Why what's being taught in our schools matters to ALL of us

Some of us assume what's being taught in the schools needn't concern us unless we have children still attending.

  Blog. Kids in park. Many races. 7.2021

Are you sure?   

Today's schoolkids will be tomorrow's adults. Tomorrow's leaders in every community and in every level of government.   

What these children learn in school and adopt as their personal values today will determine how they will live--and lead--tomorrow.

That kid on the corner who "drives you crazy" today may grow up to be President tomorrow.  

(And you may still be around. Don't you take better care of your health hoping to live longer?)  

Politics and preferences aside, let's think it through 

I don't pretend to be an expert in any way and this piece can only skim the surface. Any misstatements or mistakes are unintentional. Because situations vary from place to place, I hope it you will research the facts in your local schools and communities. Only then will you know for yourself what the issues are where you live.

If you've wondered why curriculum and policy in public schools has drawn so much discussion and criticism of late, start with this. Some years ago educators and school boards decided students needed to be better equipped for modern society, which called for more than "the basics." Classes such as sex education, cultural studies and sensitivity training became standard, along with varying amounts of computer science, technical skills, etc.   

Choices had to be made because there's only so much time in a school day. Which subjects and practices would stay and which would need to be either shortened or eliminated? 

The goal was that students would be more balanced, better-equipped to live in today's world and also more sensitive to all races, religions and ethnic groups. These changes and innovations were meant to ease tensions and enable a more sensitive, peaceful society for all

This often led to revisions in school policy such as ruling that any teaching of morals, ethics or integrity were not to be taught or even alluded to in the classroom. This would avoid anything that traced back to Christianity or other mainstream religious thought. The aim was to avoid offending those with other views.

(This does not imply teachers themselves lack morals or integrity.)

Each of us needs to be informed so we can form our own thoughtful judgments

This requires us to find factual information for ourselves. Start by spending some time on your computer and reading a variety of material and opinion for yourself. 

Another "hot topic" in the news is The 1619 Project, but many of us remain hazy about the subject.

As usually presented, this Project dates the beginning of this Nation back to 1619. That's when the first European settlers set foot on these shores, bringing their African slaves with them. (Slavery was common practice in many parts of the world.) 

Obviously, this predates December 18, 1620, when the ship Mayflower anchored in the harbor at Plymouth Rock, Connecticut, bringing the Pilgrims. They left Europe in order to found a colony where they could worship God as they saw fit. 

A different view of the Revolutionary War

Proponents of The 1619 Project believe this War was fought not as a battle to win freedom from British control. Rather, the aim was to increase and preserve slavery in what later became the United States of America.

Already many schools are evaluating and/or changing over to this new view of history. Textbooks and curriculum materials likely will incorporate parts or all of this 1619 Project tenets. Some schools will do a complete switchover. Others will incorporate parts of it into what's taught.  

Some educators believe before long this new curriculum will supplant traditional teaching of U.S. history at most public schools.

A unique aspect of The 1619 Project  

This Project maintains the real reason white slave-owners chose to settle this land was to establish and expand slavery of blacks so as to build their individual wealth. 

This means people with white or lighter skin have enslaved and discriminated against people with darker skin from before the beginning of this Nation and that individuals of color were--and still are--oppressed. Those with white skin were oppressors--and that continues to this day.

Furthermore, proponents believe that skin color determines one's life. For life. They maintain it is vital to teach this thinking so that all students develop compassion.  

People who don't agree ask, "How can it be helpful to imprint the idea on school kids that the color of their skin determines what kind of life and what kind of future they can have? Ever? How is this not another form of racism?"

Take note of gender issues 

You probably know that in many public schools, "gender identity" now is considered more a matter of preference than of body parts. 

Personal pronouns count. Some schools outlaw the use of personal pronouns (i.e., he, she, his, hers) altogether, considering them "discriminatory." The approved substitution is "they," "them," and "their." (New textbooks may reflect this policy.)

Starting from Pre-K on up, teachers in some schools may ask students, "Which do you feel like today, a girl or a boy?" If the child's answer differs from the obvious, they will be asked what name they prefer to be called by today. During that day the child only answers to--and can only be called by--that name.  

Some schools allow students to dress according to their gender identity of the day. Some allow kids to use the restroom(s) and showers that match the gender the child has chosen for the day. (Note: In some public schools, restrooms and locker rooms may already be unisex.)

To know about your local school(s,) ask    

Any resident has the legal right to examine textbooks, teachers' lesson plans, etc., and whatever materials will be used in the classroom. Just go to the school and ask politely to examine the curriculum and teachers' lesson plans.  

You also have the right to courteously ask school authorities about current practice(s) in the schools your children attend.

Be sure to allot yourself ample time so you clearly understand your children's school(s) and policies in use at each one. Ask questions and take notes. Get to know your school board members and attend school board meetings, not to argue but to understand. In most school districts, Board members are the bottom line.   

Curriculum and school policy set the tone--and often the limits--for what teachers can say and what they can teach. Teachers and class studies influence the attitude of students over time. What kids and teens absorb today inevitably will have impact way beyond the classroom. 

All this means these issues need to matter to every one of us, with or without children.  

Changes in thinking happen little by little

Children learn attitudes in all kinds of ways. (So do we all.)  

It's not enough to rely for information on talking heads in the media. That very well may be opinion and not even close to the truth of your local schools.  

Local citizenry staying informed is essential because once a curriculum or a philosophy is adopted in a school or school system, it's hard to change. That's step one.

Step two is to speak our well-considered opinions, reasonably and calmly, when the subject comes up in everyday conversation. 

Don't forget to pray  

Only God knows how any of this will shake out in our society and what the future impact will be.

We are called to be faithful in how we raise our children and to be aware of current events, knowing that God always has the last word. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21  NIV

Let's pray HE will be in the midst of every discussion, every decision and every classroom.

And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen   Romans 15:33 NLT

Lenore


October 30, 2019

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