GOT A call from an East Bay teacher last week. She said she’d had it with the interest groups, bureaucrats and politicization of the public schools. She said kids are in bilingual classes from kindergarten to middle school. That’s enough time to learn Lakota and Twi, not just English.

“I’m a life-long liberal, a Berkeley grad, and I’m thinking of voting Republican,” she said. She said there’s a grain of truth to Bob Dole’s statement that there’s an “embarrassed by America” crowd.

She didn’t want her name printed because she feared for her job if she openly criticized her schools and union for playing multicultural games, and failing students of all cultures. She’d risk years of lunch room duty, at the very least.

The thing that set her off was a California Teachers Association calendar she had recently received. “It doesn’t have the Fourth of July on it, but it has Internment of Japanese Day,” she said. “Now the internment of the Japanese was a horrible thing, but it’s almost as if all the unifying American holidays were eliminated.

“It has Buddhist Nirvana Day, but it doesn’t have Christmas or Thanksgiving. I have Buddhist students, and they don’t celebrate Nirvana Day.”

The CTA calendar is just a reflection of the multicultural thrust in the schools, she said. “It excludes the basic American Constitution and political history of this country. I think that’s just insane. I said, “Where’s the E Pluribus Unum in this?,’ and they jumped down my throat.”

That’s what she gets for speaking Latin, a language with a dead pressure group.

This calendar would be great grist for Rush Limbaugh. It’s also instructive for the majority of liberals who wonder what the hell educationists are up to. Kids can’t spell plain English. But they’re celebrating Muharram, Shawwai and Dhu’l-Hiija.

Actually, most of the standard holidays are on the calendar, except for Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Christmas and Columbus Day. Perhaps those are overly associated with dead white men.

Somehow Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, Easter and Palm Sunday slipped onto the list, but V-E, V-J and Veteran’s Day didn’t, perhaps because they are too closely associated with victories over former enemies whose self -esteem might suffer.

Ramadan, Buddha’s Birthday, Hannukah and Diwali (the Hindu Festival of
Lights) are on the teacher union’s calendar, but the CTA respects all establishments of religion. April 30 is marked as the birthday of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism.

It’s interesting to learn all the holidays that have been instituted since public schools actually taught kids how to read and write.

Among many others, there’s Women’s Equality Day, Japanese Children’s Day, International Human Rights Day, Susan B. Anthony Day, National Coming Out Day, United Nations Day, Anniversary of the Massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, and the Stonewall Rebellion Anniversary.

If you really want to cause trouble, you can compare the number of holidays given to different groups. Let’s just say that simply being an American hardly scores you any celebrations.

The above isn’t an attack on groups with CTA-approved celebrations, or on bilingual education. Native English speakers should become bilingual too. This is not an endorsement of Dole’s xenophobic noise about making English our official language.

Our language is American, and it’s sufficiently resilient and attractive to need no protection. It would be nice, though, if more public schools got into the business of refining children’s knowledge of language, mathematics, science and history.

American history isn’t such a bad place to start. America is where we happen to live and our history is vividly multicultural. You don’t need a calendar, or self-appointed spokespersons who use the word “community” to exclude rather than include.

The schools are busy constructing a paper-cutout myth of America as a land of proud, formerly oppressed groups with cultures all their own. It’s a myth just as bogus as that of the melting pot that smelts foreigners into stainless Americans.

Just look at the American history of the last week and you’ll see that there is some essence of being American, and liberals and conservative agree on more than they’d like to admit.

Cal Ripken is a true hero. Mark Fuhrman is a true snake. Bob Packwood was a discredit even to the world of politics. The FBI was completely out of control on Ruby Ridge, ignoring the Constitution to bushwhack the Weaver family.

These stories would make good current events lessons for students, if current events is still a current school event. Fuhrman and Ripken, and the responses of citizens of all kinds to the vicious racist and the working hero, teach more about America than any number of multicultural celebrations.

While the bureaucrats and pedagogues are giving out holidays, how about a Cal Ripken Day? Naturally, it would be a working holiday, and it would be every day. E Pluribus Ripken.

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