Wednesday, September 12, 2007

School Leaders Refuse to Teach History

"Out with violence", says some educators. "We just cannot allow our kids to think about the past. They need to move on."

So, there goes history. I only wish I had been in one of these schools when I was a kid. I had to read about history and remember well enough to write it on a test. I know the younger kids will not believe it but, we had no video tapes of the past. But memories are to be squashed now because the kid's psyches are perceived by so called educators to be so fragile that they cannot learn about one of the most heinous and cowardly attacks ever on American soil.

The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, WWI or WWII and no films of Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation along with The Great Depression and Civil Rights Movement are kaput! I am an educator with a BS, Ms and ED D in Education and I have spent my life teaching. I must admit, however, that I am confused by such decisions as these.

Here is the story in a Salt Lake City news release. (KUTV) SALT LAKE CITY - Several Utah schools have decided to let Sept. 11, 2007 pass without observing the sixth anniversary of the unprecedented terror attacks against the United States -- over fear of re-kindling the haunting memories for those who vaguely remember them, or introducing them to children who weren't born yet.

This year, Sept. 11 falls on a Tuesday for the first since since the actual attacks. But some school administrators believe that commemorating the tragedy may inhibit the ability for students to make forward progress."We don't want our kids thinking about that. We want them to move on,'' said Beth Johnston, principal at East Layton Elementary in Davis County, whose oldest student was just 6 on Sept. 11, 2001. "It might be age-appropriate for older students to acknowledge and talk about it, but for our younger kids, we don't want them to dwell on violence."Education officials say it can be difficult to explain to young children what happened on that day, because of the many factors and political reasons linked to the terror strike.

"There is so much additional context and so many other stories there, that it can become daunting to a teacher to figure out how to be selective enough, sensitive enough and to provide the right balance and depth,'' said Robert Austin, a social studies specialist for the Utah State Office of Education.

The terrorist attacks are currently not part of Utah's core social studies curriculum, but they could become so later this year when the required studies are updated. But still, many schools will observe the sixth anniversary since the World Trade Center towers fell in New York City and the Pentagon was damaged in Washington, D.C.

Eastwood Elementary School in Salt Lake City generally observes a moment of silence, secretary Tina Jensen said. "We try to keep it pretty low key because some of the kids weren't even born. We try not to scare them,'' she said. Indeed, many students because of age barely remember it and feel little emotional connection.

Scott Crump of Bingham High School in South Jordan asks his students to write essays about whether they would like to be remembered as the "9/11 generation.'' (If they say, "No" then will it change the facts?)

(© 2007 Four Points Media Group, LLC., All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

As an educator and therapist let me assure you that children will NOT be traumatized byt history lessons about wars and rumors of wars. They may be traumatized by misleading them on the reality of living in a violent world.

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