Sorry I haven’t been around lately, I’ve taken a new job and it’s kept me a lot busier than my last job. Anyway, moving on…
This weekend I read an article in the Racine Journal Times about Joe Christensen, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Jerstad-Agerholm Middle School. Apparently, for the last four years (and with permission from the School Board), he has been showing the mini-series, “Roots”, to his students. The idea being that then the students trace their own roots afterward. Further, before showing the mini-series, Mr. Christensen requests parental permission. Four years ago, he requested and received permission from the School Board as well to show the film.
But, now, the bullheaded School Board is saying that Mr. Christensen was suppose to request permission every year from the Board to show “Roots”. And, they won’t let him.
The project seems like a great idea to me.
The sixth grade curriculum is suppose to be geography. I can see how tracing your family’s roots can tie in, even if the Racine School Board cannot. For example, my mother’s grandfather came to this country from County Cork Ireland in the mid 1800’s and settled in New York and eventually Chicago. All places I can find on a map. My father’s great-grandfather, Henry, came to this country in the 1840’s with three of his brothers. The men settled in Missouri and southern Illinois. Again, places I can find on a map.
Learning your family’s history in this day and age of divorces can give a child a sense of pride and belonging. Having an innovative teacher make it an assignment gives a kid a reason to enjoy school. It makes learning more than just rote memorization.
But the Racine School Board is full of people who just don’t get it. Just see the articles in the Racine Journal Times about the rules they want to pass to limit dissent and take discussions private.
But, getting back to Mr. Christensen, parents came to the recent School Board meeting and supported him. But, our School Board is going to ignore the people who pay their salaries and stand by their ruling.
So, I say, let’s recall them, every last one of them. They — as a collective group — have proven in recent months that they don’t care what taxpayers and parents want. They want to take meetings private. They don’t want us to know what goes on in meetings. They don’t want dissent among the members of the board. They don’t want to listen to the parents about what they support.
So, here I am, in public declaring my dissent. Let’s recall them and put in people who have some common sense.