BENNINGTON, Vt. – A high school teacher is facing questions from administrators after giving a vocabulary quiz that included digs at President Bush and the extreme right.
Bret Chenkin, a social studies and English teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School, said he gave the quiz to his students several months ago. The quiz asked students to pick the proper words to complete sentences.
One example: "I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes." "Coherent" is the right answer.
Principal Sue Maguire said she hoped to speak to whoever complained about the quiz and any students who might be concerned. She said she also would talk with Chenkin. School Superintendent Wesley Knapp said he was taking the situation seriously.
"It's absolutely unacceptable," Knapp said. "They (teachers) don't have a license to hold forth on a particular standpoint."
Chenkin, 36, a teacher for seven years, said he isn't shy about sharing his liberal views with students as a way of prompting debate, but said the quizzes are being taken out of context.
"The kids know it's hyperbolic, so-to-speak," he said. "They know it's tongue in cheek." But he said he would change his teaching methods if some are concerned.
"I'll put in both sides," he said. "Especially if it's going to cause a lot of grief."
The school is in Bennington, a community of about 16,500 in the southwest corner of the state.