On Monday, Louisiana’s House Committee on Education met with Louisiana Department of Education for an update on the social studies standards development. The focus of the meeting was procedure. Parents also expressed concern about the curriculum.
The meeting began in House Committee Room 6. Vice Chair Mark Wright consulted with the Speaker of the House to ensure there would be accommodations for everyone. He announced that a satellite room was available for those wanting a “totally masked” environment. Few, if any, felt strongly enough to leave the room. This was much different than the Health & Welfare meeting where people were physically removed over the issue.
The meeting moved to House Committee Room 5 due to technical difficulties. Dr. Jenna Chaisson gave a power point presentation. This explained the procedure but did not go into content/curriculum. Dr. Cade Brumley encouraged all stakeholders to use a Department of Education portal to submit public comments on content. The portal is open for the entire month of October.
Representative Stephanie Hilferty pointed out the difficulty in navigating the Department of Education website. She explained how difficult it is for those familiar with the site. She added that those likely trying to submit comment would be mothers chasing children around.
No Longer Identifying Failing Schools?
According to Dr. Brumley, only 25% of Louisiana students are mastering current Social Studies content. Dr. Brumley also stated that 117,000 Louisiana students are in D or F schools. Conveniently, at Tuesday’s meeting, BESE discussed doing away with letter grades for schools this year. How does doing this contribute to transparency?
Teach History, Not Hate
When it was time for public comment, it was clear that parents were more concerned about content than procedure. The most common worry was Critical Race Theory (CRT). While we agree all history is important, we should not teach children to hate each other.
Instead of listening to what parents had to say, Representative Tammy Phelps tormented them over their word choices. At one point she claimed she did not know what a red flag is.
Back to the Basics
We did not pay the Department of Education $3.9 billion to shift culture. The last speaker, David Eaton, pointed out how important it is to return to the basics of education.
“We’ve gotten away from the core basics of learning, for our children. We’ve gotten into the weeds. Just like this discussion today. We’ve gotten into the weeds of Critical Race Theory. We’ve gotten into the weeds of socialism. We’ve gotten into the weeds of teaching our children things that don’t pertain to them reading and writing. There were some horrific statistics given in the beginning of this committee meeting and you can look, were almost last in all of education. And why is that? Because we’ve lost our focus on what’s really important. What’s really important is teaching our kids to read and write and add and multiply.”
David Eaton’s testimony should give pause to everyone. Maybe it is time for us to get out of the weeds and back to what is really important.
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