In the Oct. 13 Herald, Durango School District 9-R board candidate Donna Gulec cautioned against “diverting scarce educational resources away from teaching reading, writing and math, toward making schools into political activism training grounds.”
First, what is wrong with teaching students about the benefits of active citizen participation? Both the Colorado Educational Standards and the National Social Studies Standards include this as a part of successful classrooms. In Colorado, our high school students must be ready to participate in civil society by “researching and formulating positions on local, state and national issues or policies'' (Civics #1).
In addition, why can’t we use funds for reading, writing, math and civic participation at the same time? Social studies and science classrooms are literacy classrooms in which students can build key literacy skills through real-life, rich topics. According to The National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE 1995), “educational experiences are more authentic and of greater value to students when the curricula reflects real life, which is multifaceted rather than being compartmentalized into neat subject-matter packages.”
With increased cross-curricular educational instruction, students can learn the value of active civic participation, build key foundational educational skills and be the leaders we need to carry us through the future’s challenges.