PBS’ Art 21 too risky for public school?

“The foolish insistence of Dallas Independent School District to allow its teachers to teach this pornographic material and leftist drivel is a textbook example of a school district out of control, and an administration that should NO LONGER be funded by taxpayers.”

So quotes a writer from Dallas in response to an article Sept. 22, 2008 in the Dallas Morning News here.

The pornographic material and leftist drivel to which the ignorant writer is referring: ART 21 the exceptional PBS series on contemporary art.

It seems the DISD has purchased copies of the series for middle and high school art teachers to use to supplement their art curriculum.

“But some teachers and parents are concerned that images they consider too disturbing or sexual for the classroom may be acceptable to some art teachers. They also fear that students will take it upon themselves to search the Internet for more information about some artists in the documentary and get an eyeful.”

Seriously? We can choose to be ignorant or we can choose to accept the fact that if you have a teenager and a computer, and you don’t sit beside them every moment they are on that computer, then they are looking at things you probably don’t want them to see.

That said, contemporary art is not one of those things. The real issue seems to be that Kara Walker actually creates art portraying the truth of life for slaves, the sexual abuse, the child abuse. This reality should not be deemed too disturbing for students. It’s important to understand that life can be very ugly and was very ugly for slaves.

Sally Mann is another concern because she photographs her children in the nude. But her photos are beautiful and the Art 21 profile allows Mann to talk about her work and the controversy surrounding it. And perhaps that is the real issue.

In Texas, and other places, they don’t want to teach children to think for themselves. Or to question what they are told. The issue is that if we allow young people to see these videos they might realize that what their church or their ignorant parents believe is not true and that would lead to questioning authority and religion and education. Which, of course we know, turns people into “liberals.”

Maybe this is why American schools are ranked 21 in science and 25 in math. We can’t actually teach our children anything. It might make them think for themselves.

This isn’t actually surprising for Dallas.

Last year, a Frisco elementary school art teacher resigned under pressure after a parent complained that students had seen an ancient Greek sculpture of a nude young man during a trip to the Dallas Art Museum.

I always wonder if the teachers or parents have actually watched the videos before they choose to comment or complain. Art:21 is a great series and an important element for students to realize that art is not just painting, drawing and sculpture.

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