According to the Stamford Advocate, officials for Stamford, CT, schools have been trying to find ways to make changes in the district. Especially with the state only requiring students to attend school for 180 days a year. Board member Joshua Esses made a motion on January 25th to remove both Columbus Day and Veterans Day from the school calendar for two years. Passing with a 5-3 vote, it came by surprise.
When the topic of shortening the calendar came up, he suggested they remove two Muslim holidays, both Eid al-Fitr and the second day of Rosh Hashanah. However, board members stayed silent on supporting the removal of those days. Back on January 9th, another board member, Versha Munshi-South, said, “I can’t imagine that we have many students on Columbus Day who are observing Columbus Day with their families.”
Munshi-south then regaled the board with her observing a class at Dolan Middle School, with the lesson titled “Columbus: Hero or Villain?”
“The students were using primary sources to investigate the true history of Columbus and I can tell you that, based on primary source research, no, they did not conclude that Columbus was a hero. I don’t think it makes sense to teach students one thing in class and then have Columbus Day off. It’s a mixed message for students.”
Hamman used that point to explain that he feels Columbus Day needs to be held in school. One where educators can turn it into a day of instruction, and not a polarizing debate and treating him as less than a hero.
This comes just a few years after officials pushed to remove the statues of Christopher Columbus as they caved to liberal pressure. Thankfully, the large Italian American presence in the area kept them erected by protesting the decision. With Stamford’s decision to keep the statues up, they sent a message to the world that Columbus’ legacy should remain well celebrated.
What’s most interesting to note is the lack of thorough debate or discussion about Veterans Day. This is not only a federal holiday, but it ensures the legacy and sacrifices of our nation’s best and brightest are not forgotten or overlooked by the newest generation. Instead, it was only brought up along with Columbus Day by Esses as a day that students could learn about Veterans in school.
Unfortunately for Esses argument, that will never happen.
Science classes won’t study the gunpowder used in their weapons or how a bullet works. It would be too easy for that to be taken the wrong way. English classes won’t study the letters sent home from the front, and Anne Frank already has her section. Social Studies-based courses already teach from outdated books and have facts that are consistently watered down and diluted from reality. Math won’t teach about setting ranges for artillery or judging distances.
Without observing the day out of school, it will quickly become just another day for students. A situation that happens far too often. These teachers are essentially underpaid babysitters being forced to teach a curriculum that lacks the truth and authenticity about the real world that these kids need. By taking away another day that teaches them the hard realities of the world, Esses is taking advantage of them.
Meanwhile, the previously suggested Muslim faith-based days aren’t heavily celebrated in the area. They can’t be taught in school, nor are they applicable across the curriculum for teachers to be talking about all day. Instead, let the families practicing Islam keep their kids home from school like they normally would. Giving the entire district two days off so they could easily be in school under the guise of religious purposes is horrific.