Under normal circumstances, one would consider parental involvement in education to be a good thing, a welcome step in the right direction for progress. But with every step forward, faith becomes shattered and broken by parents who pick the wrong battles for the wrong reasons. Texan parents from the Mansfield Independent School District, located southeast of Fort Worth, are outraged at the idea Arabic language is being offered as a new elective course for middle and high school students.
The new program would be funded by a five-year $1.3 million grant by the Department of Education. District officials reportedly filed for the grant because the federal government lists it as a critical language, due to the demand and shortage of Arabic speakers. Even though this should be a simple and understandable addition to evolving curriculums, controversy finds itself breeding like an unstoppable virus.
The parents are upset because they weren't notified and there was no public debate on the subject. The Mansfield School District apologized and backed down, when it really should have risen to the challenge.
But why is public debate at all necessary? When other critical languages such as Chinese and Russian were added to the curriculum, parents never voiced such rights and concerns, which would be questionable at best.
In a time where the need for a diverse knowledge in other languages is not only useful for diplomatic and trade reasons, but increasingly necessary, we are are one of the few nations left that, comparatively, is underwhelmingly monolingual.
If parents want to be involved in their children's education, that's perfectly fine. But more importantly, for it to have any impact, they must be responsible and realize the students aren't the only ones required to do some learning.
Parents could start by understanding that the constant biased and misinformed beliefs being voiced don't in any way help our students excel. The question is this: What is repeatedly pushing us back into what feels like the Dark Age, the bottom of the global and American barrel? Is it unwarranted fear, a brimming ignorance of facts, unfounded hatred or a loathsome cocktail of all three?
We can recant tales of the Alamo and courageous forefathers, but when we turn our eyes to the present, what do we have? Whatever list you can conjure, education isn't present, and with situations like this seeming to arise every week, it never will be.
Marcus Smith is a English Freshman and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.