Tuesday, September 29, 2020


News from the Howard County schools files: there continues to be a vocal chunk of residents who believe that mask wearing and public health decisions to combat coronavirus are a threat to the community unto themselves. I’m serious. They are pinning all ills to mask-wearing and school closures. Everything would be fine if we’d just open up everything. 

Interestingly enough, there does seem to be significant cross-over in this group to people who believe that addressing issues of race makes you a racist.

My head hurts.

Why do we care so much about our school system and want so much for our kids to learn and succeed if we are completely opposed to using the expertise and good sense that comes from a good education to deal with the challenges in our lives? Ignoring COVID-19 neither prevents the spread nor finds treatment or cure. Ignoring racism: same.

Not talking about things because they trouble us has never been a recipe for success. The first thing that comes to mind for me is how girls and women were long kept in ignorance about sexuality and their own bodies. This didn’t make anyone more happy, wholesome, nor pure, but rather led to fear, manipulation, abuse, subjugation, and often illness or death. 

Education is meant to open up worlds, not make them smaller. Whether our children learn the scientific method, explore artistic expression, develop critical thinking skills, or examine the rise and fall of ancient cultures, they are engaged in a process that involves growth and change. If you do not want your children to have these life experiences, why on earth do you want them to be in school? That’s what school is all about! 

Taking precautions to prevent the spread of disease does not make you a fan of disease. Talking about racism does not make you a racist. (Talking about sex doesn’t make you a slut, either, for what that’s worth.) But trying to shut down legitimate conversations about difficult topics in our community does make you something: anti-education. And I’m not so keen on letting the anti-education folks have a go at being in the driver’s seat in Howard County. 

Who knows what they won’t want us to talk about next?

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