On Saturday April 9, Macon County FreedomWorks sponsored the John Locke Foundation speaker Dr. Terry Stoops. He spoke out against centralized (public) education and in favor of charter schools. Most revealing was his stance against cultural awareness.
According to the April 14 edition of the Macon County News, Stoops stated that a minimal national curriculum “…would incorporate many of the things our kids don’t need to know, like the multiculturalism, like the cultural awareness and those sorts of things that really divert a child’s attention from being able to read and write as they should.”
In response, cultural awareness does not take away from core reading and writing skills. If anything, it reinforces these skills as students read passages written by people from various backgrounds and respond to them in writing. Cultural awareness also increases critical thinking skills.
Secondly, if children don’t learn understanding and acceptance of people from other backgrounds, they may not learn it all. This can lead to unnecessary tension, hard feelings, and even hate crimes.
Finally, we are but a minority in the world, and we hurt ourselves if we don’t equip our children with the tools necessary to successfully deal with people of all backgrounds. As we grow economically, we need to have partners around the world to trade with who we can find common ground with.
We need to build bridges among cultures.
This is America at its best.
Dan Kowal — Franklin, N.C.