As you might imagine, I find the feigned outrage over Bret Chenkin’s teaching methods somewhat disingenuous. You can bet that if Chenkin was a Conservative, nary a word of complaint would be raised. And what exactly is so wrong with encouraging debate among students? Isn’t the point of education to instill the ability to think critically in students? Of course, if you assume that every time someone makes an argument that could be construed as “Liberal” it’s a shameless attempt at indoctrination, then it would seem that ideology is the primary concern. Why not expose children to differing viewpoints, though? Or are you really that frightened that your child will grow up to be a gay-marriage-supporting, Clintonite, bleeding-heart Liberal peacenik?
For trying to create situations to spark debate and make children think critically, we should all be applauding Bret Chenkin. Unless, of course, you really do think that the primary role of education should be political and ideological indoctrination.
BENNINGTON, Vermont (AP) — A high school teacher is facing questions from administrators after giving a vocabulary quiz that included digs at President Bush and the extreme right.
Bret Chenkin, a social studies and English teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School, said he gave the quiz to his students several months ago. The quiz asked students to pick the proper words to complete sentences.
One example: “I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes.” “Coherent” is the right answer.
Principal Sue Maguire said she hoped to speak to whomever complained about the quiz and any students who might be concerned. She said she also would talk with Chenkin. School Superintendent Wesley Knapp said he was taking the situation seriously.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable,” Knapp said. “They (teachers) don’t have a license to hold forth on a particular standpoint.”
Oh, I see; we should be expecting teachers to blindly follow and teach the prevailing ideology of the day, without teaching our children to think for themselves? It’s a HIGH SCHOOL, not a political re-education camp. Whether or not your child grows up to think along Liberal or Conservative lines, why would you not want your child to develop the ability to question authority and think critically? Perhaps if a few more of us thought critically and weren’t afraid to express ourselves, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now in Iraq….
Of course, no one wants an ideologue in their child’s classroom. Education is and should not be about political indoctrination, and I do not believe that is what is happening in this case. Instead of spending so much time worrying about ideological purity in Chenkin’s classroom, parents should be applauding him for working to get their children to think and debate issues so that they can make intelligent, informed decisions. Or do we really only want our children to be good Germans?