Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It says it all...

 At work yesterday, I (as I often do) had to explain Colorado state law concerning privacy to a customer and most particularly the right of privacy where the child is concerned. I was informed by said customer that I would in fact tell her what was on her children's card because "My children don't have any rights in my home."

"Well, in fact they do according to state law and if you want information from your child's card then you will need to have their cards when you come to the library if your children are not with you," I told her firmly for the third or fourth time.

"Just one more way the government is trying to take over our lives," was her in-congruency.

"In fact it protects you from the government being able to walk in and ask what books you or your children read-- from their being able to walk in here to see if you are extremists or terrorists by the books you check out. They may be able to check your phone records or check your internet usage but they can't check on your library usage..." unsaid words that lingered on the tip of my tongue and bounced around my mind through the rest of the evening but remained unsaid.

She stalked off, her children in abject tow. I shook my head sadly knowing what this meant at home and how this attitude filtered into the schools... 

When educators teach (that is, really Educate) nearly any subject they teach cannot help but challenge the status quo. Science challenges religion. History challenges what we know about our place in the world both now and in the past. And geography changes the way we think about the rest of the world. Parents of this mindset have no intention of allowing their Property, their Belongings, have any opportunity to think anything other than what they want them to think. If the child comes home with Big Ideas that are outside the scope of the Religion or even the mindset they have been raised with, the parent will become the squeaky wheel that brings the wagon to a skidmarked halt. *

In terms of discipline, for some odd reason, these same parents are the defenders of their children beyond rationality-- although it's not odd at all once given any thought. They are anti-government and suspicious of the liberal teachers that give their offspring "Ideas" so when the teacher tells the parent the child is misbehaving, the parent simply doesn't back the teacher up when consequences are required. And when children are disrupting schools in the manner that many urban schools are disrupted today, consequences are required!*

There other "types" who bring the school system to a grinding halt, of course... the wealthy or suburban parents whose children are too brilliant to be bothered to do any real work and teachers are pressured to "improve" grades and "overlook" bad behavior. And other sub groups which are far too numerous to mention perhaps, but by and large we can say that our children suffer from a lack of being persons who are deserving of developing minds of their own:

by learning about the universe from a scientific viewpoint (well, learning, in general)...

by being held to the same behavioral standards as other students at school...

by reading books of their own choosing (although it doesn't hurt to encourage them to read really fine material i.e. literature)...

*For the parent who wants their child to learn: It's time to stand up and be the squeaky wheel that makes the cart go forward! The schools that fail to punish students because of parental pressure or fear of having that stigma on their record need to feel the heat. Students should be suspended more often, not less. And education should not stumble around religious sensitivity-- it's just not compatible with learning.


  1. So interesting. I have never thought about what I would think if/when my girls come home with an idea that disagrees with the way they have been raised. Such an interesting thought. I hope that I would be open-minded and ready to talk with them about it. I hope that I would not immediately dismiss it or be mad at the teacher. I hope that I would be ready for my children to make their own decisions and have their own understandings. But I am not sure. So glad I am thinking about this now and can try to prepare myself.
    Thank you for opening my eyes. As a very new mom I am always learning about what is to come!

  2. If you are even willing to think about it-- you will be ready for whatever ideas your children come across.


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