To the Editor;
As a former educator of Pocahontas County, a Board of Education member, and a curriculum specialist, I feel compelled to respond to the diversity article dated March 18, 2021. Critical thinking skills can be successfully taught with many examples of excellent literature without exposing students to literature that has been deemed controversial and akin to “Fifty Shades of Gray.” At one time we had a list of appropriate reading material for each grade level. Working in minority schools in Maryland and in minority projects of West Virginia, I found no evidence of racism. This has become a political term that has been thrown around across the US. I served a student body as a supervisor in Maryland of 600 African Americans and one Caucasian child. No problems there with racism. I find that many people throwing around the term racism are actually, racist. If you resort to a four-letter word, you have not sufficiently developed an intellectual vocabulary and a vocabulary lesson using Marzano would be implemented.
As a reading, writing consultant with three classes towards a doctorate under my belt, my professors all enjoyed my sense of humor and style of writing. Taking a stand, creating compelling arguments with specific quotes from reading and including an alphabetized reference list was my weakness. Scholarly writing and learning the ins and outs of the APA level 7 format style would move these students who are college bound ahead of the curve. This is what should be taught in a high school English class.
In my experience, and I just retired last February at the early stages of the pandemic, I did not once hear the term racism and I worked in a minority majority school. Children do not see color unless they’re taught to see color. Children who are not exposed to four (4) letter words in their home, environment or in movies do not consistently use four (4) letter words.
That is not to say that reactions to racism should not be examined and discussed. As a certified high school English teacher and one who worked with a high school football team in a poverty, minority setting, I have found that using short scholarly articles provide the best source of information to read, discuss and write responses to address social issues.
My discussion in no way reflects on my appreciation of Mrs. Mann. Her husband was a favorite former student. We just disagree on the planning format. Pocahontas County should be immune to the indoctrination of our students. As a 20-year consultant teaching across 26 counties in West Virginia, I’m stunned at the controversy facing my home county.
In closing, I noticed a comment in the article by Owens Brown, WV NAACP in which he used as the gold standard, the BLM movement. This movement started in 2015 with the chant, “Pigs in a blanket, Fry them like Bacon.” This organization is not the gold standard. It is a political organization and not a social justice movement which initiated the distrust of police.
In summary, I’ll close with a gold standard person, Dr. Ben Carson who just recently stated, “ In classrooms across the US, our kids are being indoctrinated with lies about our history and heroes. Values are being replaced by toxic theories that divide us by race and gender.”
Don’t allow this to happen to my beloved Pocahontas County. Parents, stand your ground! Teachers, be willing to listen to the fears of toxicity invading every aspect of our society.
Port St. Lucie, Florida