(or any other religiously regulating practice*)

(Link from Liberal Agenda)

I just want to go ahead and say, I DO have plans for how to handle the whole “Teach creation” vs. “Teach evolution” issue in school, along with the Christmas vs. keep religion & state separate within our Public Schools.

Tell me what you think, but please know I’m already working this out, and when I say “Religiously regulating practice” I do indeed mean Christianity and all other religions and non-religions (atheism/agnosticism).

~80price

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A Liberal Agenda

On my Facebook Page, I asked the question

What do you want out of your child’s school? Seriously. What is your ambition when you send your child to school on Monday morning?

After 24 hours, only 2 people responded, and here’s what they had to offer:

1) I want [the school] to teach them to love learning. I can keep them at home and teach them facts on worksheets. I want them to learn that learning is fun and they do that by getting hands on and working with friends. I also want them to be in a safe environment that cares about the type of people they grow up to be – that’s a lot for a school huh?

(I’ll come back to that one in a later post because I agree with the idea and want to address it separately)

AND

2) Not to be corrupted by a liberal agenda.

All right, you got me. What is a liberal agenda? Do I unwittingly corrupt my students with one? I vote Republican, or Libertarian when I can, but I suppose the possibly exists that I might corrupt the youth of American with a liberal agenda. OR! What if <gasp!> I am  daily infusing your children with my own conservative agenda? One that you, perhaps a staunch Democrat, are working tirelessly against in order to provide a more fair and balanced America for everyone, regardless of whether he is willing or unwilling to obtain that goal for himself.

*Note the loaded language in that last sentence. See how easily I could insert that idea into your children’s minds?

This year, as in many years prior, I teach Language Arts; however, I do have a Social Studies teaching certificate. I could be the person who fills hours each day with instruction on our government, economic systems, and suffrage sufferings. I could be the person to educate your little protegé in on the great doings of George Washington, Miles Standish, and the Emperor Constantine.

Wait a minute, I can’t remember what Miles Standish did…let me Google that…
OK, here we go: “Myles Standish (c. 1584 – October 3, 1656; sometimes spelled Miles Standish) was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military advisor for Plymouth Colony.” (Don’t you love Wikipedia?)

It’s Myles, with a Y

In case you’re wondering, when I did teach 8th Grade Georgia History, one thing about George Washington I told my students was: “He was a traitor to his country.” Then I had them write a paragraph telling me why this was technically true and what the impact of his traitorous ways happened to be and whether or not they though being a traitor could ever be justified. I further fueled the fire by saying in a very different circumstance, Benedict Arnold might have been a national hero. I never got any parent phone calls, so maybe that lesson worked itself out well. I sure had some interesting papers to grade anyway.

But my question brings up an interesting point: When you send your child off to a government-run public institution, you are leaving them wide open to the potential corruption of the enemy party. I might be a practicing Republican who dogmatically propagates the need for world-domination of the capitalist market. I might be an orthodox Jehovah’s Witness who daily refuses to lead the Pledge of Allegiance or even to recognize that your kindergartener just turned six. I know a teacher who would not allow cupcakes passed out in class to commemorate birthdays because it went against Jehovah’s teachings. Another friend’s child had classroom instruction interrupted a couple of times a day while his teacher knelt on a prayer rug in the back of the room to pray. I’m not making this up. I was floored on both instances; personally I didn’t even know I had the right to stop classroom instruction and pray in such a deliberate and visual manner beyond the Moment of Silence. In the first example, I took Master’s level courses with the Jehovah’s Witness teacher. We had a heated debate on how she justified not teaching the pledge or symbolism of the flag to her kindergarteners. Eventually  the principal had been required to bring in an aide that would teach those things while the teacher took an extra “planning.” Each morning, someone else started off the day in the classroom in order to lead the pledge. Any guesses on the impact it has on a 5 or 6-year-old to watch his teacher sit disinterestedly at her desk while the class stands to recite one of this country’s most sacred oaths? In the second example, I was friends with this guy who tried to have his son moved into another teacher’s room. They were Jewish. The principal refused on grounds that the teacher could sue the school board for religious discrimination. My friend pretended to move, used someone else’s address, and had his son change schools.

Wanna know what I think? I think, if you are a Jehovah’s Witness, or a practicing Islamic, then you should get to teach all the kids at your grade level who are the same! That way, no one misses out on anything that they wouldn’t normally miss out on. Not enough kids at one school to make up an entire classroom? Them bus ’em, I say! We have the money to do it. Trust me. I’m all for Charter Schools and Privatized Education too.

I am interested in the comments these examples will bring. I am curious as to what other parents, businesses, and the community at large thinks about a teacher’s personal influence at school. I have grandiose plans. I’m going to tell you how I would design and run a school system. I’m going to save the world.

OK, maybe not the world, but I’m going to tell you what it will take in order to save our American Public School System. (By the way, that doesn’t exist. Not yet anyway. We are not a national school system. It varies so widely that most people would be blown away. Only Hawaii even has a state-wide school system, the rest of us are at the mercy of an overabundance of differing systems within our state.)

What makes me the one to have all the answers?

Simple.

I am fully aware that I don‘t have all the answers. What I do have is 14 years teaching experience: 2 in private school, 12 in public school- across 3 different states. Also, I have a great deal of resources for questioning best practices and worst practices. I have friends that are teachers and friends that are parents and friends that are employed by Fortune 500 companies. I’m also not a politician and I don’t have a need to make everyone happy in order to get your votes. The truth hurts, and politicians don’t seem to be capable of hurting anyone.

I’m going to share something with you: The Race to the Top is going to destroy this country’s public schools. It’s the most asinine thing we’ve come up with yet. At what point do you, the American Public, not realize that with 50 states, 25 of you will be below average. Seriously folks. I don’t care if 25 of us are at the 99.99th percentile, the 25 that are at the 99.7th percentile are now below average. It’s a no-win situation. We will simply look at the schools on the bottom and say, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you at the bottom? Do something!” Nevermind that “the bottom” is only 1/2 a percent lower than “the top.”

Already kicking some states to the curb- they won’t even get a chance to Race to the Top

Yes, I know the discrepancy is higher, but if it wasn’t, the effect would be the same. The same taunting, “You’re on the bottom and we’re not!” New York City is not Boise, Idaho, and they are both a long way from Brownsville, Texas, not only in miles, but in student population, culture, and funding. And don’t forget about Alaska and Hawaii!

So, if you’ve just finished reading this rant, I would like to ask you to leave me a comment. Answer the question I asked on my Facebook Page:

What do you want out of your child’s school? Seriously. What is your ambition when you send your child to school on Monday morning?

Or maybe you’d like to tell me what you think about Charter Schools? Or my comment on:

I think, if you are a Jehovah’s Witness, or a practicing Islamic, (or any other religiously regulating practice*) then you should get to teach all the kids at your grade level who are the same! That way, no one misses out on anything that they wouldn’t normally miss out on. Not enough kids at one school to make up an entire classroom? Them bus ’em, I say!

Or:

What is a liberal agenda?

I’m compiling your thoughts, adding them to my own, and chewing on them. I’ll start off with a logical progression of setting up the kind of school most children need, most teachers need, and most businesses-looking-to-hire need.

Most? You say. Yup. I can’t please everyone. No one can. I would be lying to you (like the politicians) if I tried to say this would fix everything. What I am going to propose will fix most things. It will certainly fix the majority of public school problems.

I told you I have grandiose plans. Give me your best shot. Tell me what you like, don’t like, hate or despise. Let me hear it so I can think about it. Tell me all the things you’d like to tell your kids’ teachers, principals, superintendents. If I don’t know it’s broken, how can I fix it? Or maybe you know how to fix it? I wanna hear that too.

(For years some of my closest friends and colleagues have called my fabled perfect public school Audie’s World. Welcome to it!)

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