Reading, writing, arithmetic and… protesting in the streets?
That last part may be showing up in the curriculum of some Maryland schools in the near future. Most students are allowed a certain number of sick days or excused absences for family matters, provided they make up the work they missed. But now, under a new proposal, students in Montgomery County will likely be allowed up to three days off every school year to go participate in political protests. Which college major this relates to is not specified. (Baltimore Sun)
Skipping school to attend a protest is likely to get much easier for high school students in suburban Maryland beginning as early as January.
That’s when the school board in Montgomery County is expected to approve a revamped proposal to allow public high school students to take as many as three excused absences a year to participate in political protests and other forms of “civic engagement” during the school day.
The district’s proposal is believed to be one of very few in the country that would formally let students take an excused day off to join marches, lead protests, lobby leaders, campaign for candidates or otherwise partake in civic action.
I’ll confess that when I first read about this proposal there was a part of me that was at least partially sympathetic to the idea. Our public schools have largely done away with civics in their curriculums and kids are coming out of school woefully uninformed as to how the government works and even the electoral process. If they’re getting engaged in civics-related activities on their own time it might at least partially fill that void.
But when faced with the reality of what most modern protests are about, how much actual educational value is there going to be in that? It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a Tea Party rally or an Antifa beat-down… most of today’s protests aren’t particularly educational and increasingly present the potential for physical violence. If these were rallies to promote the passage of a new constitutional amendment or the repeal of an oppressive law, then I could possibly see this as a good idea, but that’s really not how things roll out in the streets these days.
If the schools want to give students time off for something along these lines they could organize outings for voter registration drives or the opportunity to go sit as spectators in a courtroom and watch the judicial process in action. Giving them time off to go paint up cardboard signs and scream in the streets about this or that politician doesn’t sound like it’s going to contribute much to rounding out their education. And who will be at the protests to take names and ensure they actually attended instead of just cutting class for the day and playing video games? This is an ill-conceived plan.
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