What Are We Teaching Our Children?

Yesterday NBC4 in Ohio posted an article about a recent assignment given to students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls.

The article reports:

Last week, students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls were told to choose who should survive an apocalypse on earth. It was an assignment called “Whom to Leave Behind.”

Students were told to pick 8 out of 12 people to save. Some examples included a homosexual professional athlete and a militant African American medical student, WKYC reported.

Parents say the assignment is insensitive and inappropriate, especially for middle schoolers.

“What does her being Muslim have to do with it,” said Bernadette Hartman, referencing another description on the list. “What does being female have to do with it.”

Hartman says her son received the controversial assignment in an 8th-grade social studies class last week.

What in the world is the purpose of this assignment? How does it advance the learning of the students?

The article further reports:

The Cuyahoga Falls School District’s superintendent said the district is taking this seriously and will conduct an investigation.

For parents, they hope this never happens again.

“I think the whole curriculum needs to be more monitored so opinions of the faculty aren’t injected into the classroom,” said Petron.

The superintendent tells WKYC the teacher met with the school on Thursday and will meet with the district on Monday. He added he’s not sure when the investigation will be complete.

I wonder if the assignment was intended to teach the children that people of all backgrounds have worth. If that was the intention, I don’t think that was the result. To me, the assignment seems to place a value on people according to their race, their religion and their gender. That seems more divisive than unifying. It’s time to teach our children things they can actually use–how to write a resume`, how to balance a checkbook, basic life skills like budgeting, nutrition, basic math, and reading. This assignment seems to be a waste of everyone’s time.

On a lighter note, this assignment reminds me of an old joke:

A lawyer, a doctor, a little boy and a priest were all out on a small plane for an afternoon flight when the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the pilot’s best efforts, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot yelled out to his passengers that they’d better jump, grabbed a parachute and bailed out.
Unfortunately, that left only three remaining parachutes. Grabbing one, the doctor said, “I am a doctor and I save lives, so I must live,” and he jumped.
The lawyer then grabbed a parachute and said, “I am the smartest man in the world. I definitely deserve to live.” Then he jumped.
Looking at the young boy, the priest said, “Son, I have been fortunate to have lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace.”
Handing the parachute back to the priest, the little boy said, “Don’t worry, Father. The smartest man in the world just jumped out with my backpack!”

The labels we put on people are not always accurate.

What Did You Learn In School Today?

The Daily Caller posted a story today about Middle School students in a southern Indiana school who were taught that living under Sharia Law is wonderful.

The article reports:

The assignment provides a reading passage ostensibly written by a 20-year-old woman named Ahlima who resides in Saudi Arabia.

Ahlima says she feels “very fortunate” to be governed by Sharia law — the notorious Islamic penal code which, in countries such as Saudi Arabia, includes the practice of cutting off the hands of criminals who steal. She observes that she is about to become some guy’s second wife. She supports the repressive clothes women in Saudi Arabia must wear. “I understand that some foreigners see our dress as a way of keeping women from being equal,” Ahlima writes. “I find Western women’s clothing to be horribly immodest.”

The article points out that Ahlima is an imaginary character invented by Sharon Coletti, the president of InspirEd Educators, and based on someone Ms. Coletti saw interviewed on a television program.

The article states:

Coletti, the creator of the assignment, defended her work.

“If I can shape something so that kids have to decide for themselves, once I get them involved in the situation, they never forget it,” the former social studies teacher told The Courier-Journal.

Coletti, who describes herself as a practicing Christian, also said she hopes her materials help student to become “patriotic” and “problem-solvers.”

However, the fictional story of 20-year-old Ahlima who is becoming a second wife and loves to wear repressive clothing is apparently no longer for this world after the Highland Hills Middle School kerfuffle.

Coletti said she will retire the assignment and related material going forward because she doesn’t want to court bad press.

The same assignment has caused parents to be angry in the past. In 2011, parents in Smyrna, Georgia accused Coletti of “indoctrinating” middle school children with the Sharia lesson.

Where are the feminists when you need them?

We need to teach our Middle Schoolers that all cultures and legal systems are not equal. We need to stop apologizing for western civilization. Western civilization is not perfect, but it provides more freedom and opportunity for all people, including women, than Sharia Law. According to Sharia Law, a man can have more than one wife. All a man has to do to divorce his wife by declaring “I divorce you.” She has no say in the matter. The testimony of a woman in court is worth less than the testimony of a man in court under Sharia. Under Sharia Law, the murder of infidels or taking them as sex slaves is allowed. Under Sharia Law, pedophilia is acceptable. There is no religious freedom under Sharia Law.  Under Sharia Law, allegiance is to Islam–not to a country or the set of laws of that country. That is why Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution are incompatible.

Teaching school children that Sharia Law is a good thing is teaching them that women have no value. Is that really the lesson we want to teach our young women?

What Did You Learn In School Today?

Breitbart.com posted a story today about 7th grade students in Tennessee who were required to write and recite “Allah is the only god” as part of a world history project. Can you imagine the uproar if they had been required to write “Jesus is Lord“?

The article reports:

Another mother of a seventh-grade girl, Brandee Porterfield, complained to officials at Spring Hill Middle School because of its overemphasis on Islam to the exclusion of Christianity and Judaism.

Porterfield said she has no objections to her daughter learning details of the Islamic religion, but she objects to the fact that the history unit didn’t devote similar time to Christianity or Judaism.

“It really did bother me that they skipped the whole chapter on the rise of Christianity and they spent three weeks just studying Islam,” she said.

Porterfield and other parents were also concerned with the school’s decision to have children write and recite the Islamic creed.

“But what really did bother me,” Porterfield said, “was that they did this assignment where they wrote out the Five Pillars of Islam, including having the children learn and write the Shahada, which is the Islamic conversion creed.”

“I spoke with the teacher and the principal,” she said. “They are not going to learn any other religion, doctrines or creeds and they are not going back over this chapter. Even though they discuss Christianity a little bit during the Middle Ages, they are not ever going to have this basis for Judaism or Christianity later.”

The article includes the explanation of the Maury County Director of Schools:

Maury County Director of Schools, Chris Marczak, defended the curriculum in a statement, saying that the school system is in no way endorsing Islam over other religions or trying to “indoctrinate” students.

“It is our job as a public school system to educate our students on world history in order to be ready to compete in a global society, not to endorse one religion over another or indoctrinate,” Marczak said.

I hope Mr. Marcazk is an elected official that can be voted out of office. I have no problem with the students studying Islam, but reciting the creed is over the top. Just for the record, there are actually Six Pillars of Islam. The sixth is jihad. Somehow I suspect that was not mentioned.

Why We Need More Home Schooling

Townhall.com posted an article today by Michelle Malkin about a new trend in education–teaching children social justice. One definition I found of social justice is, “promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.” Sounds pretty good, but somehow I don’t think that is what they mean. Many of our colleges teach social justice, but do they value diversity? How many conservative Christians do you find teaching on the average college campus? But I digress.

The article reports:

In Massachusetts, the John J. Duggan Middle School will open on August 25 with a new name and mission. It is now a “social justice magnet school.” As a hiring advertisement for teachers explained earlier this year, the emphasis will be on “helping students develop the necessary skills to analyze and synthesize information and to generate empathy by looking at multiple sides of important issues facing the world, be that hunger, water quality, racial barriers, child labor or imbalance of power.”

Concise writing, as you can see, is not on the social justice pedagogues’ agenda.

Oh, and forget about memorizing times tables or mastering the scientific method. The new principal says the school’s primary job is teaching “fairness.” Duggan Middle School’s junior lobbying factory is “serious about creating 21st century global citizens, and it begins with understanding who we are as members of each of those communities.”

At the risk of being called a mean, old grandmother, when are we going to explain to our children that life isn’t always fair? When are we going to tell them that everyone encounters some sort of barrier in their life and that the goal is to learn how to overcome those barriers, not wallow in them. Imbalance of power has been with us since the stone age, does teaching the children multiple sides of the issue (assuming there are multiple sides) contribute in any way to their education? Good grief!

How about teaching the children how to read, how to do math facts, and how to solve problems? They will figure out the social justice on their own.

Just for the record, my definition of social justice is allowing me to keep what I earn and allowing you to keep what you earn. If the numbers are uneven, one of us needs to learn how to be a more valuable employee or how to start his own business!

What Does This Have To Do With Reading, Writing, And Arithmetic?

CBN News posted a story today about a recent anti-bullying presentation at Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, New York. I would like to go on the record to say that I oppose bullying. I do wonder why it seems to have become such a major problem in our schools in recent years. Back in the age of dinosaurs (the 1950’s and 1960’s) we had bullies too, but somehow it didn’t seem to be as much of an issue. Has the concept of conflict resolution caused us to forget how to deal with a bully? I don’t consider myself a violent person, but I have learned that the only successful way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him. Evidently our schools are suggesting an alternative approach.

The article at CBN reports:

The workshop for 13 and 14-year-old girls focused on homosexuality and gender identity. They were also taught words such as “pansexual” and “genderqueer.”

Parents say their daughters were told to ask one another for a kiss and they say two girls were told to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date.

“She told me, ‘Mom we all get teased and picked on enough. Now I’m going to be called a lesbian because I had to ask another girl if I could kiss her,'” parent, Mandy Coon, told reporters.

What in the world does this have to do with how to deal with a bully? Parents of the students who attended the workshop were not warned in advance or given the opportunity to opt out of the workshop.

The article further reports:

Superintendent Paul Finch told The Poughkeepsie Journal the presentation was “focused on improving culture, relationships, communication and self-perceptions.”

“We may require more notification to parents in the future,” Finch said.

He claimed the sessions are required under the state Dignity for All Students Act, which prohibits harassment and bullying in the classroom.

I would have no problem with teaching the students to report bullying incidents so that the school administration can deal with the bully involved. I would have no problem with teaching the students how to ignore bullying and encouraging all students to be kinder to each other. I would have no problem teaching students interpersonal problem-solving skills that would help end the bullying. I do, however, fail to see how making two young ladies kiss in front of the classroom relates to education. There is a reason parents are fleeing the public schools in favor of home schooling and private schools. This sort of behavior on the part of school administrators is part of that reason.

 

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What Are We Teaching Our Children?

Recently there was an incident in one of our local schools that has caused me to wonder about what we are teaching our children in school–both in textbooks and in experience.

On April 5th, WCVB Boston reported the following:

Outraged parents said some students at Coelho Middle School cried when they were told by a worker for the district’s food service provider they could not eat on Tuesday because they couldn’t pay or their pre-paid accounts were short on funds.
    
The on-site director for the company, Whitsons Culinary Group of Islandia, N.Y., was placed on administrative leave by Superintendent Pia Durkin, who has ordered cafeteria workers not to deny any child food.

Today, the Attleboro Sun Chronicle reported:

News that dozens of students at Coelho Middle School were denied lunch for a lack of cash touched off anger among parents and the public, but an anonymous unseen feeding frenzy of outrage launched against school administrators via the Internet was far worse coming with personal threats.

Superintendent Pia Durkin said Wednesday that she and her family were threatened, as was Coelho Principal Andrew Boles.

What in the world is going on?

It is unfortunate that students were denied lunches because their lunchroom accounts were empty, but I don’t understand why the people working in the lunchroom were held responsible for taking a common sense approach to the matter.  Would you expect to eat at a restaurant and not pay for your meal? There are a few obvious solutions to this situation that I believe should have been in place to prevent this incident. First of all, what is the procedure for notifying parents or students that their accounts are low? Haven’t Middle School children had enough basic experience with money to know that when you buy something you pay for it? Why isn’t there a Plan B in effect that says if your account is empty and you can’t buy lunch, the cafeteria gives you a complementary soy butter (I believe peanut butter is not allowed in schools these days) and jelly sandwich and a carton of regular milk and sends you on your way. You don’t go hungry, but you don’t necessarily get the lunch you really want.

What are we teaching these children? How is it fair to the children whose accounts are paid and up to date that other children get the same lunch without paying for it? How in the world are the cafeteria workers responsible for providing lunch for students that have not paid?

It is truly unfortunate that the cafeteria workers were fired over this incident. Do they have a union? If so, why is that union silent? I can’t imagine someone in a retail store of any kind doing anything different. The way this incident has been handled will only contribute to a ‘gimme’ attitude on the part of the students and an entitlement attitude among their parents. This does not bode well for the future of our country.

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