Richardson: What are we teaching our children? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Richardson: What are we teaching our children?

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Bill Richardson

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Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 2:49 pm

Our son is a second-grader in the Kyrene School District. He brings home pages of school work every week or so, which we go through as best we can to see how he’s doing and what he’s learning.

One recent worksheet to improve reading comprehension caught my eye. Here’s how it starts out: “Would it be fair if men could vote and women could not? That was the law for a long time.

“In 1776, the United States was a new country. Men made all the rules. Women were not given the right to vote until 1920…”

The article goes on and on about how women protested, they were arrested, they were thrown in jail… And ultimately the country passed the 19th Amendment, and voila, women had the right to vote.

How do we expect our children to learn history when issues like this are taught like this?

“Would it be fair…?” Of course it’s not fair. Even a second-grader can see that. Especially when you frame the discussion from that point of view. The men made all the rules? The poor women and girls. That’s terrible. It took over 150 years for the men to GIVE the women the right to vote? That’s horrible. Those men must have been very bad.

How does that paint the founders of our country?

It’s no wonder that people today believe the founders to be: rich, old, white, fat, atheist, racist, slave owning, capitalist, war mongering, right-wing Nazi’s (even though the Nazi’s didn’t exist in 1776), Tea Party, extremist, nut jobs.

Now we can add sexist to the list.

In a few more years we’ll probably add “pimps” and “meth heads” to the list.

Of course we wouldn’t teach our children what the criteria was for people to vote when the country was formed. Clearly we wouldn’t want to teach them why the country used those criteria for voting purposes.

Learning real history would only make them into modern day Tea Party, extremist, nut jobs. Can’t have that.

No, instead we’d rather teach that men are bad and women are good. The strong exploit the week. The powerful try to keep down the powerless.

It’s the second grade and we’re already teaching them class warfare.

Plus, it’s not even factually accurate. In two minutes I found these statements on Wikipedia: “In 1756, Lydia Taft became the first legal woman voter in colonial America. This occurred under British rule in the Massachusetts Colony. This was in a New England town meeting and she voted on at least three occasions in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.”

“Unmarried women who owned property could vote in New Jersey from 1776 to 1807.”

“Women in the Wyoming Territory voted as of 1869.”

If I could find that in two minutes on the Internet, think of what the author of a textbook could do.

Or the author of a reading comprehension worksheet.

• CPA Bill Richardson and his wife, Annelle, have lived in Ahwatukee for more than 17 years. They have four children and one grand-child.

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