Kids need cultural awareness

We understand the coronavirus pandemic has been all-consuming for more than a year, so we can’t hold it against Alpena Public Schools officials that a long-planned review of the district’s curricula on cultural awareness and racism remains incomplete.

But our kids need those lessons, so we urge district officials to stay the course.

Then-superintendent John VanWagoner ordered district administrators to begin the review back in June, after the school board received a petition from alumnus John Mack, News staff writer Crystal Nelson reported recently. The petition, submitted shortly after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, had been signed by 275 people.

Since Floyd’s death, the world has erupted in protests that have prompted many police reforms across the U.S., some of which devolved into riots where public property was destroyed and sometimes led to violence and bloodshed.

The world is changing around our kids, and they need smart, unbiased, thorough, balanced instruction on the history that brought us to this point and the ongoing frustrations fueling the debate today so they can make sense of it all.

Education must prepare our kids for the future, and they will live in a future more diverse, globally connected, and socially conscious than any generation before them.

They’ll need to understand all of that to find success at college, at work, and in their communities.

So we urge APS to keep at it. It’s important.


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