Schools need more ‘core knowledge’
Thank you, Eagle editorial board, for a sensible and strong response to the unfortunate removal of a display on Islam at Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School (“A cultural lesson,” Aug. 21 Eagle Editorial). The display was an effort to fulfill the curriculum that includes the study of the five major religions of the world. Islam is one of those major religions with more than 1.2 billion of our brothers and sisters around the world practicing that faith tradition.
Shame on the very few loud and fearful people in our community – thankfully, a vibrantly diverse community – who shouted their hatred and ignorance so blatantly that they created the very “terror” they claim to oppose. Islam – in its name, scripture and practice – is a religion of peace, justice and generosity.
Let’s restore, or create, some “core knowledge” in our schools and community, and eliminate senseless and sometimes violent fear.
At one time an educated person was conversant with the historical context and general tenets of the major world religions. Studying a religion academically certainly does not imply an underlying effort to convert. An educated person also learned about science and knew the works of Charles Darwin. It is sad that the Wichita school superintendent allowed a few misguided and uninformed, but quite vocal, people to make the school take down the learning tool on the bulletin board (Aug. 20 Eagle).
The great irony is this: It is precisely ignorance that breeds fear, and it is fear that breeds hatred. Beware of xenophobic groups trying to disguise their opposition to diversity with faux patriotism. Their goal to exclude certain people is anything but American. We cannot bend to their will in deciding what our children should and should not be taught in the public schools.
After seeing what the 10 largest cities in Kansas spend on their public libraries and finding Wichita last on the list for per capita spending (Aug. 18 Eagle), I can only paraphrase the question that Joseph N. Welch, special counsel for the Army, asked Sen. Joe McCarthy many years ago, during the infamous McCarthy hearings: Wichita City Council members, have you no sense of decency?
LARRY T. ROMINE