Home NewsEducation Warum Bildung in Amerika zu einem politischen Schlachtfeld geworden ist

Warum Bildung in Amerika zu einem politischen Schlachtfeld geworden ist

by NotAdmin
education

Bücher, Schulen und Bibliotheken stehen an vorderster Front der US-Kulturkriege. Eine konservativ geführte Bewegung geht hart gegen das vor, was gelehrt und gelesen wird. Die DW untersucht, was hinter einer landesweiten Welle von Buchverboten steckt.

Ausbildung

Robin Steenman rollt einen schwarzen Karton voller bunter Bücher zu ihrem Küchentisch und holt eine Handvoll heraus. Die Seiten sind durchwühlt und mit Klebestreifen gekennzeichnet. Der Stapel umfasst Titel wie  „Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea “ ,  „Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation“  und  „ The Story of Ruby Bridges “ .

Für Steenman sind diese Seiten ein Beweis dafür, dass die Schulbildung schief gelaufen ist.

Sie ist Präsidentin von Moms for Liberty, einer konservativen Gruppe, die sich für das Recht der Eltern einsetzt, bei der Schulbildung ihrer Kinder in Williamson County, Tennessee, mitzubestimmen. Ihre Gruppe protestiert gegen die Art und Weise, wie einige Bücher in den öffentlichen Schulen des Distrikts unterrichtet werden.

„Schulen sollten meinen Kindern keine Ideologie aufzwingen“, sagte Steenman. „Schulen sollten ihnen effektiv beibringen, zu lesen und zu schreiben, zu rechnen und Naturwissenschaften zu verstehen, damit sie voranschreiten und im Leben erfolgreich sein können. Aber dieser Lehrplan konzentriert sich mehr auf seine eigene Botschaft und seine eigene Agenda, als dass er Kinder dazu ausrüstet .”

Moms for Liberty in Williamson County reichte Ende letzten Jahres eine offizielle Beschwerde beim Bildungsministerium von Tennessee ein, in der sie erklärten, dass die Bücher und Lehrmaterialien „sowohl explizite als auch implizite antiamerikanische, anti-weiße und anti-mexikanische Lehren enthüllen“. präsentierte „eine stark voreingenommene Agenda, die Kinder dazu bringt, ihr Land, einander und/oder sich selbst zu hassen“.

Ihre Beschwerde wurde abgewiesen. Aber der Fall unterstreicht einen wachsenden Trend in den USA, wo eine konservativ geführte Bewegung gegen die Bildung vorgeht und insbesondere gegen das, was Schulen Kindern beibringen. Sie zielen auf Bücher und Lernmaterialien im ganzen Land ab und stellen die Art und Weise in Frage, wie Rassismus, Geschlecht und Sexualität angegangen werden.

Ein neues Schlachtfeld in den Schulen

Das hat Klassenzimmer und Bibliotheken wieder einmal an die Frontlinie der amerikanischen Kulturkriege gebracht.

According to the American Library Association, there were “729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals.”  That’s the highest number of attempted book bans since the organization started counting such challenges in 2000. Most of these books were by, or about, Black or LGBTQ+ people, the association said.

And this is all despite the fact that a poll by the American Library Association indicates the majority of Americans, no matter which political party they are from, opposed efforts to remove books from public and school libraries.

“[Banning books] is a common feature in American history and has a lot to do with the sort of larger context of the culture wars in some ways, which have always been a part of American history,” said Andrew Hartman, a professor of history at Illinois State University and author of A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars.

“This debate between largely religious conservatives and largely secular liberals goes back to the 1920s in many ways, but really has been heightened ever since the 1960s and the liberation movements — civil rights, feminism, gay rights.”

This battle over censorship is not new, nor is it limited to the US. From Germany’s National Socialists banning and burning books they deemed degenerate, to radicals in China’s Cultural Revolution destroying books that didn’t conform to their political ideology, reading and teaching materials have been a common target throughout history and across the globe.

However the current wave of book bans in the US appears to be more politicized than previously because it pits the US’ two major political parties — the Republicans and the Democrats — against one another in what is already a profoundly polarized political landscape.

Opportunistic idealogues

“It has become largely Republicans who support the conservative, largely white, religious or evangelical parents,” Hartman explained. “And often, Republican politicians are frankly opportunistic about ginning up support for themselves, for their candidacies … because these are issues that animate their base.”

The current backlash against books and curricula has mushroomed into a nationwide battle. There have been rallies and protests from Virginia to California, with conservative groups taking on school boards and education officials. Last year a teacher in one Tennessee county was fired for referring to white privilege in his lessons because the state’s general assembly had banned what is known as critical race theory from schools.

Divisive ideas

Critical race theory, or CRT, refers to an academic concept that focuses on how racism is systemic, baked into local policies and laws. Conservatives argue that CRT is divisive and fosters negative self-image in white children. Many educators argue that there is no CRT agenda in schools and that they are teaching the very same curricula they have done for years without anybody objecting. Meanwhile Black parents point out that racism is often embedded in the systems their children have to confront.

Yet the controversy goes well beyond critical race theory. Conservative groups oppose how schools are teaching gender and sexuality as well. In Florida, the state’s governor, a member of the more conservative and right-leaning Republican party, had education officials pull and scrub mathematics textbooks of what was described as “woke content.” Among other things the officials objected to, there were references to racial prejudice in the books.

A school board in Tennessee even voted to remove Maus, the Pulitzer-prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust for what was deemed “rough, objectionable language.”

“History should be taught absolutely, warts and all, but just teach history without agenda or ideology or trying to put a child in one box or another, because history has the lessons of its own,” Steenman of Moms for Liberty said. “If you read a book about US history, especially in regard to slavery and the Civil War, you know, I was taught that as a child and I drew the conclusion that this was bad. Don’t ever repeat this. But I was never blamed for it [the Civil War or slavery] as a child.”

No negative self-image

The co-founders of One WillCo, an organization that advocates for students of color in the same Tennessee county as Moms for Liberty, have a counter argument to that though. They argue that conservative parents’ complaints are unwarranted because students are thriving with the current curriculum and also learning difficult lessons on race and gender.

“All you have to do is explain to children and they get it. We don’t give our kids enough credit to handle the conversations that we have,” said Revida Rahman, one of the co-founders of One WillCo, who is Black and has children in the public school system. “And unfortunately for me, I have to have difficult conversations with my children on a regular basis to let them know how they’re perceived, how they can’t do certain things, how you can’t take your candy in the grocery store because you may be accused of stealing.”

One WillCo ‘s other co-founder, Jennifer Cortez, argues that concepts like CRT are Republican talking points that don’t reflect what is actually being taught in schools. Her daughter, who is white and also in the public school system, has not developed a negative self-image and Cortez says it’s important to view history through an inclusive lens.

„Ich verstehe die Besorgnis, aber respektvoll, das ist eine weiße Besorgnis“, sagte Cortez. „Ich habe den Luxus, hier, wo ich lebe und aufgewachsen bin, nicht über meine Hautfarbe nachdenken zu müssen, weil sie immer, wenn überhaupt, ein Vorteil oder kein Thema war. Aber für viele Kinder und viele Familien, das ist nicht der Fall”, bemerkte sie. „Ich kann verstehen, warum einige denken, dass dies spaltend ist, weil es sich unangenehm anfühlt. Aber die Wahrheit ist, es ist besser, wenn wir darüber reden können und lernen, wie man darüber spricht.“

 

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