Censorship or plain ignorance?

The educational system in America never ceases to amaze me. I’ve received memos detailing how many staples I am allowed to use on a bulletin board. Who has time for this kind of nonsense?

I thought that would take the cake. But in Colorado apparently it is illegal to post any flag in a classroom with the exception of the US flag or the Colorado flag. This teacher will be put on administrative leave for displaying flags from the United Nations, China and Mexico in his introductory geography unit. Are you serious?!

My first year teaching in the Bronx was in 2001. The war in Afghanistan was raging. Numerous students had family members deployed abroad. I displayed pictures taken from an international humanitarian calendar. I had pictures of children from India, Afghanistan, Poland, Thailand and other exotic locales. I’ll never forget the reaction the next day. A child in the front row stared at the photographs during a lesson on Industrialization in America, and all of a sudden they blurted out, “That’s what a child in Afghanistan looks like? That’s who our soldiers are accidentally killing?”

I didn’t realize I put the picture of the Afghan child in the middle of the room– It just happened that way as the pictures stretched from wall to wall, all the way around the room. Yet it clicked for that child. They learned something they didn’t know about the world. They thought children in Afghanistan looked the same as they did. To some extent they do, but geographic influences hastened a few adaptive changes.

Is this Coloradan teacher wrong for posting a flag? No. What kid doesn’t like looking at flags? It encourages them to look on a map and find the country that the flag belongs to. It encourages them to listen a little more carefully in the news to learn about what life is like in that area. Was he wrong for only posting three flags– the UN, China and Mexico? Eh.. The choices are random he says, but I would have peppered my walls with 20 or 30 flags if I had them. That way no one can allege that I am biasing the kids towards any one ideology.

But that’s how the educational system in America works, doesn’t it? Bias them towards the government’s opinion. Ensure the kids learn that America is the best and no one else remotely compares. Skim over our faults. Never discuss them as they are simply nonexistent.

How in the world can our future be any better than our past if we fail to learn from our mistakes?


About jaimeanne

I'm me. Graphic designer extraordinaire, urban master teacher of social studies, former adjunct professor, high school principal, and now most importantly-- Mom to the cutest little girl ever. I try to live by the quote, "Work like you don't need money, Love like you've never been hurt, And dance like no one's watching." I believe in Christ, and sometimes I'm just trying to figure out what He wants me to do. This blog chronicles that journey.
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