Forget Curriculum, Today’s Lesson Is Education By T-Shirt

27 08 2009

I showed you the t-shirt I’d wear back to school myself this fall, if I were going. It says something about what I believe in. 🙂

But Meg got a huffy comment from an (apparent) Christian creationist, offended and scolding her because ON HER OWN BLOG Meg posted some t-shirts her family found meaningfully fun, like this:

religion-science t-shirt via meg's blog

See Meg’s response here.

Then there’s news from my own old school district, the one for which I literally wrote the policy manual, back in the 80s. The new lawyer when I was working on that two-year project, a fellow I considered not just a colleague but a friend, is the same lawyer now quoted in this national news story about t-shirts at school that teach the wrong lesson.

These blood-red-lettered t-shirts got several Alachua County School students wearing them, including one 10-year-old, removed from the learning environment as not part of what we want kids learning at school:

“ISLAM IS OF THE DEVIL”

religious t-shirt islam is of the devil sept 2009 gainesville

Inquiring minds want to know: why does such a message form the core curriculum of a group calling itself The Dove World Outreach Center? I was taught to think of “peace” in association with “dove” but either I was miseducated or these folks aren’t using words in academically defensible ways.

[UPDATE: or in legally defensible ways? — check out this related Gainesville Sun story about the “Dove Center” in which the hidden curriculum is not about dress codes but tax codes. . .]

And this lesson is meant not just to push itself into public school but to supplant education itself, not just for the t-shirt wearers but for everyone, unless and until the rest of us stand up and say it ain’t so, and offer a different lesson.

OTOH, I suppose their t-shirt teaching should earn some virtue points for honesty at least, if you disregard the sneaky name and take their leader at his um, word:

“Church Senior Pastor Terry Jones tells The Gainesville Sun newspaper that spreading the church’s message is more important than education.”

Finally (I love it when a theme comes together) here’s an honest, factual t-shirt lesson that deals with neither science nor religion nor politics — and yet when worn to “school” it offended and inflamed other students to the point some reportedly threw food at it! Read the rest of this entry »

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