Here is the Denver Post article
I listened to about a half-hour of his lecture to his students that was on a Colorado newsradio station here
I know teachers can often be taken out of context because they talk all the time and that teenagers can have oversensitive feelings if what they're hearing is diametrically opposed to their own sensibilities so I wanted to hear his so-called rant myself. After all, a social studies class should have a pretty lively delivery if high school students are expected to pay attention.
I have to commend the teacher for attempting to put context in his teaching. His students are learning way more than places and dates. I also like the fact that in listening to it is easy to discern that he has a passion for teaching. Most of the teachers I had in high school didn't like their jobs and it showed. This guy would probably only give up his teaching job for a talkshow on Air America or perhaps shining a statue of Stalin somewhere.
The thing that I find out of line is that his rant is purely his opinion and not academic in nature. I don't mind him giving his opinion but he only gives the other side's argument just to show its flaws. His argument has flaws too but he doesn't expose them. He's interested in his students being enlightened to the point of agreeing with him. In typical "progressive" fashion he loves freedom of choice as long as you come to the same conclusions he has...and then he calls it diversity.
Most of what he says is fine. I'm not a conservative and I'm not offended by Mr. Bennish critizing policies. I am offended that there are clear, substantiated, and respected academic opinions that are to the contrary of his rant and he is obliged as an 'educator' to tell those viewpoints. Fact is though he's a fraud as an educator as he probably only knows what he hears. I am not a high school educator but I am familiar with liberal/progressive, conservative, and libertine thought enough to present them in a way that can give students a real understanding. And as they mature and wiggle through life they can sort out these political philosophies on their own. I express my opinions here because it is my forum to do so, but education should not be like a blog, it should be like an open book.
His one comment alone where he stated on the tape that capitalism as a system is "at odds with human rights" is a complete joke and can easily be dismantled through academic reason.
For example Fredic Bastiat wrote in his book The Law:
Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.
You could disagree with this statement just as you could the teacher's comment about capitalism but for the sake of learning couldn't you at least bring it up? Is there no opposing view that can stand up against such an intelligent onslaught that can only come from a public high school social studies teacher? Those of you who actually know any high school teachers are probably laughing now.
Look Mr. Bennish, I'm sure my tiny brain and humble intellect can't stand up to your giant high school teacher brain but forgive me while I try to simplify my half-witted response to you in the only way I am able:
If you were teaching my kid's class I would meet with you in a parent/teacher conference and I'd make you look like a blubbering fool in front of my child, your principal and whoever else wanted to watch. And then after I got you a tissue to dry your pathetic tears I'd explain to everyone that just being smarter than another person and talking over less educated people doesn't equal education. I'd then explain to my child that even your pathetic excuse for an opinion is something that should be heard, but in proper context in the face of some reasonable scrutiny.
Then you'd all stand up and give me a standing ovation for giving you such a rare learning opportunity and you would wonder how I was capable of this without the giant brain that our public educators possess. I'll leave that alone as one of life's great and wonderful mysteries.