Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

The new Seattle School Board has its work cut out for them. See the latest.

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 13, 2007

With thanks to www.Orbusmax.com for the alert.

To see political correctness at its best, read the below letter from the Seattle School District to all its teachers and staff. To express your opinion to the current seven member Board, go to

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/contact.xml 

and e-mail Board members. Four new members will be sworn in on November 28th so don’t forget to check back to contact the newbies. By the way, whatever happened to the tradition of taking one day a year to thank God for our blessings; to focus on the positive without having to balance every good with a bad.

November 8, 2007

Dear Seattle Public Schools Staff:

We recognize the amount of work that educators and staff have to do in order to fulfill our mission to successfully educate all students.  It’s never as simple as preparing and delivering a lesson.  Students bring with them a host of complexities including cultural, linguistic and social economic diversity.  In addition they can also bring challenges related to their social, emotional and physical well being.  One of our departments’ goals is to support you by suggesting ways to assist you in removing barriers to learning by promoting respect and honoring the diversity of our students, staff and families. With so many holidays approaching we want to again remind you that Thanksgiving can be a particularly difficult time for many of our Native students. This website

 http://www.oyate.org/resources/shortthanks.html

offers suggestions on ways to be sensitive of diverse experiences and perspectives and still make the holiday meaningful to all students. 

Here you will discover ways to help you and your students think critically, and find resources where you can learn about Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective.  Eleven myths are identified about Thanksgiving, take a look at #11 and begin your own deconstruction. Myth #11:  Thanksgiving is a happy time Fact:  For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation.  As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship. It is our goal as a District to strive towards being inclusive and aware of the needs of all our students by respecting and honoring the many cultural experiences of our students, staff and families.  This does not mean that schools and staff have to avoid recognizing Thanksgiving, but rather calls upon each of us to be sensitive and mindful of every child in our classroom. We appreciate your willingness to struggle with these complex issues by considering the impact on many of our Native students when teaching about Thanksgiving in traditional ways.  If you have any questions or need assistance planning or preparing for any holiday, please feel free to contact the Department of Equity, Race and Learning Support at 252-0138.

Respectfully,

Caprice D. Hollins, Psy.D.Director of Equity, Race & Learning Support

Willard Bill, Jr., Program ManagerHuchoosedah Office of Native American Educ

Janine Tillotson, Consulting TeacherHuchoosedah Office of Native American Educ.  

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