Letters to the Editor for March 3

No need for social experiments

To the Editor:

This letter is to inform all citizens in A-H District 11 about a dangerous program—under the banner of safe schools—that is coming to school districts all around the country. This latest educational fad is called Social and Emotional Learning. It is a program run by the far left that seeks to abolish children’s “biased” views on a variety of topics including gender norms, family, LGBT and Islam by tracking their attitudes and feelings.

On January 25th I attended the MN Safe and Supportive Schools Conference sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education/School Safety Technical Assistance Center. SEL was the centerpiece of this conference and is being promoted nation-wide by the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning.

The keynote speaker, Karen VanAusdal, shared that “CASEL’S Collaborating District Initiative is at the forefront of national efforts to make SEL an integral part of pre-K through grade 12 education.”

The goal is to develop and implement SEL standards and assessments in all grades, all subjects, by all teachers. VanAusdal stated that in order to experience positive change, a school district must be saturated with SEL. This includes hiring a director, SEL specialists, and holding on-going training for all professionals in the district.

SEL instructors plan to train all teachers in “mapping cultural values” which means identifying a student’s “personal cultural values and preferences” in several categories. This information is collected in a “data dashboard” and measured to see whether an individual demonstrates change in regard to attitudes, feelings and behaviors. The results are entered into a national SEL data bank.

There will be no “safe space” under SEL for teachers and children whose views regarding human sexuality and family are based on religious teachings or traditional beliefs. They will experience emotional conflict because their values will be targeted for change by the methods and lessons used in SEL. This mind manipulation violates the private right of conscience.

Let’s protect our district and steer clear of Social and Emotional Learning. We don’t need another irresponsible social experiment that weakens academics, harms kids emotionally, and tracks them for life.

Barb Anderson

Champlin

History missing from curriculum

To the Editor:

I recently went to see Hidden Figures, a movie detailing the story of black women who worked as mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s. The movie helped me realize that we are missing large pieces of history in our Anoka Hennepin district’s curriculum.

I feel like our curriculum is flooded with white history and other races and cultures are not represented in the way they need to be. Students need a variety of viewpoints; they need multiple articles written by different historians on every topic. They need to learn more about the other types of American history, the non-white history. It’s not hard to admit that the textbooks and documentaries we see in schools are based on white memory. This needs to change. I understand that I have learned about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and slavery, along with other black influences. However, there is so much more to those stories and so much more to history involving people of color and this should concern the school board and the community.

I expect Anoka Hennepin to help me learn about all aspects of our history. I expect Coon Rapids High School to teach me about those three black women that helped get men into space. I expect my social studies instructors to teach me about Bayard Rustin, an openly gay black man that planned the March on Washington in 1963 and who worked for equality his whole life. I expect the district to teach me everything there is to know about the Freedom Riders and their purpose. I don’t want to live in oblivion. I want change.

I deserve better and so does every student. I want to help change this. Imagine: class starts and the topic is about Robert Smalls and his escape from slavery. Instead of reading one article about what he did, the students would read different excerpts from different books written about him and the class would get to compare and contrast the authors’ viewpoints. I feel like that would be a more effective learning environment.

Anna Damrow-Wagoner
Coon Rapids High School

Country’s foundation built on Christianity

To the Editor:

Kathy Stachowski in “Writer’s screed short on facts” (Feb. 17) states, “…we are not a Christian nation we are a nation founded on the rule of law.” Really? Our founders can speak for themselves.

Here are some quotes from a handful of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution:

“I accept the Bible as the infallible Word given to us by God.” Samuel Huntington

“I have examined all [religions] … and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more of my philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.” Also, “The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion.” John Adams

“[The] Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us as how we may glorify and enjoy Him.” Roger Sherman

“I believe the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God. It contains the only reliable rules of Christian faith and Godly practices.” John Hart

In 1787 when the delegates were having a difficult time in reaching a consensus in drafting the Constitution, at Ben Franklin’s suggestion they knelt and prayed. It was only then that they moved ahead to finish one of the greatest documents in history. From that time onward, sessions of Congress began with prayer. Franklin stated:

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

All 39 signers of the Constitution were devout orthodox Christians, and 52 of the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence were as well. The others were in agreement that the Bible was God’s divine truth. Letters, prayers, and official declarations reveal that they all intended to establish a society that was based on Christian morality.

Bonnie Nelson
Coon Rapids

You cannot change your DNA

To the Editor:

Mr. Kuehn, you stated, “Let’s cut the nonsense. There is nothing to be gained by debating Ms. Anderson or Mr. Jensen on scientific grounds.”

Mr. Kuehn, are you stating that DNA is not scientific grounds? Let’s cut the junk science as well.

I have challenged you in the past to tell me, “How many body parts do you have to mutilate or have augmented before you change your DNA?” I’ll help you here since it is obvious and you have refused to answer me. The answer is none. It’s science. It is undisputed science. You cannot change your DNA. I can tell you with a DNA sample, the gender to every single transgender person in America.

Mr. Kuehn has responded that this is irrelevant to the conversation. I think it’s extremely relevant.

Gender dysphoria is a mental disorder. It is not biological. DNA is biological, Mr. Kuehn.

The World Health Organization currently classifies gender dysphoria as mental illness. That is an undisputed fact. There is a push, however, to have gender dysphoria reclassified, not because of science, but because people like Mr. Kuehn feel it is politically incorrect and want insurance companies to be on the hook to pay for gender reassignment surgery. This has absolutely nothing to do with science whatsoever. In fact, the WHO is contemplating creating an entirely new classification just to deal with this mental disorder. This new classification is expected to come out mid 2018.

Mark Jensen
Anoka

  • tom

    More on the self righteous of Anoka County:
    In speaking about conservatives from Anoka County, they like to perpetuate this idea that it’s actually liberals who are intolerant of other people, and liberals shall burn in hell for it.
    You know when liberals get intolerant? When we’re dealing with intolerant people. Huh? Liberals? Intolerant liberals. Yes they get intolerant when other peoples religion is shoved down their throats. They get intolerant when the well off, are praised, and the lower classes, are scorned for being in the lower class. Praise GeeBuzz!!
    Look, I don’t care if you oppose homosexuality, abortion or other religions, that’s your choice. But don’t try to restrict the rights of others, or force your views on others, then whine because people eventually get tired of putting up with your crap.
    So you phony Christians are liars and frauds who go to church to get your fakiness forgiven. Real Christianity preaches acceptance and tolerance of others. That we’re all humans. That we should treat each other with respect and kindness. You know the whole “love thy neighbor” thing. Like that is going to happen in this world when a known woman abuser and conman is The US President.

  • RodKuehn

    Ms. Nelson, does it not strike you as odd that there is no reference in either the Declaration or Constitution to Christianity or Jesus or anything beyond a general-purpose creator? In fact, the Constitution, which is the ruling document of our nation, has no reference at all to a creator beyond the “no religious test” clause. Does this really sound like an effort to install Christian values?

    The particular beliefs of each of the signers is not relevant. They were men who looked beyond their own self-interest and beyond their own religious perspective. They were not interested in imposing their views on the nation. Even those who were deeply Christian in the orthodox sense, signed the secular Constitution. It is a remarkable document and a remarkable era.

    Indeed, a critical part of the Baptist tradition calls for absolutely free choice on matters of conscience. They (northern Baptists) have refused to impose their will on others, even when they had the power.

    It is unfortunate that we have lost sight of the idea of citizenship. In days past, citizens looked beyond their own welfare when making public decisions. Instead, they considered the welfare of the nation.

    It should also be noted that, while Franklin did suggest a prayer, nobody else took up the offer and it was never said.

    It should also be said that there was a fight over the absence of religious references. Even after ratification, there were attempts to inject religion into the Constitution. They failed.

  • RodKuehn

    Ms. Damrow-Wagoner, if your history classes didn’t leave you with an understanding of who you are and why your situation is what it is, then the district has indeed failed you. If the classes didn’t fundamentally change your perspective on the world, the classes failed you.

    My history classes of the 1960s were names and dates. I came out with an understanding of nothing and no interest in history. Decades later, I took a constitutional history class at the U and it was spectacularly interesting. Labor history was great but the origins of affirmative action were incredibly useful and informative. I learned that for every attempt to correct the injustices of slavery, there was a white backlash to block progress. It helped put the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter movements in perspective.

    It changed the way I look at the world. That’s what a good history class does.

    A history class that bears directly on today’s events is a requirement for good citizenship and an immeasurable aid in viewing our neighbors with compassion.

    Keep pushing, Ms. Damrow-Wagoner. Your excellent letter is on the right track.