An opportunity lost
My daughter just brought an article on the cancellation of the wax museum at Frank Porter Graham elementary school to my attention.
I strongly disagree with the notion that the children are too young to grasp the idea of the Holocaust. Tell me. Were over a million children exempt from being slaughtered during the war because they were too young to comprehend what was happening? I think not.
I fear that because of attitudes similar to Mr. Abramson’s and Ms. Bivins’, our children will not comprehend what an atrocious time in world history the 1930s and 1940s were. History doesn’t weed out the young and ill informed, it swallows them alive.
I believe the correct response would have been to guide the children who chose “controversial” characters to be sure that they brought forth a message that could begin to be understood by their classmates and parents. Anne Frank was about 11 when Kristallnact occurred – not much older than the children in the grade. Her story is relatable to younger children. The Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., also has a section of the museum geared toward younger children.
History needs to be shared with everyone regardless of age, not hidden from sight because it might be upsetting, or controversial or confusing.
As a Jew, occurrences like what has happened at Frank Porter Graham sadden me to no end. An opportunity has been lost and once again a portion of our history is being marginalized for fear that it might be “offensive”.
The article goes on to say (I paraphrase) that given the current political climate some of the characters chosen might cause controversy or be considered offensive. Again, an opportunity for actual education is being lost. Every historical event is steeped in controversy and can be construed as offensive to some party or another. What becomes the litmus test for what is taught? Slavery and and the “Trail of Tears” are OK to teach, but aspects of the Holocaust and the encampment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War are too controversial? George Washington was the “father of our country,” but his slave ownership is glossed over.
Perhaps if we were better informed of what the past was truly like in our own education and if we were taught, at a much earlier age, the unpleasantness of history, we wouldn’t have the “current political situation” that we are in.
Head in the sand
This subtitute teacher has gagged on the gnat and forced the school and its students to swallow the camel.
It is the substitute and the faculty’s job to make sure the students’ choices are put in historical perspective rather than becoming trivialized.
Such a costume could serve as a beacon in the students’ minds of the reality of Hitler and his autrocities and an opportunity make sure that we as the world’s citizens never let a Holocaust occur again. Instead, she would place her head and learning in the sand as well as blind the students.
Not in third grade
This is not about suppressing history at all. These are third graders! Does anyone really think that 8-year-olds have the capacity to comprehend the scale and depth of the suffering, murder and destruction that Hitler wrought?
Having third graders parade around as Hitler is no history lesson, it is an insult and offense to the memory of the millions whose lives were destroyed. When kids are mature enough to really process this information (middle school?) then it should be taught with thoughtfulness and sensitivity – with an emphasis on empathizing with the victims not putting on a Hitler costume.
High school paper
Reminds me of a project I had in high school English. The paper’s subject was someone who made a significant impact on history. I chose Charles Manson. Not because he was a great guy or anything. But the whole story was fascinating. In the end ... A-.
An amazing educator
Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful interview with Dr. Emily Bivins (CHN, Nov. 6). Great to hear how she handled it, how they’re moving forward. Dr. Bivins is an amazing educator. The schools sytem is lucky to have her.
Melissa Ussery Intintolo
via editor’s Facebook page
Eight is enough
If Richard Burr and John McCain have disqualified themselves for public office then I guess Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Charles Schummer are also disqualified because they advocated the same thing – not approving Supreme Court nominees.
The fact of the matter is that the Constitution does not require approval of nominees and there is no reason why Republicans should approve nominees who are radical leftists. Better to let the Supreme Court go on as it is with just eight justices.
It’s really rich to see the writer (What You’re Saying, CHN, Sept. 6) declaim that the legal system is not an institution with which to manipulate for political purposes. I agree with the writer, but this is exactly what Barack Obama and the Democrats have done by rewriting laws that they didn’t like, enforcing or not enforcing other laws , using the IRS to harass conservative groups and using the Justice Department to cover up Hillary Clinton’s crimes.
Vincent M. DiSandro Sr.
A different approach on housing
I am writing with regard to the Oct. 30 article “Bond would help 1000+ call Orange County home.” Though I am a supporter of the bond, I don’t believe this will sufficiently address the scope of the problem. I have been following the issue of affordable housing since returning to the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area in 2000, and served on the Orange County Affordable Housing Task Force for three years.
I have come to the conclusion that all of the best-intended efforts, of the local governments and Community Home Trust and others, will not provide an adequate solution at the current rate of effort. Land is simply too valuable and expensive within the boundaries of the two towns and within the growth boundary.
I would like to propose a completely different approach: Orange County, possibly in conjunction with Adamance County, should prepare a proposal for a public-private partnership that would create a completely new community within commuting range of Carrboro-Chapel Hill. This might be out Highway 54 or near the UNC Health Care complex in Hillsborough. There would be a variety of types of housing, with an emphasis on homes and apartments of less than 1,500 sq. ft., and small yards with larger common areas.
My vision would be a mini-version of a planned town like Reston, Virgnia. I think the biggest challenge will be water and sewer – this new town may need to develop its own independent water-sewer authority. Another issue will be transportation. My recommendation would be to develop as many transit options as possible, recognizing that many people who work at UNC Hospitals and various other employers work evening and night shifts. The community would probably need vans and buses of various sizes, that could run at a frequency consistent with demand; e.g., don’t put a 40-seat bus on a route to pick up 10 people in Chapel Hill at 6 a.m. on Sunday. Transit should be subsidized in part or whole by employers, especially for low-wage employees. If you happen to be on Highway 54 at around 4 p.m. on a weekday, you can see the already-significant volume of commuters (single-occupancy vehicles) heading out to homes all along that route, for many miles to Mebane and other towns.
I have not looked closely at Chatham Park, but it’s possible that this development might provide lessons for a smaller-scale, but much needed, housing-oriented development within commuting distance of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The extent to which the new community would be mixed-use, with a grocery being a critical component, would be dependent on the rate of population growth needed to sustain uses other than housing.
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