My granddaughter will go to highschool subsequent week. So could your baby or grandchild. For a lot of, it is going to be their first time again in school rooms in a 12 months and a half.
What do we would like for these younger individuals? No less than three issues.
First and most clearly, to study the verbal, mathematical and different considering instruments they’ll must efficiently navigate the world.
However that’s not all. We additionally need them to turn out to be accountable residents. This implies, amongst different issues, turning into conscious of the noble points of our historical past in addition to the shameful points, so that they develop into adults who can intelligently take part in our democracy.
But some Republican lawmakers don’t need our kids to have the entire image.
Over the previous couple of months, some 26 states have curbed how lecturers focus on America’s racist previous. A few of these restrictions impose penalties on lecturers and directors who violate them, together with the lack of licenses and fines. Many curbs take impact subsequent week.
These legislators choose that our kids study solely the sanitized, vanilla model of America, as if ignorance will make them higher residents.
Why ought to studying the reality be a politically partisan subject?
The third factor we would like for our kids and grandchildren heading again to highschool is much more fundamental. We wish them to be secure.
But even because the variety of American youngsters hospitalized with COVID-19 has hit a file excessive, some Republican lawmakers don’t need them to put on masks in class to guard themselves and others.
The governors of Texas and Florida, the place COVID-19 is surging, have sought to ban faculty districts from requiring masks. Lawmakers in Kentucky, additionally experiencing a surge, have repudiated a statewide faculty masks mandate.
Why ought to the easy precaution of sporting a masks be a politically partisan subject?
Paradoxically, many of those similar Republican lawmakers need individuals to have quick access to weapons, though faculty shootings have turn out to be tragically predictable.
Between final March and the top of the college 12 months in June — regardless of most simple, center and excessive faculties being partially or totally closed because of the pandemic — there have been 14 faculty shootings.
For the reason that bloodbath 22 years in the past at Columbine Excessive Faculty close to Denver, greater than 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 youngsters have been uncovered to gun violence throughout faculty hours.
How can lawmakers justify stopping youngsters from masking up in opposition to COVID-19 whereas permitting nearly anybody to purchase a gun?
The reply to all of this, I feel, is a warped sense of the that means of freedom.
These lawmakers — and most of the individuals they signify — equate “freedom” with being allowed to go and not using a masks and to personal a gun, whereas additionally being unaware of the shameful points of America.
To them, private freedom means taking no duty.
But this definition of freedom is exactly the other lesson our kids and grandchildren want. To be really free is to study to be accountable for realizing the reality even when it’s generally painful, and to be accountable for the well being and security of others even when it’s generally inconvenient.
The responsibility to assist our kids turn out to be accountable adults falls primarily on us as dad and mom and grandparents. However our kids additionally want faculties that educate and follow the identical classes.
America’s youngsters shouldn’t be held hostage to a partisan political brawl. It’s time we centered solely on their studying and their security.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is professor of public coverage on the College of California at Berkeley and the creator of “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Repair It.”