Defend the rights of children to learn

info@islandpacket.comMay 16, 2013 

A middle school kid's art is displayed in a school hallway. It quotes Malcolm X, saying you can't have capitalism without racism. Apparently parents -- well, adults of some sort, certainly not the parents of the child who created the artwork -- get worked up about it and complain to Tom Davis, our state senator, who also gets hot and bothered and contacts the school board and district administration, which, in turn, involves the principal.

What on earth are adults doing talking to a legislator about the schoolwork of another parent's child? And what is the legislator doing talking with a principal about it? And why is the principal talking about it with him?

Is this an open invitation for the rest of us to check out, complain and publicly criticize the work of children not our own? I think it is. But it's none of our business, nor in this case, is it the senator's business.

If I were that child's teacher, I would tell the senator, the parents and the principal exactly where to stick it. And in my classroom, these folks would be the "Lesson of the Day."

The issue is the quality of the child's learning -- a complex, ongoing process guided and nurtured by his teachers and parents. Whether the child's right or wrong is not the issue. The right to be wrong guarantees us the right to be right. It's called learning. Shouldn't the superintendent and the school board be defending that right?

Bernie Schein


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