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Letter from a Los Angeles Middle School Teacher
By Larry Sand--09/26/05
Dear Congressman Tancredo,
I am an American history teacher at a public middle school in Los Angeles. Janet Levy mentioned to me that you are interested in the cultural disintegration of our public schools. I, too, am deeply offended to see the culture we live in either ignored or desecrated.
Coincidentally, just this past Friday we received our yearly calendar of events. There were five cultural celebrations listed:
1. 9/6/05 -- Latino Heritage Celebration
2. 10/31/05 -- Dia de la Muertos
3. 2/7/06 -- Underground Railroad play
4. 3/24/06 -- Hawaiian Day
5. 5/26/06 -- Unity Festival (more on this shortly)
And believe me, there will be more added to this list as the school year wears on. February is Black History Month, whish usually brings a veritable orgy of announcements extolling the achievements of blacks. African Dress Day is observed (primarily by the black students and teachers) and the assembly, the grand finale, is always a pip. The whole school is treated to the joys of African culture including, on occasion, a fertility dance put on by eleven to thirteen year olds. Actually, this latter event is good training, since a fair share of the students at my school will be intellectually equipped to be nothing more than exotic dancers when they leave Los Angeles Unified.
On a serious note, you will notice that not one event celebrates our American heritage -- Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton and Lincoln are never mentioned. That “dead white male” thing is alive and well in public education. Veterans Day? It’s a good day to go to the mall. The schools are closed but no one will tell you why. Flag Day? It is known at my school as “June 14th.”
The aforementioned Unity Day was formerly known as Multicultural Day. Only the name has changed. On this day the powers that be trot out a truly nauseating bunch of people. There is usually a homosexual telling the 11 to 13 year olds that, by golly, it is okay to be gay. Then we are treated to an Hispanic activist who claims that we need to stop spending money on war and buy more school books. And just for good measure, we get some former black street thug telling some pretty graphic stories about his life which are supposed to scare the kids straight, but in fact, sound pretty glamorous to some of them. Interestingly, this day is always the Friday before Memorial Day. I dutifully get on the PA that morning and explain to those who will listen what Memorial Day is about. I read a list of the former military men and women who work at my school and ask the students to thank them for their service. And that is it for Memorial Day. No speeches, no essays, no assemblies, no acknowledgement of the importance of fighting for your country.
Some of us older teachers (I am 57) are clearly unhappy about all this. (In fact, I have recently become an activist and could write a volume on the NEA, but I digress….) But, the 20- and 30- somethings seem to be just fine with the general trend. They have been brainwashed by the schools of education and see conservatives and patriots as unenlightened bogeyman. In fact, there are three teachers at my school who have posted a picture of Che Guevara in their classrooms. The most egregious one was 36”’ by 48” monster mounted in a very prominent place in an American history class. The teacher, who was Hispanic and an avowed socialist, was asked to remove it by the principal, who was a decorated Vietnamese vet. The teacher did not comply. No consequence. The music teacher had a smaller poster of the Argentinian revolutionary. Across the vast west wall in his room you see pictures of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Miles Davis. And in the middle of all this is Che. No one has asked him to take it down.
I could go on and on, but the plot will repeat, only with different characters. I will leave you with a brief speech I made to a small gathering at a “Support Our Troops” rally in LA in May of 2003. In any event, should you want any more information please get in touch. Andrew has my contact info.
Thank you, Congressman. It is very heartening to know that you are interested in this very important topic.
"I teach eighth grade here in Los Angeles. I'm here to talk briefly about
renewing our commitment to patriotism...more specifically I want to get patriotism
back into our schools. In the last twenty or thirty years, multiculturalism
has become the rage in our schools, supplanting patriotism. We must change
this trend! We love our family because it is our family. Our country is our
extended family, and we must love our country because it is our country. Our
country is not perfect, but of course we can love someone or something in spite
of its flaws.
How did we get here? The following excerpt is from Arthur Schlesinger's book, THE DISUNITING OF AMERICA: 'In 1974, after testimony from ethnic spokesmen denouncing the melting pot as a conspiracy to homogenize America, Congress passed the "Ethnic Heritage Studies Program Act" -- a statute that, by applying the ethnic ideology to all Americans, compromised the historic right of Americans to decide their ethnic identities for themselves. The act ignored those millions of Americans -- surely a majority -- who refused identification with any ethnic group. The ethnic upsurge (it can hardly be called a revival because it was unprecedented) began as a gesture of protest against the Anglocentric culture. It became a cult, and today it threatens to become a counterrevolution against the original theory of America as "one people," a common culture, a single nation.'
In schools, February is Black History Month. It is no longer the month of Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays. In my school, we had a multicultural festival on May 23rd with no mention of Memorial Day. June 14th is Flag Day. Los Angeles Unified will ignore it. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!! My generation experienced things very differently but, of late, we have traveled a very dangerous road. We are losing our national glue. In 1992, Pat Buchanan talked of a culture war. He was correct.
What to do, you ask? We must take back our schools. The liberals have been getting away with way too much for way too long. If you are moderate or a conservative, you must talk to people. Go to school board meetings and raise these issues. Go to PTA meetings and raise these issues. Talk to principals at your local schools. Write to your Congressman, your Assemblyman and your City Councilman. WE MUST TAKE BACK OUR SCHOOLS! WE MUST FIGHT BACK! WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE ANY MORE GROUND!
I'd like to close with a quote from an article by Thomas Sowell: “Shared moral principles enable people with a variety of backgrounds and interests to interact with one another within a commonly understood framework, but busybodies who Balkanize our morality, our language and our political life are destroying that framework.”
Patriotism is more than a sentiment. It is a necessity. To keep what history has presented to us, Americans must either love it or lose it. Balkanize America and you risk becoming the Balkans.'
Thank you very much for your time. See you on the front lines!"
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