There have been discussions among teachers about whether they should talk about the presidential election this year due to the nature of the candidates (mainly Donald Trump). First of all, let me begin by saying I am no fan of censored speech. Free speech is one of the most vital parts of our freedom as American citizens and we must teach our children the value and necessity of keeping it.
This election is one like we have never seen. The candidates are less than savory, which has caused heated debates and has even damaged friendships.
A branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center (with an obvious left-wing, slanted view) called Teaching Tolerance took a survey of 2,000 teachers regarding this year’s election. The survey revealed that a startling 40 percent of teachers were hesitant to teach about the upcoming election. The reasoning? The teachers cited concerns that teaching about the election might somehow dredge up ethnic and racial tensions. Instead of seizing the opportunity to teach and have open dialogue about what children may be feeling regarding our country, some would rather play the very typical race and victim cards instead.
According to a recent article published by Fast Company, teachers have been silenced by school administrators who are prohibiting them from teaching anything regarding the elections, with pushback also coming from parents. Louise Dubé, who is the director of a nonprofit called iCivics, said in the article that “teachers right now are afraid to teach the election. An election is part of a democratic process, it shouldn’t be something scary.”
Headlines such as “Racist Election Rhetoric Makes Its Way into the Classroom” and “Rise in School Bullying Connected to US Election” are fine examples of how many educators would rather play the blame game than have to teach anything that may be uncomfortable or may challenge the narrative. Even with all of Hillary Clinton’s very bad choices and unethical behavior, most of the articles I came across targeted Trump, giving ‘Ol Hill a pass.
Still, some educators are filled with excitement about the challenge of teaching during a not-so-typical election cycle, which I applaud. The New York Times published an article and their readers responded with enthusiasm. One commenter named Andrea writes,
I’m looking forward to this challenge. In my weekly civics class with 7th and 8th graders, I’ll be taking a sociological approach, looking at, as one other poster put it “the demographic breakdown on who supports which candidates.” Will bias emerge? Absolutely–my classroom tends to “run blue,” and there are comments made by one candidate in direct opposition of our teaching on race, class and gender. Nonetheless, I hope to have it emerge more from the students than their teacher.
Annette shares a similar sentiment, saying:
The current presidential election magnifies the significance of teaching our children to be critical thinkers. Even our youngest students need to begin to differentiate between fact and opinion, discuss and learn to identify an author’s viewpoints and analysis [sic] an argument. Students need to learn how to examine media from various sources and determine their credibility. I teach early elementary resource and will wait for an opportunity to collaborate with the teachers who have my students most of the day and decide as a team how to proceed on teaching specifically about the election.
Teaching your children about values that include respect, how to treat people, and humility begins at home. The idea that it “takes a village” to raise your child and that you can leave it up to the collective left-wing public school administrations to teach about this election is naive and dangerous. Have discussions as a family as to why you, as parents, are supporting or not supporting a candidate. Arm your kids with truthful information so they are able to join in on the debate when the opportunity arises.