Articles From the February 1994 Unification News
Unificationists and Working in Your Local School District
by Nancy Hanna - Bronxville, NY
Because of our training by True Parents, Unificationists are in a unique position to make important contributions in their local school communities. I could write a great deal on how special and unique our virtues are as a result of this training, but let me just mention a few.
We know how to be humble to our elders and learn from them. respectful of hierarchy. We have experience working with people from all kinds of backgrounds. We are crystal clear on issues like sex education and other traditional value issues in a way others without our theology rarely are We know what it means to begin in the servant position and serve sincerely. We belong to a church that wholeheartedly supports our efforts. Perhaps most important, we have a strong prayer life that will guide and enrich every action we take
It is a truism in educational circles that the more parental involvement, the better the school. The quality of the family, church and schools will determine the quality of our society.
The schools are a logical place for us as parents to put our wholehearted efforts to restore America.
In a nutshell, to succeed, start small, learn from the elders in the community, always be ready to take the serving position, network with Christian activist groups, and educate yourself.
Class Mothers - In many communities, class mothers are the key to understanding the school. Let them answer your questions and what she doesn't know she will find a PTA person who does. Your PTA is the place where parents relate to the school. Volunteering as class mother is also a ideal place for a mother to begin to serve and get to know the school, parents and community.
For example, a father could call up a class mother and say he would like to get involved in school activities and committees and ask her to find out what things there are for him to do.
You don't have to sharp on the issues to make an important contribution to a school. People can go all the way to the school board by just be willing to serve in whatever way they can ( Fundraising for the school, making those cupcakes, setting up for meetings etc.)
Learn from your elders
In every school there are parents that have been volunteering for years and know all the ropes. Don't be shy to ask for advice from them as you go. There may also be ex-school board members who are concerned about what is presently happening in the school and would be happy to advice you.
In you are working in a controversial area, get their advice on how to proceed. Since they have a good feel for the community, they will know what is effective and what isn't. In working in a controversial area like sex education or outcome based education, try to build a coalition of parents If you work alone, you may be dismissed as a fanatical religious right person.
Work with the activist local Christian Community
The local Christian churches in general, are no longer the real hub of Christian activity in local communities. The Christians seriously working for the restoration of American are now to be found in the nationwide activist groups like Concerned Women for America, Focus on Family, the Christian Coalition, the Eagle Forum etc.
The Christian Coalition and Concerned Women for America and Stop Planned Parenthood may already have people in your school district who have done some work Call up the area representatives and ask them what they think about your schools and if anything is being done. Get their advice and work with them if possible. These Christian activists will feel like brothers and sisters and many are just as alarmed and concerned about America as we are.
In a natural way, be clear about your religious affiliation if the subject comes up. In most cases it will not matter since they are interdenominationally oriented and recognize the need for competent activists. Furthermore, all of their leadership and publications quote and depend on The Washington Times constantly.
The material on schools and traditional values is now pouring out of the Christian right organizations. Subscribe to Focus on the Family, James Dobson's Christian newsletter which often has articles relating to the schools. Also the Christian Coalition and Concerned Women for America have excellent regular publications that will keep you up to date with the latest in what parents with traditional values are doing in their local schools.
The Right to Read Foundation is a the source for all the information you need on the fascinating issue of phonics vs. whole language.
Concerned Women for America: 1-800-323-2200
Focus on the Family: 1-800- A FAMILY
Right to Read Foundation: 1-800-468-8911
Christian Coalition: 1-800-325-4746
If you choose to work on an issue, there are now many very informative publications by traditional values activists that will help to make you a local expert. Many of these books can be ordered through your local library system.
Parent Power by James Sedlak for those working on the sex education issue and fighting Planned Parenthood.
Why Johnny Can t Tell Right From Wrong, by William Kilpatrick is a good beginning.
Public Education - An Autopsy, by Myron Lieberman, to get an overview of the public school mess.
Inside American Education, by Thomas Sowell - another helpful overview.
Concerned Women for America has an excellent manual on Outcome Based Education that you can order using their 800 number.
Good luck. Call me if you want encouragement: Nancy Hanna, (914)793- 5661.
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