Letter to the Editor: Montana’s education system perpetuates ignorance | Letters to the Editor

In the May 14 Billings Gazette, I read the article “Arntzen Asks About Anti-Racism” and almost choked on my coffee. She sought an opinion from the Attorney General regarding the legality of a federal “American History and Civic Education” grant that requires grantees to incorporate teaching the history of systemic racism in the United States into the classroom. She said it would cause division in our classrooms and communities, and endorsed the proposition that ignorance is bliss. The Office of Public Instruction then said the state of Montana did not and never applied for this grant. Good grief.

First, some news for the Superintendent: Montana this year passed laws to restrict access to the ballot, written in terms that indicate these laws are designed only to protect the sanctity of the voting process. Nonsense. These laws will have an impact on our citizens who live on reserves, without the means to travel the distance required to vote in person, denying them the right to vote. For the record, there was no proven voter fraud in the 2020 Montana election, so this new voting restriction law is aimed squarely at those the Republican majority does not want to vote for. It’s classic Jim Crow, otherwise known as systemic racism, and of course Arntzen doesn’t want that taught.

To be valid, the story must be comprehensive, exploring not only the successes of a people, but also their failures. Today in Germany the holocaust is taught to prevent it from happening again. In Montana, it seems, we would rather our students ignore the whole truth and then perpetuate the ignorance into adulthood. Who knows, they might one day be elected to legislative or executive positions, just like the current weed crop in Helena.


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