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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/16/21

Education - A gateway to well-being for all children

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While the US is still mired in parents fighting teachers, parents fighting school boards, parents fighting the "Woke" culture and parents fighting each other, Europe is moving right ahead with conventions and seminars set to provide even better education for the children across an entire continent and in 24 different languages. It should be noted that the US is currently bogged down in a plethora of conflicts even though it is dealing with only one country and one language.

No one is arguing that education isn't important, mind you; they are disputing policies that they disagree with, even if those policies only exist on Fox propaganda TV and the far-right echo chambers. One such conflict is Critical Race Theory, which was developed in the 1980s and only became relevant recently thanks to a constant drum beat of fear propaganda by Fox and the far right. The same applies to LGBTQ issues that have been similarly propelled to the fore.

The real issue is not the teaching of CRT to children in the K-12 classroom as the far right would have its sheeple believe (mainly because no K-12 school is doing that), but the awareness of teachers and administrators on the improvement of scholastic learning for minorities and the underprivileged in our society. As stated by Edweek.org, "Scholars who study critical race theory in education look at how policies and practices in K-12 education contribute to persistent racial inequalities in education, and advocate for ways to change them. Among the topics they've studied: racially segregated schools, the underfunding of majority-Black and Latino school districts, disproportionate disciplining of Black students, barriers to gifted programs and selective-admission high schools, and curricula that reinforce racist ideas." In the same way, LGTBQ issues form another critical element of this objective.

These are noble goals to be sure, but the right-wing propaganda machine wants none of it. So, like so many other made-up "us v them" scenarios, they prefer pitting their followers against any type of progress that doesn't come exclusively from their own ranks. The net result has been angry and sometimes violent confrontations between the various groups and little to no advancement nor improvement in the stated goals.

EU's approach

On the other hand, the European Union, and its 27 different member countries, have taken a totally separate approach to education.

Founded in 2004, Eurochild is a network of organizations and individuals working with and for children in Europe. They work closely with the European Union.

In their about us page they state, "We are striving for a society where all children and young people grow up happy, healthy, confident and respected as individuals in their own right. We aim to bring about positive changes in the lives of children, in particular those affected by poverty and disadvantage." While this sounds strikingly similar to the American scholastic goals stated here above, it is also different in a most fundamental way, it is accepted by nearly every nation within the EU.

In fact, euagenda.eu, an official arm of the European Union, has recently announced a webinar for all its members titled Education - A Gateway To Well-being For All Children, and subtitled How the school community can (re)build social & emotional well-being, sponsored by Eurochild. It is scheduled for November 18, World Children's Day, and hopes to be able to incorporate all agreed to actions and initiatives by March 24 of next year. They are inviting political representatives across the EU, policymakers, school leaders, civil society organisations and teachers to share innovative education practices with the idea of offering solutions to the horrible impact of COVID-19 on children's rights to a solid education and fair access to learning.

One of the more interesting features of the webinar is the scheduled speakers for the event, three members of the European parliament, "MEP Victor Negrescu (Romania) from the Socialists & Democrats; MEP Antonio Là pez-Istà riz White (Spain) from the European People's Party [a liberal conservative group]; and MEP Ilana Cicurel (France) from the Renew [a centrist group]." This lineup of presenters would never be possible in the US due to the political polarization that has existed for over 100 years.

There are two countries, however, who remain opposed to this proposal, Poland and Hungary. Eurochild has published a response to Hungary's resistance of the current plan stating, "Hungary still has serious shortcomings in complying with the Convention and its public awareness. [...] The Hungarian government has vetoed the adoption of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child by citing 'school propaganda of LGBTQ activists' as a reason, even though this issue is not even mentioned in the strategy." Sound familiar?

It should be noted here as well that Hungary is ruled by a right-wing populist and national-conservative political party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orba'n. Fox's Tucker Carlson has recently broadcast several shows from Budapest, Hungary, praising them for their far-right policies. Birds of a feather always flock together, no? Nevertheless, the EU will be moving forward with its current agenda while pushing for their inclusion at a later date.

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66 year old Californian-born and bred male - I've lived in four different countries, USA, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela, and currently live in the Dominican Republic - speak three languages fluently, English, French, Spanish - have worked as a (more...)
 

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