Feeling Angry and Threatened
Ron DeSantis is getting on my last nerve! He is destroying education in Florida. With a presidential run in mind, he may be the worst thing to happen to children all across our nation. With his scary, controlling puritan values, he's using unyielding power to run rampant over what students should learn, just like a dictator. Students should learn only what he wants them to learn. And he has just come up with a new law... that anyone who speaks against him in a blog has to register themselves with the state of Florida and report any income they may obtain from that writing.
So, how do I feel? Threatened, I immediately find it absolutely necessary to write about him. I can't stop myself. Hell, I'm not getting paid.
Not only is DeSantis marginalizing human rights, he is limiting our children's rights to think, learn, and speak out, as well as the educators rights. Doesn't the first amendment talk about free speech?
I fully believe that knowledge is power. If we can't discuss the experience of people and events that are current and past in our day-to-day lives, how can we learn from our mistakes and about each other? If we can't learn the truths about our fellow citizens and show empathy towards them, how can we ever hope to live in peace? Surely, that should be a goal of every good American!
And yet, DeSantis has erased the Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at a university for supposedly some bullshit numbers game and his self-serving politics. Never-mind, black history and anything else he's done away with. He doesn't care about your children! Politicians don't care about your children unless it suits them in some way. I really want you to think about that.
Are we going back to the days where only white men count in our country , otherwise you are too "woke"? No gays, coloreds, immigrants or women allowed. What about special education students? Shall we institutionalize them again? We're still fighting for the rights of all these people. The truth is our world is changing and we have to change with it. Our children are not us and with technology taking over, life is moving at a rapid and dangerous pace. Maybe that's why some of our children are so lost.
Many people say they want their children to be critical thinkers. How can students think critically if they aren't presented with both sides of an argument? Just because someone in the government decides children should not have access to certain information and materials, don't they understand with all the social media in their lives, students can find the information from somewhere else? (And it may not be as prettily and factually presented as in school.)
And banning books? Isn't it a parent's job to monitor their children and decide what they want their child to read? Should the whole world suffer because someone doesn't want their child to read or know about certain things? Information will be out there to discover anyway. I guarantee you.
I remember when my stepson discovered porn on line at age10 (well that's when we caught him, anyway). Did we want that? No, of course not. But it was on the internet.
What about a child that has two same-sex parents at home? Should we make them feel badly about themselves or should we teach that families can come in different make-ups in K - 3rd grade so students develop tolerance and don't bully people who are different.
Let's stand up for freedom of speech, diversity, acceptance, and the ability to learn about things that interest us and spark our curiosity in school. Most teachers can be trusted to monitor subjects so that they remain age appropriate. Let's trust them and stand up against politicians that are playing games with our children's lives.
Make some noise. We need to hold on to our freedoms and our democracy.
Leslie Brooks has her Masters in Teaching and has taught in grades 3-11. She is the author of the book "Education Aggravation: A Retired Teacher's View from the Trenches - A Call to Action."