Diverse NJ textbooks? Great, if they include EVERYBODY (Opinion)
There's a bill making it's way through the legislature that would require New Jersey schools to only buy textbooks that accurately reflect the diversity of society, such as by gender, race, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.
Says State Senator Theresa Ruiz of Essex: “Our students only see through one lens of what American history looks like when in fact we know it was much richer and much greater. And we just want to be sure that every child in the state gets an opportunity to really witness curriculum that is inclusive of all of them.”
To which State Senator Mike Dougherty of Warren counters: “This just seems to be moving into a whole realm that’s rather disturbing, that the government would want to reach that far into the minds of people, to control them and what they see and what they get.”
Personally I'm all for teaching diversity in the schools, but only if it includes every ethnicity. Along with the African American contribution, let's talk about the contributions of the Italians, the Irish, Polish people, Jewish people, Latino people and Muslims as well as the many others who came to this country with nothing, worked hard to assimilate into American society and become among the middle class that's footing the bill for those textbooks with their tax dollars.
That's just to name a few.
PBS has a great series called "The Italian Americans." There's "The Irish in America," and "The Jewish Americans." None of these people were welcomed here with open arms, by the way. But they followed their dreams regardless of the situation to create a better life for their children, who would grow up and make this the great country that it is today. I think if children of these and other nationalities were taught about their American heritage, it would spark curiosity and family conversation.
One of the best ideas/regrets I got after my father, Albert Trevelise, passed away in 2015 was to have his grandson Albert interview him on camera. "Albert on Albert." Every Saturday my Dad would come over and we'd all sit at the kitchen table drink coffee and he'd tell the old stories of his life. He would also hold court at the yearly reunion of the submarine he was on in Workd War II, The USS Ronquil. I think kids would be more interested in history if they learned the part their family played in it.
Now if you're going to do this, you're probably going to have to eliminate a lot of stuff because there are only 180 days in the school year. OR we could just print the historical facts in this country as they happened and let the student decide what to do with the information.