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Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Multicultural Education in the Classroom - A Mother's Story


Is the following in your school, in your child's classroom?  Maybe it isn't called "Passports" in your school, but by whatever name it is known, it is undoubtedly the same, and for the same goal — the production of a "world citizen".

When my kids were still in public school, the grade school did a big, school-wide project called Passports.  Each class studied one country in depth for a couple of weeks, integrating all subjects around it.  Then, for a week, the class became that country and the students visited one another.

Prior to their visits, they had to fill out a passport application, as much like the real thing as they could make it.  The students were to bring a photo of themselves, if they could, and provide a physical description of themselves.  The information requested included birth date and Social Security Number.  I told my kids they were not to supply their SS number.  Other parents were also concerned and complained.  The children were told to just make up a number.

My girls went through this for two or three years.  Theoretically, this could be a pretty good activity for learning geography, history, and culture.  Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way.  After the first Passports, I quizzed my daughters on what they had learned.  My oldest was in 5th grade.  Her class was Egypt.  She did learn quite a bit about Egypt, but could not remember learning a thing about any of the "countries" her class had visited.  The only thing my then second-grader could remember about visiting Egypt was, "They barter there."  She also could remember nothing about any other class.

I quizzed my second daughter on her own "country", the Ukraine.  She could not tell me what continent it was located on.  She did not know the races or religions of the people, nor what were their industries and crops.  She knew nothing about their history or governmental structure.  What had she learned?  How to count to ten in Russian and how to write the words for the numbers one through ten in the Cyrillic alphabet.  (Integrated with spelling and math?)  It was basically a travelogue from the teacher's trip there.

I complained big time about this at the LIT [Learning Improvement Team] meetings.  (I was an LIT member.)  The 5th grade teacher told me that if all that the other kids got out of his class was that that they barter in Egypt, he had achieved his goal for the project.  "Someday," he told me, "your daughter will probably have to work with someone from Egypt or somewhere else in the world.  What is more important, that she can locate their country on a map or that she know something about that person’s culture?"  The principal intervened and said, "Hopefully, both."  I think he saw I was about to blow a gasket.

They were sensitive about my criticisms and tried to push the academics a little more the next year.  The teachers were asked to send a list of their academic goals for the program home to the parents.  Unfortunately, there was little improvement.  [A side note:  That year, they selected Maundy Thursday of Holy Week for the Passports Parent Night.  How's that for cultural sensitivity?]

By the last year we were in the public schools, my youngest daughter (third one) was in second grade.  She had a real flake of a teacher who is heavily into the whole reform ideology.  She chose Japan for their class and totally obsessed over the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  They read the 1000 cranes book and folded cranes.  She even had them doing bomb drills in class (something I didn't find out till much later.)

The entire exercise was a colossal waste of time.  It was three weeks of fun and games.  Of course, the kids loved it!  The final straw is that the teachers responsible for coming up with the idea and organizing it were given a big award from the district's multiculturalism committee.

Is this really happening?  You bet it is!

Marda Kirkwood

Kent, Washington

Three weeks of class time, and if all that the child learned was that Egyptians barter, that was okay??!!  To a parent who believes schools are for the purpose of educating the child, this is unacceptable.  But when one understands that schools are no longer there to educate, but there rather to condition the child to a perceived environment, then the above makes perfect sense!

Views: 7

Comment by Merrianne Geisdorf on March 17, 2011 at 11:53am
I put it this on Facebook. I hope more parents are paying more attention to what is happening in the classrooms - AND objecting if they think it is inappropriate or just a waste of time! I would think one of the FIRST things they would learn about another country was where it is on the map. DUH! That's how WE learned about a country. That's how I STILL learn about a country OR a state!


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