Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I love my country, but fear its government

So the Department of Education released its first draft of the new social studies standards. The first thing that stands out is "The student will understand..." and "The student will recognize..." From teacher school, we learn that you have to describe what you want in a way that is observable and measurable.

The bigger issue that comes to mind, with tomorrow being Patriot Day (as opposed to Patriot's Day, is: Is it the social studies teacher's job to teach citizenship, or patriotism? If you have read Lies My Teacher Told Me, you would probably say it has been patriotism. Personally, I want my students to be able to think critically. It's tough, though, because the conservatives have framed everything as "if you don't unconditionally support the President, you are a bad American." Even the biggest threat to everyone's civil rights is called "the PATRIOT Act." If you're against the Patriot Act (which includes secret trials, and the government being able to look at your library records), you must be ant-American.

The next 14 months are going to be the (latest) turning point in our country's history. If Bush slips in the polls, will Osama and Saddam suddenly turn up? My guess is about three weeks before Election Day. If not, how about declaring a state of emergency, suspending the Constitution, and cancelling the elections? It's been done in other countries...

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