I just signed a petition to Jeffco Public School Board and The Colorado State House: Stop public school boards from outlawing historical events such as the Civil Rights Movement, Native American genocide, and slavery.
I know everyone on Tumblr seems to view the public schooling system as a giant evil entity that makes you, like, try and, I don’t know, forces you wear modest clothing.
However, public schools are also an amazing haven for some kids, providing them someplace safe to exist for the majority of the day, with food, with life direction, and with companionship they may have otherwise not had.
It is also the point at which many of our personal educations begin.
Wow, right? School teaches you shit and for free haha how fuckin’ weird.
But the school district I was a part of for the entirety of my public schooling career is now literally under attack. A group of conservative buttholes would like to “change” the curriculum for history courses at the high school level and the health curriculum for elementary level, stating in their original “Curriculum Review Mission Statement”:
Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions. [source]
I started to bold the parts I wanted you to pay attention to, but really, it’s the whole goddamn thing. Read it. Then reread it. Then let it sink in.
Now, I’ve read that this “draft” proposal has been rewritten to take out some of the more disturbing language, because of the outcry, but that doesn’t mean the agenda is gone. When the initiative was initially met with awe and outrage, this happened:
"School board member Julie Williams, who sponsored the proposal, said people have misinterpreted what she’s trying to do. She said she’s not trying to eliminate the facts of U.S. history but shares the concerns conservatives nationally have outlined – that AP History casts some parts of history in a negative light, such as the bombing of Hiroshima and slavery." [source]
Dang, I wonder why slavery and nukes are considered blemishes on America’s history. Hmm.
And if that weren’t enough, some of the majority members (including that lovely Julie Williams, quoted below) are now vying to create a special “committee” to conquer this history problem:
This is a door that many of us have been praying for… If you know anyone who is conservative and/or a Christian who can serve on this committee to be a watchmen[sic] for history curriculum, please pass this along to them. We must have more conservative members on this committee than progressives or liberals. Please help… fill the committee with godly people.
Because, you know, HISTORY curriculum can’t be left to anyone but conservative Christians.
And okay, let’s even pretend that I and the people I know who work in the system are all just full of bullshit and the board isn’t trying to ruin anything about the curriculum, and I’m just a flaming asshole because I hate Christians or whatever else you want to accuse me of.
They are, at least, still doing their best to make sure education is not the number one priority in their district. Today, details were given to staff about the new teacher pay scale (I can’t find any sources on it right now, but I am taking most of this verbatim from a friend of mine who is a teacher for JeffCo) and it eliminates the possibility of teachers attaining raises for educational or professional experience. Meaning, teachers will receive raises if they perform well in their evaluations, not if they go on to complete a Master’s degree or spend 25 years with the district. This lowers the incentive for teachers to focus on educational or professional development, and lowers already pretty-low standards for jumping into the teaching game.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent gets to be one of the highest-paid school leaders in Colorado.
There is something fishy going on in JeffCo schools, and though I’m not part of it, and I will never have children to be a part of it, I will support my friends who work in education, and those hundreds of students participating in protests this week.
If you support proper education, teachers who give a shit, and school board members who value rounded and factual curriculums more than they value their conservative Christian ideals, I urge you to sign this petition.
And if not being able to wear miniskirts and having to try at things you don’t like still has you down, at least look to these kids for inspiration. After all, it could be worse than having to learn something— someone somewhere could force you to learn something wrong.
Now, spread the word, help keep the concept of learning about facts, and support the kids and adults who have risked a lot to make their voices heard.