Healing the Cultural Divide

For the last few days I’ve been working on the finishing touches to a new article, entitled Healing the Cultural Divide. It is a retrospective on the recent presidential election for my BridgeBuilders website. You can read the article here and view some interesting maps that provide an interesting perspective on the cultural divide. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article.

The results are in! The 2004 presidential election was one of the most polarizing in my lifetime. The rhetoric, tactics and strategies of both presidential campaigns, and others who supported them, were designed to divide and polarize the electorate through misinformation and false accusations. And it worked. Statesmanship suffered a severe blow in this election, which is likely to encourage more animosity and conflict as people on both sides of the cultural divide fight for control of public schools…

Here is the one maxim that can guide our debate and heal the cultural divide at the same time: No one should be asked to participate in a public education that is biased against themselves. If district decision-makers embrace that passion, and equip their communities to as well, they would find constructive solutions and valuable collaboration that could reach across the cultural divide and strengthen our public schools. It shows respect for those on the left and right and will allow a district to write policies and choose curriculum that is in the best interest of all and create a fair environment for its staff, students and parents. Our schools do not have to choose sides in this cultural divide, and I would argue that they become less public schools if they do.

For those of you who do not know about BridgeBuilders it is my consulting and mediating services to help resolve cultural and religions conflicts in public education. The article above was written for public school board members and administrators to help them see beyond the politics of polarization and work for a greater common good. Just last week I received an email from one the faithful readers of this blog alerting me to a new gay endorsement curriculum being forced on a Virginia school district. Unless we work proactively to ensure that public education is fair to all, we will lose our voice in the public forum.

I hope you enjoy the full article. If you think it has merit for your school officials why don’t you consider emailing the link (http://www.bridge-builders.org/RCW11.04.html) to school board members, superintendents and principals in your school district (and even county or state education officials as well). Include a personal note that you found this article to be a helpful resource and hope your school district would take these ideas seriously. You can usually find their email addresses on the school website under ‘board’ or ‘administration.’ Recommendations from constituents in their own district often hold a lot of weight.

Still no grandchild yet! It looked like she was going to be early, but has now decided to take her own sweet time. We’ll love her whenever she gets here.

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