Teacher of the year? How about Mr. Benner?
We do not know who Minnesota educators will choose as their next teacher of the year. They should consider Aaron Benner.
The former St. Paul Public Schools teacher recently won a $525,000 settlement in a whistleblower lawsuit he filed against the district, which he says retaliated against him and forced him to quit because he criticized the district’s racial equity policy.
Now, you might think this story is going in a particular direction, but it’s not.
Benner, who is black, believes district policy was unfair because it was not being tough enough on black children. At a school board meeting, he said the district policy was “crippling our black children by not holding them to the same expectations as other students.”
The district’s plan involved moving disruptive African-American students back into classrooms rather than suspending them. Some were placed in Benner’s classroom, and he was encouraged to change schools. The district also opened a spurious investigation into a day of sick leave Benner used. He felt forced to quit.
Teachers in the district later backed the message that St. Paul schools were increasingly dangerous.
Benner has since become a dean of students at a private St. Paul school. The superintendent who headed St. Paul schools left in a buyout in 2016.
What Minnesota and the United States need are more Aaron Benners, instead of the politically correct nonsense that they must fight in their underperforming schools. Standards matter. Rules matter. Character matters. Learning matters. It’s not complicated. Only politics can screw things up.