Friday, February 09, 2024

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: Mark Woods: Duval Moms for Liberty looks at textbook, sees adults-only activity. (Jacksonville Florida Times-Union)

I finally talked for the first time when I was three years old. When I was ten years old, I interviewed New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes for my elementary school newspaper.  It was after Governor Hughes, later Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, spoke at the dedication of Camden County College, where my mom was a secretary.  She told me he was a busy man, and I told her, "I'll be right back." I walked right into the robing room, where the dignities were removing their academic robes.  My mom and dad and teachers encouraged me to ask questions, demand answers and expect democracy.  That's the American way.  As Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis said early in his career, "the most important political office is that of private citizen. " 

The Duval County Chapter of the so-called "Moms for Liberty" is once again expressing extremist, dopey, unAmerican views.  Their devilish ukase suggests children should be seen and not heard.  Their approach to our democracy is. beneath the dignity of a free people.  What an insult to our veterans, including guys like my father, who volunteered for service the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Empire of Japan. I am reminded of the Jimmy Stewart character's words to the mean, monopolistic, dishonest banker, Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore in It's A Wonderful Life, some dull Republicans and their cat's paws must think they're movie villains and the rest of us are "cattle," to be pushed around by plutocrats.  Joyless, juvenile jerks in Moms for Liberty are not worthy of belief.

  From Jacksonville Florida Times-Union:

Woods: Duval Moms for Liberty looks at textbook, sees adults-only activity

Mark Woods
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union

The Duval County chapter of Moms for Liberty sounded the alarm Sunday nightwith an X post.

And, to be clear, I’m not talking about an X-rated post but one on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The post from Duval MFL: “Parents – time to wake up to the pervasive theme of Social Studies education that aims to turn young children into activists. This is from elementary social studies textbook adopted by @DuvalSchools. Let’s get kids to master the three Rs and leave the advocacy to the adults.”

It included an attachment, a shot of something being taught in Duval County Public Schools.

I don’t know what I was expecting to find when I looked more closely at the attachment. But it wasn’t this.

Two pages, 240 and 241, from Lesson 15 in a social studies textbook, approved by the Florida Department of Education.

Brace yourself …

Good Citizens Learn About Their Community

Good citizens learn about their community. They think about problems that need to be solved. They research their community leaders.

There are many ways to learn about your community. You can watch the news or attend a meeting in the city or town hall. You can read articles online or in newspapers. You can ask questions about issues you don’t understand.

What do you do to learn about your community?

Good Citizens Hold Leaders to Their Promises

Leaders share ideas about how to solve problems in their community. Good citizens make sure leaders keep their promises.

Citizens can write letters or emails to leaders about their concerns. They can share ideas of their own. They can go to community meetings and talk about issues.

What ideas about your community do you have?

Textbook example of irony

That’s it.

Learn about your community and issues. Ask questions. Understand how citizens can be involved. Appreciate that this is part of being an American.

This isn’t some radical new educational curriculum. It sounds like what I remember from my Social Studies classes quite a few decades ago. We studied current events. We were taught how government was supposed to work. We were encouraged to ask questions. We wrote reports. And we were told how we, the people, could get involved.

Not that my friends and I cared much about the latter at the time. But it was the kind of thing the adults seemed to think we should be taught.

Now apparently Duval Moms for Liberty thinks children shouldn’t be taught this in school — or at least shouldn’t be led down a path to what it describes as activism.

That’s an adults-only activity. Kind of like a threesome.

I guess it’s understandable why MFL might not want kids studying current events these days. That might lead to asking questions about headlines involving Bridget Ziegler, one of MFL’s founders, and her husband, the former chairman of the Florida GOP, being “on the hunt for threesome partners” at the same time they were touting “family values.”

But set aside the hypocrisy of that sex scandal, and the irony of an advocacy group discouraging the teaching of advocacy. Go beyond the MFL book banning campaign that led author Jodi Picoult to say: “There is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent deciding a certain book is not right for her child. There is a colossal problem with a parent deciding that, therefore, no child should be allowed to read that book.”

This latest stance involving Duval social studies curriculum is surprising in a different way. It isn’t about one of the usual hot-button issues.

It’s about, of all things, the subversive acts of … citizenship?

'Encouraged and grateful'

Chris Hand literally wrote a book about citizenship with Bob Graham (“America, the Owner’s Manual.”) But when Hand saw the attachment that Moms for Liberty had shared, his first reaction was as the parent of two children in Duval schools.

“My response was to feel encouraged and grateful to Duval County Public Schools,” he said.

Hand often says the most important role in democracy is citizen. And he points out that our public education system was founded in part with the goal of helping teach young Americans their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

“So teaching students about citizenship is exactly in line with the goals of public education,” he said. “It’s something we should be doing more of, not less.”

He believes that some of the challenges in modern politics can be traced to a period when there was an absence of civics education in public school curriculum.

“And even when it was taught, how it was taught — more of a spectator citizenship, not participatory citizenship,” he said, adding that it’s encouraging to see us building on the requirement that every student has to take a semester of civics in middle school. “It’s something that isn’t a partisan issue and shouldn’t be an ideological issue.”

While some on X responded to the Duval Moms for Liberty post with somewhat snarky comments (guilty), Lauren Bankert Steif simply shared what the United States tells those hoping to become citizens, highlighting some of the responsibilities.

Stay informed of the issues affecting your community. ... Participate in the democratic process. .... Participate in your local community.

The acts and ideals of citizenship aren’t liberal or conservative. They’re American. They’re the kinds of things many of us learned about in school, along with the three Rs.

It is time to wake up to a pervasive theme, one where the rallying cries of “parental rights” and “government overreach” have led to this point, where Moms for Liberty looks at an elementary social studies textbook and sees adults-only material., (904) 359-4212


Joe said...

Got some cheesy neo fascist propaganda going on the St. Augustine Tea Party website. They live back in 2008.. still talking about Obama was a communist however no planned economy or elimination of private property happened. Do they even know what communism is? Is this the exaggeration that we typically see in those with certain mental health disorders or is this neo nazi propaganda?

Jimmy said...

Duval Karens for fascism. Holding the bundle of rods for the FGOP Patrick Batemans and various other religious whackos. Critical thinking is dead in Florida.