Current/Recent Reading List

19 October 2006

Flags That Will Fly, and Comments That Won't

I'm cautiously excited and optimistic about the new Clint Eastwood-directed film, "Flags of Our Fathers". If you haven't read the book, by James Bradley (son of one of the flag raisers from the famous Iwo Jima photo), it is well worth the time and effort (and I dare you not to cry at least once). Not sure when I'll see it, but I'm going to. Come on, Clint, don't mess it up like you (or the screenwriter) did at the end of "Million Dollar Baby".

Speaking of flags, the NC Senate passed a bill last session that makes saying the pledge of allegiance mandatory once a day in all public schools. It is mandatory, that is, for teachers to provide this opportunity to their kids once a day, though the kids cannot be forced to participate. After finally getting flags put in all our classrooms, we started this week.

We've been told that, although no child has to say the pledge, they should be given a referral if they do not at least behave respectfully while the rest of us recite it. Seems fair enough to me, all around.

But, want to know what will set a bunch of teachers off in a heartbeat at my school? A few weeks ago, when this was announced, the newly hired English as Second Language Teacher raised her hand and said, "Well, I myself am not an American citizen, and many of my kids are not, and they may not feel comfortable saying this."

Whoa. For the moment, forget about the merits (or lack of) of her point. Has this woman ever heard of, well, diplomacy? Leaden bricks dropped from the sky could not have made a louder thud.

And, it took all of .0032 seconds for about ten teachers to jump down her throat (without specifically using the word "you", of course - aggressive indirect statements rule in the South, thank you). In the lead were our two best history teachers, one of whom is a black female who was born under the ugly reign of Jim Crow.

We still put up a Christmas tree down our way, too, in case you were wondering (yes, I'm being smug).

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