Letter: Snap out of it – We should be celebrating America

Posted 7/8/21

A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor, my first in a long time. I thought it was important to do my small part to weigh-in on the local diatribe regarding critical race theory and its first …

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Letter: Snap out of it – We should be celebrating America

Posted

A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor, my first in a long time. I thought it was important to do my small part to weigh-in on the local diatribe regarding critical race theory and its first cousin, diversity/equity/inclusion.

I can tolerate the extended opinions on these topics but I did, and still do, get upset seeing civic minded people/groups engage in such pointless wrangle. When intelligent adults are unable to agree on what something is or isn’t, our community/society is in trouble. Making good decisions starts with first being able to identify the precise problem to be resolved. If this can’t be done, as is apparently so, then our leadership is stuck in a classic quagmire.

The point I tried to make in my previous letter was, let's start listening to each other and being truthful because our children are effected by all of this and may even be listening. At the Bristol Parade I had a conversation with a friend about these topics. He had just heard that the largest teachers’ union (National Education Association) decided “it is reasonable and appropriate for social studies curriculum to be informed by academic frameworks for understanding and interpreting the impact of the past on current society, including critical race theory.” I told him I had been told by one of our school board members that CRT is something that is not being taught in our district.

His son, who is studying to be a teacher, was listening to our conversation and asked us THE perfect question, “Why does the teacher’s union say one thing and the local school board say something else on this subject? I just want to teach the facts of history and to encourage debate on things unsettled.” My friend and I just looked at each other; he’ll make a fine teacher provided current events don’t discourage him.

Since hearing this, I realize now, more than ever, that our children are listening. This future teacher asked me what I could do to sort out this contentiousness. I felt so impotent. I’m not a School Board member, an educator or an elected official. But I am a citizen and a Bristol property taxpayer. As such, I have a responsibility to speak out for what I believe is best for our school aged children.

Words matter, so let’s start listening to what each side is saying and try to understanding their meaning. The alphabet soup of words/phrases associated with Critical Race Theory needs to be streamlined so ALL parents can understand what is going on in their schools. With the national news media unlikely to tone down its rhetoric as party politics prevail, I think it is time for this conversation to “go local” so good decisions on curriculum and teaching resources can be made as our children return to school in a few weeks.

So let’s snap out of it. It’s time to get back to basics, disavow divisiveness and discover common ground as we celebrate America this July 4th.

Craig Evans
Bristol

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Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.