Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

A high school social studies teacher who was put on leave after comparing President Bush's State of the Union address to speeches made by Adolf Hitler defended his lecture on Tuesday, saying he was trying to encourage students to think.
"My job as a teacher is to challenge students to think critically about issues that are affecting our world and our society," Jay Bennish said on NBC's "Today" show.

I am not a teacher, but after graduating college I went back to take a semester of teacher's training... for two reasons: 1) I had absolutely no idea what to do next... and, 2) there was a girl that was still at my college who had become a habit of mine. She was a lovely girl from Wheaton, Maryland who claimed to have had the highest kick on her high school pom pom squad... which she demonstrated and I can tell you it was amazing. Her legs and that kick were the things stalkers are made of, but I digress.

After having studied Chemistry and Biology, the Education classes that I took were a complete joke... and every useful thing I learned that semester could have been related to me over a lunch at Burger King. The worst teachers I ever had were the ones who taught me how to teach.
As I recall, the goal of the classes was to train me how to take a group of kids and educate them in a particular subject. Thinking back on that semester I'm almost positive that Political Indoctrination 101 was not on my class schedule.

His politics aside, Mr Bennish was caught wasting everyone's time and money.

Public Schools have a great many problems, not the least of which is the fact that the extracurricular has become the curriculum. What Bennish was spewing is a kind of extracurricular activity because very few of his sudents will go on to make a living at being left-wing activists and Marxists. It's like the teaching of young men to be football players... Only a few of the very best will make a career of it in the NFL. Same with pom pom girls... Only a few of the very best will become strippers and showgirls.

I'm sure teachers get bored and prefer to talk about things that interest them, voice their opinions about these matters, and pontificate in general. But that's not what we taxpayers have hired them to do. One hundred years ago when the public schools produced a better product, the emphasis was on the three R's. Today public education is more sophisticated and much less effective.


Christina said...

Good post, Chris. You know, Mr. Bennish's statement, "My job as a teacher is to challenge students to think critically about issues that are affecting our world and society." Hmmm...what if he had been a science teacher presenting his views on Intelligent Design or Creation in an attempt to get his students to "think critically" about social issues? I bet the media wouldn't be on his side then. Or maybe if he had challenged his students to think about how our country was founded on Christian principles and how far away we have gone from them...of course the unbiased media would still be on his side then, right?

Why is it called "critical thinking" and considered very intelligent to be anti-American, anti-Christian and a liberal who only spouts a party line whether it is true or rational? Can someone help me "critically think" through this issue?

Malott said...

Great comments as usual, Christina... you always have an interesting way of looking at things.

I guess Mr Bennish's freedom of speech extends farther than that of some others. It obviously pays to be politically fashionable.

Andrew said...

Chris, I recognize that this is off topic, but I feel compelled to point out what appears to be some favoritism on your part. Christina makes some (admittedly good) points and you respond with praise.

Contrast this with my stunningly witty question about whether Judge Napolitano played Eddie Munster or his doll in a previous thread. This, astoundingly, received no response from you.

I suppose, therefore, that if I asked for further details about the pom pom girl I would again be ignored?

Malott said...

Andrew, that's the hardest I've laughed in a while.

Truth be told, Christina in many ways resembles the pom pom girl and that is why she has curried favor and attention.

And Andrew, I've seen your legs and I am not moved.

Christina said...


Surely you jest!

It has been many years since my pom pom days (yes there were some...even as Head pom pom girl). Are you angling for favorite relative-in-law status?

Malott said...

Well I'd always assumed that I already held favorite relative status... in-law or otherwise. I just assumed that my family looked at me with the same "awe" that I do. This is very deflating...

Actually I probably shouldn't respond to your post... it might send Andrew into another whining frenzy.
The fact that Andrew married [way] above his station is the problem here. He knows it. We know it. Its the old "oil and water" scenario... in spades.