Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

    As you have probably already heard, the government of Ron DeSantis has decreed that teachers must teach that slaves learned “useful skills.” The outrage is justly large on the left, but a good teacher could use this to teach just how bad slavery was. Just use facts and logic.
    Sure, if one wanted to pick cotton one’s whole life you were taught “useful skills.” Likewise, if one wanted to make license plates the rest of one’s life, then should we all be imprisoned to teach us a “useful skill?” Is this what we should be doing as a society?
    ”Here’s a slogan….” she could say.

    “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

(Teacher translates.)
    Found at the entrance of a Nazi concentration camps, I’m sure those who worked hard learned how to dig ditches, dump urinals, dig graves for fellow prisoners; MAY have learned “useful skills.” If they lived to use them. If they weren’t shot because it pleased the commandant. Should we as a class start our own concentration camp and do all that?
    Those who survived the Titanic learned survival skills, even if it meant cheating others out of being on one of the too few boats. Again if they survived, for many of those poor folks didn’t survive.
    HEY students! Instead of Math, Science, English, History we should have real life courses like Titanic Survival, Concentration Camp 101, Prison Life. Put students, day after day, year after year, under these real life and death situations. Surely you’ll learn useful skills. Accuse one black boy of whistling at a white girl and Emmett Till them. (Explain the history.) Of course white kids need to learn too, accuse them of whistling at a black girl and do the same. Kids will learn REAL fast they can be falsely accused and keep their head low, always be observant, protest nothing, say, “Yes, Masa” to their teachers. The next lesson could have some classmates accused trying to register blacks to vote, murder them then bury them in a rural field. Next year accuse blacks of trying to register whites and do the same to them.
    Useful skills! Learning to not react at all, stay away.
    Then the teacher brings it home…
    So, after I offered just a few of absurd examples, I ask, “Should ‘useful skills’ be how we rearrange classes, how we should be teaching, how we should phrase abominations like slavery? Does the ‘useful skills’ standard prove anything?”
    AND MOST IMPORTANT: “Does the useful skills standard make slavery a justified institution? Does it excuse ANYTHING when it comes to slavery?”
    I am NOT suggesting the teacher actual DO any of these horrible things. This is talk, discussion: the object is to get students THINKING. Use examples while talking about “useful skills” to show the absurdity of the “useful skills” standard.
    Of course the teacher could get in a lot of trouble and I would suggest, hopefully with the help of like minded teachers, be ready not only to defend that teacher in court, but counter sue. Have plenty of news reporting on this. Be ready for FOX/Newsmax/OAN spin and have those exposed too, nationally. This could be turned into a national referendum on the “useful skills” standard.
    Who knows, except those on the hardest core right, adults will learn something. I’m not worried about the kids, but those who think this standard may be good. And through thoughtful education we will have smarter, more thoughtful, students; and hopefully therefore smarter, more thoughtful, adults.


    “Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2023
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

By Ken Carman

Entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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