Friday, September 22, 2006

Educational malpractice in the guise of diversity...

On September 16th, Velasco Elementary School, in Freeport, Texas, held a celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

The schools 635 students--pre-kindergarten through fourth grade--were assembled in the school gym, issued small Mexican flags, and instructed to stand while they listened to a recitation of the Mexican Pledge of Allegiance. The school's bilingual classes also performed songs.

What on earth is going on here? Last time I checked, Texas was still in America. And further, last time I checked, our schools were failing miserably. Why are we taking valuable learning time away from our kids in order to honor a holiday of another country?

The school's principle, Sam Williams, said he was "taken aback" when he learned that parents were offended by the ceremony. Taken aback.

This man's job should be "taken aback."
In hindsight, he said, the program should have been presented differently.
No. In hindsight, the program shouldn't have been presented at all. The fact that Williams doesn't see this suggests that the only reason he'd do it differently is because he got called on it.
“We have stated in our mission statement that we are a campus that is a beacon of hope for a culturally diverse population,” Williams said.
And there's the problem, right there. When educators start talking about cultural diversity, it's a sure thing that "social justice", not academics, will be the priority. The school's mission statement goes on to state that "diversity is recognized as a strength." Two mentions of diversity in a short four-sentence mission statement. It's not hard to see what the real agenda is here.

We are constantly hearing that the early grades are the "formative years"--that kids who fall behind in English and math by grade three have little or no chance of catching up later. Yet here we are wasting time on "cultural diversity" programs that are meaningless, at best. How meaningless?
“My students don’t even know the Mexican pledge,” Williams said. “In the minds of my little kids here at the elementary school ... they were simply holding a flag.”
If the only thing the kids take away from this exercise is that they were "simply holding a flag," then the entire thing was a waste of time and the assembly shouldn't have taken place to begin with.

But Principal Williams can't have it both ways. He can't defend the program as innocent because the only thing the kids take from it is "simply holding a flag," and at the same time insist that the program has value. The truth is, he hopes "the minds of my little kids" take away a lot more than "simply holding a flag." He hopes to mold these 4-to-9-year olds into Citizens of the World, who are sensitized and accepting of all ways of life. He hopes to deemphasize America and American values and embrace the warm fuzziness of multiculturalism.

School board spokesman Stuart Dornburg came to William's defense:
Velasco’s assembly was a cultural educational activity. The district values and respects diversity, he said.

“We study different cultures, that’s part of the educational process,” Dornburg said.
But having students stand and wave flags during the recitation of Mexico's Pledge of Allegiance isn't studying anything. It's a waste of time, at best, and destructive and disrespectful to our own values and culture, at worst.

There are nearly 200 countries in the world. I wonder if Principle Williams plans on taking time out to honor national holidays from all of them. At least that would ensure that America was in the mix somewhere.

(via Right Wing News)

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