Friday, March 10, 2006

Jay Bennish - "American Patriot" Reinstated

Jay Bennish has been reinstated in his job as geography teacher at his school in Colorado. According to the news he has promised to give all sides of an issue in future classes. I wrote a post about Bennish last week that stirred up a discussion in comments. Here is a comment I received today - by an "anonymous" person (of course). It took about a minute of exploring to find out that the comment probably came from someone using a computer at the University of Colorado. So the attitude is not surprising. (I cut/pasted the comment exactly as it was written.)

When are people supposed to start thinking and making decisions based on the vast information provided them (from various sources!)? Many have denounced Bennish for presenting controversial viewpoints (I truly hope they've actually listened to the audiotape) to highschool students, claiming they are not old enough to make their own decisions when only presented one side. Let's give the students a little credit, maybe they won't be making the same decisions as you or those in office, but that does not make them wrong. If students are not allowed to question theyare not being taught, but indoctrinated. Applause goes to Bennish for presenting viewpoints that the right-wing administration is trying to quench by calling them unpatriotic. To be proud of our country (true patriotism) we must be able to question it's policies. If we lose our voices we become a dictatorship and not a democracy.
I doubt the person realizes how absolutely ridiculous and contradictory his/her comments are. First this person tells us that people MUST start making decisions based on the "vast information provided them," and then he/she contradicts that by writing that high school kids are old enough to make their own decisions when only presented with one side of an issue. Sure...THAT makes a lot sense.

Then there's the comment about "If students are not allowed to question, then they are not being taught, but indoctrinated." BINGO! That was part of my argument with what Jay Bennish did. He put on a show of accepting questions, but then he effectively squelched the viewpoint of the student who disagreed with him, and then he continued with his very one-sided, very anti-American viewpoint. And what he said WAS anti-American. Forget Bennish's criticism of George Bush. There is no way to call his bashing of the very foundation of our country - democracy and capitalism - anything but unpatriotic. There is a HUGE difference between constructive debate/disagreement and sedition.

It is always amusing to me how some liberals try to make everything a "freedom of speech" or "freedom of choice" or "hearing all viewpoints" issue rather than looking at ALL issues fairly and rationally.

How quickly would they change their tune if the "one side" that was being presented to the high school students was from the opposite side of the spectrum - Well, for example, the far radical right. Let's only teach, for example, that we should bomb the hell out of Iraq and Iran - hey, throw in Afghanistan while we're at it, and we should torture every terrorist we capture in order to get information, and we should put up thousands of miles of fences or walls (our own version of the Wall of China) to keep out illegal immigrants. Oh yes, and be sure to tell them that the United States is right no matter what. They should have blind faith in anything our president says or does. Do you think for a minute the commenter would say that the high school kids are old enough to make decisions after hearing only that side of things? I wonder what the ACLU would say about that classroom teacher?

Questioning and debate are what make our country great. It frightens me to think that so many of our children aren't learning those skills. They accept what is being preached via the MSM and via Hollywood rather than thinking for themselves.

I think there is a pattern forming in the comments I've received. Look at this other response:

I agree with the teacher totally :D I was taught a pack of lies about the Native Americans when I was in school and nobody complained about THAT. If my daughter had a teacher that was REALLY teaching her the TRUTH, which this man seems to be doing, then I would applaud him. You don't want truth in American Schools though. You want a biased religious based curriculum that teaches children to follow the leader and NOT think for themselves. Perhaps if the children went out and did some research instead of relying on what is TOLD to them, we NEVER would have had this mess of a war we have, the financial state we are in, nobody without health care, people sitting on rooftops waiting to be rescued, racial bias, homophobia . .. Oh hun the list goes on. Why NOT allow a different view to be taught in our classrooms. What are we afraid of, our children actually being educated??? (TMS note: This was by someone named Lady Celticfire)
Okay. So children should go out and do research instead of relying on what is told to them, BUT then we should also allow a different view to be "taught". What if that different view was the radical right ones mentioned earlier? Another reader wrote a reponse to Lady CelticFire, and she assumed I wrote it. Oh well, can't really expect these people to READ what they're responding to here. So much for her research. The following shows us where she is coming from:

You need to do YOUR research about what Communism REALLY isHAHA No I am really not trying to offend. But you DO need to do some research on Communism. Have you actually read the Communist manifesto? Karl Marx said "To each according to his need, from each according to his ability." Not share all your personal possessions. That is NOT what Communism is. Thats not what Socialism is. Please, Please I beg you, actually figure out what Communism REALLY is before you start talking about what some right wing conservative from the 1950's said. Please. You say you are a teacher, well I also have a college degree and the first thing I learned in college was How To Do Research!!!And a lil PS I wouldn't want your stuff, thanks I worked hard for my own. Maybe you should share your STUFF with those less fortunate...
Don't you just hate all those assumptions? I am a Republican. Therefore, I don't give anything to the less fortunate. I don't research what I write. I don't want truth in American schools. All I want is religious bias. The pattern here is that they don't think we SHOULD think for ourselves. We should buy the whole "Bush is wrong. The war is wrong. The United States is wrong" mentality. And if we don't then we're just close-minded and are afraid to think or let others think.

Bring on the questions. Let children question and think. Jay Bennish has the right to believe whatever he wants to believe. His beliefs don't keep him from being a possibly wonderful teacher. However, when he teaches, he should stick to the subject he's being paid to teach, and he should give an UNBIASED presentation of the viewpoints, and let the students decide for themselves what to believe.

Atlas Shrugs has this to say:
So Jay Bennish . . . . is back in school on Monday. . . . but the media won't
publish those ridiculous Danish cartoons.No double standard here, keep moving,
nothing to see.

For more information on this story, check out the following: Michelle Malkin , Cox and Forkum (Re: Substituting the 3T's for the 3 R's in education), Stop The ACLU, Big Dog's Weblog, Conservative Thinking, The Nose On Your Face, Scrappleface, California Conservative.

Please excuse this quick diversion from this list of blogs with Bennish stories to bring you a quote from Random Thoughts of Yet Another Military Member which offers this scenario for when Bennish returns to the classroom to offer both sides of the issue:

Teacher (Bennish): Ok class, thats why capitalism is bad, and Bush is like Idi Amin (see I told everyone I wouldn’t use the Hitler reference anymore). Now do any of you fascist baby killing supporters want to offer up a opposing view?
Class: No!
Bennish: Ok, good, none of you are obviously indoctrinated in the Bush Youth yet, so I will offer the opposing view. I once heard a Republican helped a old lady across the street, before stealing her social security check to help pay for the illegal occupation in Iraq. Class Dismissed!
I thought it was funny. I had to include it. Ok - now on to other sources for comments on this story: Slapstick Politics, DPGI, The Education Wonks, The Blue Site.

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