Thursday, December 27, 2007

And I am the Liar?!

Sometimes you have to just laugh at what goes down in your community... otherwise ya might weep! I am a Christian, but there is often NO ONE who can get under my skin more than a brother in Christ.

I made the mistake of discussing Santa Claus on a Christian web page. For those of you who do not know the Evangelical community very well, discussing Santa Claus is like discussing religion or politics in everyday settings. A fight is bound to ensue.

I thought the guy was really wondering how others address the issue of Santa with their young children. He asked how other people handle it. It seemed like an honest question. I told him how it worked for us.

Next, I am being accused of lying to my daughter and holding back from her the true meaning of Christmas... blah, blah, blah.

I tried to remain reasonable, but I finally got pissed and went off on a rant. Probably shouldn't have done that, but there it is.

Anyway, here is the discussion with some off topic stuff deleted. My stuff is in red.

_____________________________________________

The Issue of Santa Claus

OK, Becky C suggested in this thread (feel free to weigh in on that one too) that it would be interesting to discuss the issue of Santa Claus. So today's question is, "What do you tell your kids about Santa Claus? Why?" I'll start the discussion with our house. (Which I normally hate doing because I have found in the past that it kills comment discussion). We don't talk about him until we have to do so. We don't hide the fact from our kids that we are the one's who buy them the gifts or whoever they are from. When Kendra was 3 we took her to my brothers work where he was dressed up as Santa so she could get her picture taken. She recognized my brother. The next year she debunked us by asking my wife why we never told her Santa was fake. This year she made the little neighbor boy cry by telling him that Santa wasn't real. We had to explain to her that some parents chose to allow their children to believe in Santa. She looked my wife dead in the eye and said,"Why would their parents want to lie to them?"
Kaidance recently looked at me and said, "Dad, I just don't believe in Santa Claus."
Now, our kids watch cartoons with Santa in them, and we've been working on them about keeping quiet when dealing with other kids. So we don't teach for Santa and we don't teach against Santa. When asked directly, I feel it would be disingenuous to lie to my children so I tell them that God provides for us (or other people) to get them gifts. That's how we handle it, how about you?

Comments

I wrote this on my blog last year:

I always knew the day would come. Another milestone has passed in my daughter's life.

People debate when to tell their kids about Santa Claus. I knew the time would present itself, and today was the day. This time when she asked, I didn't evade. I told her it was time to see behind the wrappings of the gift her mother and I had given her.

And I do believe it is a gift a parent can give to their child. There are few years when the veil between imagination and reality is so thin. Santa, reindeer, elves.... I think there is a singular opportunity for blissful joy which can rarely be captured outside of a wonderful fairy tale during those early years.

A love for Santa is a love of poetry, music, daydreams. It is warm cocoa and a blazing fire. It is snuggling under the covers to keep warm on a cold morning.

I told Kathryn her mother and I had given those stories to her during those years as a gift for her to enjoy. Now it is a gift we want to give to Jacob as well. Children are so excited to know things and they have a desire to let others know that they know. I encouraged Kathryn to not take that gift from anyone.

I loved watching the thrill on Kathryn's face when she and Jacob spoke to Santa at the North Pole over a webcam this year. I am grateful for the memories of my brother Matt dressing up as Santa for her and giving her a special Christmas Eve.

I believe in Santa Claus. I know someday when Kathryn has little ones beneath her Christmas tree, she will believe in him too.

Andrew,
Thanks for the thoughts. I appreciate your sharing. I'm curious how you would handle my daughters question regarding the apparent dishonesty of it. Essentially she asked me why is it OK for a parent to lie but kids cannot? She's five or I'd ask her to post it here herself. :)

I've got a no BS clause with my kids. So if they want to know anything I'll be honest with them. So they've all asked and I've told them. And they went down the list: Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Kirk Cameron. They all know they're not real.

This no BS clause also got interesting when James (5) really wanted to know all the details about Sodom and Gomorrah. We had the whole "talk" that day.

So Stuart, how did that go? What exactly did you tell him? You can teach us, that way when the topic arises in our house we will be prepared with a good answer! You can't just leave it at " We had a whole talk that day" and not tell us how you answered! My curiosity is up!lol :-)

I guess we just have different perspectives. I think some people are digital and some are analog. Digital folks are in or out, on or off. There is no in between. Some of us are analog. Things level out differently under different circumstances. Everyone is going to have a line. I had a friend I worked with at a ministry who would not watch any fiction. It didn't happen, and was therefore not true, since it was not true it is a lie. He would not partake of a lie. That is his line, but not mine.

I don't think parents are lying to their children. They are living a story. They are participants in the play. I realize that other folks would not see it that way, and that is fine. I think it is rude when someone spoils the story for someone else. How much better can a fiction be than if, for a while, you think it is so?

There's an obvious difference between the Fiction and actively telling your kids an untruth. I agree that it's not my job to tell your kids or anyone else for that matter. My problem is that you are purposely hiding part of the Christmas story from your children in that you are telling them that Santa--not God-- has provided for them. Having said that, let me say I totally respect your right to do it the way you want and I am sure there are other Godly parents who tell their children that their is a Santa but as of this moment, I cannot see a compelling reason to actively lie to my children. This was confirmed by my daughter who came to the conclusion on her own that it was lieing. BTW, if you're saying I'm too in or out you need to get out on in BLOG world more often, I can think of at least 4 BLOG's that accuse me of the exact opposite without thinking hard. :)
Oh, and I love fiction. If you want to buy me some books you can see my wishlist at Amazon by searching joemartino9[at]yahoo[dot]com. You can even sign the card from Santa! :)

I think it is a parents prerogative to teach or not to teach it. We try to teach our daughter it is not her job to inform someone of the truth but she struggles with it and we still have to remind her! my kids enjoy watching the Christmas shows. I think it is like any other TV show, you can enjoy the beautiful poetry and creativity behind the story without believing it to be true.
I think some parents teach Santa more because it is an enjoyment for them! Some I think teach it for selfish reasons. I have little neighbor boys who think their presents are determined from Santa based on how well they behave. Personally I think that is wrong to teach a kid that!
My biggest problem with teaching Santa Claus is it takes away from what Christmas is really about. Plus I hate it that we teach Santa has all the attributes that Jesus has. It seems wrong to me whether it is just for fun or not. An amazing story played out the night Jesus was born that changed man kind forever! That in itself is a beautiful story that is true. Why do we have to juice it up more? Why do we have to make Christmas any more creative than that?

Joe - You make my point about an "in or out" view. You said I "you are purposely hiding part of the Christmas story from your children in that you are telling them that Santa--not God-- has provided for them." This is simply not so. They know the entire Christmas story... including the part that it did not occur on the 25th, rather it was put there to incorporate the holidays of foreign religions.

"but as of this moment, I cannot see a compelling reason to actively lie to my children." I think whether or not to go down this road depends on your views, and your child's views. IF your kids would view this as a hurtful lie, I wouldn't go down that road either. My daughter shrugged. She thought it was a fun ride, and likes to participate now with Jake. Our respective apples have not fallen too far from our trees.

I think the larger issue in this is having pride in the "right" view. George Carlin does a bit in his routine about someone who yells at the speeder passing him on the highway, but the @%!* who is going too slow ahead of him. HE is going the "right" speed.

It would be easy to see the person who views fiction as a lie too harsh, while a parent who encourages Santa is a liar (or as Elf would say "sitting on a throne of lies") - comfortable that you have the balanced view.

My commentary above was not meant as a critique of your stance, but rather that I understand that this is a black and white issue for you, and that you really can't see it any other way. Families need to be as respective of your views as you need to be of theirs.

Andrew,
Here's my point. If my kids think Santa got them the gift they are not thinking that Jesus provided them. I personally can't get around that one. To me this is definitely an issue of liberty. What about others out there. It would seem that Andrew and I agree that everyone needs to respect everyone else's view yet we handle Santa differently. (Which by the way Andrew I don't tell my kids he doesn't exist, I just don't tell them that he does). What about the rest of you?

Erica,

Well it started with him reading through one of his bible story books and asking about why God destroyed S&G. I gave him a simple answer and he wanted details. I'd answer them. Then he'd have more. So we eventually went all through the sex talk and homosexuality. He had ton's of questions.

I was just honest about everything. No sugar coating it. I kept the answers simple and some he pursued me for more details, then I'd give them to him. We've tried to keep no conversation taboo around here. Though it's not like I bring them up, just through the curious mind of a 5 year old - questions get asked.

And I end each conversation with - "You know this stays between you and me (and mommy), do not tell your bother or sister or any other kids. Our honesty is a privilege."

I don't know if that answers your question or not.

Well, since I wanted to know what others think, I guess I better chime in here :). My soup is about to boil, so if I don't get back to the other thread now (assuming there is anything more to comment on), I'll have to later :).

Neither my husband nor I grew up believing in Santa Claus. Both our parents expected us to write thank-you notes to our actual gift givers. My mother-in-law believed in Santa until she was 8 or 9...when she found the doll box in the garage the next summer and realized her parents had bought it and that Santa hadn't, she was just devastated. When she confronted her mother, she flippantly replied that she (my MIL) was too old to believe in Santa and surely someone at school should have told her that by now. Of course, a lot of kids had, but she had vehemently proclaimed Santa's existence "because [her] mommy said so," so she ended up feeling like a complete fool. She determined then and there she would never lie to her kids.

My parents wouldn't even use wrapping paper or gift tags with Santa; I don't go to that extreme. I don't buy them intentionally, but if they are in a multi-pack, we use them...more for our own kids than for other peoples, just because it can be a touchy topic.

I am the director of a Sparks (K-2nd grade) AWANA club in our church, so at Christmas time, I try to steer my topics VERY carefully. If asked outright, I will tell a child they need to talk to their parents about what they believe about Santa Claus. I tell them the Christmas story and why we celebrate Christmas every year. I just try to leave Santa out of it. I have a little girl in Sparks this year, so I remind her every week that she isn't to tell any of the kids that there isn't a Santa if they start talking about him. She seems to have handled it OK for this year. A young-20's unsaved guy that has been visiting our church was talking to her about two weeks ago and asked what she asked Santa to bring her. She wasn't sure if he knew there wasn't a Santa, so she carefully answered that she had told her mommy what she wanted, since she isn't able to write well enough to write her own list. Later, the girl that invited him to church was talking to Jadyn and Jadyn sweetly asked her to let Todd know there is no such thing as Santa, as he is "old enough he really should know." Christine had the best laugh...and said she'd let Todd know that Jadyn doesn't believe in Santa.

I appreciate Erica's comment, "An amazing story played out the night Jesus was born that changed man kind forever! That in itself is a beautiful story that is true. Why do we have to juice it up more? Why do we have to make Christmas any more creative than that?" That, in essence, is where my heart is at.

So, if my kids see a Santa in the store and want to talk to him, I would let them (though it's not likely. Jadyn freaks out at Chuck E. Cheese when the giant mouse tries to talk to her...for whatever reason, she is afraid he will try to steal her shirt???). They know where their gifts come from, and that Jesus is the ultimate gift of Christmas. Taya isn't big on "dressed up" critters either; my husband wants to go to Disney, but I'm afraid how they both would respond!

We don't do the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. either.

"I appreciate Erica's comment, "An amazing story played out the night Jesus was born that changed man kind forever! That in itself is a beautiful story that is true. Why do we have to juice it up more? Why do we have to make Christmas any more creative than that?" That, in essence, is where my heart is at."

Not to be argumentative (ok, maybe I am), but EVERYTHING outside of reading a Luke (why not Matthew?) story on the 25th, or any other random day for that matter, is making it more creative. Why do Christmas cookies? Cause it is fun! Why decorate a tree? Cause it is fun! Why sing Frosty the Snowman? Cause it is fun! Why staple lights to the house? Cause it is fun!

However, when it comes to a Santa story... all of a sudden Jesus (followers?) has insecurity issues?

God has pleasures at his right hand (where Jesus sits.. coincidence?) yet everyone wants to make him a Scrooge or a child who is going to throw a cosmic temper tantrum if his name isn't said enough times Christmas Eve. I'm sorry that I am on a rant here (ala Dennis Miller), but I grew up in a Christian community that felt Santa borrowed his red outfit from the Devil. You switch two letters and you get Satan from Santa (clever eh?). I listened for years, ad nauseum, to endless pious proclamations about the dangers of lying to your children and how that would harm their future trust in Christ. This was just one more high horse that we could jump on and further distance ourselves from our community. That made us happy though cause it just showed how separate and chosen we were! God protect the poor soul who says, "Happy Holidays" to the follower of Christ determined to protect the sanctity of Christmas!

Really, if adding to the "story" is a problem, go the route of the Jehovah's Witness and ditch the presents, the tree, the lights, the carols, the dinner, the cookies, the decorations, the family gathering....ditch the WHOLE thing. I can respect that. But don't cherry pick your traditions and then act like you are being spiritually faithful to Jesus because you have the right moral ground on Santa Claus.

Andrew,
That was kind of harsh don't you think? No one has disrespected you here. If you feel that way, let me know. Everybody draws this line differently and until that last post it had been rather cordial, right? I realize that some of that might have been a reaction to your experience but in my opinion it was a little over the top.

I guess I just can't stand when someone says they "respect your opinion" or "respect your right to say what you want" then proceeds to list all the reasons they think what you do is a bad idea. I can HONESTLY say that it does not matter to me that he wants to do a Santa-less Christmas. However, he cannot in honesty say that he respects anything of what I am doing and then use descriptive phrases like "actively telling your kids an untruth - My problem is that you are purposely hiding part of the Christmas story from your children - you are telling them that Santa--not God-- has provided for them -. It is this same kind of Christian double speak (saying things that sound loving, but are filled with contempt) that lead to wonder phrases like "Hate the sin, but love the sinner". Just admit that you want to punch the sinner in the nose! Then maybe once you are in an honest place, you can deal with your anger and hate issues.

So how over the top was I?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We are having a good Christmas day here in the Hackman household. Uncle Lee is visiting from Michigan, and everything is more fun with Uncle Lee around.

We went to church last night and attended one service, and then worked the next. Good drama, music, and message. First rate stuff as always.

It snowed last night so we got a white Christmas.

The kids opened their presents with glee. The rest of the morning was spent with Kathryn, Jacob, Lee, and I chasing each other around in Halo 2. I had a moment of greatness. Uncle Lee was shooting at me from the ground and I couldn't get into a strafing position on my airborne banshee to take him out. With little life left, I leaped from the Banshee, landed on Lee, stuck a thermal grenade on him then dove for cover. It was glorious!

Later, Lee and I are going to see AVP II while my wife takes the kids to Alvin and the chipmunks.

However you spend this day, celebrating or not, I wish you the best for now and the coming new year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bush Protects Us

This pretty much sums up my view of how Bush perceives the military and public services.




















www.politico.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Reverend Billy!

Here is a great interview about what led Bill Talen to create the character of Reverend Billy. If you have not yet seen What would Jesus Buy? -go tonight! Wal-mart has thrown its mighty weight around to prevent this movie from hitting the screen. Stand up and be counted! See this film!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Again with the "right" beliefs

This video is amazing. Reverend Billy gets mocked and chastised by a priest for not believing the "right" things. The priest, in my opinion, is condescending and arrogant. Yet, here is Reverend Billy, who doesn't have the "right" theology speaking graciously to his accuser. I think Billy is hitting the mark on the message of gospel and kingdom much better than the priest.

Thank you Reverend Billy for preaching a message of justice. This seems to be a message our ministers have forgotten in their haste to coerce people into the right club.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Backward Utah Legislature

Senator Howard Stephenson, Republican-Draper takes rudeness and brazeness to an entirely new level. This only happens in locales where people are strict one party voters (republican or democrat) because people like Mr. Stephenson know they can do or say as they please without consequence.

He is making a proposal for 40 million dollars to be spent on educational software for the state of Utah. I am a professed geek, and I love tech, but I also know there is no gee-whizbang software out there that will solve Utah's ills. This money could be spent much better somewhere else. I wonder how Mr. Stephenson is poised to benefit from this.

However, the icing on the cake is his contemptuous attitude toward educators. Here is the article (Deseret News), but I will supply some of his choice quotes :

Stephenson said his proposal is not about controlling funding. It's about exposing teachers to cutting-edge tools that many don't know exist. "(Teachers) are not knowledgeable of what's available."

He said that in past education legislation, when funding is competitively available in the form of grants, educators go after them "
like sharks fighting over a fish."

"(I've) learned that educators' drug of choice is grants — they smell grants, and they will move heaven and earth to qualify," Stephenson said.

"If we were to buy licenses and just pass them out they would mostly sit on a shelf, but when you give them their drug of choice they will focus in the optimum way to make sure it works," Stephenson said.

I used to hear statements of this quality come out of the leaders in Detroit when I lived there. They are on the other end of the spectrum - Democrats only. When one party rules, the people lose.

City of Draper, I understand that you will only vote Republican; but there are some Republicans out there who would be worthy to represent you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Believe it... Believe it...Believe it

In my Orson Scott Card posting, SocietyVs had some great points about belief. He asserted that mere belief is almost pointless; it is the resulting action that counts. If a belief has no practical impact (i.e. it doesn't cause you to love your neighbor, or feed the poor) then he now places it in the category of "non-belief".

I resonate with that, because I was brought up in a Faith community that was all about having the "correct" beliefs lined up; but had little impact on those around us.

I forget what it is like to be in those circles, but I had a reminder today. I keep a channel on my reader open to Mormon Coffee. I rarely see eye to eye with these folks, but it can be an interesting read. Today their post brought home again how, to some Christians, it is all about the right checklist. Here is a passage from today's post. The blog author is responding to a question about how to share your faith with a Mormon without being offensive.

"In that kind of situation I think the best thing you can do is start asking simple questions. “What do you believe about the afterlife?” “What do you believe about the nature of God?” “What do you believe about sin and salvation?” “Do you believe your sins are forgiven?” “Do you have an assurance of eternal life?” You can read the full article here.

This is my opinion, and feel free to chime in, but I think a more effective mode of discourse is for the two people to ask questions together. In the above example, the questioner has the answer and the listener is being led (or coerced) down a given path to a set result.

Hans-Georg Gadamer argued that conversations that do not contain the element of surprise are not really conversations at all. When we begin a truly open dialogue, he said, we let go of the destination; we are not sure where we will be when we are finished. If one party is in control, then no exchange is taking place.

It would seem to me that if you are going to truly converse with someone, then the question must be self-reflective at the same time it is asked. Therefore, instead of asking questions intended to lead or pin someone, might I suggest these questions:

  • Does my love for God cause me to love those around me, regardless of religious status, more or less?
  • Does my faith cause me to become irritated with those who do not share my views?
  • Has my faith caused my associations with those not in my faith to broaden or shrink over the years?
  • Are my studies of scripture challenging any of my imparted views of justice, mercy, and kindness?

Evangelicals are so caught up with what people believe. If we want to change the world, we have to put away our formulas.

It is for freedom's sake that Christ has set you free!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What do you say??

This post will probably ramble because I am ill and an emotional mess at the moment. It is traumatic here in the Hackman household tonight.

We have two cats. The one, Duke, has started peeing on various things throughout the house. Last night he peed on a comforter and my wife and I vocalized in front of the children that we may need to get rid of him. Big mistake. They cried and pleaded, pleaded and cried.

I have no desire to get rid of the cat, but he has cost us hundreds of dollars this week. I am a school teacher on a tight budget, and it is really hitting us. Not to mention, we cant live in a house that smells of cat pee.

Tonight Duke peed on the couch. My daughter started sobbing. "Are we going to have to get rid of Duke?" I couldn't respond. She fell into my lap shaking and sobbing (she is 9). The whole family started to cry.

But what she said next through her tears brought down my world.

"Daddy... I don't understand [sob] I prayed so hard last night. I prayed [sob] and prayed [sob] that Duke would stop doing that.... What's wrong?" She could hardly get the words out.

I had no answer for her. Nothing.

I know there are bigger problems in the world. I know there are parents who watched their child die this evening, while they begged and pleaded with God to no avail. Countless prayers for relief from suffering go unheeded worldwide.

But when your daughter is in your lap weeping and brokenhearted and looking to you for an answer, it is hard to put anything into perspective.

I can hear her crying herself to sleep as I type this.

As much as she has church and sunday school and friends, the truth is that most of what she knows of God right now is transfered through me. Am I responsible for setting her up with false hopes? Is she praying desperately (right now) to a God who has no intention, or ability, to answer her prayer?

As as Father, I just want her pain to go away.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Orson Scott Card - You do not speak for me!

Today in the Deseret News, Orson Scott Card wrote a classic straw man argument in his defense of Mormonism and critique of Christianity (He actually makes his straw man talk). These kinds of arguments are made by all sides. We all do it, often without realizing it. Our thoughts seem so self evident, to us, that we cannot anticipate how it will be heard on the other side of the aisle.

Click to read the article here.

I wrote a response in the blog section of the article. Here it is:

The article, though well written, only convinces the convinced. He constructs what Christians believe, and then deconstructs it. Anti-Mormons do this all the time with Mormon theology. As a Christian, I have been told countless times by (some) Mormons what I believe.

For example:

-You don't believe in modern revelation-

Yes I do, I was raised charismatic!

-You believe God is made of 3 people-

No I don't, I have always known they are three distinct persons.

-You believe God does not have a body-

No, I don't CARE whether or not he has a body.

-You follow the Nicene Creed-

Nope again, have never read it, never seen it, and hardly heard of it till I moved out here.

-You are a product of Platonism-

Goodness gracious, the simplest of web searches will show that major chunks of Christianity not only reject this, but aggressively fight it.

I am glad Mr. Card's article gives a shot in the arm to (some of) his Mormon brothers. However, it does not fly outside the Mormon circle for the same reason anti-Mormon stuff doesn’t fly with Mormons.

"The main point of disagreement between Mormons and traditional Christianity is that we believe in the biblical God — the God in whose image we were made, the resurrected Christ with a perfect body of flesh and bone — and they don't." - Orson Scott Card

Spoken like a true Anti!

I can sympathize with Mormons who resent being painted with blunt broad strokes by Antis – It is not pleasant on our end either.

I have always felt it is unwise for a Christian to go to another Christian to learn about Mormon theology. I equally believe a Mormon will get an incorrect view of Christianity if they seek out a Mormon for their information.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What is really wrong with our schools?

On a semi-regular basis, the talking heads on the evening news will discuss what is wrong with American education. If you scan through your paper, there is usually an article or two addressing the topic. What is common, in these talks and articles, is that there is always someone with strong opinions WHO HAS ZERO CONTACT WITH CLASSROOMS. Their solutions are similar to Aristotle's view on gravity, they are based on anecdote, observation, and logic - not experience. By dropping two balls of different weights, Galileo quickly showed that Aristotle's assumptions regarding gravity missed the mark.

This is my 17th year teaching. I have taught in public and private, rich and poor. There are numerous problems I see in education, yet they are rarely addressed by those in power.

Imagine this: I decide to switch careers and head back to college. My goal is physics. I have never taken a class before, but I am eager to start. I go to the registrar's office.

"Hmmmm... you seem to be about 40 years old," she says. "You would look out of place with a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds in Physics 100. Let's put you in a first year graduate program. You would look less out of place there and it would allow you to work with people at your own life stage."

Of course this sounds absurd. This could never happen. Yet, it happens in schools across America everyday.

In the example above, I would, in reality, be put in a Physics 100 class; perhaps a 200 if I tested out. In addition, I would not move on to a higher level of Physics instruction if I failed the previous class. Many classes have pre-requisites.

If I were put into a graduate level physics class as a novice, would I not feel a great sense of frustration? Irritation? Hopelessness? In addition, what would the Professor do with me? His vocabulary and instruction would be too high for my level. Should he stop instruction every 10 minutes so he can work with me? Does he "busy" the other students so he can attend to my level of need? Do I have any hope of catching up to the rest of the class in this disjointed arena when I skipped over the 5 previous classes?

To me, this is one of the great issues facing schools today. Most schools in America place students according to age. This hobbles the students who want to move forward and frustrates the ones who need more time. This causes both ends of the spectrum to misbehave. Bored, but for different reasons.

This is not as big an issue in wealthy areas where students tend to be more homogeneous. But in schools like mine, where most students come from poverty, the variance in student abilities can be enormous.

I teach a sixth grade class. By law, and by the tests hanging over my head, I HAVE to teach the sixth grade core. Few of my students are ready for it. I have a handful who can nearly read at a sixth grade level. Below that I have an even spread... all the way down to the kindergarten level. How does a kindergartener read a 6th grade textbook about the life of a protist? Two-thirds of my class cannot do their times tables. They have to think hard for a solution to 12-7.

Ex-educators, who lead workshops teachers have to attend, tell us that to succeed here we must differentiate our instruction. That means "Teach to each child on their level". The folks who lead these workshops BAILED from the classroom. I tend to not regard their advice highly. In any case, the math simply doesn't work. How do I teach six subjects to 33 different students? in six hours? at 7 different grade levels? everyday? effectively?

You will often hear proponents of the present system say "Every child has a right to instruction at their grade level." I disagree. I say every child has a right to instruction at their learning level.
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