Sunday, November 27, 2005

Let the Man Teach

A mini controversy brewing over a Vermont social studies teacher who likes to engage his students in debate over the Iraq war and other issues. He also uses some "over the top" questions on his tests.

When I was in high school, I loved the social studies classes that allowed us to discuss...well, "social" issues. I always thought that was what our education was supposed to be about. Learning to think issues through. Making the hard bound books come alive with conversation on contemporary issues.

That Mr. Chenkin is a liberal, is of no matter. I'd be as happy if he were a right long as he can engage the minds of his students and allows for debate.

These are high school kids. Only a year or so away (if that) from possibly BEING in Iraq. Are we so afraid that they can't think for themselves that we won't allow them to HEAR a different point of view.

It appears to me Mr. Chenkin is one of those teachers that goes beyond just reading a few pages from the text and giving a pop quiz. He actually wants to get his student's minds working.

And now he comes under attack.

Is it any wonder we are losing good teachers?

(The right-wing bloggers-- in what I'm sure they think is really "cute" --have posted Mr. Chenkin's e-mail and ask people to let him know what they think. I did. I told him I appreciate a teacher who actually engages his students and asked him to keep up the good work. Maybe you'd like to do the same.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Happy Holidays

The holidays have begun. It's my favorite time of year. Thanksgiving is here and that means family gatherings, turkey, and football. Then it's the wonderful Christmas Season.

As a Christian, I believe the "reason for the season" is to celebrate the birth of Christ. But I also know that the "season" is more than that. There is the "holiday season" that includes Santa, Rudolph, shopping, and parties. There's nothing wrong with that.

Which is why it doesn't bother me a bit when someone wishes me "Happy Holidays". It's a warm and wonderful time of the year and I hope they are indeed happy for us all.

When a store clerk says "Happy Holidays" after I buy something, they're really saying "thanks for buying". If they said "Merry Christmas", frankly, it would often be blasphemy. They wouldn't be making a heartfelt statement about the Birth of the Son of God. It is almost like taking the Lord's name in vain.

So, celebrate the season. Enjoy Jolly Old St. Nick. Trim a tree and have a cup of egg nog. Then make sure, if you're a Christian, you set aside time to thank God for the Gift of His Son.

Season's Greetings.

And Merry Christmas.

I mean it.