Kendall Stanley: Ah, the culture wars


We are now at “banning the books” in the culture wars, after many skirmishes over critical race theory and history teaching.

Banning books in schools is nothing new – “Catcher in the Rye” being the prime example of a book that school boards have struggled with for decades.

Now it’s about books that deal with sexuality and anything else that could cause little Johnny and Susie mental “distress.” Try to teach history honestly and there is bound to be distress.

Some states are proposing laws that would give parents the ability to have books removed from school libraries, and in one case the legislation would put cameras in the classroom so parents could see what their children’s teacher was teaching. That day.

Imagine, if you will, a class of 20 students. And in this class, there is a mix of students. Now imagine the teacher, with the omniscient camera eye trained on him, trying to come up with a classroom instruction that would theoretically appeal to all parents of these disparate students. Sounds pretty ugly, doesn’t it?

In one column by Art Cullen in the Washington Post, he spoke about the first things on the agenda of the Iowa legislature.

“Next on the agenda in Des Moines: write a list of books to be banned from schools involving race or gender. Right here, Kansas has already taken the plunge on Iowa. Not to be outdone, Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman, a Republican from the nearby suburbs, says the media and teachers were complicit in a ‘sinister agenda’ to push ‘deviant’ materials on children. He wants to impose criminal penalties on Marian the librarian if she puts on the shelves something like “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” – or anything that a farmer-lawmaker finds lustful without having read it. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds in her statehood address suggested that every school district should publish its entire program online with a list of assigned readings. Some of these things might be X-rated, she claimed. She wants the parents to take care of it.

Apparently, the Governor doesn’t realize that little Johnny can find a lot of X-rated material on his iPhone at any time. Even in Iowa.

Republicans are touting all of these laws as part of “parental rights,” which sounds great until you realize the concerns of one group of parents can be opposed by another group – with the impoverished school district and its teachers stuck in the middle.

All of this suggests that the current teacher shortage is likely to worsen as more teachers retire or leave the profession for other work.

If you were a teacher, would you want to be under a microscope for every class you teach?

For example, it’s Black History Month. How do you ensure that little Johnny is not upset by reading the actions of his ancestors during the time of slavery? What documents do you recommend that some might find offensive?

Education is in crisis across the country with classroom posts unfilled, substitute teachers unavailable, even school bus drivers are in short supply.

National Public Radio reported this week on a poll by the National Education Association which found that 55% of respondents said they would leave the professional sooner than they had initially expected.

Ninety percent of members said burnout was a problem, 86% had seen educators leave the profession or retire, and 80% said unfilled job offers resulted in more job losses. work obligations for those who had left.

Although not all teachers who say they’re out make it through the door, about 43% of teaching job openings go unfilled.

You will still hear some teachers say that they became teachers because they felt it was a calling. Nowadays, it is perhaps better to ignore such a call.

It’s hard enough to be an educator these days without being second guessed by parents looking to keep their children “safe” and “free from distress” from the realities of American life.

So Republican politicians will continue to vote for “parental rights” in education ensuring life is stress-free for little Johnny and Susie.

And they call us liberal snowflakes.

— Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of News-Review. He can be contacted at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily of Petoskey News-Review or its employees.


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