This is what has been happening in the local news this week about the Colorado high school teacher controversy.
The taped class lecture was released last week. The Glenn Beck (Broken link, active March 11, 2006) program aired the lecture; it was an incredible 20 minute rant (link to audio) about the evils of capitalism, the evils of the war in Iraq, the evils of Bush, the evils of America. I heard it and couldn’t believe my ears. This was no classroom discussion, the only person talking on the tape was the teacher. About halfway through the rant, the student (who ended up releasing the tape) challenged one of the teacher’s premises. From then on it seemed the lecture was directed at this student who was strong enough to challenge his teacher. It was pure indoctrination. That is my opinion, and the opinion of this student and his parents, who gave the tape to the school board, and when the school board failed to act, the student’s father released it to Walter Williams (I love him), then the Mike Rosen radio show, a local talk radio show, requested it. It immediately gained national prominence because the issues in question are national issues — the responsibilities of teachers in the classroom to teach, not indoctrinate.
It was front page news in the Sunday paper; there were at least four separate articles about the story. The school board put the teacher on paid administrative leave while they investigated the allegations. So the press went to bat for the teacher immediately. One of the headlines from the Sunday paper was Union: Suspension will stifle class discussion. The union in question, is of course, the NEA. I find this a hilarious statement, as there was no discussion taking place in the class, if you listen to the tape.
Another headline (unfortunately I did not save it) was something to the effect that the teacher had hired a lawyer, and his free speech rights were not going to be censored by the school board. This brings up a good question, which ought to be seriously considered: the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech to every citizen. But do employees have the same right to exercise that freedom in the course of doing their job, as private citizens? If someone was hired to train equipment operators from 8 to 5, but spent that time instead railing at his trainees about the evils of capitalism, wouldn’t that be grounds for firing? It would not be a free speech issue, it would be a failure to do his job issue. And that is exactly what is happening here. Lest we forget, this was supposed to be a world geography class. However, the teacher, the union, and the lawyer want to turn this into a freedom of speech issue to muddy the waters. Here is Mike Rosen’s take on the whole threatened lawsuit thing.
Then there was the Today Show brou ha ha, in which both the teacher and the student and his parents were invited to appear on the Today Show to answer questions about all this. The student and his parents were disinvited before the show taped. The show aired with just the teacher telling his side of the story. Gee, I wonder why they disinvited the conservative but flew out the liberal to give him TV time?
As of late yesterday, the school board reinstated the teacher, and he will be back in the classroom on Monday, continuing to indoctrinate young skulls full of mush, as Rush would say. I would laugh except it is so mind-numbingly wrong, to rob a child of his education, of the power of his mind, and then to force the taxpayers to pay for that robbing.
The student has had to leave the school, due to threats he received. He is in the process of finding a private school to attend.
Such is the pathetic state of education in modern America.
It’s the public indoctrination system. I just blogged about a teacher in Florida who dared tell her students her opinion of homosexuality and what the bible teaches. I wonder if her first amenmdment rights will be respected like Mr. Bennish?
You summed up the whole issue very well. It is probably actually a blessing for the student who protested in that his family will find a better school.
he points out that the free speech issue that Bennish’s lawyer brought up was not about the possible limitation of Bennish’s free speech in the classroom, but rather he alleged that the schoolboard was trying to keep Bennish from speaking to the press. The schoolboard denied that and the lawyer dropped the motion that he was going to file in court.
Of course, I heard President Bush make a statement about the issue and he cited “free speech” as the reason why the teacher should keep his job. He is the one muddying the issue in this case!