Stand Up For America and Intelligence!

Ida May Fuller, the first recipient
Image via Wikipedia

People expect a lot from teachers.

We are expected to teach children to read, write, do math, understand science, appreciate history and think clearly.

We try hard.  We do our best and we try to be open to the best practices available for use. We buy supplies, we take work home, we come to school early and stay late

It has taken a while, but schools seem to be getting on the right track for reading, math and science.

Reading scores seem to be going up. Math scores seem to be rising. Science is getting more attention lately. Much more needs to be done, but what we’ve done so far is starting to work.

History and thinking seem to be areas where teachers struggle.

Some say it’s a matter of not enough time devoted and others say it’s a lack of resources.

Others say poor teaching is why students don’t appreciate history and can’t think clearly.

All the above is true, at least to some extent.

History and logic get short shrift in schools obsessed with raising reading and math test scores. Time and resources that might be devoted to history and reasoning are deployed elsewhere. For the most part, teachers are not encouraged to learn more about history and how to teach it.

That’s why we need your help.

We need newspaper editors, reporters and columnists, television commentators, political pundits, radio phone-in hosts and their readers, viewers or listeners to do something.


Stop exaggerating.

Stop misleading.

Stop blaming.

Stop making doomsday projections.

Stop name-calling.

Stop seeing a socialist around every corner while still planning to benefit from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Stop seeing a McCarthyite reactionary or Marxist revolutionary every time someone opposes something you support.

Stop treating Americans like morons, especially when they seem to want to be treated that way.

Stop treating Americans like morons, especially when they, in your humble opinion, act like morons.

Stop dumbing down your nation.

Every teacher knows that modeling is a powerful teaching tool.

Think about what you model as you go through your day.

Think about how what you say, and how you say it, teaches the next generation about what this country believes in and how it should conduct itself.

So stand up for what you believe, but also …

Be true to your values.

Understand that a dumb nation is a dangerous nation.

Understand that a dumb nation is a nation in danger.

Accept that the world is changing and the US is not exempt from that process.

Disagree all you want, but do it with intelligence, reason, style and respect.

Disagree, but do it with information, not obfuscation.

Remember history, not deny it.

Enlighten, not mislead.

Reveal, not revile.

Rejoice that we live in a nation that allows dissent.

Show the world how we make that freedom work for everyone’s benefit.

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5 Responses to Stand Up For America and Intelligence!

  1. John Slattery says:

    Dear Deven,
    I agree completely. One problem, though, is that even among the “educated”, even among teachers, there is a sizable percentage who believe a lot of drivel.
    Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain.
    But they DO struggle, and so should we.

    • Deven Black says:

      People will believe what they will. I don’t begrudge anyone their belief, but I do care how they express it and how they refer to the beliefs of others.

  2. Michael J says:

    Another thought provoking post to start a Sunday morning..Thanks.

    My two cents:
    “History and thinking seem to be areas where teachers struggle.”

    History and thinking are areas where everyone struggles. It ain’t just teachers. A quick romp through cable channels and most newspapers reveal that most of them are just doing a job. They don’t have a clue about very much.

    Watching or listening to the public “discourse” about health care or the “financial meltdown” are just the most recent examples of people who don’t know being forced to know because that’s why they get paid.

    The reality is that most of us are stupid about most things. The good news is that most of us are pretty smart about some things.

    If we could all just get past the notion that we have to talk about more than we know, the level of bullshit in the world would be much less.

  3. Kim Dorner says:

    wow. I love this. thanks

  4. Two thoughts:

    One, an eagle and a turkey react differently to the threat of a storm. A turkey runs under the barn, hoping the storm won’t come near. The eagle, on the other hand, leaves the security of its nest and spreads its wings to ride the air currents of the approaching storm, knowing they will carry it higher than it could soar on its own.

    Two, when an eagle is attacked by crows it doesn’t fight back. All it does is simply fly higher and higher, knowing that pretty soon the crows won’t be able to fly any higher. The eagle plays smart rather than lose its sensibility in the mindless games of small-thinking crows.

    May the eagles wisely astound the turkeys and crows.

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