Ladies and gentlemen, teaching and learning in South Carolina:

Six months earlier, two of (English teacher Mary) Wood’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition students had reported her to the school board for teaching about race. Wood had assigned her all-White class readings from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me,” a book that dissects what it means to be Black in America.

The students wrote in emails that the book — and accompanying videos that Wood, 47, played about systemic racism — made them ashamed to be White, violating a South Carolina proviso that forbids teachers from making students “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” on account of their race.

Reading Coates’s book felt like “reading hate propaganda towards white people,” one student wrote.

At least two parents complained, too. Within days, school administrators ordered Wood to stop teaching the lesson. They placed a formal letter of reprimand in her file. It instructed her to keep teaching “without discussing this issue with your students.”

Wood finished out the spring semester feeling defeated and betrayed — not only by her students, but by the school system that raised her. The high school Wood teaches at is the same one she attended.

You know this story, right? A newly adopted law that protects white students from feeling squicky about what their ancestors did is starting to have an effect, even in AP classes. And teachers — good ones — are being targeted, and will be casualties. Which will discourage future teachers. And there’s already a shortage.

But this is also South Carolina, part of the ever-expanding Sunbelt, which would indicate that most Americans would rather pay fewer taxes than have their children attend decent schools where they’ll learn the entire point of education: To be challenged to examine your ideas, compare them with other ideas, decide which have merit. Consider that many ideas that contradict one another both have merit. Not be…what’s the word? A snowflake.

Or maybe we’ll have a situation, over time, like what happened after desegregation: Education academies, private schools where the CEOs and higher-level brains of any southern community send their children, away from the MAGA rabble. We don’t go forward in this country anymore, I swear.

Sorry for the short one today. Busy.

Posted at 9:27 pm in Current events |

28 responses to “Schoolin’.”

  1. Jeff Gill said on September 19, 2023 at 6:52 am

    On the sunnier side, if I may:

    These earthworks are now the 25th World Heritage Sites in the United States, the 12th cultural inscription on the World Heritage List. Huzzah! I’ve been up since 3 am watching the live feed of the UNESCO World Heritage meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; our nomination went through at 5:30 am Ohio time with no objections, approved unanimously (and two of the previous five did not).

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  2. LAMary said on September 19, 2023 at 8:29 am

    When I heard the UNESCO story on the radio around 4:30 am I thought of you, Jeff. What great news.
    And South Carolina? I read stuff like this way too often. People should feel bad that slavery happened and if they live in a state where it happened until a war ended it they need to accept that the idea of the glorious South is not so glorious. I read one story where a school board fired a teacher after one student in and AP class complained. Just one. The school board said CRT shouldn’t be part of the curriculum. This isn’t CRT. It’s reality.

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  3. alex said on September 19, 2023 at 8:36 am

    Yay Jeff! And the earthworks!

    I read the piece about that teacher yesterday and indeed it was a downer.

    On a brighter note, our state AG, Todd Rokita, is being charged with misconduct by the state supreme court for violating legal ethics with his MAGA political stunts and Fox News appearances.

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  4. Julie Robinson said on September 19, 2023 at 8:48 am

    Congratulations, Jeff, I know this is near and dear to you. I remember the Cahokia Mounds well from my Illinois childhood, and I’m glad to know they are already on the list.

    If learning about slavery doesn’t make you feel badly about yourself, you are emotionally stunted.

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  5. brian stouder said on September 19, 2023 at 9:18 am

    What Julie said! History is important, if we really want to improve. If we really know that we are imperfect, and must always beware drifting into a wall – or over an abyss – than we MUST work to grasp where we’ve been, and what we were thinking and doing yesterday, and where it got us.

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  6. Jeff Borden said on September 19, 2023 at 11:18 am

    This is all part of the right-wing agenda to gut the teaching of critical thinking. They’re looking to create easily led, unquestioningly loyal, ignorant citizens who will bow easily to authority. Christian nationalists are all in on this, too. Screw science. The bible has all the answers.

    We’re getting stupider by the week.

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  7. David C said on September 19, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    I got my Covid vaccine yesterday so I’m spreading my spike proteins all over them and their keys are going to stick to them and they’re going to die. Take that.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on September 19, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    Romance is hard.

    Lauren Boebert will not have a SECOND date with her partner in the “Beetlejuice” groping. (Yeah, she was playing with his johnson on the first date.) And she was unaware he was a (gasp) Demoncrat!! Oh, love is so complicated in these polarized times.

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  9. Deborah said on September 19, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    Boebert is so full of it, it’s pathetic. Her date or “client” is not only supposedly a democrat but he owns a gay friendly bar that has drag shows. But she’s about family values that doesn’t approve of that. What a lowlife she is.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on September 19, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    Jeff B, I’ve read elsewhere that Boebert and her gentleman had actually dated many times before. Who knows what the truth is with these people?

    We are getting our Covid vaxxes this afternoon, but not without a few hiccups. I had scheduled all four of us, and this morning got a text the appointment was cancelled due to “unforseen circumstances”. BTW the online scheduling process took 45 minutes. So I tried to reschedule but had to start from zero, and I started checking around other places. Both Costco and Publix don’t have the vaccine yet, so I decided to call the local CVS pharmacy. It turned out they don’t take Sarah’s insurance but the rest of us were still okay.

    It’s a huge relief but I’m a little miffed at their system. She will have to go to Walgreen’s, which is terrible down here but that’s the way it rolls.

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  11. Dorothy said on September 19, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    Why is it that the focus is on how white students feel about themselves when they hear about slave owners? Doesn’t ONE of them stop to think for a minute how this makes black people feel about THEIR ancestors?! I mean I know this is the whole point of all of this but why don’t people in South Carolina (and elsewhere) push back and say the hard part out loud?!?!

    Julie we are scheduled for our next boosters on Saturday morning, and are getting flu shots as well.

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  12. Suzanne said on September 19, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    So the producer of the anti-trafficking movie Sound of Freedom is a pervert himself. Who could have predicted? With the right, it’s always projection.

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  13. Sherri said on September 19, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Since I just recovered from Covid, I’m waiting a few months before getting my Covid shot, so everyone around me is safe from being magnetized. I did get a flu shot and a RSV shot today though.

    If you haven’t gotten your shingles vaccination yet, go do it! You don’t want to get shingles, trust me!

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  14. Julie Robinson said on September 19, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    We are poster children for vaccinations–new Covid, flu and RSV all in the last two weeks. We’ve had our senior pneumonia shots (two, six months apart after you turn 65) and the Shingrix. Sherri’s right about that one–D had Shingles back in his 20’s and it was horrific.

    We’re even up to date on our tetanus shots. At the current time, there’s not one more arm jab to be had. Take that, Ladipo! Take that, DeSantis!

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  15. Deborah said on September 19, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    My husband and I had both of our Shingrix shots back in april/May. Last year I had a Covid shot and flu shot at the same time and felt really bad for about half a day. This time I’m getting those separately. I haven’t yet made our appointments for the vaccines but will do that soon. I do not want to get Covid for a third time. My Dr hasn’t mentioned that I need a tetanus shot, so I’m assuming I am up to date.

    Who can believe anything Boebert says? If she gets re-elected that will be awful, she barely won this last time.

    I figure I might only have at most 20 years left and I’m determined to stay as healthy as I can, and make the most of every day.

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  16. David C said on September 19, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    This Covid booster was a breeze compared to the first couple back in the day. My arm is just barely sore. Other than that, no reaction at all. I got the flu and RSV two weeks ago. That was the same, just a sore arm. I’m getting to be a pro at this.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on September 19, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Deborah, we had the same experience getting the two together last year, but I’m happy to say no issues with getting flu and RSV together. We wanted to get everything in as early as possible, because our son Matt is getting married Oct. 6. People are coming from everywhere and I want us at maximum immunity.

    Like you I’ve had Covid twice even with all my precautions and my lungs are still not the same. Of course, without the vaccine I could have died.

    Most doctors will just give you a tetanus shot if you have a big wound, because not a lot of folks are good at record keeping. OCD Julie is a record keeper, and MyChart makes it easy. We still have access to all our records from Fort Wayne and it’s been really handy.

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  18. David C said on September 19, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    The State of Wisconsin has a vaccination registry so I don’t have to keep track of anything. I check before my annual doctor exam. I saw this year I needed a Tdap booster so I’m up to date on everything. It’s so useful, it’s a wonder the Rs in the lege didn’t cut it.

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  19. Scout said on September 19, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    Just got my shingles shot today, the first of two. Next week for Covid booster.

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  20. Dorothy said on September 19, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    I got a booster and flu shot on the same day last year and do not recall having any reaction at all. I will do it again on Saturday and I sure hope I don’t have a reaction. I’m ushering at a play that night and they need me to be there! I’m also auditioning for a play on Sunday so I should be okay except for maybe a sore arm.

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  21. Deborah said on September 19, 2023 at 8:55 pm

    Those two shots the same day for Flu and Covid last year was the first time I ever had a reaction from shots except for sore arms. That combo did me in for the first half of the next day after getting them. I was miserable but when it was over, it was over, no lingering miserableness. I don’t want to go through that again.

    I did have a reaction to a once a year infusion of a drug for osteoporosis a couple of years ago. I had a choice of a once a year infusion, a once a month pill, or a once a week pill. It seemed like a no brainer but I had headaches for about 2 weeks after the infusion and I chose to go back to the once a week pill after that year was up.

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  22. LAMary said on September 19, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    I had a bout of shingles in 2006. Compared to what I’ve heard from other shingles sufferers mine was a piece of cake. It never got very bad. It was just itchy and burned a bit on my lower back and my ribs on the right side for a couple of weeks.

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  23. Dexter Friend said on September 20, 2023 at 2:42 am

    The Ann Arbor V.A. system is beginning vaccinations next Monday. Toledo is part of the system so I’ll go there instead of using insurance + Medicare here someplace.
    Why? Some damn SNAFU with my last shot I got at the local county health board. I got billed $40 for my booster. With Medicare and my supplemental I should have been taken care of. I had to fight it and of course, won. It’s just easier to take a joyride along the mighty Maumee, enjoy the foliage, and drop in to the V.A. for my shots.

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  24. Dexter Friend said on September 20, 2023 at 5:37 am

    x is soon to begin charging a monthly fee. Musk announced this.
    Who needs his horseshit? Color me gone.

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  25. Deborah said on September 20, 2023 at 8:27 am

    LB had shingles twice, the second time was this summer which wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time. She had it the exact same spot as before on the right side of the back of her neck. She took medication for it and used some cream on it. Her Dr. says she’s too young to get the vaccine which seems ridiculous to me.

    So are the stupid, extremist group of Republicans going to shut down the government again?

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  26. Jeff Gill said on September 20, 2023 at 8:46 am

    Flu shot yesterday, COVID booster promised but still in transit, so no double. No ill effects, but with flu shot never have unless the jab site is a bit sore, and this time nothing.

    The shingles shots though, kicked me to the curb both times. A full day after the day gotten, then nothing, but I did plan to just sleep the second time around the day after. Glad it’s behind me.

    Last night had a very long hard debate, to no good end, with an increasingly confused 94 year old about adult undergarments. He sleeps in his recliner (yes, think Frazier’s dad’s), but has been long worried about #1 incontinence. That’s still no problem; it’s #2 issues which keep happening. I get called to the bathroom when it happens, we get him cleaned up & changed over, but it’s three of the last four times, and when it happens to where the chair is soiled I do not know what I’m doing. But he refuses to consider the Depends “because I’m not having accidents.” He’s locked into categories that I can’t budge. We’re ten months into halting all meds & doc visits, and in fairness he’s been (openly) expecting to die tomorrow the whole time. He has no idea this has gone on that long (everything is “this morning” or “yesterday”) though he works hard at keeping up with what today is; whiteboard, clipboard, pocket notes, three calendars, all focused simply on what day today is.

    So it was good to have a win yesterday even if I couldn’t go with the group. Took a trip yesterday mid day and paid for it when I got back, but it was worth it.

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  27. Richard Utt said on September 20, 2023 at 9:40 am

    Anyone remember the Greenville Eight?
    The town shut down all of it’s libraries when eight Black students attempted to use the library.
    “The efforts being made by a few Negroes to use the White library will now deprive all White and Negro citizens of the benefit of a library,” Greenville Mayor Mayor J. Kenneth Cass said in a statement.
    Apparently it would be embarrassing for today’s students to know that.

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  28. Julie Robinson said on September 20, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Jeff G, what misery. Would he let you put waterproof sheets on the chair? Something like puppy pee pads is what I remember from long ago post-baby hospital beds. My mom struggles with what day it is too, despite multiple calendars and a large clock with day, date and time. The other problem we haven’t had to deal with, yet.

    My arm is way less sore after this vaccination and I’m not groggy. Think I’ll get flu and Covid separately from now on. As we’ve proved here, everyone’s reactions are different.

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