Everyone has a theory why
at grade level, can`t do simple math and can`t
define the most basic vocabulary words.
President Bush, educated at Yale and Harvard, thinks
more accountability at the local school level would
produce better results. But the only thing Bush knows
about public schools is that they`re good settings for
California Governor Gray Davis
blames insufficient funding. But the California
Department of Education already gets a King`s
ransom—about $40 billion annually.
Teachers are favorite targets.
They`re too young, too old, too disorganized, too rigid,
too lax or too inexperienced.
But has anyone ever stopped to
consider how much different a teaching gig is today for
a seasoned teacher? Among the veteran teachers that I
talk to, the majority wouldn`t have signed on if they
knew what awaited them. The reality is that most
teachers are dedicated and devoted. They`re not the
reason little Johnny can`t read.
Public school students struggle with the fundamentals because learning
isn`t number one on the K-12 agenda. The top priority, a
constant distraction from academic achievement, is –
My California town is a microcosm.
The Lodi Unified School District, through its
Multilingual/Multicultural Department, is huge on
diversity training. Regular seminars are held at
district office headquarters. Attendance for teachers is
Attending these sessions means that
teachers must leave their classrooms promptly after the
final bell – or, in some cases, arrange for substitute
teachers to take the class for the day. This is time
that would normally be spent nurturing students or
developing a more creative lesson plan for the next day.
Instead, Lodi teachers study and
discuss documents like the 100-page document All
Those New Years…and Other Holidays.
The pamphlet “suggests” – it`s not
really optional – that teachers “ask children to
describe celebrations they know about and chart their
Another recommendation: “display a
seven-column chart with the labels: Singing, Dancing,
Feasting, Laughing, Talking, Playing Games and Being
Together.” To supplement this activity, teachers should
recruit “community members to teach the songs and games
that are a part of some of the celebrations listed.”
And those celebrations include, but
are not limited to:
Hmong New Year
Vietnamese New Year
Buddhist New Year
These holidays span the entire
school year. Hardly a moment remains for reading,
writing and arithmetic.
And some of these celebrations, let
me confess, are a little scary. They are so far removed
from our American traditions that it is impossible to
consider them anything other than primitive.
During the Hmong Spring Festival,
for example, pigs and roosters are
sacrificed. Chickens, water buffaloes and cows are
butchered at Hmong births, memorial services and wedding
All Those New Years… also
has interesting insights into how the school district
In the FAQ section about the
Hmong, these quotes are cited: “Many Americans do
not welcome refugees who do not
speak English.” And referring to the Southeast Asian
War, “The Americans left and we (the Hmong) felt
abandoned. Now that we are in America, we still feel
And finally: “The Hmong were used.”
The CIA`s treatment of the Hmong in
Laos is indeed a sorry
chapter in American history. But any fair account of
the Hmong in America should include references to our
extreme and continued generosity from the moment the
first refugee arrived.
The Council on Islamic Education
compiled the section on Eid and Ramadan
Suggested classroom activities
include inviting a representative from the local Islamic
Center to speak about the Hajj, describing what it would
look like if everyone in the school, including teachers,
dressed in white pilgrim`s garments for one week and
creating a mini-Hajj in the classroom culminating with
As for “Las
you`ll be interested to learn that it is celebrated not
only in Mexico and parts of Central America but also in
what All Those New Years… calls “Aztlan,
the Chicano territories in the U.S.”
Bad enough to be subjected to
tedious detail about the myriad holidays but
anti-American editorializing over-kill.
If you think that teachers can
simply ignore this, you`re wrong. State and local
bureaucrats regularly visit classrooms to check for [VDARE.COM
NOTE: This, of course, is something that would
never be allowed with regard to
Christmas; and the
mini-Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) is not the most bizarre
thing that American educators are doing. Daniel Pipes
reports that one textbook
company has published a curriculum encouraging American
students to visualize themselves as Muslim warriors,
fighting against the Crusades.]
multicultural correctness. Not only must your
classroom walls and bulletin boards reflect diversity,
good lesson plans must include a multicultural theme.
So if you are wondering why so many
high-school graduates can`t do long division, take a
tour through your local primary school.
In the classrooms where an academic
foundation should be built, an extended curriculum of
propaganda is in progress.
Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.