You Need to Know What’s Being Taught in the Classroom

screenshot-149Even if you’re not the parent of school-age children, it’s in your best interest to know what’s being taught in the classroom. In fact, your livelihood could depend on it!

Last week an article I read in the Huffington Post go me to thinking about what our kids are given the opportunity to learn. This article complained that students were being exposed to the benefit of GMO crops. The author, a food safety activist, doesn’t believe anything about GMOs can be good. She makes the argument that GMOs information looks good because all the information is supplied by the big corporations that profit from GMOs! According to her, schools present one-sided information.

Being very involved with programs such as Ag in the Classroom, I admit that farmers are trying to get accurate information to our kids. I’m a big proponent of declaring our independence from food fights, but…

One reason farmers are proactively seeking opportunities to get into classrooms is because our schools are being inundated with misinformation from groups that are critical of modern farming! From my personal observations, anti-farming groups like the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) are supplying lots of material to our youngest students. The last couple of years I’ve been invited to share my farming experience with sixth grade students in the Mason City schools to balance the information gleaned from the book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, as a text book. There is so much bad information in this book that it should classified as fiction!

We form opinions as we grow up, and sometimes we form different opinions based on our experiences. This is a good thing and we should celebrate our differences. The mix of people coming in to this country has been a big part of what has made the U.S.A. a great country, which reminds me of a great conversation I recently had with a friend who lives in New York City. Four years ago, I met Mike because he’s the news chief for a major news network and was making arrangements for Japanese broadcasters to visit my North Iowa farm.

Mike and I were talking about immigration and education. In particular, we were talking about how the U.S. school system blends all kids together and treats them the same. They have to meet the same standards, but kids are diverse. Should someone from the middle of New York City meet the same standards as someone from a remote Alaska village? Will a child have the same up bringing and the same experience from rural Geneva, Iowa, as he or she has in Hollywood California?

We should let kids excel no matter where they come from, and excellence is what we should expect. Let’s not hold back a child who can do amazing things. Let’s not make these high achievers meet standards that are set too low! Local school boards need the flexibility to matchup with their local standards.

Education can be a very complex issue, but let’s step up to the plate. Let’s get our kids started right. Let’s give them the background to base their future on. Don’t let vocal radical groups have undue influence… Be involved. Know what your local schools are teaching!