24 April, 2000
Measure the value of a common language–this ability to communicate–and you will measure the value of a thread to a tapestry. Common language is a thread running through the magnificent tapestry of American society. It holds together the diversity of families and cultures in a common picture: diverse, colorful, yet unified and complimentary. Without the thread of common language, the tapestry that once portrayed a unified community will split and fall leaving one section here, another portion there, and yet another piece to be untangled by the house cat on its morning patrol of the Great Hall.
In the United States, English is by far the most widely used language, and, for hundreds of years, it has been the common bond that connects immigrants of all descent and grants them the title they have cherished so dearly–“American”. They value this title because it is a title that does not call for them to forsake all culture of their past but to gain a new culture and build one nation that spans the continent and not split it into sixty nations the size of Georgia. This unification is being weakened by the influx of non-English-speaking immigrants who no longer take measures or retain the desire to become American in language. Some of them are content to settle in areas where their native tongue is spoken not only in the homes but in the entire community allowing English to become an unnecessary luxury. This is perhaps convenient in their mind because they do not have to learn a new language, but it contributes to the division of this nation of immigrants. In 1983, Senator Walter Huddleston noted that open acceptance of English has allowed citizens and immigrants “to discuss our differences, to argue about our problems, and to compromise on solutions” while developing “a stable and cohesive society” (114). Many immigrants come to the United States to work and to build better lives for themselves. It must be realized that quality of life does not come from living at a certain location nor from working a certain job. One aspect of a quality life is unity with other human beings. Unity occurs when people not only work together but find ways to communicate with each other about their feelings, their plans, and their dreams. Continue reading
In the United States there is the presupposition that bilingual education is the answer to teaching linguistically diverse children. The idea is that the children who have a mother tongue other than English and do not speak English as their own language will be sufficiently able to merge and communicate with the major culture of the States while being taught the majority of their classes in their native tongue. In many cases this presupposition creates a setting where the same children are never exposed to English beyond a few hours of each school day. Continue reading
December 2, 1998
Original title: “The place of minority history and values in the classroom.”
As tomorrow’s teachers we ask how we can instill in the children an understanding of the value found in diversity. We want to show children that different opinion and views are valuable to society and their own lives. The difficulty is teaching this without alienating the children from each other.
The United States has been called a “melting pot” of peoples. In teaching our children, I think we should point out that rather than a meshing and melting of individual peoples into a unidentifiable mush, the U.S. is more like a color photograph. Each color is vital to the completion of the whole picture. Just as the photograph needs the variety of colors so society needs different opinions and ways of doing things to make it whole. Continue reading
School has been an issue which the Amish have come into conflict not with each other but with state and local governments.
In Elmer Schwieder and Dorothy Schwieder’s book A Peculiar People: Iowa’s Old Order Amish, the Schwieders document the conflicts between state officials and Amish families over the compulsory education issue. The 1960’s began a series of fines, jail terms, and court cases. In Iowa’s Buchanan County the school superintendent, J. J. Jorgensen, filed complaints against the Amish school leaders for sending their children to unapproved schools.
After a series of fines and the October 28, 1963 judgment of District Judge George Heath that the Amish are not exempt from such school requirements, the conflict rose to a rapid climax. It was the fall of 1965 when the Amish defendants refused to pay the $24 fines and it became obvious the soon Amish land would have to be confiscated and sold which would eventually ruin the area economy. Continue reading
Rationale for personal choice of areas of emphasis
More than once I have asked myself what I am going to do with a community development major. Each time I reconsider this I have come out more convinced that this is the major for me.
International Community Development (ICD) is a diverse degree which gives me a vast source of information to draw from when I am either on the mission field or in the work force.
From the general education credits, I have learned how ancient civilizations relate to today’s society, my life has been enriched through science and language courses, and my writing skills and general health have improved. The ICD core classes have opened my eyes to resources to which I still make reference or run to for information. All these classes have added to the knowledge source which I will be able to draw on for the rest of my life. Continue reading