Friday, March 03, 2006

School Is No Place for Thought

A high school teacher in Aurora is being investigated for pointing out the obvious. He suggested that there might be parallels in the tones of Bush's State of the Union Address and Hitler. To be fair, Bush doesn't have the same commanding presence that Hitler did, or flair for fashion. Still, I imagine that the history teacher's probably right, even though I've never sat through an entire speech by Bush, and I've only seen clips of Hitler's speeches. I'm just taking my cue from the slippery moral slope we've been sliding down...in a luge.

I know no one wants their kids to have to listen to teachers shove their political views down kids' throats, but I don't see anything wrong with creating a classroom environment where issues can be discussed, or students' worldviews challenged. One of my favorite teachers in high school was Dr. Zakaria, a Republican who felt the Vietnam war was right, that the politicians had botched it. He taught Social Studies (or was it History?). He would rail against Kennedy, and tell stories of having to walk the president's dog. As an officer in the military, this was insulting. Rather than feel threatened by his sharp opinions, I knew we were lucky. Here we were, a bunch of high school students in Tucson, AZ, listening to a brilliant man who had fought in Korea and Vietnam, and had opinions about it. Would the class have been better had he left his opinions at the door. Not at all. Did I grow up spouting his views? Nope.

Americans need to stop being babies.

14 comments:

Amadeo said...

What would we have left then...Therapy sessions aside...but they always want you to nurture your inner child.

AlohaMike said...

The teachers rant would be fine for a political Science, History or even Social Studies level at the Collage level. This was a High School World Geography class.

Would you be so supportive if the teacher was spouting pro-Bush rants?

The student who taped the rant said that the class was an advanced geography class and that, when the class was disbanded, he was transfered to a regular geography class. That class was further along than his supposed advanced class.

K-12 classes should be taught in order to learn the subject not to further any political platform.

Boss Melnitz said...

Okay...so you're comparing Bush to Hitler yourself, which I find ludicrous, but fine. I know that a lot of people absolutely hate the guy.

But you go from ludicrous to outright insane when you give Hitler the ups on fashion sense and stage presence. I know you're a comedienne and (maybe) trying to be funny, but come on. You may feel that Bush is a liar, a moron, a bad president...but to his credit, the man hasn't tried to exterminate the Jews. At least give him the benefit of historical fact.

Laura Swisher said...

I stand by my statement that Hitler had a flair for fashion.

Would I want pro-Bush rhetoric in the classroom? How about this: I want teachers that can introduce topics for debate and that don't stifle discussion. If they're not trying to manipulate students to think one way or the other, fine.

If this country weren't so polarized politically, I doubt this news item would have got that much attention.

Re: the Bush/Hitler comparison, does the fact that Bush hasn't killed 6 million people mean we shouldn't examine any similarities to Germany? I don't think so, especially when we allow morally reprehensible policies to take hold. As an American, do you really think it's okay to stand by as our president breaks the law by allowing torture? I guess if the number doesn't rise to 6 million detainees we're okay. Phew! For a second there it almost seemed as if we, as citizens of this country, should be held accountable for inhumane treatment in the name of "Freedom."

It's too easy to dismiss any comparisons as unfair; unfortunately, Bush is taking a lot of pages from Hitler's playbook. Controlling propoganda? Check. Ignoring laws? Check. Silencing dissenters? Check. Invading a sovereign nation? Check. Getting away with it? Not if we wake up.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phill said...

"It's too easy to dismiss any comparisons as unfair; unfortunately, Bush is taking a lot of pages from Hitler's playbook. Controlling propoganda? Check. Ignoring laws? Check. Silencing dissenters? Check. Invading a sovereign nation? Check. Getting away with it? Not if we wake up."


That's god damn right.

Butternut said...

Americans need to stop being babies.
Americans need to stop being babies, and start eating them.

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-uniforms/germany.htm

The Nazis had a great uniform designer. Emotions aside, their uniforms really looked cool. How cool? They almost make Doogie look cool.
http://www.hotflick.net/pictures/Neil_Patrick_Harris_009.html

Oh, and I support everything Laura said. My mom taught U.S. History. Lots of people died so we can have free speech in this country. At least that's what the propaganda films teach me.

NickDSchultz said...

Bush needs to befriend a great composer like Richard Wagner before I'll compare him to Hitler.

But really, wasn't Hitler so charismatic and impressive when he spoke that an entire nation followed him and were able to push back their own humanity to exterminate an entire race?

I haven't seen Bush do that.

Personally, I shy away from talking shit about Bush. It's too easy and overdone, in my opinion.

Son of Gigan said...

"Would I want pro-Bush rhetoric in the classroom? How about this: I want teachers that can introduce topics for debate and that don't stifle discussion."

In other words - No.

Letha_Face said...

The problem is that it has nothing to do with the class he was failing to teach.

Clinton Freeman said...

A good teacher uses the specific information of the subject they are teaching to teach their students how to learn in general. Expressing personal opinions doesn't make it harder or easier to teach, as long as the students learn the difference between opinion and fact. The biggest single problem we have today is too few Americans have the critical thinking skills to tell the difference between the two.

Both Bush and Hitler took power over countries with rapid social change which those who traditionally held power found threatening by willing "controversial" elections.
Once in power they usurped the power of all other political institutions and shrouded themselves in an atmosphere of secrecy, lies, and fear.
They both claimed the suspension of civil liberties was necessary to fight against the country's enemies. Bush may not be called Fuhrer (yet), but the "Unitary executive" ain't all that different.
When their economic and military policies worsened what had previously been stagnant economies. Both share a hostility towards trade unions and the only people in their country with stable jobs are the war profiteers.
When all else fails they both blame, intellectuals, communists, homosexuals, migrants, and people with Middle Eastern ancestry who practice a different religion.

P.S. Hitler wasn't all that charismatic. The German people were either all too willing to believe his lies or too afraid the SS was coming for them next.
6,000,000 Jews -- more than another 6,000,000 Gypsies, handicapped, Catholics, communists, trade unionist, teachers, members of other political parties, Germans who defends any of the previous groups, and other Nazis.

Nate DoGG said...

I totally agree with you Laura. There are too many people making a big deal about this. God (Buddha, or whoever…) forbid that teachers actually try to generate some intellectually stimulating discussion. Sometimes it's teachers like this one that actually make classes interesting (even if you don't share their views).

Amadeo said...

As an aside you can't really talk about geography without talking about history to some degree.

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