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What are your kids learning?

I thought you might be interested to know just what wonderful things 7th graders are learning in our schools. They watched a Twilight Zone episode called “Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”, a story about a mob’s paranoia threatening it’s neighbors and ultimately murdering on of them. The kids then planned and acted out this little story adding, at the teachers bidding, the murder of everyone involved and the suicide of the last remaining survivor. The purpose of this little exercise was to teach the kids about human’s tendency to blame others. Except these professionally trained and exclusively qualified folks in our schools, didn’t realize that the kids would not intuitively pick up on this concept. Rather they learned to take murder and suicide lightly and repeatedly act it out and plan the actions. It took a session of coaching by the teacher, after I expressed concern, for my son to be able to parrot this lesson. The teacher was rather surprised at my concern. She tried to comfort me by telling me my son had done well and earned an A on the project! It was such a comfort to think that my son was so good at acting murder suicide! It seemed that the teacher was not only surprised at my concern, but also surprised at the reality that the supposed lesson of the movie and play were not the main topic of conversation at the dinner table. Instead it was the violence of the story that caught my son’s attention. Anyone with a teenage boy should not be surprised at this. Due to hormonal changes and rapid growth, kids this age are in a fog, not fully realizing many of the things that are going on around them, certainly not what we might call intuitive. No matter what virtuous lesson the teacher was trying to impart, what really matters is what the kids got from the exercise. I think the possibility that they retain any lesson on a human tendency to blame others is remote, while they will undoubtedly remember the violent storyline they acted out. Another option in the textbook included “A Christmas Carol,” which would have been far more appropriate and uplifting, not to mention timely. I find it extremely foolish and dangerous for the schools to offer this movie and play to such immature kids. Are we not seeing murder suicide tragically played out in our nation’s schools from time to time? Is our school district really paying attention to what is in their approved textbooks? Are our teachers really the only ones qualified to teach our children? I find that many of them are young and single or without children. Yet they are supposedly the best to know what is appropriate for our children to be exposed to!? One of the most frequent arguments I hear from people opposed to home schooling is that parents are not qualified to teach their own children. Frankly, I am beginning to believe that teachers are the worst ones, second only to administrators, for this task. Certainly there are good teachers out there and we have found a few, but when some show such poor judgment it is difficult to trust the schools. Others say we should try to reform the schools from within. Well judging from the reaction I’ve gotten from the schools here, they are not interested in what I think is appropriate for my kids as long as it is “approved”. Gone are the days that we could trust our community to share our standards. Now we have to baby sit our schools and review with suspicion their entire curriculum. When we can no longer trust our schools judgment, what options are left to us?
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