Monday, March 27, 2023

Ron's Gone Wrong, Con't

Understand that Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis's "anti-woke" legislation governing what students are allowed to learn is working as intended, allowing a single parent to veto an entire school district's lessons.
The Disney movie “Ruby Bridges,” which tells the tale of a 6-year-old who integrated New Orleans schools in the 1960s, has been a staple of Pinellas County Black History Month lessons for years.

It never caused a stir until this year, as parents across Florida exert increased powers to question what children can see and read in schools.

A North Shore Elementary parent who would not allow her child to watch the film in early March later complained that it wasn’t appropriate for second graders. In a formal challenge dated March 6, Emily Conklin wrote that the use of racial slurs and scenes of white people threatening Ruby as she entered a school might result in students learning that white people hate Black people.

Pinellas school officials responded by removing the movie from use by all students at the St. Petersburg school until a review committee can assess it — a step that is drawing strong opposition

A countywide group that represents the interests of Black children in Pinellas public schools has sent an open letter to the community questioning why one parent’s complaint resulted in actions that affect all families at the school.

”Many from historically marginalized communities are asking whether this so-called integrated education system in Pinellas County can even serve the diverse community fairly and equitably,” wrote Ric Davis, president of Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students. The group has been active for years, often working with school district officials and at times battling them in court.

The controversy follows a heated dispute earlier this year over the banning of Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” from all district high schools after one parent complained about a two-page rape scene. District officials cited new state law and a rule telling them to “err on the side of caution” when considering whether books should be used in classrooms and libraries.

The state’s guidelines, which some have called vague, have led to book challenges and bans by the dozens throughout Florida.

“The (Pinellas) district’s leadership appears to fear the potential consequences of not acting in the way they have on these two decisions,” Davis wrote in the open letter. “This approach to challenging times in education in our state raises serious questions about Superintendent (Kevin) Hendrick’s leadership.”

Davis acknowledged the political climate in Florida has educators second-guessing themselves about what materials to use in classes. Lawmakers have made clear that they don’t want books, movies or lessons about race to create student discomfort, though they also have said they want facts presented honestly.
And of course, these are incompatible goals. American history *is* and *should be* uncomfortable, because American history is a bloody, ugly mess where people were hurt and killed over the subject of race and the color of their skin. The Civil Rights era is less than 70 years old. The struggle for those rights *is* American history.
But now we have Florida, making removal of discomfort for white kids more important than those same kids learning the truth about America, and worse, the new "truth" is a watered-down excuse for the continuation of America's default settings of white supremacy, where the feelings of white kids supercede the history of Black kids.

And once you get rid of history, you can rewrite it how you see fit.

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