I read recently about Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth getting banned in Federal Way schools (an area just outside of Seattle). It seems a parent complained and the school board decided that the movie shouldn’t be in the classroom. The claim was that it violated the district’s policy of teaching both sides of a controversial issue. This ban came despite teachers using additional materials and discussing the points (and counter points) of the movie.
This is why an American public education is worth less and less every year. The idea of a school board is cute, but it is bad. Is it an educated decision to place people who aren’t experienced educators in charge of a school? Would you let a person manage a restaurant if his main qualification was that he has eaten in one? Then why let a person who has been to school manage a school?
School boards are political, and politics has no place in education, democracy yes, but not politics. Community is important, but it’s time to ask ourselves if a local community has the global vision needed to get a quality education. Should we ask the neighbor next door if he believes that light is fast than sound, or should we look towards the global body of experts? If our neighbor believes it to be in opposition to his belief, should we be obliged to comfort him or to politely point him towards the experts? Does our neighbor really know how to best educate our children? Does she know better than the superintendent, principal, department chair, and teachers in the classroom. Does she know better than experts working in their fields?
Discussing controversy is good, as is intelligent debate, and people unwilling to accept a point of view when they have a discrete logical argument to disprove that point. Letting people declare a point invalid based on faith or a feeling of the issue being too confusing only hurts American education. It has to stop.
There is no reason to fear foreign invasion, terrorists, economic collapse or any of the other external threats to America which people agonize over, we will slowly fall apart of our own volition if we continue to let our children be educated by neighbors.