As a teacher sees it
Editor, Gettysburg Times,
After reading Beth Farnham’s Parents Know Best, I felt a need to respond to a one-sided way of looking at education, teaching children, and understanding curriculum. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time children went to school happy and learned what was needed to be a good and productive person in society. Childhood was fun, filled with wonder and imagination. The school was a safe place where teachers loved their students and never imposed political or cultural norms.
Somewhere along the way, our educational system lost sight of the true mission of educating students. Ms. Farnham talks about a book rating system for students. As a teacher for 34 years, I can tell you that if a child wants to read an inappropriate book, they will find a way to read it no matter what the rating.
She talks about trusting educators. As a teacher, I believe all parents should have respect for their child’s teacher. But as a parent, I will also remind you that we can’t blindly trust educators who it now appears bring their morals and political values into the classroom.
The classroom is no place for an educator’s political or enlightened social beliefs. Discrediting Moms for Liberty serves no purpose in helping our students have good literature to read. Working together to understand the concerns of both groups is what makes for a positive educational environment. I am sure we can all agree that certain moral and ethical ideas are more appropriate at different age levels. I am astounded that any parent would think adult issues were appropriate for an elementary school library. Beth Farnham is correct when she says parents know best, but in their own homes.
Educators are there to teach not to preach on adult topics.
She also talks about not second-guessing the professionals — doctors, and teachers. I find it hard to believe that any parent would blindly accept advice from any of these groups. Parents always have that gut feeling of right and wrong and that is more powerful than any expert.
Educating children is a collaborative effort between educators and parents and each side must listen to the other for the good of the student. Our education system has never deprived children of knowledge or perspective — we encourage an inquisitive mind. But social policies should never be part of a child’s education.
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