Letter to My Students – Fourth Letter in a Series
First, as always and since July 3, 1989 – I love you. You mean a lot to me. One of the cool things about being a high school music teacher? More often than not … MUCH MORE OFTEN (sorry – NOT sorry – for the poor grammar; I am a music teacher, not an English teacher & writing is a hobby for me, like golf – both hobbies humble me 😊) … the students who are in my music classes choose to be there. So, any human being who chooses to be with me is a BLESSING / a gift / and I am honored! One more time… and not the last time … I love you.
My thought for my students today is: please … block the idea that the outside of you or anyone is THE best side of you and the most important side of you! We should NOT judge you based on the “group” you represent! BLOCK THAT CRAP!
What is the best side or really … could be the most important side … YOUR HEART!!
What do we do when we feel there is something that is “UnAmerican?” SPEAK-UP. Understand America’s history. What do we do when we hear folks share their OPINION on why the United States of America is NOT a great nation (Personally – I believe the United States of America is THE great nation… not perfect!!) Listen and then … SPEAK-UP! Speak to what the person shares with you.
Your opinion is as valid as any other’s person.
If you are one of my high school students, this idea (your opinion is as valid as any person’s opinion) is a big step to adulthood. Also, allowing others to share their opinion, especially a differing opinion, is a step to adulthood.
So, I will speak up for how come I believe our nation is “a” (compromise y’all who will say “a-great-nation”) GREAT NATION.
I am going to go ahead and be on America is THE GREAT nation side of the opinion. I am going to use David Barton’s “essay” featured in the FOUNDERS’ BIBLE: America once again stands at the crossroads of human history, with the eyes of the world looking on, wondering at the choices we will make. (Mr. Everts OPINION: ‘choices’ make us a great nation) For centuries, this has been the land of the free, the home of the brave, a beacon of enduring hope, and a place of genuine promise. Lady Liberty stands with her torch held high crying out: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” And immigrants from around the world have streamed to these shores with the hope and dream of a better life. This was one place you could come to with the dream of owning a piece of land – that is, if you came and worked hard and cultivated the land, you could actually have something that was “yours.” You could make your way and build a better life. That was the American dream – it said hard work mattered. (Mr. Everts OPINION: makes me wince when I see ‘help wanted’ signs and yet, the federal & state governments hand out money that in some cases is more than what a local / small business can provide. What is the incentive to work? For me, work is a sign of independence.) It wasn’t going to be given to you, you weren’t entitled to it, but the opportunity was there. It inspired you to believe, to hope, to try. It said if you dared to dream and were willing to risk, you could create, innovate, and see your dreams come true. (Mr. Everts OPINION: to my current and/or recently graduated students – do you still embrace the “American Dream?” If not, who taught you the “American Dream” is dead? Someone taught you that… That someone? Parents / family members / TEACHERS / social media / etc. Who helped you learn the “American Dream” is dead? You can learn the “American Dream” is alive and well. Depends on what you want to read / listen to / watch. Social media is driving you! If you allow it.)
Return to David Barton’s “essay.” Please know, due to the length of this FANTASTIC “ESSAY,” I am choosing parts that could resonate with today’s high school students in a classroom. Has America always done what is right? Always chosen what is good? Always fought for the noble cause as opposed to her self-interests? No, and I don’t imagine any nation on earth has or ever will. To pretend otherwise would be incredibly naïve. Civil governments are not God, and nations do not make decisions or enact policy; people do. In as much as those in power have chosen to do good, to honor what is right, and have sought the welfare of those around her, America has been a force for good. Is she without fault? Certainly not! From early on, slavery was, is, and always will be abhorrent, as were the misguided notions of “Manifest Destiny.” Her push westward sadly gave rise to a host of inexcusable horrors that destroyed the Native Americans.
Yet despite a checkered past, what has America great is that she has demonstrated a capacity to learn from such mistakes. Thankfully, there have always been those who decried such evil; refusing to participate or comply, they stood their ground and called her to live up to a higher standard – and in those critical hours, repeatedly America has been awakened to rise again. America is great because time after time, in the moments that have mattered, she was willing to stand up and fight for somebody else’s freedom. Go ahead and decry her failures and failings all you want; throw her sins in her face and refuse to grant her any redemption – but in chaining her to condemnation, what will you have achieved? In so doing, are you not seeking to ensure her destruction? Such blindness seems just as misguided as the refusal to acknowledge any national wrongs. But our story is not finished.
Mr. Everts OPINION: There is no way our nation is going to be perfect. NO WAY. If you are looking for perfection, what would you replace the United States of America with? Since July 4, 1776, look at all the positives our nation has achieved, not just for our nation, but for the world! And, YES! You can also point out all the negatives our nation has “achieved.” You can rejoice because thorns have roses or you can complain because roses have thorns. WE ARE NOT FINISHED!
Back to David Barton… Some would say America is teetering on the brink of disaster; I would say perhaps she is standing in the door way of an unfinished destiny. LIBERTY is standing there at the threshold, keeping watch, issuing what is another rarely quoted part of her invitation: “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” There yet remains a golden door of opportunity.
With the eyes of the world upon us, I believe Lady Liberty is waiting, beckoning us to just step through. May we be a generation to stand therefore – to be a people who covenant to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God. That is the key to our former greatness, and it is what will make this nation great again. That is an America we can be proud of May she once again rise to the challenge and soar.
Mr. Everts OPINION: Please know, I edited much (A LOT) of David Barton’s “essay:” WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT. The reason for the HEAVY HANDED EDITING is to, of course, prove a point. What I chose from Dr. Barton’s essay would STILL be blasphemous in a California public school classroom. I would have been brought into the principal’s office. Told that I made students feel uncomfortable and yet, we (soon to be all high school students in California – watch how California influences a nation) have “Ethnic Studies” curriculum written that includes Jorge Pacheco’s OPINION https://www.city-journal.org/california-ethnic-studies-programs-merchants-of-revolution:
Pacheco then argued that the United States is a political regime based on “settler colonialism,” which he describes as a “system of oppression” that “occupies and usurps land/labor/resources from one group of people for the benefit of another.” The settler colonialist regime, Pacheco continues, is “not just a vicious thing of the past, but [one that] exists as long as settlers are living on appropriated land.” The white colonialist regime of the United States is a “parasitic system” responsible for domestic violence, drug overdoses, and other social problems. In a related PowerPoint slide, Pacheco presented examples of this oppression, including “men exploiting women,” “white people exploiting people of color,” and “rich people exploiting poor people.”
What is the solution? Pacheco argues that teachers must “awaken [students] to the oppression” and lead them to “decodify” and eventually “destroy” the dominant political regime. The first step in this process is to help students “get into the mind of a white man” such as Christopher Columbus and analyze “what ideology led these white male settlers to be power and land hungry and justify stealing indigenous land through genocide.” Pacheco describes this process as transforming students into “activist intellectuals” who “decodify systems of oppression” into their component parts, including “white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, genocide, private property, and God.”
We have a choice:
To continue to embrace and work with the Founding Father’s Mission Statement (Constitution) and other documents
… or …
follow the works of such authors as Friere / Marx / Rogers (Ibram Kendi) / DiAngelo and California public school teachers who support Pacheco’s vision / Critical Race Theory. It’s a choice. Could lead to – School Choice.
Remember: public schools are public institutions. Our government (State / Federal) will drive the direction of our public schools. Do you even recognize the road they are driving? I do not.
As an American citizen you – YES, YOU THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT – can stand up and DEMAND, we want both sides of truth. You (many public school teachers) have said, too much dead white man stuff. Really? What are you going to replace the dead white man’s stuff? Tiffany Jackson’s MONDAY’S NOT COMING? Gretchen McNeil’s #MURDERTRENDING? My goodness. That same school district that allows such works as Jackson’s & McNeil’s wants to ban TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD???? Crazy!
If we truly taught and learned ALL OF US ARE UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE CONSTITUTITION, all this immature thinking would be gone.
Someone asked me, “do you think this nation is going to remain the United States of America?” As corny as it is, my answer is YES. BECAUSE I HAVE HOPE. I believe in the Founders’ documents. I believe good triumphs over evil (Marxism is EVIL; Socialism is EVIL; judging people by the group they belong to, oppose judging a person based on their actions is EVIL). I believe we need to go through this troubling time to make us stronger!
Again, in our California public classroom, if I had read the David Barton Essay (even with my heavy-handed editing) I would have faced the “tribunal.” David Barton’s opinion is not welcomed in many California public classrooms. I do believe in what David Barton wrote. Why not read David Barton’s “Essay” in the classroom? Answer: Because, I will give-up that freedom so I can be with the students who need me!!
Thanks to our Constitution’s First Amendment, while we still have it (not hyperbole; President Biden said, “no amendment is absolute”), I am free to write what I want – OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM. Wish those who support Critical Race Theory / Marxism / Socialism would also be under the same thought – KEEP IT OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM. However, when the government is heading in that direction, the CRITICAL RACE THEORISTS have more freedom / “more equal.” You know… “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” A proclamation by the pigs who control the government in the novel ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell (‘some dead white dude’). The sentence is a comment on the hypocrisy of governments that proclaim the absolute equality of their citizens but give power and privileges to a small elite (those ‘SMALL elite’ are the Critical Race Theory followers and those who believe in the word “equitable” is the “new – equal.” ) Dictionary.com
Again, if you choose to support the comments of people such as Jorge Pacheco and THOUSANDS OF OTHER CALIFORNIA TEACHERS (teachers – if you don’t agree with the comments from Jorge Pacheco – YOU NEED TO SPEAK UP because instead of silence equals violence / the silence is going to lead to generations suffering), you will see a different America. Different does not always mean – better. For over 245 years, we have made great strides a nation. I certainly want to keep America – America. Join me!
Why stop now?
FIGHT FOR SCHOOLS video of school board meeting
FIGHT FOR SCHOOLS
WHAT ARE THEY LEARNING
SCHOOL CHOICE (it may come to this…then – a David Barton Essay could be read and Robin DiAngelo’s WHITE FRAGILITY (it is on some high schools’ reading lists could be read)