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Lesson Plans

RE: Local District control

From: Lawrence A. Parker (occti)
Date: Mon Aug 07 2000 - 06:48:54 PDT

  • Next message: Maggie White: "Re: Class load for HS"

    Jeannie and Peter and Woody,

    > This is an awfully big bite for us to chew on Larry...
    > couldn't you come up with something more manageable.

    Of course not; just not my way. It's the role of devil's advocate and
    Socratic gad-fly. Not enough people question the basic assumptions...

    Obviously, some things *are* universal: basic communication and
    computational skills, general knowledge of world history, a firm grounding
    in scientific knowledge, theory and methodology, and, yes, I strongly
    include the arts. If pressed to the wall for a reason on the arts, rather
    than claim some esoteric "good for the spirit" reason, I think I would place
    them under the communication arts. They are, after all, a means for the
    individual to comment with others - musically, graphically, etc.

    Languages should be taught strictly according to accepted national
    linguistic standards. Local dialects and accents are picked up naturally
    from the environment, but the students still need to know how to communicate
    accurately with others to speak the same language.

    Certainly local history should be taught - it gives the student a grounding
    in the nature and development of the place where they live; it roots them
    and gives them a sense of how local history affects them today on a day to
    day basis.

    The original question, though, related to Kansas' decision to not teach
    evolution. Granted that it is a theory (though a strongly supported
    theory), should local school districts be allowed (especially as those
    sitting in judgment are more often politicians than academicians) to
    "decide" what is and is not valuable knowledge? No one seems to have
    questioned teaching Relativity Theory in Science, yet it is a theory
    nonetheless (though about as strongly supported as evolution!). What about
    the districts which either mandate that teachers not teach, or buy
    historical textbooks which 'change' history or leave out "uncomfortable"
    sections altogether? Is it alright for them to not teach the fact that the
    U.S. was much more violent and untrustworthy toward our indigenous peoples
    than many textbooks, teachers and TV shows like to depict? Does anyone
    teach that the Indians did not invent scalping until taught it by the
    French(?), to prove how many English they had killed? Or that the Indians,
    though they did fight with each other, never engaged in Warfare, which seeks
    to either eliminate or bring under complete control another group?

    What if some local school district decided that you could not teach abstract
    impressionism? Too detached from reality, too much 'imagination' and
    'fantasy'; or Michelangelo because there are too many nudes?

    Sorry, Peter; just more questions...


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