Friday, March 03, 2006

BS, PHD (BullSh**, Piled Higher and Deeper)

Thanks for the Memory to GroovyVic at Fiddle Dee Dee and to Vic (just Vic) at Darth Apathy.

If you still require proof that in this day and age, receiving an advanced degree does not necessarily guarantee that one will in the course of that education increase ones native intelligence, read no further than this article by Michelle Malkin.

This is why I'm going to home school The Lad.

I shall be forthright and acknowledge up front that I (quite obviously to those who know me) disagree strongly with this man's politics. Be that as it may, there are concerns raised by the transcript of this little "episode" that go much deeper than honest disagreement over politics.

To begin with, I find it disturbing that an individual who is tasked with shaping young minds would display such a lack of command of both critical thinking and the English language. Education is, or at least should be, teaching a child as much about how to think as what to think, as much about how to learn as what to know. Yes, the subject material taught is important, and it is good for children to learn the facts. But if you give a child the skills and encourage in a child the inclinations necessary for learning -- curiosity, thesis and synthesis, critical thinking and logic, research skills, and a love of that sudden bright burst of amazement when you make a discovery -- then they WILL learn the the facts. Train a child to investigate, and the evidence is there waiting for them.

And that is how I intend to educate The Lad. Yes, admittedly, I will teach him certain subjects with a slant that is biased by my own world view. But if in the process, I teach him how to think for himself, and the day comes when he disagrees with me on a given subject, if he can present to me a rational, intelligent reason for his dissention, I will have done him a service, and he will have "done me proud".

But it is obvious that Mr. Bennish is either unable to or uninterested in accomplishing this goal. His entire screed is intended only to vent his personal opinions and hatreds, and to indoctrinate his class in them. Takes your notes, children, write them down. Did you get that? It's spelled H-i-t-l-e-r. And when the student who recorded the episode did speak up, he was not asked to or given the chance to explain his position, he was simply talked down to by this teacher.

Furthermore, while I myself am unable to listen to the recording, and can only read the transcript, I have been told that the teacher's tone and volume display a significant amount of, shall we say, Sturm und Drang. If that is true, that disturbs me as well. Such antics may be effective tools of televangelists to gain donations, but fire and brimstone is a bit out of place in the classroom, except perhaps to address unruly pupils. The implication I've gathered from several (albeit biased) sources is that the man sounds not just angry, but unhinged.

I have to ask myself if this is the kind of individual I want in close contact with children, especially my own. And I find I am ready with an answer to myself: an emphatic no.

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