We pledge allegiance to our country’s flag and declare our nation to be “indivisible.” But even this simple pledge has changed over time to reflect the values of the day. Our shared values today in our globalized world require that we listen to one another and that we hear the diverse voices that have always been a part of our national fabric, but which have been overlooked or ignored for too long. Without all of us doing this hard work of listening, our democracy will not remain “indivisible,”
Carmel is a community that wholeheartedly supports our top-ranked school system. In fact, I believe the majority of citizens either grew up here or moved here because of these award-winning schools. My family moved here eight years ago for the school system. We are happy with the results and progress. But now our public school system, staff members and individuals who support diversity, equity and inclusion work are under attack, locally and nationally — all politicized by groups and individuals who believe the schools and people are players in a liberal conspiracy to indoctrinate our youth.
We are supposed to be a nation that accepts all and recognizes our differences. We must avoid, at all costs, being confined by our broken history of oppression and exclusion (nonrepresentation). I am not here to dwell on the past; however, it is important to understand perspectives of the historically excluded. Many of us, right here in Carmel, are members of groups that have been historically excluded from curricula and full civic participation, and the consequence of that exclusion is the sad state of affairs we all now raise our children in.
Rather than attack our schools/teachers/individuals, let us reach out to those different than us and have meaningful conversations about their experiences. Leave your presuppositions at the door, be vulnerable and reflect as a community. We did not create this mess, but we absolutely can influence positive change toward inclusivity and fairness for all. I am no history teacher or economics guru, but I surely am a loving neighbor who believes it takes a community to raise the next generation. If we allow partisan politics to influence public education, we are surely in a negative spiral toward the demise of American democracy.
It took work to break a culture and legal system of racial bias and historical exclusion, and it will take more work to sustain and improve it for our children, grandchildren and beyond. We must work to end this politicizing of DEI and social emotional learning. Our kids deserve better. Much love and respect to all!
Todd D. Crosby, Carmel