Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Civil servants and politics

After 19 years with the Albert Lea school district, six years on the Teacher of the Year committee and one past nomination, Mary Hinnenkamp was named the 2008 School District 241 Teacher of the Year.At a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the Albert Lea High School Commons, the Albert Lea Area Learning Center coordinator accepted the award in front of fellow nominees, teachers, family and friends. A crowd of nearly 75 people showed up for the award ceremony.“I’m honored, but I’m shocked,” Hinnenkamp said after gasps, applause and a standing ovation from the crowd. From the Albert Lea Tribune

What a great story of small town America. Teacher of the Year who is shocked by the award.

But there's more, from a man I served in Iraq with-

The Teacher of the Year also protested Iraq War

There must be a mistake!
Was the Teacher of the Year in Albert Lea the same person I saw standing on the corner protesting the Iraq War? A few weeks after I returned from Iraq, I came across this scene in my hometown. A small group of people trying to negate all the accomplishments and sacrifices of our armed services.
Well, Iraq has dramatically stabilized and gotten safer since I first arrived there in April 2006. I’m not here to talk about that.I’m all for free speech and the right to assemble; every American has these rights because of our men and women in uniform.
A Washington Post poll states that 72 percent of our nation’s teachers consider themselves to be liberal — 72 percent — while only 15 percent consider themselves conservative. This is not a problem as long as teachers remain objective in their lectures and teach the subject that taxpayers pay them to teach. I think being a teacher is one of the noblest professions on earth. Being a teacher comes with a lot of responsibility. One of those responsibilities is to remain objective when teaching sensitive issues, giving impressionable kids both sides of the issue and letting them come to their own conclusion. I can’t say for certain about our community, but I know from my experiences at St. Cloud State University, the classroom environment is heavily biased. At SCSU I was subjected to constant barrages of “anti-government and corporation” rants from a few of my professors, not Rev. Jeremiah Wright style, but close to it.
As a parent, YOU should be concerned with what biased agenda, if any, is being spoon-fed to your impressionable kids in the classroom. Again, not saying this is an issue in our town, but it makes me wonder. I would like to thank the Teacher of the Year committee for encouraging this kind of behavior; it’s pretty obvious what your views are. What’s next? Teachers wearing “Obama for President” pin in the classroom.
Michael Bakken
Albert Lea

After hearing from Mike, I did a little research to make sure he wasn't exaggerating.

'To be clear, I live and teach in Albert Lea and I am a staunch Democrat'

'Members of the Freeborn County DFL Party recently passed a resolution calling for the end of combat operations in Iraq and the return of U.S. troops.
“We want to make sure our elected officials know we’re not very happy with our war right now,” said DFLer Ted Hinnenkamp, who together with his wife, Mary, came up with the idea for the resolution. “We’re going to do whatever we can, and this is what we came up with. It’s hard sitting back and letting it happen.” . . .
“Our DFL has not ever taken a stand on this, and we would like the Republicans and Democrats who represent us on the national level particularly to know that we are real frustrated with the status quo — the way it is right now,” Mary said . . .'

'Ted and Mary Hinnenkamp shared what it was like at a protest march last Saturday in Minneapolis.'

'Motorists in Albert Lea notice the Hinnenkamps each Thursday evening near the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Fountain Street to protest the Iraq War.'

To echo Mike's letter, I'd love to assume that none of Mrs Hinnenkamp's personal views intrude on her students.

But I would really love for the Albert Lea school system to give Iraq and Afghanistan veterans a chance to speak to the students, and tell their stories.

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