Friday, August 25, 2006

I pledge allegiance to the flag...

News from Colorado:

A seventh-grade geography teacher who refused to remove Chinese, Mexican and United Nations flags from his classroom was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday by Jefferson County officials who were concerned that the display violates the law.
Uh, it's a world geography class. Although this may be news to many Americans, there are other nations in the world besides the United States. In fact, the vast majority of the world's inhabitants--like about 95%--live in the approximately 192 countries that are NOT called the United States.

Some confusion is understandable. After all, the United States consumes roughly a quarter of the world's resources, so Americans might be forgiven for thinking that there are only, say, three other countries they need to share the planetary wealth with. Also, a large majority of Americans do not have passports and do not travel outside their country's borders (apart from periodic trips to Canada and Mexico to buy cheaper prescription drugs). Globalization notwithstanding, maybe they simply haven't noticed the existence of other countries. I guess they don't read the labels on the clothes and other products they buy, or pay much attention to American foreign policy.

Nevertheless, I would think that the job description of this world geography teacher would include making his seventh-graders at least vaguely aware of the existence of other nations in the world. Displaying the flags of all these other countries in his classroom is a simple, graphic, and entirely reasonable means of doing so.

Fortunately, the teacher stood his ground, and the school backed down.

Some commenters over the Huffington Post instinctively wanted to pin the blame on Republicans for this latest jingoistic stupidity. In fact, it was DEMOCRAT Carl Miller, a former state representative from Leadville, who sponsored legislation in 2002 strengthening a 1971 law restricting the display of foreign flags. According to the follow-up story in the Denver Post, Miller supported the school's decision to place the teacher on leave, and was disappointed that he had been allowed back so soon.

Here's his response to Jefferson County Superintendent Cindy Stevenson's comment that the resolution of the issue was a "win-win situation":
"The only win-win I see is that Mr. Hamlin wins, China wins, Mexico wins and the United Nations wins," he said.

Proving once again that Democrats can be just as xenophobic, ethnocentric, and jingoistic as Republicans.

In related news, American high school students testified before Congress in hearings devoted to improving the nation's geographical literacy, and researchers surveyed the American street for their opinions on future geopolitical strategies for their nation.

Hey, what's the matter with Colorado, anyway? Some weird things goin' on there.


Blogger ipe said...

Just a remark that the fact they don't have passport doesn't tell much because as I 've heard they can travel with ID card too almost all of Americas.

3:12 AM, September 01, 2006  

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