Writer mischaracterizes K-12 education; Learning about different perspectives adds to richness of country

Posted 10 August 2020 at 7:59 am


I read recently your published letters from Mr. Thaine and Mr. Lauricella and felt compelled to answer Mr. Lauricella’s characterization of K-12 education. Seeing as I have been in school for a while (RIT Microelectronics B.S. 2010, University of Rochester Biomedical Engineering M.S. 2013, Ph.D. 2018, Current Post-Doctoral Associate), I feel well placed to comment here.

Throughout my schooling, I have always placed a very high value on my education from Albion High School (valedictorian, 2006), where I learned many things about our republic (and others, see: Rome), in addition to the many Arts and Sciences I enjoy professionally.

I am not persuaded that I was taught “political correctness, multiculturalism, that they are global citizens, anti-bullying, I need a friend benches, common core, to embrace the homosexual LGBTQ agenda, handed out condoms and birth control, that racism is hiding in every corner, and this year the completely revisionist history of the 1619 project and white fragility. To hate and guilt themselves for the way they were born and the white color of their skin.”

I seem to remember primarily learning about the challenges (sometimes life-or-death) that many different groups of people faced getting to our country, and staying here. Parts of my family immigrated here after WWII, and my father’s teacher (and long-time family friend) escaped the Soviets in Hungary after destroying their secret files, knowing no English. Learning about these struggles and different perspectives is part of the richness of our country.

“What makes us superior to all other countries and a nationalist model is our constitution and bill of rights. Our genuine American culture. We can go anywhere in the world and as soon as we open our mouth you hear Ahh an American. Being American means you are best.”

I do not agree. Having traveled a bit in my studies (University of Nottingham, U.K. 2013, 2015-2016) and worked with many brilliant minds from all over the world, I would say the advantages of any researcher (or American) are to work diligently, admit our mistakes plainly, try again, and fix them. That is how we can be the “best”; it’s simple to say, but hard to do (see: Constitutional Amendments). Many of the items in the previous list are attempts to do just that, though it is clear Mr. Lauricella and I would disagree on some of their effectiveness. Only time will tell if they fix the issues that led to their elevation in the first place. If not, we’ll try something else.

My own observations over the last 6 years from discussions with many international visitors and students coming from Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, India, Sudan, Libya, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Mexico indicate that we are rapidly losing any perception as being a shining city on a hill, or the “best”.

It is a mistake to believe that we live isolated lives anywhere on this planet, no matter how much we may wish for it at times. There may be 10 billion people on this planet in 30 years, somehow we will have to manage on our pale blue dot. I believe that if we are to lead spaceship Earth into the future, we will do it through “Achievement, Character, and Success for Life” – the mission statement at Albion Central School.

Greg Madejski