Healing & Curriculum

During the Muleskinners Club Luncheon on Friday, February 4, 2020, Suzette Waters and I shared our reasons for running and answered members’ questions. Two major items came up during the discussion. One on the current scrutiny over teachers’ curriculums and lessons. The other being one of the reasons I am running for re-election.

Healing

Since almost a year into my service on the Columbia Public School Board (March 2020), we have been dealing with the trauma Covid-19 has placed on our students, staff, family, and community. Education across the nation has dealt with this trauma point and we are no exception. Columbia as a community and CPS as a school district needs to collaborate on healing from this trauma of Covid-19. There are two ways the CPS Board of Education can facilitate this healing: (1) Utilizing a framework and lens of healing when making decisions; and, (2) Taking a healing approach to enacting our roles as community leaders.

Curriculum

Current proposed legislation in the Missouri Legislature on curriculum and subject material is concerning. The prospects of educators having to upload what is vaguely defined as “curriculum” for public access before the beginning of an academic year is an unrealistic expectation. Educators need to differentiate their lessons and how students engage with the curriculum. Educators need to adapt lessons and curriculum for when there is a substitute teacher. The expectation that every item being taught is available before the school year will burn-out our teachers, cost local districts even more tax-payer dollars to compensate for this time our educators spend completing this task, and will create an educational environment that lacks creativity, unique engagement, and student ownership of their learning.

The expectation that every item being taught is available before the school year will create an educational environment that lacks creativity, unique engagement, and student ownership of their learning.

Other proposed legislation limiting what is vaguely termed “controversial material” will erase knowledge that our students deserve to engage with and will create an educational environment that condones censorship of knowledge; instead of, fostering students to be critical thinkers. My experience in Alabama as a child had us visit many of the major historical sites of the Civil Rights Movement. We visited Tuskegee University four different times to learn about Historical Black Colleges & Universities, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the atrocities of the Tuskegee Study. We visited the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL – the site of Bloody Sunday.

We visited the sites, we learned about the historical trauma, and we discussed what this meant for us as students learning of these events.

As a child from 4th grade up, we learned about our history and the atrocities our fellow humans committed solely based on the identities of an individual. We visited the sites, we learned about the historical trauma, and we discussed what this meant for us as students learning of these events.

The current proposed legislation in our state I believe would limit the discussions I had in school and lessons I learned because they would be deemed “controversial”. We must take ownership of our national history. Each moment. And analyze it for what it truly was and is – Not what we wish it could have been.

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