Saturday, March 11, 2006

Context Is Everything

Photo From Broadcast Of NBC TODAY Show - "Interview" with Matt Lauer

Excerpts from the Denver Post (.com) -

Bennish to teach again
Punishment not revealed; teacher returns Monday
By Robert Sanchez and Kieran NicholsonDenver Post Staff Writers

An Aurora social studies teacher accused of giving a biased lecture that sparked national debate over academic freedom was reinstated Friday after assuring administrators he would give balanced viewpoints in all classroom discussions.

Jay Bennish will return Monday to his teaching duties at Overland High School, less than two weeks after Cherry Creek School District administrators placed the 28-year-old on paid administrative leave.

Speaking after a meeting with administrators Friday, Bennish said that he was "excited to be back in the classroom" and that he would continue to use his job as a way to "encourage democratic values in our society" and to "promote social justice, just as I have always attempted to do."

School Superintendent Monte Moses said the lecture - which the superintendent thought did not present both sides of the arguments - was a "breach" of district policy. The incident, Moses said, would be discussed among principals and teachers throughout the district.

"Some think Mr. Bennish should be fired. Others think he should be praised," Moses said. "In my judgment, the answer is neither. Jay Bennish has promise as a teacher, but his practice and deportment need growth and refinement."

Context Is Everything ...

Is “Free Speech” really the issue in a required (forced) attendance education environment?

We live in a society where the type of political discourse exhibited by teacher Bennish is encouraged and easy to find … if not delivered in a more truthful and factual way. These are themes extolled in the Opinion pages (if not buried, via bias, within “news” stories on the front page) of most any major media newspaper or network television political discussion and news reporting show. Is this type of extreme political rant appropriate in a high school Geography class?

Political and moral relativism rules in the modern American forced attendance classroom. With Bennish getting a pass from the school board, this proves that the current power structure within our education system does not allow for community review before a judgment is rendered.

I suspect and trust this is not the last we will hear about this type of teacher speech/student/context abuse in our 'required education' institutions to Minors. We are obligated to protect Minors from abuse in our society. We can only pray.

Little wonder why our educational standards, once the envy of the world, are slipping. It is all ... relative!

Note To Bennish: As far as your desire to "promote social injustice, just as I have always attempted to do" - Please create your own political party (or join one) somewhere else where the context for that activity is key.

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