Each week during the 2022 Kansas Legislative Session, we will provide Shawnee Mission area lawmakers with the opportunity to share their thoughts on what is happening in the state capitol.
Below is this week’s submission from Democratic State Rep. Stephanie Clayton of Kansas Home District 19covering parts of Leawood, Overland Park and Prairie Village.
The views expressed in each Capitol update are solely those of the legislator writing the column and do not reflect the Post’s position on any issue discussed.
Like many of you, I grew up in the Shawnee Mission District during the Cold War. I was afraid of dying in a nuclear attack and I looked at the cinderblock walls, imagining them reduced to rubble in a blinding flash of light that would kill us all or, worse, let us die slowly and horribly in nuclear winter. that followed, or occupied by a cold military regime that forced us into silence and obedience. (Any child who grew up watching “The next day” or “Red Dawn” may relate).
My teachers taught me to be proud of my country, where you could say what you wanted and where dissenting voices were not silenced by an oppressive government.
Our country was, and is, the best country in the world because, although messy and complicated, we are free to disagree and free to express who we are and what we believe.
My education in Shawnee Mission Public Schools was exceptional, and because I want my children to have the best, I stayed here to raise them. And, they have the best. I know this because we parents have full and unrestricted access to their top-notch curriculum through Canvas, a platform we parents have become familiar with in the days of Covidian.
The transparency is astounding and I have access to more information than I have time to sift through.
Perhaps that is why I am troubled by the rhetoric that calls for increased transparency, when in reality that call is an unwanted incursion into the education of our children by special interests that seek to silence free thought and dissent.
Substitute for Bill 2662 would allow any school district resident (not just parents) to raise objections with material, and have that material flagged and removed from the program.
This looks good at first glance, but the question is, which materials? What are the parents’ concerns that will take precedence? I read both Toni Morrison and Ayn Rand as part of my high school curriculum here in the Shawnee Mission School District. Parents on both sides of the political spectrum object to what both authors write.
All parents deserve our compassion and respect and should never be made fun of or disrespected. But, if we follow the logic that any material that raises concern should be censored, there will be nothing left for our children to read. Or, worse, our children’s education will be controlled by whatever political party is currently in power. It sounds too much like the Soviet Union I feared as a child.
Shawnee Mission parents are resilient. We have learned to work with teachers to get our children through COVID, and through unprecedented educational transparency, we have unfettered access to the curriculum being taught to our children. Special interest groups seek to dumb our children down by censoring their learning materials, even suppressing the very diversity education that corporate America demands of their workers, which will leave our children helpless and unable to compete in our economy. world.
Fortunately, we are too smart to fall for censorship wrapped in a veneer of false transparency. And we know that if we give our children the freedom to learn and be the best, our country will continue to be the best.
We were taught that freedom of speech and expression is what makes our country the best country in the world. And we will continue in this fight for freedom for generations to come by standing firm against those who wish to put control of the program in the hands of those who seek to censor.