Why are we focusing on mock outrage...
When real solutions already exist
I feel bad for teachers these days, and even worse for students. School districts all over the U.S. are banning books, often because right wingers are expressing concerns over books that might frighten their children or make them feel bad. WTF? If a book doesn’t make you feel something, reading it is far from enjoyable. Of course there are some on the left pushing for certain books to be banned as well. Their reasoning is also flawed. Books, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, that depict the actual racism that existed in the time they were written are being pulled from shelves. Did you not get the memo? Whitewashing history is one of the most racist things you can do! It is ignoring a problem, one that still exists BTW, and hoping it will just go away.
No matter what you think about critical race theory or gender theory, or at what grade level these subjects should be taught, there is a more important, broader curriculum that needs to be taught: critical thinking.
We are suffering from two tremendous deficits in the U.S.: 1) a lack of empathy, and 2) a lack of critical thinking. The first is largely related to how we glorify sociopaths and narcissists in this nation (and so many business leaders and entertainers fall into one of these two categories). The second is because many elitists, mostly of the Republican persuasion, have made the development of critical thinking skills a luxury. A person should not have to attend college in order to develop the ability to think critically. I was fortunate enough to attend high school when debate was still offered as a class, so I was able to develop critical thinking skills before attending college. Any halfway decent debater must consider multiple sides of an argument, and must also be able to distinguish facts from opinions. But now debate is no longer offered as a class at the high school I attended, and it isn’t even offered as an extracurricular.
With all the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM (everything from STEM, but including the arts), there is little room for classes on topics such as civics or information and media literacy to be taught. Information and media literacy is a discipline that teaches research skills and teaches people how to discern fact from fiction. Essentially, critical thinking.
I have seen media literacy curriculum geared at kids that showed what a fast food hamburger looked like in real life compared to how it looked in advertising. It is highly effective. You might think messaging like this is just plain common sense, and that tech savvy people would know better, but data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that Millennials are more likely to fall for scams than people over the age of 40.
Children require more than reading, writing and arithmetic, and teachers should be allowed to do their jobs. You would have thought that these parents who got so frustrated with having to be a part of their children’s education during lockdown would have formed a new appreciation for teachers, but instead they seem to be seeking revenge on any teacher who wants to acknowledge that we live in a diverse society. Every little thing is a target for outrage. Can y’all just chill the fuck out!
We need to teach children how to be a part of their community, and arm them with information and skills that will make them less susceptible to scams of all sorts. We should all want future generations to be better off than we are, and by helping kids become smarter than their dumbass parents is one way we can do this. God knows, the older generations fucked over the planet, so giving them knowledge is the least we can do. It is extraordinarily difficult to develop empathy in an adult who is lacking this, and most of our brain’s pathways are solidified by the time we enter our mid-twenties, so kids are our only fucking hope.
Let kids read books. Let them form friendships. And let’s finally do something to get guns out of the hands of everyone with a history of violence! There should never be school shootings. There should never be mass shootings anywhere! Mass shootings don’t happen without guns. I mean, duh… but then the people who value guns more than the lives of children never developed critical thinking skills or empathy, so there you go.