Letters to the Editor

What exactly is traditional education? | Federal Way letters

I am glad to read that columnist Mark Knapp has so much passion and enthusiasm for teaching U.S. history in the public schools and for the Second Amendment. I do, however, feel it is my duty as a Federal Way Public Schools history teacher and a citizen of the United States to challenge the arguments Knapp made in his Sept. 18 editorial ("Rest assured, they teach U.S. history in Federal Way").

I find it quite interesting that you question “how much of our history, civic and social studies are taught from a curriculum designed to promote diversity objectives at the expense of traditional American education.” First of all, I will assure you that “diversity objectives” are not the focus of my history classes or any other teacher I know. I teach specific history, civics, economics and geography learning objectives. If, however, you are worried that I, as a public school teacher, am promoting and encouraging a diverse learning environment, then I am “guilty as charged!”

When it comes to American history (or any other history for that matter), I teach my students to look at historical events from various viewpoints. Is it not important to teach students how to think critically? Providing diverse viewpoints based on primary source evidence and then allowing students to evaluate and judge historical events is incredibly powerful. An example of this would be the way Christopher Columbus is “traditionally” taught in schools. Would it be “traditional” to teach Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, or would it be more important to provide students with Columbus’s own diary along with De Las Casas and the Taino natives’ perspective so that students learn what really happened? What, Mr. Knapp, exactly is a “traditional American education?” As a lawyer yourself, you have to admit that your statement is incredibly vague. Is there such a thing? Since traditions change over time, I would argue not. Education is constantly changing to effectively meet the needs of the “diverse” American student. America was, and continues to be, built on a diverse population. Mr. Knapp, please remember the “winners” write history while the “losers” are left out, therefore whose tradition is traditional? This argument coupled with your comment about “gay, lesbian, and transgender issues” shows your true agenda.

Finally, your issue with Todd Beamer High School and the denial of your ad in their school events calendar is outrageous and laughable! I personally saw your ad and was deeply troubled by it. Your ad had a picture of an AK-47 type (since I am not a gun “expert” I would not know the exact model) assault rifle on it. How ridiculous! Public schools do not need this type of message. Planned Parenthood has advertised in the schools before, yet they do not have an ad with a condom on it. If they did, would you be first in line to call them out? Why don’t you advertise in Columbine High School with your message and see the reaction there? In this day and age of violence in schools, your ad must be banned. Think about it, sir. You are forcing your ideology on the very people you accuse of forcing “diversity” in public schools. I support the Second Amendment and require my students to memorize the Bill of Rights. However, gun rights have gone too far. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers supported gun rights. However, that was over 200 years ago. They would never support a citizenry armed with such destructive power. Assault rifles are not an American “tradition.”

Chris McCrummen, Federal Way

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