I enjoyed the Sept. 10 commentary by Roni Jo Draper and agree that classrooms are not politically neutral spaces. If any of you parents have perused textbooks over the years, then you have noticed changes, additions and deletions consistent with bias coming out of textbook committees in Texas and elsewhere. Teachers with competent university degrees must then work around these changes from firsthand knowledge they acquired in their own research.
Library censorship is another form of bias in schools, since many books worth reading are no longer available. Have you checked out your classroom “Weekly Readers” bookstore? Unbelievably boring, bland garbage written to captivate children’s eyes. If you’re lucky, there may be one old or new classic on sale by a competent writer inside somewhere.
Children carry their parents' biases to school with them every day just like a backpack, and this is normal, for it is what children learn at home. Have you noticed that one of the purposes of the “charter school” is to allow parents to make sure that a preferred bias is the one their children will hear every day?
The best classrooms encourage children to hear, discuss, and share various opinions with a teacher skilled at resurrecting multiple points of view along with relevant factual information followed by the question, “What do you think about that?” while students ponder in a safe environment. This begins in kindergarten. My personal mantra each day as a school teacher was: “The only rule that matters is the golden rule.” Go teachers!
Beverly Terry, Salt Lake City