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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 7, 2006 / 7 Adar, 5766

An MP3 player for the teacher

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Colorado high-school sophomore Sean Allen couldn't convince his father that his geography teacher was as over-the-top as he contended. So Allen taped one of his teacher's rants on his MP3 player. Too bad for Jay Bennish: His 20-minute lecture ended up on talk radio.


As aired on Mike Rosen's show, Bennish said Bush talks like Hitler: "I'm not saying that Bush and Hitler are exactly the same," but that the two share "eerie similarities." Peruvians and Iranians arguably have "a right to bomb North Carolina" because the state grows tobacco. On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida operatives were "attacking legitimate targets, people who have blood on their hands, as far as they're concerned." Oh, and capitalism violates "human rights."


The Cherry Creek School District placed Bennish on paid administrative leave as it investigates whether the teacher failed to provide a balanced look at the issues. They won't find balance. I listened to the rant, and what I heard was a semi-educated self-impressed petty tyrant using the classroom as a soapbox, secure in the knowledge that a bunch of teenagers couldn't out-argue him. Still, I hope the district allows Bennish to return to the classroom.


(District spokesperson Tustin Amole expects an announcement on Bennish's fate today or Wednesday.) The school district policy sounds reasonable. The school board recognizes, "Each teacher has the right and the obligation to teach about controversial issues." The district also notes the teacher's obligation to present various views on issues. And, "Although he has the right to express his own viewpoints, he does not have the right to indoctrinate students to his views."


The problem is, there is no good way to enforce that policy. The line between passionate argument and indoctrination is a thin divide. When I was a kid, some of my best teachers were highly opinionated. They didn't necessarily provide balance when they talked about literature or history, but they did provide passion, and that fired up their students.


In an age when many teens mainly are absorbed with going to the mall and text messaging, it's better to have a teacher who instills passion — Amole tells me Bennish is a "passionate" teacher — than a teacher who provokes yawns. Do I see this episode as a typical educrat romp — with a liberal teacher forcing his ideology down the throats of students, willing or not? Yes, but any rule used to silence Bennish can and will be used against another teacher who is actually informative. It can and will be used against conservative teachers.


So let Bennish back in the classroom. Even Allen's parents don't want to see the teacher fired. They want the district to admonish Bennish, and they want Bennish to learn a lesson.


Perhaps in time, Bennish will grow into a teacher who appreciates geography — and social studies, which he also teaches — to the extent that he can get excited about topics, even if they don't readily pass through his heavy filter of America-hating.


In the meantime, he's likely to educate a small army of future conservatives. A few years ago, I heard from a teacher whose class was reading Sophocles' "Antigone." He had assigned his students to write about how the play's characters — and my columns — dealt in "false dichotomies."


I was enraged. First, my column is not in the league of Sophocles. More important to me: It was clear this teacher did not appreciate or understand a jewel of Western literature — if he did, he would have stuck to the play. False dichotomies? Please. That's academese for: I don't understand it.


Well, at least it beats being compared to Hitler.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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