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Teaching students the golden rule is not wrong

| September 29, 2022 1:00 AM

On Aug. 29, WBCSD’s school board voted 3-1 to rescind its new McGraw Hill English curriculum, which was vetted by IDE and extensively reviewed by WBCSD’s curriculum committee.

Foes falsely stated the new program would indoctrinate students using CRT and groom them for sexual exploitation. Challengers against the ELC, which included a component called social emotional learning, teaches empathy and kindness said this should be taught only by parents. Another argument against was using federal ESSER funds would tie the district to federal guidelines which prohibits discrimination against race, religion or sexual orientation.

The rift, caused mostly by non-locals or many who don’t have kids in our schools, is conspiracy nonsense using smoke and mirrors: “a fast pace is required to complete … (Shame on you, our kids are not stupid. They shine if challenged) … “curriculum based on technology (welcome to the 21st century) … Teacher training is extensive and ongoing… (It should be) … Does not allow time for student selected reading.” (Would author support students who pick “Catcher in the Rye”, “Harry Potter”, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”? I think not) Will… “new teachers know district could opt out of the SEL curriculum?... (Contracted teacher collaboration time and would cover this) … “Only two community members on curriculum committee” … (Two was accepted number for committees I volunteered on. BTW, four staff on committee are excellent teachers, two taught my kids.)

Priest River kids can excel. Recently I saw nine kids PR graduates. All are attending or graduated from college or trade school, most are first in their families. WBCSD alumni we know include: astrophysicist, lawyer, nurses and phds, teachers, research scientists, business owners, engineers, welders, psychologists, physical therapists, environmental earth scientists, and CPAs. Censoring education limits our kid’s earning potential. Over sixty percent of our kids live in poverty. The surest way out of poverty is strong education.

The SEL erroneously equated as CRT is the real reason, the rest is a red herring. If fiscal responsibility mattered to this group, why do they waste tax dollars repeatedly while never supporting school levies? Returning the program cost $20,000. Some of these same people stopped seven WBCSD employees from returning from a teaching program, “Capturing Kids Hearts”, in 2012 saying while we were in Texas for training a man in another city, on another day, at another airport might have given us ebola. If we returned, they threatened to shut the high school down. Delaying our departure cost thousands of dollars for replacement tickets, last-minute shuttles to the airport, extra meals. These same people think asking them to wear a N-95 mask or get COVID immunizations infringes their constitutional rights. This group harassed staff so relentlessly three resigned, costing tax dollars to advertise, interview and train replacements and our kids lost three awesome people who were good at their jobs. One of this group infiltrated the 20th Century After School Learning Program signing into an event under an alias then sat at a computer, texted and cut her fingernails during the program. Using the same alias, she attempted to lure me to put on an event in Spirit Lake. Fearing for my safety I demanded evening events I ran must have a male staff member attend. One of this groups’ high school age children, not a WBCSD student snuck into the afterschool program. I politely asked her to register and sign in. The grant was for WBCSD students but I would make an exception if she followed the rules. She screamed at me refusing. A witness wrote she had never seen anything like her behavior. This same kid told me when a student that her favorite thing was “guns.”

I called kids out when I heard hate speech at PRLHS. Shame on me for teaching the golden rule. I guess I was teaching SEL and didn’t know it. The three board trustees who caved-in to this minority sold our kids out. This small group of alt/right, ultra-conservative, pseudo-Christians have made a career of causing dissention and division by propagating disinformation, anger and hate.

Maybe they should ponder this: “We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness.” (Corinthians 6:6)

BETTY GARDNER

Priest River

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