|Back to Sept. Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 164||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||SEPTEMBER 1999|
|From our Mail Bag |
|Letters to the Editor of Education Reporter|
It was interesting to read your report regarding "death education" at Columbine High School. It reminded me of the curriculum I endured almost 15 years ago at Centerville High School in Dayton, Ohio.
Our senior English course included trips to cemeteries, funeral homes, etc. We were able to see first-hand how a body is embalmed or incinerated into ashes. We explored tombstones, wrote epitaphs.
I remember being required to read the incredibly awful and depressing novel, Ordinary People, among other books that dealt with the subject of suicide, specifically teen suicide. We were even treated to the movie version of Ordinary People starring the pro-death Mary Tyler More and Taxi's Judd Hirsch.
To top off the course, we were shown a video of the congressman who shot his
head off on national television during a congressional session. I forget who he was, but I believe he was from Pennsylvania.
Watching this gruesome horror was supposedly "optional" - the tape was played just as the bell to end class was ringing. I was the only student in the class who chose not to watch the video. And although I did not see the horror show, I was unable to flee the room quickly enough, and heard the shot that the congressman fired into his mouth.
Now that's death education!
Michael S. Rose, Editor
I want to tell you about an incident that happened to me while substituting in a public high school in Knoxville, TN.
It was an English class where the teacher, first of all, obviously had no discipline in the classroom. When I read the plans for the day, I nearly passed out.
Stating that Edgar Allan Poe was the "father of all mysteries" was questionable enough, but the assignment was this: "Write a 'mystery' in which you (the students) assume the role of the 'insane killer.' We will read them out loud to the class when I return."
I regret not taking a strong Christian stand by tossing the assignment in the garbage and creating my own. I have often thought of this since the incident happened, but it's too late now to go back and correct it. I can only imagine the other assignments that this particular teacher has thought up since I was there that day.
Needless to say, I vowed then never to go back into that classroom. Consequently, I now homeschool my children. We are all quite satisfied with the results.
God bless your quest to stand up for morals and decency in our decaying country!
When my son Chris was 11, he entered the 5th grade at a U.S. Air Force school for military dependents located at our base (RAF Alconbury) in England. There were two 5th grade teachers, Mr. Meecham and Ms. Johnson. Parents were given a choice of teachers - either Mr. Meecham, who was a "traditionalist," or Ms. Johnson, who was a "progressive." My wife and I chose Mr. Meecham, and thank heavens we did.
The result of that one special year with that one special teacher had a lasting impact on the education of Chris. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1990, has been flying F-16s for years, and is a good all-around human being. (I am partial, of course.)
When I see the present education system being torn apart by those you mention in your many articles, I cannot help but wonder why all parents couldn't have the same simple choices we had. If all parents (or even a few for test purposes) could select either the Meecham method or the Johnson method, we would soon put to rest which method the parents prefer and see which method works best.
But no, the educational elite know best. The Republicans want to write off public education in favor of privatization and the Democrats want to repair what ails education with a few more dollars and a few less standards.
Thanks for your many fine articles.