Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cancel the Social Studies MAP, the children have been taught lies. A message to the Missiouri Congressional Delegation

A message to the Missouri Congressional Delegation:

Thank you for serving the people of Missouri, no easy task these days.

I taught American History, Government and Economics in Missouri schools for 25 years. I believed everything I taught. American was imperfect, yet perfect. We could work together to solve our problems. For heaven’s sake, we could put a “man” on the moon! We can do anything. Our two party system could compromise and solve most any problem. I could go on and on. I tried to make my class a place where Civics came alive and would inspire young people to aspire to a life of service to the American people in one way or another, but at the very least, but most important, vote in every election.

On May 31, 1988 before the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a tiny article on the last page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The Secondary School History exams in the Soviet Union would be cancelled until the history books could be rewritten. (They had been taught lies.) I’ll never forget reading that.

As of late, that article keeps popping into my mind. I’m trying to reconcile the American Government I believed in and taught about while teaching , with what is happening in Washington, DC today.

I listened last night to the President and the Speaker of the House. I am frightened and depressed and am feeling hopeless. The Speaker spent his time discussing the importance of business and protecting business. The President spoke about the people. I tried to listen with an open mind.

I do not see how continued tax breaks for the wealthiest will help. I do not see how cutting services to our neediest and most vulnerable citizens will help. Defaulting on the debt will not help.

I’m disturbed by comments that public school teachers and other public employees have created this economic crisis and that we should all sacrifice to protect the nation’s “job creators” ( new term for wealthy in our nation).

The rhetoric and attacks on public employees is astounding. When did the public school teacher become the enemy? Please, please, please, do not say to me that we throw too much money at education and see no result. It is an insult. You may have thrown a handful of pocket change, but all of you have seriously missed the mark.

It’s difficult to even discuss, impossible to get past the name calling, and accusations. I know that our American government can come to a compromise that will not cause any group to take on more than their fair share of the burden in this time of crisis.

Compromise is the key. Compromise means both sides give up a little to reach an agreement. Otherwise we need to cancel the Social Studies MAP tests, the children have been taught lies.