Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Right, Half Right, Wrong? Political correctness in the classroom

I’ve really been stuck lately. I have been told that I have an over developed sense of right and wrong. I have a hard time finding fault with that but it does cause problems for me and at least one of my kids, (who also has Aspergers).

School textbooks really annoy me. I need to preface all this by saying that I thoroughly agree that the omission of blacks in history was deplorable, however I do not agree that we should over compensate, by eliminating everyone else’s contributions and attributing them to others because we feel guilty? No kind of incorrect political correctness is fair to the kids.

Example: My daughter’s textbook stated that after the native Americans, a Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable settled the land that is now Chicago. Across the top of the page was the banner Black History. I would never have even seen this section of the book, if my daughter hadn’t been frustrated over a work sheet she was doing. There were 2 questions that had her stumped. The first asked who first settled the area and the second asked the date . For the first she entered the Native Americans as her answer but the only date mentioned in her book was the date that Du Sable built his house. Since the book clearly stated that Du Sable was the first Non-Native American, she was upset that she couldn’t find any date for the Native Americans. Well as it turned out of course, the answer that “the book wanted” for the settler was Du Sable. even though it was an incorrect answer. This infuriated me. I went to the internet, pulled up the Chicago public library and found a timeline. Not only was Du Sable not first, but he wasn’t even second. The Explorers Marquette and Joliet are not even mentioned in her book. They were in the area almost 100 years prior and helped make the river area well known. Later a Jesuit started a mission before Du Sable came, So to be PC we ignore the Native Americans and the first Explorers

And then of course if we do consider the book correct why then are the Native Americans mentioned but then discarded as if they didn’t count. Isn’t that just as bad as leaving blacks out of history.

When I questioned this all I got was, what the book was looking for. I was taught that if a question can have more than one answer, then the question wasn’t a valid question. I still hold that unless the question asked who was the first non Native American who settles Chicago, then my daughter’s answer was correct.

Now I am not just upset because she got an answer wrong, she still got an A in the class, but it’s the inconsistencies, and the "read and mindlessly regurgitate, what the other person wants to hear" that I don’t like. Then I remember the Aspergers.

When someone asks me how I feel, I don’t just nod and say fine, I tell them. My dad always says, “What ya doing” when he calls you on the phone. I don’t say, not much, or “waiting for you to call” like he does. I tell him! Even if I am writing code or something else really technical. And if you ask me if your outfit makes you look fat, I’ll tell you. Why would I let you wear something that looks awful on you if I can help it. If you don't want the answer, don't ask. Not very good at chit chat am I.

So that’s what it’s like in my world

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