Take the History Protest Outside

I don’t get the passion.

Recently, students in Tuscon, Arizona, protested at a school board meeting. The board members were considering the elimination of a Mexican-American history class that was offered as an alternative to U.S. history. The students took over the meeting and prevented the vote from happening.

Some board members opposed the continuation of this history class because they believed it promoted resentment between races or classes of people.  Or were these people misguided conservatives that refused to celebrate diversity?

I don’t have a problem with a basic educational curriculum. Cut the frills, teach basics, don’t underestimate the abilities of students. Most of all, provide students with the ability to learn outside the classroom.

Learning should not only take place between the months of September and June, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. What is stopping these kids from learning Mexican-American history, or any other subject, on their own?

Protest by expanding knowledge:

  • Create a community reading program. Select a book, advertise a community reading challenge, and form reading groups at various locations around the city: libraries, schools, homes, etc.
  • Challenge both friends and enemies to read about controversial historical interpretations. Share different viewpoints and perhaps discover common ground or a healthy disagreement.
  • Start an after school club devoted to any subject you wish to study in greater depth.
  • Temper that mainstream history class with self education.
When did someone place a quota on the number of books we can read, a quota on the kind of information that we can access? Shut up, study, and never stop. That’s the best way to protest limitations.

2 responses to “Take the History Protest Outside

  1. A one-time social studies teacher, I have to agree with you and your many options/solutions. So many expect school to be all things to all people that everything is in danger of being too diluted.

    What a great opportunity for a club (with ALL being welcomed) or a special educational day/week of activities and speakers and suggested readings.

    Plus some level of recognition that the regular curriculum doesn’t need to be restricted to only the exploits of European male explorers. This can surely be done without still acknowledging their significant achievements.

    • Thank you for your comments. You are right, for good and bad, those European male explorers have been center stage a long time. Clearly there is room for others to share in the spotlight, and I can’t believe too many people can deny that today.

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