I am a patriotic American – Letter 2

Dear JeffCo School Board Members:

I am writing this letter in reference to the recent addition to Thursday’s agenda, a plagiarized and not attributed quote directly from Texas 79(R)HB2534, 2007: Sec. 31.0222.  CONTENT REQUIREMENTS AND LIMITATIONS: FACTS AND THEORIES.  An adopted textbook must present the most current factual information accurately and objectively and without editorial opinion or bias by the authors.  A theory must be clearly 
distinguished from facts and presented in an objective educational 
manner.
        Sec. 31.0223.  CONTENT REQUIREMENTS AND LIMITATIONS: 
CITIZENSHIP, PATRIOTISM, AND FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM.  (a)  An 
adopted textbook must promote citizenship, patriotism, 
understanding of the essentials and benefits of the free enterprise 
system, respect for recognized authority, and respect for 
individual rights.
 

It should be noted that Texas anticipated, “This bill would require a review of textbooks for certain presentation characteristics beyond coverage of the essential knowledge and skills.  It is assumed that the Texas Education Agency would establish a separate review panel or panels charged with reviewing the content and presentation, which would add about $50,000 per year to the cost of review panels, starting in fiscal year 2007.  For the agency, this does not represent a significant additional cost.”

 

When you were copying this from their bill did you follow through to the cost analysis?  Will you be allocating a newly revised number of dollars to this project?

 

Enough of the theft of other’s words and failure to completely read the agenda, surely that would get an F in a history class room at this point in time, and on to the meat of your agenda.

 

I am a patriotic American.  One of my ancestors arrived in the US on the Mayflower and many arrived with other emigrant groups.  I have 2 ancestors that I know of who fought in the American Revolution, one an officer, and many fought in the Civil War, on both sides.  My ancestors and relatives have fought in every major war the US has been involved in.  I am a patriotic American.  I love my country, but just because I am a patriotic American does not mean that I am blind to our nation’s mistakes and flaws. I was blessed with an analytic mind and was taught the ability to look at both sides, by my JeffCo world history honor’s teacher, Gail Mesplay.  To this day, I consider her one of my best teachers because she demanded we ask why.  We did not merely memorize.  We learned to reason.  Do you resent young adults being taught to reason and ask questions? Why?  You would prefer they merely be able to regurgitate facts?  I would prefer my future leaders be able to question actions of the past so that our nation isn’t doomed to repeat them. 

 

I ask you, Julie Williams, since you are proposing to censor what our advanced, gifted high school children are taught in the interest of patriotism, do you support our president 100%?  Are you a truly patriotic woman?  My guess, based on your Facebook page, is no, you do not support our president nor our federal government. That is your right and the greatest part of our nation and has been a part of it from day one.  Do you think our founding fathers were infallible?  If you do, please look in your history book and look at John Adams Alien and Sedition acts, and follow it up with a look at Thomas Jefferson’s response.  Two of our founding fathers, and presidents 2 and 3, were fighting over politics and federal rights versus state rights, much like today.  Do you only support half of our founding fathers work and efforts?  Are you and your committee you are proposing the sole voice of reason that gets the final word to condemn and erase half of our history?  Who do you hate more, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson?  Their writings disagree.  It is impossible to teach about both as though they were the final word.  Do you love them both because they are founding fathers?  They disagreed with each other.  You cannot present the ideas of the founding fathers as being set in stone, as they were not, by picking and choosing those ideas YOU like and support.   

 

Politics is not my thing and hundreds of year old politics even less so.  That isn’t true of my children.  My kids, both GT, love history, and delve into this for fun.  My youngest son, as a 2nd grader was investigating history, on his own, not as an assigned project, and wanted to know what our founding fathers thought and wrote.  You see, my son, as a 7 year old, knew that adults were not infallible; he accepted that their ideas changed from year to year, even the revered fathers of our nation. If a seven year old can understand this, I struggle to understand why you would doubt gifted high school children would be able to exercise the same understanding.  Unfortunately, my son would struggle to understand the static presentation you appear to endorse because he would recognize it for the lie it would be and he would be bored.  Does that make him less patriotic or more? Is it patriotic to conform to what your school board elected government determines is education or is it patriotic to question it?  Our nation is based on questioning the government and sometimes taking action: vocal, written, or physical, otherwise we would still be part of Great Britain. He wouldn’t be able to take the AP test based on what you want taught because the test requires thought and reasoning.  From your Facebook page, I note that you wish to downplay racism, slavery, Jim Crow, women’s rights, protests against wars, and other politically difficult times when people were unhappy with their government and protested because you believe that fosters an unpatriotic view of our nation.  One of the pages you shared on Facebook classified this part of history as leftist propaganda, because you feel it takes away from the patriotism you think children should feel.  I am confused why the “right” would be so embarrassed by these pieces of history they can only classify it as leftist and attempt to ignore it.  It’s history.  Politics played a part of the actions of the past, undoubtedly, but why would one be so attached to their politics of today that they can’t look at a historical event without classifying it as propaganda of modern day politics.  Are they denying the truth of it?  If so, someone better inform the protestors of the Vietnam War, people who lived through the dustbowl, people who suffered segregation and lived through desegregation, women who fought for the right to vote, and other groups that lived in the past and are still alive, that they didn’t actually live through that.  Unless I completely misunderstand and you posted each of those shares out of horror that a group of people would advocate such censorship, in which case I sincerely apologize and please, proceed to eliminate any text book that white washes US history at the cost of the facts and the people who lived and built our country in an effort to brainwash children. 

 

I ask you, Ms. Willliams in particular, but board in general, do you love your spouse?  How about your children?  Do you love them only for their good qualities?  Do you hate them because they made a mistake once upon time?  I challenge you to think of patriotism to your country in terms of love.  If you love your country, don’t you think you can love it despite some mistakes that occurred in a past time?  Don’t you want the children of today to understand why those mistakes were made and considered critical and correct decisions of the time?  Don’t you want to exercise your right to disagree with a president of your party or the other?  Are you going to forbid parents who currently opt their child out of the President’s address to do that as it is unpatriotic?  Who are you to decide what is patriotic or not?  Dissent is a patriotic act granted to its citizens in the 1st amendment.

 

Perhaps I give my children too much respect.  Maybe I should protect them from all the facts of life.  Then again, I believe that whether large scale or small, ignorance hampers one’s ability to act in an intelligent manner and make good decisions.  To minimize my ignorance, I sat through the 5th grade health unit review for parents.  I brought home the books that would be reviewed and read them.  Parents were given the right to opt their child out for one or all of the classes.  I found nothing objectionable in the material.  I know it could be considered crazy to have respect for children and their parents, yet there we are.  My child’s teachers gave me respect, in turn I gave them and my children respect. My child and his classmates were educated in a responsible, respectful and factual manner.  I did look up the book you posted on your Facebook page as pornography.  It is noted as the 12th most protested book in libraries, has been in publication since 1994 and has received 10 awards.  I am guessing you, Ms. Willliams, fall into the protest and censor group, but it hasn’t destroyed civilization in the 20 years of publication so I doubt it is going to start out of the blue.   It wasn’t used in my son’s class two years ago.  I don’t know if it is set to be used or not, but the majority of reviews were favorable.  I am curious Ms. Williams, did you sit through the health presentation or did you simply opt your child out?  Your child, your choice, but if you didn’t take it upon yourself to be informed as a parent, perhaps it would behoove you to take a moment this year as a school board member to educate yourself before you start censoring and banning books.

 

Please respect me and my children and other parents and their children.  If a parent finds the material objectionable, allow them to decide to opt out, whether it is a presidential address, sex ed, or an AP class.  Do not steal these chances for education from our children.   Trust their parents to know what is right for their family. If you love our nation and our children, let them learn.  Allow them to think and to ask questions.  Do not force your ideas of conformation and block them from education and knowledge.  Please do not force Texas laws onto our kids. 

 

Sincerely,

Jennifer Alford

Concerned mother of JeffCo students

Concerned graduate of JeffCo

JeffCo property owner

JeffCo business owner

JeffCo voter