I read this article in horror and disbelief asking myself "is this what we've come to?" The notion that a school should change or modify its curriculum because of "too much emphasis" on Islam or any religion is at worst veiled bigotry and at best sad and ignorant.
My 18-year-old Chatham High School senior put it best by saying "you cannot study history, geography, art, science or music without a fundamental understanding of religion and its influence on everything else."
I came to Chatham 20 years ago precisely because its schools are considered are among the best in New Jersey. While its initial lack of diversity of residents was a disappointing discovery I made when I first moved in (often having to defend it to other friends in neighboring towns who teased me mercilessly about it) I felt confident that ultimately, because of the great schools and wonderful friendships I made, this town is not at all what people think it to be.
Seeing an article like this only confirms their suspicions. Frankly, it is an embarrassment and does not bode well for our reputation. Let's not make it worse by requesting a curriculum that only shows and supports one worldview, while denying the existence of other beliefs.
I believe that ignorance breads fear and fear breeds hatred; the more we understand about other cultures and religions the better we are equipped to deal with the issues we face in today's world.
Lastly, parents have a role and responsibility in discussing opposing views with their children. If my child comes home and learns something different than what I have taught them at home, I don't fight with my Board of Ed. I take it as an opportunity to discuss why I feel my position is correct and allow my child to challenge it. That's how we learn, that's how we grow and that's how we become contributing members to society.
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