Senators, Representatives and Gov. Little,
I am a mother of two middle-school boys that have been educated by Lake Pend Orielle School District schools since the 1st grade. Over the last 8 years I have helped in the schools by teaching art, introducing woodworking skills, helping struggling readers, chaperoning field trips, and serving as a PTO officer.
I truly appreciate the hard work that has been done this session to support public education and educators. As many of you know first hand, in our rural counties, our schools are the hubs of the community. Although tasked to educate children, so often the school helps kids with basic needs such as nutrition and clean clothing. I know of some kids that do every after-school activity or sport to ensure they have a place to go when class is over. The community rallies around the athletic teams and offer countless scholarships for graduates. I’ve seen first hand how hard staff at all levels work to know each student and their parent(s), and how quick town is to support the students and schools.
Even so, I am disappointed in the numerous bills that have been proposed this session that attack public education and educators. So many of these issues are straight out the ALEC playbook and it’s time those who have been elected to represent Idahoans stop listening to outside agitators that know nothing about our children, our schools, our parents, our teachers, and our way of life.
Recently, the College Board has announced that schools that fail to teach topics outlined by the AP program could lose the AP designations for those classes. AP courses are key components for the college application and admission process and many students take these courses to get a head start on college courses and show college admissions that they are prepared for the rigors of higher education.
The College Board’s statement reads: “AP students are expected to analyze different perspectives from their own, and no points on an AP Exam are awarded for agreement with a viewpoint. AP students are not required to feel certain ways about themselves or the course content. AP courses instead develop students’ abilities to assess the credibility of sources, draw conclusions, and make up their own minds.”
This last sentence is a brief description of what education is for. Frankly, it is what we should expect from everyone.
We should not be sanitizing what kids learn in school, we should be helping them understand the things they see in the world around them. Our kids are coming to age during a monumental time in the short history of the United States. I hope they are talking about these historic events in school, because I guarantee their children will be learning about this time in their history classes. Like I asked my parents what it was like during the Vietnam war and civil rights era, my grandchildren will ask their parents about Covid19, President Trump, Ukraine, etc.
I believe the world today makes it a challenge to be a good parent. On a daily basis the outside world exposes children to immorality, violence, hatred, etc. As a parent, I discuss these topics with my kids and often times can’t explain the “why”. Just last night I had to talk to my boys about locally disseminated white nationalist flyers, what white nationalism means, how to protect themselves and their friends of color, and how to respond to others’ racist comments. We talk about gun safety weekly. I feel like we talk about respect for others and empathy daily.
Generally, it is my job as a parent to help guide my boys through the mine field of adolescence and to help them make sense of the world around them. The last thing I’m worried about is what they may be exposed to in school, by a book, or from an educator. The nightly news can be much more dehumanizing.
PS – In 2019 I was in Madrid and visited the famous Prado and Reina Sofia museums. This bill makes me think of the countless paintings there that my children saw that some of you may find “harmful to children”;
- Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights
- Picasso’s La Guernica
- Dali’s Visage du Grand Masturbateur
- The entire wing of the Prado dedicated to 16th century depictions of the bible, including the beheading of John the Baptist and the Crucifixion of Jesus.