Teachers nowadays find themselves acting as surrogate parents, with more and more real parents working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Not everyone can make sure that homework gets done or that their children know how to interact with others in a school or social settings with adults. Today’s young people spend so much time on social media that they may not be comfortable participating in face-to-face conversation or the kind of give-and-take expected in the classroom. The other day, I was about to discuss a student group’s research and quotations to make sure they used peer-reviewed scholarly sources. A group member quickly piped up: “I’m not comfortable having our group’s work discussed with the whole class. You didn’t warn us this would happen.” I found myself somewhat flummoxed and scrapped the day’s lesson plan, which was to go over each small group’s quotes with the entire class, to make sure everyone had chosen legitimate peer-reviewed sources.
Looking back, I realized I should have said, “You’re not here to feel comfortable; you’re here to learn.” Unfortunately, both families and schools are less worried about learning than they are about comfort, convenience and cost. The roles of teachers and functions of education are being altered in some harmful ways. The legislature made the decision to eliminate the required health class, which all of us probably remember—the one where girls watched films about menstruation and who knows what the boys watched. The class also recommended on diet and exercise, hygiene, and a number of other truly important skills that are not necessarily covered in every home. This is a change I want to make when I win the seat in the Texas House of Representatives for District 45. We will re-institute this sensible curriculum requirement for graduation and save the lives and futures of students, many of whom are suffering from obesity, anxiety, and lack of common sense information about sex, a healthy diet, proper hygiene, and mental health.
Instead of using education to enhance and perhaps save students’ lives, some Republican lawmakers want to have more guns on campus and eliminate gun-free zones for students in public schools. A few even propose having teachers purchase handguns and concealed carry licenses, taking on the role of first responder in a shooter situation at school. Not many teachers choose a career in education in order to shoot a gun. They might be happy to spend their own money to buy school supplies for the kid whose parents can’t afford them, but they did not sign up for the role of police officer or first responder. Let’s have teachers and law enforcement officers stay in their lanes, sticking to their traditional roles and doing what they do best. Allow and encourage teachers to teach students the daily life-saving habits and techniques they need to lead safe and productive lives, to interact with each other in healthy and productive ways that will ensure educated citizens living in safe and happy communities.