July 04, 2010

America, the Beautiful: Separating church and state, not students

Janet (in red) and Brian (in stripes) join fellow
parents at a public elementary school
ceremony honoring their children

When I count the myriad blessings of being an American, I picture my friends Janet and Brian and their children participating in what is normal here yet not in every country. Here in the USA, in each state and county, one public education system serves citizens, new immigrants, asylum seekers, and visitors.

In the photo, my friends, who are Christian, are sitting behind a Jewish dad (identified by his skull cap) and in front of a Muslim mom and dad (identified by her head scarf). And, who knows how many deities (or none) the hundreds of other parents and special guests in that cafeteria-turned-auditorium worship? It's worth knowing because differences are interesting, and exploring them provides curriculum content no less critical than traditional subjects.

Despite our democratic principles and best efforts, on this Independence Day, let's —
  • Work to increase funding for public education
  • Advocate training of administrators and educators to celebrate differences
  • Urge expanding educational opportunities, and delivering them to all students. 
Happy birthday, America.

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Anonymous said...

What a great picture on your blog! Did you know what you were capturing? It’s so amazing to get the three approaches/cultures/religions all in one little picture in a school cafeteria. But I guess that was your point, right?!

Tamar said...

Yes, the school cafeteria scene blew my mind when I saw it. And I knew it was a keeper, something to store for the right moment, blog post, conversation. A fellow blogger who read this post e-requested me permission to copy the photo, with credit to me. I'm glad pluralism gladdens (some) folks.

Anonymous said...

We need good education and participating parents. Hopefully childeren will make friends, appreciate diversity, and the melting pot will keep us unique and make us one at the same time.