Guest Post: Education and Neutrality, by Mikaela Nadeau
Over many years we have seen the good intentions of individuals across this country working to educate themselves when it comes to their children’s lives. Education is a life long journey that doesn’t end upon a set graduation date, and as a country we can do so much good in our constant endeavour to learn and grow in that realm. Our children are our greatest asset, and should be protected and invested in so future generations can be lifelong learners. I have never taken a stance in the world of school choice, aside from how each child should have the ability to learn where they best thrive. If that means they thrive in public school, private school, homeschool, charter school, or strictly online learning than we should do the best as a society to allow that type of learning to help facilitate in them a life-long love of learning.
I grew up in a generation that never dealt with some of the division we see now, and if it did exist it was dealt with in such a way that people were still civil with one another and able to have public discourse. Imagine how much has changed in the past five years, and we begin to see how sad it is for not only ourselves, but the children of this current generation as they set out into the world.
We as a society should be teaching them the things that help them thrive, and grow. We should be teaching them how to respectfully engage in conversations with all individuals not just those in their peer groups. That means that they should be able to have healthy dialogue and conversations with others of whom they disagree with, and whom they may not normally choose to hang out.
Imagine my shock when I saw what is being touted and advertised through the Maine Department of Education’s MOOSE portal. I understand that this portal isn’t completely utilised, and that some lessons may not actually be taught in the school room. However the fact that the state of Maine has agreed to host some of these lessons at all is something that I find very shocking and only adding to such egregious divisions.
To teach that covert racism and white supremacy is based on the following; colour-blindness, having white parents, ‘MAGA’, assuming good intentions are enough, claiming reverse-racism, and saying only one human race. I’m not denying portions of the rest of what the slide was saying, and yet to teach that someone is covert racist or white supremacist because they happen to have white parents is a form of racism. When someone gets denied a job, is treated differently based on their skin colour, or any other aspects of racial biases - then that is racism. There is no such thing as reverse racism, there is only racism. Any form of racism should be abolished in this country, and we should all work better towards eliminating racism. Colour blindness as a form of covert racism and white supremacy is also a fascinating quip, and it makes me wonder how they think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s own statements about desiring judgement based on character and not the colour of skin. To say there is only one human race is not covert racism or white supremacy considering that basic biology and history acknowledge that there is only one human race.
At the time of this opinion piece, the particular webinar is still up and running, however the video that was originally included on slide 19 is no longer working, and is no longer up and running. Yet the realities of how this was part of a lesson plan for the Dexter school district, and also only a snippet of countless lessons available it begs the question of what else is being taught in our classrooms.
I think the biggest highlights of remote-distance learning was the ability for involved parents to get glimpses into what was being taught in their children’s schools, and how well they were being equipped to handle the world set outside of classroom walls. It allowed parents to be more involved with their children’s education, and it also highlighted what style of learning fits their child best. Some students thrived in the online-learning environment, while others fell behind. Some switched to homeschooling and never went back. Others moved children to other school options and never went back.
Parents at the end of the day know what works best for their children, and should have the largest say in their children’s education. Public education should be neutral politically, socially, and religiously as the goal is to promote children that can grow up and function in the society at large. A society at large is made up of multiple races, multiple political affiliations, and multiple religious beliefs. Therefore the best ways to promote the capacity to engage civilly with all spectrums, should be to maintain neutral positions, and not engage in policies that promote more division instead of less.
It makes me wonder why the Maine Education Association, Maine Curriculum Leaders Association, and Maine Principals’ Association pushed back against LD 550 (Directing the State Board of Education To Adopt Rules Prohibiting Teachers in Public Schools from Engaging in Political, Ideological or Religious Advocacy in the Classroom). The bill was henceforth voted as Ought Not To Pass. Yet here we are watching politics, personal idealogical beliefs, and other things being taught in classrooms. We should be educating children on the things they are sent to school for, not a teachers personal political, idealogical beliefs, or religious beliefs.
The children now in public school systems have had the lowest ACT scores in the past thirty years, and this decline has been happening over the past five years, showing that COVID-19 shut downs weren’t the only cause of such declines. It has been happening far longer, and yet we are seeing more focus on sexuality, gender, politics, and other aspects being brought to the forefront in education. We have to ask ourselves how this is helping prepare our future country’s generation, and what that means when 42% of students don’t even make the benchmark for ACT scores.
Is this the society we want? As parents we should want more for our children, better for our children, and we should prepare them for the future where they can excel. It isn’t a teachers job to raise our children, to teach them political beliefs or ideologies. It is a teachers job to teach our children to meet the standards set forth on tests, exams, and other areas of accepted standardised learning. This does not mean we change the tests, exams or other standardised learning to further political, religious, or ideological merits, it means we need to hold the system accountable.
*This is a guest post by Mikaela Nadeau. The views expressed are those of Mikaela Nadeau, and not endorsed by the New Gloucester GOP. The New Gloucester GOP supports the right of individuals to submit guest blog posts freely, and without censorship. If you are interested in sharing an article, or post please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org