the Union address.

Mr. Bennish also said that capitalism was "at odds with human rights," and that the United States was "probably the most violent nation on planet Earth."

Jeff Allen, Sean's father, said his son would often complain about his teacher's left-wing rants, but Mr. Allen assumed he was exaggerating -- until he heard Mr. Bennish on the recording.

"I had no idea he was this nuts," said Mr. Allen.

The public is never supposed to hear what its public employees say.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2006 7:36 AM

Just exposing young, impressionable minds to "diverse" points of view and stimulating a "dialogue" which is what teachers are supposed to do. Nothing interesting to see here. Move along.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 3, 2006 9:01 AM

But his job was to teach geography, not his political viewpoints. And you can't have a "dialogue" when, as the kid has stated, the teacher discouraged differing opinions.

Posted by: Roger at March 3, 2006 9:09 AM

It was interesting watching the story about this on ABC this morning -- aside from the fact that the common use on the left of the "Bush=Hitler" meme has gotten very little play from the big media outlets until now, the report tried its darndest to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt while playing exerpts of the tapes, but danced around the question of why this diatribe was was part of a high school geography class in the first place.

Posted by: John at March 3, 2006 10:06 AM

Makes me think we ought to reintroduce Corporal Punishment in the schools...and apply it to the teachers.

Though taking a look at the "teacher" in this case, one is hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Posted by: Brad S at March 3, 2006 10:08 AM

Children don't have political viewpoints or opinions. The teachers are there to create for them......

Posted by: buck at March 3, 2006 10:08 AM

Administrative leave? Fire him. No wonder some school systems stink. Teachers like him must think of themselves as on stage and equivelant to rockstars. This guy sounds like one of the kids having a parental rant. He needs to get a job actually requiring work and to gain some experience in the world of adults along with an understanding of the term professionalism.

Kudos to the student and his parents.

Posted by: Genecis at March 3, 2006 11:09 AM

The dummy deserves whatever he gets. That's not how you brainwash kids. The guy wasted his money in teacher college.

The trick to heavy-duty indoctrination is the constructiveist approach. You don't get up there and rant like some third-world dictator. Rather, you put out a few facts, ask some strategic questions, and let the students come to the conclusions you want.

Works like a charm. When I was teaching elementary school, my students mostly came to the right conclusions on their own, if you get my meaning, and I could have been tape-recorded without fear.

One of my favorite lessons was Lexington and Concord. The social studies text and the related readings taught that the Redcoats were on their way to confiscate "gunpowder" from the militia arsenal. Even a child could understand that this was important because the citizen militia had their own guns at home.

The First Thanksgiving was ever more fun. Just imagine what one can make of the Columbian exchange.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 3, 2006 1:25 PM

See, Lou, that's the thing. People like Bennish are completely self absorbed. It's all about him, not about others. The purpose of his rants was not to persuade, but to adjust his own psychological state.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 3, 2006 5:24 PM