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FOX agenda item: tear down US public education

Reported by Chrish - March 8, 2006

John Gibson didn't let his professionalism get in the way of his personal views again today 3/7/07 on The Big Story as he continued the attacks on public schools seen earlier on Hannity and Colmes and Studio B, to name a few.

The two stories currently being hyped in the news together are all Gibson needs to rant against teachers and schools in general. He used his My Word segment to label the two incidences a "troubling trend" of teachers trying to push their politics onto students, a complete mischaracterization of both issues. A much more troubling trend facing schools now is boards of education pushing their members' religious beliefs onto students and equating it with science. But I digress.

David Lee Miller reported that the mock trial of GW Bush being enacted by students at Parsippany High School in NJ wrapped up today, but the outrage continues as critics say the exercise "mocks (Bush) and US prestige at a time of war". One former city councilman was shown (conveniently positioned with a large American flag behind him) saying that he thinks it's disrespectful to Bush and to the troops, accusing the students and teacher of "trying to make him look like a war criminal." The teacher, Joe Kyle, says he disagrees and wants students to evaluate and assess for themselves views that are being presented in various news media ,and the sources themselves. The students shown agree with him, the first saying that being at war is not an excuse to not question what is going on in our government, and another saying that they are learning by looking at different sides of the issue, not just one.

Programming note: As Miller was reporting that students played different parts in the exercise (president, witnesses, prosecutors, and defense attorneys) video was shown of Bush in The Flightsuit shaking hands with military men on an aircraft carrier somewhere off the coast of San Diego . Subtle as a Mack truck.

That report over, we return to Gibson and the chyron "Should teachers be talking politics in class?" and him posing the question "Is the classroom the place to be talking politics?" (Aaargh. It beats talking about them in churches! But really, where else are they supposed to explore this stuff? the mall? )

He has as a solo guest conservative Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund who is obviously among the outraged. He is of the opinion that kids will be intimidated into regurgitating the teacher's views because otherwise the teachers will flunk them.

Gibson began the dialog with an opinion and an assumption (and you know what 'they' say about those). He said that "having a war crimes trial kind of loads the debate to one side", not like having a debate on 'was the war the right thing?" He asks Fund if it seems to him that that conveys the political views of the teacher?

Fund's non sequitur of an answer said that they could instead study the Nuremberg trial, and studying the current events is dangerous because it forces the kids to choose sides, and they will of course choose the teacher's "side" in order to get a good grade; "they want to suck up to the teacher."

Gibson says that the Parsippany school district decided to not present a verdict in the mock war crimes trial (Thanks for small favors, interjects Fund) - is that enough? Another non-answer from Fund; "properly structured, it could be an interesting exercise. Why not have a war trial of Saddam Hussein? That's interesting. We actually have the evidence for that." It appears Mr. Fund has joined the "anyone but Bush" camp, not wanting young minds to inquire about this executive in this era. And perhaps unknown to FOX loyalists, there is a mountain of evidence to support the mock trial.

Switching targets, Gibson asked Fund if Jay Bennish's politics are clear to him. (Bennish is the CO teacher who invited his students to compare/contrast Bush's 2005 State of the Union address to the rhetoric used by Hitler.) Fund was of course clear on Bennish's politics -not made clear to the viewer but easily inferred from his demeanor was that he thinks Bennish is liberal - and remarked that he didn't understand why that topic was being discussed in geography class. Gibson said to Fund, you've heard his explanation; do you buy it? (Comment: For those of us who haven't, it would have been nice if it was included.) Fund thought it was plausible for a college class, but not high school; "he's spinning."

We've seen this in colleges around the country and "the cry goes up, academic freedom", say Gibson. Does that rule apply to high schools? Fund decries the "obsess(ion) with diversity" , and claims the only kind of diversity they don't want to embrace is intellectual diversity. (Comment: man, answer the question! He has an agenda all his own and coherence is not a part of it.) He goes on about having schools file annual reports that documents how they are letting in different points of view. "Not to mandate anything, just make them think about making things fair, and making things balanced." Aaargh. More paperwork, that's what teachers need!

Gibson says that the administrations must be behind these teachers because we haven't seen anyone punished, have we? (Bennish has been suspended from teaching!) Fund says "Not yet." and then sends chills down my spine, bad chills:

"I think this story in Colorado is very important because now every teacher in the country is going to say, maybe the kid in the class has an iPod and is recording me...maybe i better be just a little more careful about what I say."

Comment: I'll try to keep it short but this really frosts me. The consescending attitude towards kids, the mistrust of teachers, the fear of any discussion or research into current events...why do these people hate education? His last comment here is very disturbing. The free exchange of ideas and arguments is anathema to these right-wingers, which will not serve our nation well in the coming years. I don't know Bennish's reasoning for approaching this topic in geography, but as one who always goes with a teachable moment I can see how this could come up - civics and geography are intertwined., hence the term geopolitics. It's a much shorter leap than from, say, religion to science.

In Gibson's My Word, he writes of the Parsippany case:

"I think all of them are not only putting their anti-Bush politics on display, they are telling us they are comfortable doing so because they feel so righteous about their cause, which might be simply stated as Bush is a war criminal, end of story."
He leaps from a mock trial to a presumption of guilt , never allowing the possibility that the teacher may have wanted to provide a forum to air a defense of Bush. Or maybe the teacher just thought it was an engaging way to get his students interested in current events other than pop culture. These kids are of an age where they will be voting in 2008 and they need to start paying attention yesterday, especially with Bush's promise of generational war. His inference that students would be denied recommendations and even scholarships if they were of different political views than the teacher is mere projection, unwarranted and unfair. Ggibson says the high schools are out of control, the teachers have run amok, and the schools' "upper management" is enabling bullying tactics against students. Good grief. These kids are merely exercising their brains, and thank goodness for creative, unafraid teachers who don't think memorization plus recitation equals education.

Keep asking, why are these right-wingers so afraid of educated, critically thinking youth? Indoctrination is so much easier, especially if they're the indoctrinators.

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