The Fourth Reich: Avoided for Now?


Admittedly, I am not very good at keeping up with the latest news. I mean, I just found this today (from March 11th), about Colorado High School Social Studies teacher Jay Benning being reinstated in his job after originally being placed on leave for comparing certain of PrezBush's Jan 06 State of the Union address to certain sayings of Adolf Hitler. I am happy that Benning is back at work, although, like most news articles, I am not satisfied with the (lack of) depth of explanations. What did the school board determine, exactly?

Well, they did say that Henning must present the opposing argument right then, rather than waiting 'til next week.

God, teachers have it tough. I mean, who determines the polar extents of any particular debate? Is Benning's question simply that Bush is Hitler or is NOT Hitler? And since he's a social studies teacher, here are examples of both arguments?

Well, what if the argument for one side is logically unsound, like the arguments for Intelligent Design? I guess the teacher is supposed to present that argument anyway, as is, and let the students decide.

That's why it's extremely important that students learn how to think critically first. They must have the tools to determine what is a sound argument and what is NOT a sound argument.

Anyway, here's that Post article:

(from Washington Post website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/10/AR2006031002330.html?nav=rss_print/asection"

Colo. Teacher Accused Of Bias Is Reinstated

He Had Likened Bush's Speech to Hitler's

Associated Press
Saturday, March 11, 2006; Page A06

DENVER, March 10 — A high school teacher who was placed on leave after comparing President Bush's State of the Union address to speeches by Adolf Hitler has been reinstated, his attorney and school officials said Friday.

Officials declined to say whether social studies instructor Jay Bennish faced disciplinary action. His attorney, David Lane, said Bennish would be back in the classroom Monday "with full pay."

Bennish had been on paid leave from Overland High School in suburban Aurora since March 1 while Cherry Creek School District determined whether he violated a district rule that teachers present balancing viewpoints in the classroom.

Superintendent Monte Moses declined to offer specifics of the investigation or its findings, but said administrators and Bennish now "have a good understanding."

During a Feb. 1 lecture in a geography class, Bennish said some of Bush's State of the Union address the night before "sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say."

Bennish later said the lecture was intended to stimulate his students to think critically. He also said he presents balancing viewpoints in class but not always at the same time. Lane acknowledged that was a mistake.

"Jay's teaching style will perhaps be, as some would say, a little more fair and balanced on a minute-to-minute basis," Lane said. "When you put out one side, put out the other then and there."

Bennish said he would continue to try to improve as a teacher and to encourage students to think critically.

"I will be back in the classroom on Monday, and I am excited to continue to teach," he said.

One of Bennish's students recorded part of the lecture and provided the tape to a Denver radio station. Cherry Creek administrators said the student's father gave a copy to them.

On Friday, the state Senate rejected a proposal authorizing schools to fire teachers who routinely present one-sided views in the classroom and instead agreed to a measure saying teachers who violate school policies can be dismissed.

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