Same job, different uniform.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Yet another reason homeschooling is looking better

If you haven't read about the Coloardo high school teacher who went too far in class (click here), you must.

Geography instructor Jay Bennish was put on paid leave while the school district investigates the circumstances surrounding an audio tape of one of his lectures. There is a five-minute audio clip if you scroll down and to the right (called "Radical Remarks"). I encourage anyone to listen to it.

About 150 kids walked out of class yesterday in support of Bennish's "free speech." As hard as it is to get 17-year-olds to skip class (cough), I can't help but think the purpose of it is mostly lost on them. This isn't about freedom of expression, it's about taxpayer money and unfair advantage.

We do have freedom of speech in this country, but none of us are naive enough to think it's absolute. All of us enjoy a culture that supports expression and even protests. But sometimes there are consequences for our words. For instance, my pastor COULD use the pulpit as a political soap box, but as a consequence he would lose the church's tax-exempt status as a charitable organization.

In the same way, teachers who use their lectures as sermons (all this guy needs is a big tent and a microphone to max-out his preachiness) are failing the taxpayers. If you're going to spout off your opinions, which should be done in careful moderation, you ought to present a balance. Failing to do so makes one no better than a bully.

A teacher's job is not to convince students to think like he or she does; a teacher's job is to impart knowledge. Much like a journalist's code of ethics, their aim as well should be to inform as much as possible as objectively as possible. Kids are smart enough to draw the "right" conclusions. If they're not, it is not in a teacher's job description to do it for them.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I heard the recorded rant and was struck by how incredibly... mundane it all was. The usual goat tripe. Nothing really new, nothing novel, nothing striking. Nothing said with an interesting turn of phrase.

In fact, it reminded me of nothing more than recycled propaganda. He was simply playing back the recording inside his head from his classes, passing the message along to a new generation of lemmings.

It was not "free speech" at all. Nor was it really speech as such, either. It was, simply, sound and fury, signifying nothing...except how far we have fallen..and how precious little education actually occurs within the walls of our schools.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blogger girlfriday said...

Yeah, I think more to the point is that school is for schooling, not indoctrinating (though some of it can't be avoided I suppose).

That said, I don't agree with Ms. Lane that kids are always smart enough to draw the right conclusions. That's what education is for, right Socrates? We just need to keep an eye on what the nature of education is.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


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