Teach kids, don’t keep them in the dark

Here we go again. The school year has not yet started, and already one Ohio political figure is demonstrating his fear that our children might learn too much if they read a certain book.

Chuck Bartsche, who calls himself a conservative organizer and ran unsuccessfully for the Rocky River City Schools’ Board of Education last year, is complaining about the inclusion of Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” in some AP English courses, according to News5Cleveland.

Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio. She was a world-renowned and critically acclaimed novelist who shone a spotlight on some very uncomfortable topics in her effort to teach through literature.

“The Bluest Eye” was published in 1970, and helps readers explore racism, sexual abuse and other topics through a young black girl’s story.

Bartsche appears genuinely to believe “there’s no positive” in students having that opportunity.

What a shame. As always in these instances, it forces one to wonder what Bartsche is hoping students will not learn.

News5Cleveland reported there has been little positive response to Bartsche’s public complaints.

“Let’s not educate our kids about the atrocities of mankind,” one person reportedly wrote on social media. “Is there a book about rainbows and lollipops they can read instead?”

Another commenter, Katterli Coloutes, told News5Cleveland “I think it’s an important thing to have books like that out there, so children in this age are exposed to those difficult situations and those difficult conversations that they may not have had yet.”

She’s right. Bartsche acknowledges he is uncomfortable with the talk of race, oppression and victimization.

He seems to want to teach children it is OK to ignore those realities.

“That’s the whole point of education,” Coloutes told News5Cleveland. “Show them what has happened in our country, how we’ve failed, and show them what we can do about it.”

For goodness sake, we can only hope Bartsche’s pre-school-year outburst is the most we will see out of a frightening movement to meddle with teachers’ ability to do their jobs and keep students from receiving a thorough education.

But it is likely more influential political figures will carry on their attention-grabbing effort to harm Ohio students. As appears to have happened with Bartsche, those folks, too, must not be allowed to prevail.


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