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Students walk out in protest of teacher suspension

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posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by thermopolis

Originally posted by dgtempe
The students new the course description and they knew that this course would be filled with controversies.



Education should be about "FACTS" not opinion..........the word "controversy" should NOT even come up...........in HS



The course in question may be an AP Social Studies class the school offers called, "Human Geography", which talks about how politics have influenced the world's geography. I don't believe this is the class in question, though, as, seeing an interview with Sean, he said it was the World Geography class, not the AP class. The teacher's lawyer was there for the interview, as well, and he never contradicted that point.

The World Geography’s class description is:


This course examines the importance of geography to understanding the world. The course is organized on the basis of the five themes of geography: location, place, relationships within places, movement and regions. Geography skills and contemporary geography-related issues are taught


I quoted the Human Geography description earlier in this thread, along with the link to the course descriptions. That insinuates there could be more controversial topics discussed, but not the World Geography course. Other than Sean's comment, though, I've only read stories referring to it as a "geography" course, not the specific course. I've seen both sides assuming it was one or the other, depending on which would best support their stance. Sean's comment without any rebuttal by the lawyer (who was given a chance to respond) causes me to believe it was World Geography. However, even if it wasn't, I stand by my last question posed to BH about genocide to stir up thought.




posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 02:09 PM
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Sorry, BH, didn't see your reply when I typed that last one.

Again, I want to clarify your points. You would advocate teaching all religions in a class (these classes do exist, typically called World Religions or something to that effect, in many high schools), as long as all sides are presented.

Yet at the same time you support this teacher encouraging thought. I read through the transcript. He doesn't present all sides, only his own, to the class. A world religion teacher would get sacked for doing that. Yet, this teacher is heralded as a hero for doing exactly that from an ideological standpoint. Why the dichotomy of stances when it comes to ideology vs. religion?



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 03:43 PM
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Yet another misunderstanding, but we're getting there.



Originally posted by junglejake
You would advocate teaching all religions in a class (these classes do exist, typically called World Religions or something to that effect, in many high schools), as long as all sides are presented.


I don't advocate teaching religion in public schools at all. Teaching about religions of the world is a different thing than "teaching religion". That should be done in church. (Just to be clear.) And, yes, in a class that is specifically meant to study religions of the world, all religions should be presented and represented equally, although I wouldn't have a problem with the teacher talking about her religion, as long as others could as well, and as long as the teacher wasn't making it seem like all other religions were bunk.

However, I wasn't talking about teaching religion or world religion class. I was talking about religion as a general presence in schools. For example, a math teacher who is a Christian, might give her opinion about something unrelated to math, based on her religion. Or she might display a religious symbol on her desk. Or the school hosts a Christmas play. Or a Jewish history teacher might take some amount of time to talk about religion and its impact on history, throwing in personal opinions about things from his religion's standpoint.

In these cases, it would be perfectly acceptable for the teacher to bring his or her opinion about their religious beliefs (or political beliefs) into the classroom, as long as they didn't claim that they were right and everyone else was wrong and as long as they were clear that this was only their opinion. AND, most importantly, as long as student Judy was allowed to talk about Wicca and display her pentagram on her desk, and student Amrit was permitted to share some of his Islamic beliefs.



Yet at the same time you support this teacher encouraging thought. I read through the transcript. He doesn't present all sides,


No, he presents his opinion, but allows for other opinions to be presented. I don't expect him to remain completely neutral and robot-like, do you? This was a special case lecture. On the day after the SotU Address. He gave his opinions and he and the students discussed the world situation. He gave his strong opinions. He was expanding their minds. He was asking them to think.

If he taught a government class and preached like this every day, I, myself would fire him. It's not about preaching to the kids about which kind of government you prefer, it's about teaching them about ALL government, but Bennish doesn't teach a government class. He teaches World Geography. On the morning after the SotU address, he had a rousing lecture, with these kids in his life, about the state of the country and the state of the world in his World Geography class. And he voiced his political opinions... and encouraged the kids to voice theirs.

Have you guys NEVER had a teacher who talked about other subjects than the subject matter? I used to have a teacher that told a joke first thing every day. I had one that so loved space exploration, that he worked something about it into our communications class a couple times a week. Yet another who loved her father's farm and she'd always start the stories with "That reminds me..." We always knew an interesting farm story was coming up.

My take on this is that this very opinionated teacher shares himself with his class. He's not afraid to let them see who he is. He's politically passionate, so the day after the SotU Address, he had a lecture and discussion about it. And yes, his political views are probably very apparent throughout his life and throughout the year. Everyone (including his students) who knows him probably knows how passionate he is about politics and how strongly he feels.

So what?

Edited for clarification.


[edit on 6-3-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 04:20 PM
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Bennish's actual Syllabus

World Geography Syllabus



ACCELERATED WORLD GEOGRAPHY

Instructor: Mr. Jay Bennish

Course Description

Important themes include: population, religion, human rights, notions of development and underdevelopment, impact of colonialism historically and currently, sustainability, impacts of modernization on developing countries, globalization of economy and culture, political and international conflict, cultural diversity, and global environmental concerns. To that end, a deeper understanding of current events from a historical and geographical perspective is imperative. Thus, timely issues and events in the news will be tied into the overall framework of the course.

Because of the emphasis on the relationships between social, cultural, political, and environmental components of human societies and regions, world geography combines various aspects of the social sciences. Further, it addresses four essential skills: critical and creative thinking, critical reading, spatial reasoning, and effective writing. Such skills will be derived from a combination of questions sets for reading assignments, mapping exercises, seminar (class discussion), films, lectures, group projects, and essays that synthesize your understanding of concepts and theories related to the themes presented in class.


Much more at link above.

.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 06:06 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Shots, honey, where are you?


Right here Sweet Cheeks




Bennish's actual Syllabus


No that is someones alleged syllabus there is no proof it came from the teacher.




ACCELERATED WORLD GEOGRAPHY

Instructor: Mr. Jay Bennish

Course Description



Then it goes on to state later


Dear Parents/Student,


As your history teacher,


What is wrong with this picture? If he was a Geography teacher, why would he then go on to say as your history teacher?

Now the part I really love is at the very ending


Please read the class syllabus, then sing and print your name at the bottom of this page. Thank you.


Sincerely,
Mr. Jay Bennish


Parent ______________________________ Student ____________________________




(All ex tags are same source as the one used by BH in her previous post.)

After I read your so called source and information, I picked up the phone and called by neighbor who just happens to be a History teacher and asked him if he ever sent out a course Syllabus that he teaches that had to be signed by both parents and students. Answer No I do not do something like that nor do I know any other teacher that does so........

BTW did you note where it says this was an exclusive?

How can it be exclusive if it comes from a teacher? Also kindly note there is no link from an official source that will make it a fact.













[edit on 3/6/2006 by shots]



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 06:39 PM
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Originally posted by shots
No that is someones alleged syllabus there is no proof it came from the teacher.


What would prove that this was from the class? If it was signed in his blood from a paper cut?


On this page, the poster of the syllabus in question writes:



I spoke to the school district today and asked about the curriculum and his class. The woman volunteered to fax me the syllabus.


But if you don't trust these people on the Free Republic site, that's not going to convince you.






As your history teacher,


What is wrong with this picture. If he was a Geography teacher, why would he then go on to say as your history teacher?


He teaches both. He actually teaches Social Studies, History and Geography.




Please read the class syllabus, then sing and print your name at the bottom of this page. Thank you.

Parent ______________________________ Student ____________________________




You're discounting this because of a typo?
I guess if that's all you got...



After I read your so called claimed source and information,


Granted, I don't know much about this source, Free Republic, but if you say they aren't credible, I'll have to take your word for it.




I do not do something like that nor do I know any other teacher that does so........


Well, since your teacher friend doesn't do it, I guess no one in the world does? What's that supposed to prove?



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 06:44 PM
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I think that a lot of the teachers today are simply incompetent and lazy and thus it is easier to rant and rave than it is to put together a study plan and actually present it to the students.

Teachers college has become a breeding ground for socialism rather than teaching teachers.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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whats really sad is the fact highschool students couldnt at all defend their opinions. but then again how can you defend your political opinion watchin MTV and such? guess it would be kind of hard. thats whats really sad, is that when a person comes out and says this they dont say anything in return to try and prove him wrong. thats really sad. a couple years away from voting and your saying they arent smart enough to challange this guys opinion? that really scares me. if your worried about what one teacher does to a group of children im becoming very afraid of what Faux news and CNN are doing to our people.

they arent kids anymore, and if at that age they still dont have any knowledge about the political system, then we have a much bigger problem on our hands then some teacher who got a bit carried away with his own political views.

maybe if we grew up with a current events class and something where people discussed and proved their opinions, maybe the youth wouldnt be so misinformed. if you really want to stop "propaganda" by teachers
why dont you start educating the kids to all sides of the story and make a class where they have to discuss and support their opinions. maybe then when the teacher came out and said that they could actually make it backfire in his face, or prove it true. its pretty pitiful if the facts is our youth can be voting age or close to it and not have any backround in political knowledge. stop trying to shelter your kids from the world, embrace it and maybe they will learn something from their own search for truth.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 07:25 PM
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External Source

Please read the class syllabus, then sing and print your name at the bottom of this page. Thank you.

Parent ______________________________ Student ____________________________





You're discounting this because of a typo? I guess if that's all you got...

When I read this, John Cleese popped into my mind. You just know that he would sing it!


Ahem.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 09:39 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
You're discounting this because of a typo?
I guess if that's all you got...


No I am discounting it for more then just that one reason.

1. The document or at least the very first portion is on the schools website in PDF format and it does not contain the same exact wording that is one reason.



2. In real life the state school board, not teachers, ultimately decide what belongs in the public school curriculum. Colorado Model Geography Standards(PDF) See Colorado is no different yet I am still waiting for more answers.

My neighbor is going to ask other teachers who have taught in other areas if they have seen this practice Bennish allegedly uses. I will get back to you once I hear from him tomorrow on that.

There are a few more reasons but I am just too tired to look up details tonite.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 07:57 AM
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As to the sylabus Jay gives out, I'll again quote the class description as the student and parent see it before you begin class:


This course examines the importance of geography to understanding the world. The course is organized on the basis of the five themes of geography: location, place, relationships within places, movement and regions. Geography skills and contemporary geography-related issues are taught


Then, after you begin class, Jay gives you his class description. He tries to turn World Geography into Human Geography. His sylabus fits far better under the school's description of Human Geography, unless that syllabus comes from the Human Geography class and not the World one.

As to this being an isolated incident due to the State of the Union Address, there is no evidence to suggest that that I've seen, heard or read. Jay's lawyer has not said that, Jay's had a complaint against him before, Jay's sylabus doesn't say that, Sean Allen doesn't say that, and the other students in the class don't say that, they said he was fair in his presentations, not that he usually never went political. The only person I've seen say this has been you, starting on the second page. Sure, it would be a fine defense if it were true, but the teacher's lawyer, who is going on public television to defend him, is not saying it is.

Also something to note: the ACLU is remarkably quiet on this issue. I suspect either there's even more to the story, or they checked it out and saw he had clearly violated school policy.

More later, I'm late for work!



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 08:20 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
Then, after you begin class, Jay gives you his class description. He tries to turn World Geography into Human Geography. .


How do you know he gives one description before the class and another one after? Or is this an assumption?


Originally posted by junglejake
As to this being an isolated incident due to the State of the Union Address, there is no evidence to suggest that that I've seen, heard or read.


True. And there is no solid evidence to the contrary. And I'm not stating that it is an isolated incident, rather that it might very well be. I just haven't seen or heard any other tapes of his class so I'm going on the premise that all the judgments against this man are being made according to one 20-minute segment and a previous complaint lodged 4 years ago. That's not enough, in my mind, for the man to be fired.

My question is, if he's obviously so bad, why don't we hear the other tapes the boy has made? Why just ONE 20-minute segment on the day after SitU? I'm just suspicious of that one day indicating an ongoing problem.



Also something to note: the ACLU is remarkably quiet on this issue. I suspect either there's even more to the story, or they checked it out and saw he had clearly violated school policy.


I am curious about that as well. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that we don't know the whole story. Bennish said he was going to sue, then dropped it suddenly. Was the suit just an overreaction? Or is there some other information that would make a lawsuit ridiculous?

Hopefully, we'll find out.


I'm not ruling in favor of the teacher just yet, I'm just reserving judgment until I have more information. The school may have a very good reason for suspending Bennish, but I haven't seen it.

[edit on 7-3-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 08:53 AM
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I would suspect more people are coming forward about this guy, and that is what is causing the change of heart. THe fact that the ACLU is not involved is a good indication that there is more than meets the eye.


I find it humorous though that most of this discussion is about the syllabus. I understand that you are trying to justify his statments in the description, but that is not the point. To educate students you give them both sides and let them choose with thought, to convert students you give one opinion as truth.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 08:56 AM
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It's an assumption based on my own high school experience (syllabus was always given on the first day, some of which had to be signed by parents, in 4 years of high school).

As to the suggestion that this was an isolated incident, on an interview with Matt Lauer yesterday, he said political discussion such as this is his job as a teacher. Doesn't sound like it was an isolated incident. He also contended that his comments were well in line with what should be said by a teacher in a World Geography class.

By the way, the reason Jay Bennish was suing was not because of his suspension. He was suing because Sean Allen was going national presenting his side of the story and the school had a gag order on Jay as far as talking with the press. He wanted to present his side of the story, and rightly so. As such, he was going to sue, but the school lifted the gag order and he withdrew the lawsuit.

The school suspended him because they were investigating his classes to see if he adequately presented all sides of the issue, as the school district policy states a teacher must do. Given the evidence presented, the school had ample evidence that he was not, and this warranted an investigation. As I said when I quoted the policy he was suspected of violating.

EDIT: I suck at time
Probably the reason I wish people a good morning as I leave work at night


[edit on 3/7/06/07 by junglejake]



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
It's an assumption based on my own high school experience (syllabus was always given on the first day, some of which had to be signed by parents, in 4 years of high school).


Thanks. I didn't go to high school, so I had no clue.



but the school lifted the gag order and he withdrew the lawsuit.


Ahhh. Thanks again.




Given the evidence presented, the school had ample evidence that he was not, and this warranted an investigation. As I said when I quoted the policy he was suspected of violating.


Wow. you know a lot more about the details than I do.
Thanks for filling me in. Sounds like this pretty big then in TV news?

Do you know how long the investigation is supposed to take or when we're likely to hear more about this?



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by esdad71
to convert students you give one opinion as truth.


For one thing, he didn't give opinion as truth!

Secondly, are you saying that in Math, History and English, where only one way is presented, that the teachers are trying to convert the students? When they say, "i before e except after c", they're trying to "convert" the students to English? Teachers only give one truth in these subjects, but they might talk about their personal opinions or preferences, which is what Bennish was doing.

My point is, it's not like Bennish was lying to the students. He was teaching them World History and he also shared his opinions on current events.

We're not going to agree on this. And that's ok.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 09:26 AM
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From what I had read when it first came out, the investigation was supposed to have information at the end of last week, according to the CBS4 in Denver. As we've not heard anything yet, it appears this investigation is taking longer than they had hoped. With all the national publicity, this would be expected, as the school officials now have to filter through the agendas that students may have in their presentations.

Here's the story from CBS4 Denver
What's interesting is that the lawyer here says Jay's unhappy about not teaching and wants his first amendment rights, but when the school lifted the gag order, the lawsuit went away (Read that the gag order went away, then that the lawsuit was dropped on FoxNews.com, but it's not in this computer's history).

here's an article from ABC news talking about the reasons for suspension

As for television coverage, I have no clue. I web the news, I don't watch it
I heard pieces from the Today Show this morning on the radio on the lengthy trip to work. Since this kind of story is the type I follow closely, where PCness can go awry and cause folks to lose their jobs or lives, I also did my own investigating into the school, their online materials, and was even tempted to call the director of the Social Studies program for the district to get a copy of the syllabus, but figured that would be fruitless if no major media outlet had gotten it yet, nor blogger.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 09:52 AM
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More info coming out.

So, when Sean Allen, who had been in this class for FOUR WEEKS, and his father had a complaint about Bennish, they didn't approach the teacher, the principal, the school board or the Colorado school district. Instead, they sent the 'story' to a Rush Limbaugh substitute in faraway Virginia, who wrote a column about it, starting the whole media exposure circus.



And, of course, Rush Limbaugh, who calls Bennish "one of these long-haired, maggot-infested FM types" is taking credit for it all.
...
The class he's teaching - attorney Lane says - "is not your grandfather's geography." Meaning, you can get by without knowing the capital of Montana. It's a class, according to the syllabus - which each student's parents must sign - that looks at how "economic, political, cultural and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations. . . ."
...
The Allens, father and son, don't think he should be fired. The talk show boys, who will soon forget him, don't even think he should be fired.


Unfortunately, what will likely happen is that Bennish will get a huge slap on the wrist and a dire warning that these passionate sessions are NOT to continue. Then a couple years down the line, he'll get fired because his class isn't as challenging and wonderful as it used to be.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 09:56 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
I also did my own investigating into the school, their online materials, and was even tempted to call the director of the Social Studies program for the district to get a copy of the syllabus, but figured that would be fruitless if no major media outlet had gotten it yet, nor blogger.


The Free Republic has it.

However, Shots expressed some doubts as to the character and credibility of the posters on the Free Republic website. But the poster said he had it faxed from the school.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 10:09 AM
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Yep, that info was in the Lauer interview as well. What's the point? There's been a recent movement on the right to tape college professors and give them to radio hosts. It is apparent that Allen was bothered by this teacher's teaching style and wanted to do something about it. As such, he did what he knew would force change.

As you don't have high school experience, I'll relate a story to you. My senior year of high school, I was taking English Literature, and the teacher couldn't stand me. I didn't do a lot to help that relationship, but she punished me for not liking me through my grade. Primarily, the reason she couldn't stand me is because I wouldn't do any homework, ace every test, and as a result was getting a C+ in the class. By the second quarter, she would give me Fs on essay tests for no apparent reason, and refuse to correct scantron errors (she did this for others, though). By the third quarter, I was, as you could imagine, a bit upset. A buddy of mine who was getting an A in the class gave me all of his essay tests, and scantron tests with corrections, and I went to see the principal about this unfair grading (my essays were, as my friend admitted, far superior and more informed than his own, but I would get Fs and he would get As). I presented all of this to the principal, showing him the differences between the essays, the uncorrected scantron tests vs. the corrected scantron tests, and explained to him, honestly, why I thought she was doing this. His response was simple. He explained to me that they've gotten several complaints such as mine about the teacher, but she'd been working there for over 20 years and would be retiring in about 5 more, so he wasn't going to do anything. "So I'm going to fail the class?" "Why don't you do your homework."

Only class in high school I ever failed. If I knew there was a national campaign addressing my issue, teachers who decide what your grade is contingent on how they feel about you, I would have gone national before bothering with the principal. I had friends who had run into the same problem, and they told me not to bother with Koz (the principal). I, being even more of an idealist at the time, knew that this time would be different because an injustice had been done.

Sure, they could have gone to the teacher or principal first, and that may or may not have worked out, and if it didn't, then go national, but I don't fault them for not doing so.



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